The Search Engine Update – Number 152

In This Issue

+ Search Engine Watch News
+ SES San Jose Agenda Now Available
+ Microsoft’s MSN Search To Build Crawler-Based Search Engine
+ Overture’s Content Match Takes On Google’s Contextual Ads
+ Google AdSense Expands Contextual Ad Placement Program To Small Sites
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ About The Search Engine Update

Search Engine Watch News

Hello Everyone–

No major site changes or news to report this month. Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian readers! And an early Happy 4th Of July to my fellow Americans!


SES San Jose Agenda Now Available!

The first four-day Search Engine Strategies show comes to San Jose from August 18-21, and you can now review the full agenda online.

Be sure to check out the Session Itineraries page, for guidance as to what to attend if you are new to search engine marketing, advanced, interested in “organic” listings or instead paid advertising.

Itineraries, daily agendas, registration information and more about the popular show that I organize on search engine marketing tactics and issues 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


Microsoft’s MSN Search To Build Crawler-Based Search Engine

In April, news emerged that Microsoft intended to make a huge new investment in web search. Now signs of that investment are appearing. Microsoft’s MSN Search site posted a large list of jobs in May, then drew much attention last month when official information about its own search spider “MSNBOT” was posted to the public. So what’s the future for MSN Search? The details are still being determined, the service says. However, building its own crawler-based solution to gather editorial listings is seen as a key element needed to win in the search sweepstakes against Yahoo and Google. More about the company’s plans can be found in the article below.

Microsoft’s MSN Search To Build Crawler-Based Search Engine
The Search Engine Update, July 1, 2003


Overture’s Content Match Takes On Google’s Contextual Ads

Overture finally unveiled its contextual ads program, called Content Match, officially this week. The program places Overture’s paid listings on web pages, rather than within search results. More details from me can be found in the SearchDay article listed below. Note that even though it’s dated tomorrow, you can read it today!

Overture’s Content Match Takes On Google’s Contextual Ads
SearchDay, July 2, 2003


Google AdSense Expands Contextual Ad Placement Program To Small Sites

Google has expanded its contextual ads program to allow many more content sites to carry its paid listings. The new Google AdSense program allows site owners to sign-up for the program in a self-serve manner, similar to becoming an Amazon affiliate. More details from me can be found in the SearchDay article listed below.

Google AdSense Expands Contextual Ad Placement Program To Small Sites
SearchDay, June 18, 2003

Search Engine Resources

LookSmart LookListings

Today, LookSmart is supposed to unveil a revamped LookListings program which allows any site to purchase multiple listings. In the past, this was only available to large businesses that agreed to spend at least $2,500 per month on cost-per-click fees. I expect to come back and look more at this change in the near future.


Wondir Concentrated Beta Test: July 1

Wondir is having a “concentrated beta test” tonight — July 1 — from 9 to 10PM Eastern Time. The idea of these tests in the past is to have enough people gather so that the potential of Wondir, which offers real-time answers, can be shown. For more about the Wondir project, see Chris Sherman’s past SearchDay article,



New directory that lets you locate web sites geographically in the United States. Let’s say you want to buy a suitcase and wonder if there’s a business that sells them in Newport Beach, California. First, you enter the US state: California, into the OffRamp.US home page. Next, you enter a US ZIP code or a city: in this case, Newport Beach. Next, you can browse through businesses alphabetically by business category, such as Luggage Shops. As a result, you get a list of web sites to businesses in Newport Beach that should be luggage shops.

Unfortunately, of the 11 sites I received for this query, only 2 were actually in Newport Beach or immediately adjacent to it ( The other results were quite some distance away. This is because the site considers anything within a 50 mile radius of a ZIP code to be local. This can be adjusted manually from 10 to 100 miles.

Another problem is the lack of keyword searching. It’s impossible to enter something like, “suitcase shops in newport beach, california.” Instead, “drilling down” is the only option, and should you not know that “Luggage Shops” is the category for places that sell suitcases, you’re out of luck. Nothing in the S category will guide you to the right place. OffRamp.US tells me a keyword search solution should be coming in about 3 weeks.

The site currently has 800,000 listings, which have come in from site owners over the past six weeks. If you aren’t listed, use the form at OffRamp.US to add your site. If you are applicable to multiple locations, it’s OK to submit for each locality. If you don’t find the right category, feel free to suggest one, the company says. Categories without any listings are not displayed, so it may be that the perfect category for your site already exists — you just can’t see it. (Permalink to this item)



New PHP-based web shopping cart system written with search engine optimization in mind.


Technorati Anywhere

I love Technorati, because it lets me plug in the URL of any web page and quickly see what bloggers are saying about it — the blog “Link Cosmos.” If you like the feature, then consider using the Technorati Anywhere. Visit the Technorati site, then look for the Technorati Anywhere link near the top left-hand corner of the home page. Right click on it to add to your Favorites or Bookmarks. Now when you are at a particular web page, select Technorati Anywhere from your Favorites/Bookmarks list. A new window will pop up showing you the “Link Cosmos” for that page. Don’t like pop-up windows (even when you trigger them) or using a pop-up blocker? Then use the non pop-up version that’s offered.



myGeek is a paid placement service that puts your paid listings on a currently small network of sites. If you’ve already gone through some of the second-tier PPC search engines listed toward the bottom of and want more, then this might be worth a look. A “private label” service has also now been unveiled to the public ( This lets you add PPC ads within search results on your own site. So, want to be the next Overture? Here’s a solution that might set you on your way.



The idea behind the new Morgle is that if you know a company’s telephone number, you can enter it and be directed to the web site. However, listings are very few and based on self-reported information. Chances are, you’ll have more luck entering the company’s name into Google or another mainstream web search engine.



I mentioned Feedster back in April, as part of my RSS: Your Gateway To News & Blog Content article ( At the time, I also mentioned another newly-started RSS search engine, rssSearch. Now the two have merged (, with the Feedster name remaining.

As before, Feedster lets you search against content distributed in the popular RSS format. That means it’s essentially a blog search engine for many people, since so many blog entries are distributed via RSS. However, some non-blog newsfeeds are also included, and Feedster plans to increase these in the coming months.

New since I last wrote about Feedster is an Images tab. Added several weeks ago, this gathers together images from blog posts on the current day, to try and present a visual look at that day’s blogging world. “It’s a nice indicator of trends. For example, in the days leading up to the Matrix, all the blog images were matrix related,” says Feedster creator Scott Johnson.

Also new is the ability to sort results by BlogRank. BlogRank? “BlogRank is a calculation that says, ‘if a blog is linked to part of a blogroll then its important.’ The more blogs incorporate a blog into a blogroll, theoretically the more important the blog is. So Doc Searls and [Dave Winer’s” rank very highly. The only issue here is that bloggers often don’t update their blogroll regularly, so how accurate it is, is unclear,” Johnson said.

Feedster says it gets BlogRank data from BlogStreet (, another excellent site worth a look by those looking to navigate what’s going on in the blogging world.


Blogging Headline News

This news site samples 12,000 RSS feeds, selecting about 5,000 posts three-times a day to feature in about 130 different categories. It’s designed to be an “online blogging magazine.” You can also keyword search for material.


Looking for a computer file? Recently relaunched lists over 300 million files located on FTP servers across the web.


Search Engine Lobby Group

This new organization is intended to lobby search engines for transparency about their practices and procedures. It’s especially aimed at helping small and medium-sized businesses who may have felt cost-per-click advertising has become too pricy, leaving them dependent on organic listings that can be fickle.

The new group sparked quite a discussion on WebmasterWorld about whether the group was merely an attempt to help the main firm backing it, which is known for aggressive search engine tactics, or whether it indeed may be a way to rectify real concerns some have.

Sadly, that thread ( appears to have been pulled. However, another thread with debate can be found at the ihelpyou forums (

New Media Age also has a short article ( with comments from the group’s founder on the organization’s goals and some anonymous criticism from others, at the end.


Secrets 2 Moteurs

Search engine news for the French audience.

SearchDay Articles

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

Search Engine Milestones for June 2003
SearchDay, July 1, 2003

Notable news and announcements from the web search world during June 2003.


Google Releases Updated Search Toolbar
SearchDay, June 30, 2003

Google has released an updated version of its popular toolbar, offering several new useful functions unrelated to search.


A Gaggle of Search Engine Toolbars
SearchDay, June 26, 2003

Wrapping up search engine toolbar week, here’s are brief looks at toolbars offered by smaller firms not associated with the larger search engines.


Dogpile’s Toolbar Fetches More than Search Engine Results
SearchDay, June 25, 2003

The Dogpile toolbar consolidates a variety of useful web and specialized searches into a single, easy to use interface.


HotBot’s Swiss Army Knife Deskbar
SearchDay, June 24, 2003

HotBot has released its Quick-Search Deskbar, which not only provides instant access to the search engine, but is jam-packed with other useful tools and goodies as well.


Search Engine Toolbar Week!
SearchDay, June 23, 2003

This week, both InfoSpace and Lycos are introducing search toolbars, making it easier than ever to locate information both on the web and residing on your own computer.


Speed Up Your Searching with HydraLinks
SearchDay, June 19, 2003

HydraLinks is a simple utility that lets you manipulate and save search results to a customizable list, speeding up your searching and letting you easily share results with others.


Who Cares About Information Quality?
SearchDay, June 17, 2003

Who cares about reliable, up-to-date information? For best results, you should ask yourself this very important question before beginning your search.


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


Search Engine Articles

Is Google God?
New York Times, June 30, 2003

Could we now make it a requirement that anyone planning to write about Google must use at least one other search engine? Perhaps then we’ll see some perspective. This opinion piece hits a new Google high — Google as God.

If Google is God, then someone should explain to columnist Thomas Friedman that the search engine universe, like ancient Greece and Rome, has several of them. Other search engines have the incredible power to show you what people are searching for worldwide, just like Google (see What People Search For,

Google’s most God-like power is based on a quote in the column from a new wi-fi company’s VP, who says, “If I can operate Google, I can find anything….which is why I say that Google, combined with wi-fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything.”

Sorry to say, but Google and other search engines don’t find everything. They are imperfect gods. I love them, and we all certainly depend on them more than ever before. But, I still depend on my telephone, friends, magazines, libraries, email, books and other forms of information to locate what I want, as well.


Information Foraging: Why Google Makes People Leave Your Site Faster
Alertbox, June 30, 2003

This has little to do with Google specifically, but I’m sure putting Google in the headline will grab some readers. The overall point is valid. Search engines (not just Google) make it easy to locate good sites. If a user can’t find what they want easily at your site, by following the information scent, they’ll move on. Good, basic tips to follow. And also be sure to read my past article, Avoiding The Search Gap,, which is on the same topic.


SEO: Search Engine Optimists?
ClickZ, June 27, 2003

Search engine marketing is hot, but success shouldn’t be measured by traffic. Instead, look at conversions — and understand that a conversion doesn’t necessarily have to equal a sale.


Is SEM Becoming Unaffordable?
ClickZ, June 27, 2003

The price of paid listings is rising, but following the right tactics can ensure you’re getting the most out of your spend.


Surfers impatient with search engines
BBC, June 27, 2003

Web searchers generally only visit the first three web sites listed in search results, and one out of five visits will last for a minute or less. Those are the findings from a Penn State analysis of 450,000 queries run on in a 24 hour period. More than half of all searchers will visit only one site in the top results and more than 80 percent will stop after visiting three. Only 19 percent will go to the second page of results and fewer than 10 percent go to the third page. The Penn State press release also has a few more stats,

Takeaway? Getting in the first page of results is crucial, as any good search engine marketer knows. But it’s also important that you make a good impression, lest your visitor decide to move on to someone else. Again, see my Search Gap article,, for more about this.


Google Toolbar ‘BlogThis’ Rankles Rivals, June 27, 2003

As I’ve written in the past (, Google seems to have purchased Blogger almost accidentally. The company apparently needed funds, and Google felt it would figure out something to do with the technology or the people. But it was an incredibly dumb business move in that it immediately set Google up as a rival to other popular blogging tool providers, such as Radio UserLand and Moveable Type.

Whether Google actually wants to compete with these other tools is beside the point. The fact is that every action Google now makes in the blogging world will come up for intense review by an extremely vocal audience.

Case in point — the latest version of the Google Toolbar makes it easy to blog a page you are visiting. The functionality only works with Google’s service, and free accounts are suggested, if you don’t have an account. Those from competing blogging tools aren’t pleased that the toolbar doesn’t interact with their services.


FindWhat Pursues Scammer, June 27, 2003

Like others, I got one of the spam mails last month offering access to a database of FindWhat advertiser email addresses. Unfortunately for FindWhat, the suggestion is that they sold the data. In reality, FindWhat says the company offering the “database” simply crawled FindWhat’s listings, then did WHOIS lookups to find email addresses. There was no cooperation on FindWhat’s part.

FindWhat has further told me that advertisers should not have been billed for any clicks generated as part of the email harvesting effort, that they believe no information has been sold and that they are taking “aggressive” legal action against the company.

That company also seems to seems to have borrowed content from the site ( is not connected with the database sale and tells me the other site has taken its content without permission.


Use IRTA to Measure Search Engine Marketing Success
Marketleap, June 26, 2003

How do you know if you are successful with search engines? I’m listed! So what, do you actually rank well for anything? Yes! So what, does anyone actually search for those terms? Yes! So what — are you making sales? Ultimately, it’s this last part that’s most important. IRTA summarizes these four aspects succinctly and is well worth understanding, to ensure you are focused correctly with your efforts.


Small Businesses Embrace Search Engine Marketing, June 25, 2003

A survey finds that search engine marketing is being used by 17 percent of small businesses. That puts it seventh behind other advertising options such as radio, magazines, direct mail, newspapers, running a web site and the top choice, Yellow Pages ads. However, the take up is seen as significant and perhaps eventually posing a challenge to Yellow Pages advertising.


How Marketers Are Measuring SEM Efforts
eMarketer, June 25, 2003

How are people tracking the success of search engine marketing campaigns? Most, 41 percent, say they track clickthrough or “general activity,” which I presume would be log analysis of site traffic and perhaps even rank checking. Then 31 percent say they do no measuring at all, followed by 16 percent that measure conversions and 11 percent who measure ROI.

Another stat shows that 35 percent are currently evaluating search engine marketing as part of their overall marketing mix (it’s unclear whether this is paid listings, organic listings or both). Then 23 percent say SEM is a significant part of their mix, while the same amount say they don’t do it at all. Finally, 18 percent say SEM is a small part of the mix. Stats are from a survey done by WebTrends and iProspect, across 800 marketers that participated in a web conference.


A Supercharged Search Engine for Lawyers
BusinessWeek, June 25, 2003

Electronic files offer potentially wonderful information to litigants in a case. But sorting through the information can be a nightmare. New technologies offer to sort through the mess.


The Google backlash
Salon, June 25, 2003

Is Google’s popularity causing a backlash against it? When Salon writer Farhad Manjoo asked me, my response was immediate. Absolutely. Google is no longer some tiny, start-up company. It’s a search behemoth, and behemoths of any type make some people nervous.

As always, there are some serious concerns about Google, as explained in this article. And as always, many of these are applicable to other search engines, as well. Google, by the way, continues to deny that it is downweighting blog links. But as my Coping With GDS, The Google Dance Syndrome article ( from last month explains. Google does say it may consider various factors on how to credit links of any type, blog or not. Also, Google does not name its updates, as stated in the article. Updates have been named by the community.


eBay Starts Keyword Advertising, June 24, 2003

Want a higher profile on eBay? Now you can purchase banner ads on a cost-per-click basis. You cannot link these to content outside of eBay, however.


CMU trio develops Internet search tool that sorts results in helpful clusters
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 23, 2003

Vivisimo isn’t a new tool, as this article states — but nonetheless, it’s a great site for anyone to try. Profile of the technology and people behind the company and web site that Search Engine Watch named “Best Meta Search Engine” earlier this year.


Google, MapQuest in Keyword-Ad Deal, June 23, 2003

Google’s AdWords paid listings will now be appearing on AOL Time Warner-owned MapQuest pages.


Overture: A Tricky Next Movement
BusinessWeek, June 23, 2003

Overture isn’t expecting the record earnings it had in the past, as the company spends to build out an editorial product to better compete with Google. Many analysts think the company will succeed in the transition it needs to make and maintain partnerships with Yahoo and MSN. Interesting stat that paid listings now make up 33 percent of $6.6 billion in online ad spending. Also note that Overture is on the BusinessWeek “Info Tech 100” list. Overture’s more an ad company than a tech company, and so is Google, in many ways. Technology is vital to what both companies do, but the products they have are much more related to media and advertising than technology.


Market Your Website Around Your Budget
Web Host Directory, June 20, 2003

Is paying $15 per click too much? Not necessarily, if you know your cost per acquisition.


The Power of Copy
ClickZ, June 20, 2003

The copy on your pages isn’t just helpful for organic search engine optimization. It can pay off on the paid listing side, as well.


Does Google’s AdSense Make Sense
ClickZ, June 20, 2003

Google’s AdSense program promises to help small publishers make money off their web sites. But poor targeting may not mean this is a great thing for advertisers.


Schoolfriends make dotcom fortune
Evening Standard, June 20, 2003

Sebastian Bishop and Daniel Ishag started Espotting in their living room and now have sold it for $160 million to FindWhat. A bit more about the pair.


FindWhat Acquires Espotting, June 18, 2003

US-based paid listings provider FindWhat and Europe-based paid listings provider Espotting have agreed to merge. It’s a big deal for both companies but probably means little to the typical advertiser.

If you were targeting the US via FindWhat, the merger doesn’t mean that you’ll suddenly have your ad running in Europe — nor might you want that to happen. Similarly, those who have used Espotting in Europe won’t magically appear in the US.

Overall, you’ll probably still have to pick and choose the countries you want to target. With Google, you can do this via a single account. With Overture, that doesn’t happen. It will be interesting to see if the combined FindWhat/Espotting will take a more Google-like approach to this issue.


Google and Googlebot Information, June 18, 2003

Nice summary of details about Google’s spiders and how they include pages.


EBay vs. Google: They compete more than we know
CBS MarketWatch, June 17, 2003{983DBE9C-4D4A-4789-9591-8F9BF4658751}&siteid=mktw

If you have products to sell, eBay or search engines such as Google are natural places to consider. Both have huge audiences that are explicitly saying they want your product.

Interestingly, I’ve found people tend to do either one or the other. For example, my neighbor is our local eBay guru, purchasing all types of products at garage sales (OK, he calls them car boot sales), then makes a bundle getting a good price on eBay.

I love talking with him, because I learn all sorts of things about “eBay optimization.” But does he know anything about search engines? Nope — and yet this could be another venue for him. This great article explores how there are these two different venues, the eBay marketplace and search engines — though only Google gets named among the other important search engine choices.

Is eBay Google’s competitor for advertisers? In a way, sure. But eBay lends itself especially to people like my neighbor, who don’t want to operate web sites. In contrast, to succeed with Google and search engines in general, you’ll need a more concrete location in cyberspace.


Search Players Agree on Industry Challenges, June 17, 2003

Disclosure of paid inclusion comes up as an issue during a panel with search engine executives at last month’s Ad:Tech conference. Google criticizes the practice while those on the panel offering paid inclusion provided a defense. Other issues such as locally targeting paid listings and building brand identity were also discussed.


DealTime Lowers Minimum Bid, June 16, 2003

Shopping search engine DealTime has lowered its bid prices to bring in more advertisers.


Landing Paths – Reinventing Landing Pages, June 2003

With organic search engine optimization, you can’t control which page a search engine will choose to list tops for a particular term. Should you get luck, and your “preferred” page get a top ranking, then you may be hesitant to make changes out of fear of losing your ranking. But with paid listings, you get everything — a guaranteed top ranking plus the ability to show a custom “landing page” targeted for that particular audience. Ammon Johns talks through landing page strategies.


ClickTracks Review
About Web Search Guide, June 2003

Short review of the ClickTracks log analysis tool, which got a high rating from About Web Search Guide Jennifer Laycock. I think it’s a great tool, as well.


How to boost your AdSense revenue, June 2003

Do you operate an affiliate site? Then here’s a great article written just for you, on how to make use of Google’s new AdSense program.

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