The Search Engine Update – Number 155

In This Issue

+ Search Engine Watch News
+ SES San Jose Is This Week!
+ Reader Q&A: August 2003
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ About The Search Engine Update

Search Engine Watch News

Hello Everyone–

It’s been a busy past week for me. I’ve been out in California visiting various search engines and catching up on new developments that I’ll bring to you in future issues. As I’m on the road, I haven’t been able to print and proof this edition of the newsletter. So, if you see typos, please forgive!

Within the Members-Only area, you’ll now find a completely updated How LookSmart Works page. I covered many LookSmart changes in the last newsletter, but this page provides an at-a-glance guide to all ways that LookSmart gets listings, be they from paid inclusion, Zeal or the WiseNut crawler. You’ll find the page at the URL below:

How LookSmart Works

Late on Friday, I also received a briefing from Overture on the new changes rolled out this weekend to its paid placement program. I expect to have a proper article on everything involved for the next newsletter. In the meantime, here’s a bullet-point review of key things to know.

+ Overture now allows “phrase” and “broad” matching in addition to “standard” matching, a new name for matching that Overture has always offered.

+ In standard match, if you bid on “running shoes,” then your listing would only come up if someone searched on those exact words (more or less — standard match would also bring up a singular version like “running shoe” and some misspellings).

+ In phrase match, “running shoes” would match any search that contains those exact words, in that exact order — such as “discount running shoes” or “nike running shoes”

+ In broad match, “running shoes” would match any search that contains those words, regardless of order — such as “discount running shoes” or “good shoes for running races” or “reviews of popular running shoes.”

+ Overture will always display standard match bids before any phrase or broad matches. This is a crucial point to understand.

For example, let’s say you use PHRASE MATCH to bid on searches containing the exact phrase of “running shoes” and agree to pay up to $0.75 per click. Now consider what happens with a search for “nike running shoes.” First, Overture will show all the people using STANDARD MATCH to target that search term. Currently, there are 38 advertisers doing this, with the lowest bidding $0.05. If you use phrase match, your ad will come after all these other advertisers — even though you are willing to pay much more.

+ Because of the above, it’s imperative that if you consider a term extremely crucial, you need to go for standard matching, rather than phrase or broad matching.

+ Should you try phrase or broad matching, Overture has a very cool “exclude” tool that will show you exactly what popular terms that you’ll be targeting, and it’s easy to exclude terms that for whatever reason aren’t applicable to the audience you are after.


SES San Jose Is This Week!

As you read this, the Search Engine Strategies show is happening in San Jose. But never fear — if you’re in the area, there are still three more days full of sessions.

The conference runs through August 21. It’s packed with sessions that I’ve programmed for people of all interests and levels. Whether you’re new to search engine marketing, advanced, interested in organic listings or paid advertising, there are panels designed for you.

Keynotes begin tomorrow: first one by me, then on Wednesday, a keynote “conversation” between me and Google cofounder Sergey Brin, followed by Thursday’s keynote presentation by Jeff Weiner, Senior Vice President of Search and Marketplace, Yahoo

I’m also moderating sessions every day, as is Search Engine Watch’s associate editor Chris Sherman. We’re joined by over 50 different search engine marketing experts. Speakers from major search engines are also involved, including confirmed panelists from, Ask Jeeves/Teoma, Google, LookSmart, Lycos, MSN Search, Overture (AltaVista/AllTheWeb) and Yahoo/Inktomi.

Session itineraries, daily agendas, registration information and more about the show can be found via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2003

Search Engine Strategies also comes to Munich from November 10-11 and Chicago from December 9-11. Agendas for these shows are not ready, but you can follow the links listed on the page below to get location and registration information or to leave your email in order to be notified when more details have been posted.

Search Engine Strategies


Reader Q&A: August 2003

Readers have recently asked:

+ How long will I keep a top listing?
+ Is there an easy way to check my rank on several search engines?
+ Are there any studies about lost opportunities due to poor site search?
+ Why doesn’t Google show all my links?
+ Do I need to resubmit pages that I’ve changed?
+ How do search engines know the language a page is written in?
+ How can I ask Google if I’ve been banned for spamming?
+ A company claims it has software built into Internet Explorer that will show my ad. Is this real or a scam?
+ Do banner links count toward Google’s PageRank scores?
+ Which search engines do NOT track or show my queries to the public?
+ How can a page rank well on Google for a term not actually used on the page?
+ Why is Lycos selling listings on other search engines?

Answers to these questions can be found via the article below:

Reader Q&A: August 2003
The Search Engine Update, Aug. 17, 2003

Search Engine Resources

Marketing Forum Watch

Want to keep up with what people are saying on search engine marketing and other promotion forums across the web? Marketing Forum Watch scans a variety of forums every five minutes, allowing you to keyword search across them for information. Don’t forget, you can also get a roundup of interesting forum threads in the Friday edition of SearchDay,


Search Engine Relationship Matrix

Free PDF-graphic showing relationships between various search engines.


metaEureka A-Toolbar

Not another toolbar! Yes, and one that’s worth your time. This one lets you get results from metaEureka, a meta search engine that hits several major web-wide search engines. Alternatively, you can also choose to search against specific search engines, as well. Beyond searching, you can use the toolbar to prescreen your email for spam, translate words into different languages, do dictionary lookups, check the time in various countries, convert currencies and much more. You can also get information about a particular URL, count links to that URL from various search engines, do a basic position check (I didn’t find this worked well) and get a keyword density report for a particular page (single words only, not phrases). Among network tools is the ability to telnet, ping, traceroute, do DNS and WHOIS lookups.


More than 1000 Idiomatic .com domains, still available for registration

OK, not really a search engine resource, but it will still be interesting to some. Here you’ll find a list of idiom-related domain names available for registration. For example, you can still register something like or


Google Calculator

Now Google can add, subtract and do a lot of other things, as well. For example, you can say “12 pounds = ? kilos” and get the metric result. Unfortunately, the many amazing units it can handle with common words are poorly documented. For example, “speed of light = ? kilometers per hour” will work — but did you realize you could just enter “speed of light?” If not, you wouldn’t have tried it. Google says currency conversion is coming. WebmasterWorld has a good thread that exposes some more of the power commands,


Yahoo Search Users Group

Want to talk about searching on Yahoo? The company has started a new mailing list for discussions.


The Music Finder

Enter some bands or music artists, and the Music Finder will suggest others you may wish to consider. The search engine has a database of over 13,000 bands and artists.



BrainBoost is designed to let you enter search terms in natural language. It then examines your sentence, rewrites it in a way that it thinks best and submits it to various different search engines (I’m told by BrainBoost that these are Google, Google News, Teoma, WiseNut, AltaVista, Yahoo and Yahoo News). When results come in, it actually downloads all the pages listed, then extracts sections that it thinks provides the answer.

How well does it work? I tried the three canned examples from the home page and compared the same search to Inktomi, Google, AllTheWeb and Teoma results by using HotBot.

First question was, “How long is the Brooklyn Bridge?” Google and Teoma showed answers right within the descriptions of some of their listings, while Inktomi’s first result had the answer when you visited the page. Only Google came through for the second example, “When was the constitution signed?” As for “Why is mars red?,” AllTheWeb had the answer in one of its listings and Google had a listing that clearly indicated it would have the answer if you clicked on it (and it did).

What about a non-canned answer, like “How can i convert vinyl records to mp3?” Here, the results from the regular search engines looked much more promising than BrainBoost.

Overall, sure — give BrainBoost a try. But be forewarned. It can be slow to process your queries. And don’t forget that you can do “natural language” searching on regular search engines, as well.



Afraid search results are dominated by big sites? Get thee over to Homepageseek, where big sites need not apply. Each listing is reviewed to ensure that only little sites get in for free. However, paid listings are also taken — and size seems not to apply here. Big sites are also allowed, though Homepageseek says limits are set to still let smaller advertisers have visibility. Results also don’t distinguish between paid and unpaid results. FYI, I also found the Add URL system and got an error message, but Homepageseek told me via email that the test URL came through OK.



Search here, and you’ll be shown thumbnails of the sites along with their listings. WebCactus has about 1.5 million sites indexed, the company tells me. Average index refresh is every 4 to 6 weeks.

SearchDay Articles

Here’s a recap of recent articles from Search Engine Watch’s daily SearchDay newsletter:

Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Aug. 15, 2003

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web: Private Google Dance … Via AdSense? – Bid War Insanity: What To Do? – Session ID Question – Keyword Research: I Need Some Direction – Spaces and Characters In URLs – Check Number of Pages Indexed by Google – AdSense Ad Quality


A Hearty Buffet of Look-Up Databases
SearchDay, Aug. 14, 2003

Need to look up an address, postal code, place name or similar information? Forget search engines — this one-stop source provides free access to lookup databases.


Fraud, Scams and Misinformation on the Web
SearchDay, Aug. 13, 2003

Although the web is rife with bogus pages and deceptive ‘information,’ it’s surprising that even content from typically reliable, authoritative sources can’t always be trusted.


Gems from the Congressional Research Service
SearchDay, Aug. 12, 2003

High quality, non-partisan research created for members of the U.S. Congress is freely available on the web — if you know where to search for it.


Are You Wanted by the Recording Industry?
SearchDay, Aug. 11, 2003

Concerned that information about your file-sharing user name may have been subpoenaed by the Recording Industry Association of America? Check this database to see if you’re a potential target.


Google Unveils News Alert Service, Related Searches In AdSense
SearchDay, August 7, 2003

Google has released a new news alerts feature and made changes to how ads appear on web sites participating in its AdSense program.


A Search Haven for Engineers
SearchDay, August 6, 2003

Despite its somewhat ominous name, EEVL is an exceptional guide to engineering, mathematics and computing resources on the web.


Want to receive SearchDay? Sign-up for the free daily newsletter from Search Engine Watch via the link below:


Search Engine Articles

CounterGoogling, Sept. 2003

What’s CounterGoogling? A bad name for the idea that businesses might research what individual customers want by using Google. It’s just businesses “Googling” customers, rather than customers I suppose “Googling” businesses. Apparently, one hotel has actually done this to anticipate what their first-time customers may want.


Actions Speak Louder in SEM
ClickZ, Aug. 15, 2003

Trying to evaluate the success of your search engine marketing campaign? Here’s a list of tools that provide tracking support.


Search Engines Find Traffic for Shoe Retailer, Aug. 15, 2003

Philadelphia footwear retailer Sherman Brothers has gained new visitors and sales through search engine marketing — though it’s also spending more now to gain that traffic.


Tips on Choosing Keywords For Your Website, Aug. 14, 2003

Some brief but useful warnings to keep in mind when using the Overture search term suggestion tool or WordTracker KEI scores.


Will Yahoo Hold On To AltaVista?
IDG News Service, Aug. 14, 2003,aid,112016,00.asp

Yahoo says that the AltaVista brand and web site may survive once it completes its acquisition of Overture (which owns AltaVista).


24/7 Real Media Re-brands Search Unit, Aug. 13, 2003

Back in August 2000, 24/7 purchased search engine optimization company Website Results, which later became infamous in a Salon article that examined dubious business practices before the company was sold ( Now Website Results gets a new name: 24/7 Search.


Overture Licenses Contextual Ad Technology, Aug. 13, 2003

Overture signs a new deal with Quigo to make use of that company’s technology to power even more contextual ads.


EBay goes after Google advertisers, Aug. 13, 2003

eBay has used Google’s trademark policy for paid listings to prevent advertisers from explicitly using the word “ebay” in their campaigns. So, if you’re selling a book about selling on eBay, you can no longer big a on a term like “selling on ebay” at Google. The move by eBay is ironic given that the company commonly runs ads at Google and elsewhere using terms that are also trademarks of other companies. Try a search for “barbies” at Google, and an ad from eBay is prominent. In addition, it’s entirely unclear that its illegal or wrong from people to use terms that are also trademarks in their ads. Playboy challenged a case involving banner ads at Netscape and Excite linked to the word “playboy” but did not win in preventing these ads. For more, see some of the articles listed in the Advertising & Listings section of my Search Engines & Legal Issues page:


T-Online drops Overture for Google, Aug. 12, 2003

Major European ISP T-Online has dropped Overture in favor of Google, since Overture is to be purchased by T-Online competitor Yahoo.


Google Grabs Enterprise Customers, Aug. 12, 2003

Google picks up several new companies for its enterprise search product.


Searching for the personal touch, Aug. 12, 2003

I mentioned Kaltix briefly in a previous newsletter, a search start-up out of Stanford University (which gave birth to Yahoo and Google). There still remains little about the company, other than it plans to provide personalized and context-sensitive search.


Overture plans Australian unit, Aug. 11, 2003

Overture is heading Down Under by the end of the year.


Yahoo Stalked Overture for Over a Year
AP, Aug. 11, 2003,3959,1216504,00.asp

Yahoo’s been after overture since the middle of last year and put in a formal bid for the company last November, only to have that fail when Overture called off negotiations. Overture then went to buy AltaVista and AllTheWeb, moves that hurt its stock and brought it back to talking with Yahoo.


IBM Takes Search to New Heights
eWeek, Aug. 11, 2003,3959,1213676,00.asp

IBM’s researching new search technology that it hopes will make a mark in various products. The article is long on optimism and short on specifics.


New Ask Jeeves Campaign Sidelines Butler, Aug. 11, 2003

Ask Jeeves has begin its new print campaign to reawaken users to its site as a search resource — and the famous butler is sitting this campaign out.


Overture: A Conflict of Interest?
ClickZ, Aug. 8, 2003

Overture’s soon to roll out new ROI measuring tools that lets people measure across any ad platform, including its own. But Kevin Lee wonders if marketers will trust a tool that’s owned by one of the major ad networks they are buying.


Google Backtracks on AdSense Changes, Aug. 8, 2003

Google quickly drops related searches functionality from AdSense ads after content owners raise concerns.


eBay Bans Google Keywords
AuctionBytes, Aug. 7, 2003

To my knowledge, this was the breaking story on the eBay request for Google to ban the use of its name as a term that ads can be linked to. Has a few more good details, such as apparently an attempt to ban bids on “auction web sites” and “bay,” plus the fact that trademark terms can be linked to ads in eBay’s own paid listings program.


What is coinmobile.shtml? Web Search Guide, Aug. 2003

Overture and Wordtracker report that coinmobile.shtml is an extremely popular search term — but Jennifer Laycock disbelieves this, and with good reason.


24/7 Real Media Wields Patent Cudgel, July 1, 2003

Overture has a lawsuit going against Google and FindWhat, saying they violate its patents on paid listings. Now 24/7 says it has a patent that covers paid listings companies and that it intends to gain licensing deals or perhaps take its case to court.

About The Search Engine Update

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