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Search Engine Marketing and Optimization Industry News

On this page you will find news and information related to the field of search engine and keyword marketing as well as updates on the Keyword Marketing Superstar website.

Get Ready For the Google IPO!

April 29, 2004

Google, arguably the most well known and widely used search engine on the Internet announced plans to offer a public stock offering. While the date of the offering is not yet set, the hype and anticipation is building.

In an interesting twist to the traditional IPO, where most stock is sucked up by large institutional investors right out of the gate, Google plans an auction that may make it possible for the average Joe to get in on the action.

Due to the existence of 2 different classes of Google shares, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will retain a tremendous amount of control over the company. Due to the traditional pressures applied to public companies to meet short term earnings estimates and the expense of longer term health and employee well-being, this may turn out to be a tremendous advantage and keep the company out of the ethics gutter that many public companies fall into.

Most important of all, they will have the ability to maintain editorial integrity over shier search results, maintaining a separation between paid advertising and editorial content, unlike Yahoo! which sells out its search results and charges advertisers to be included in its editorial listings if they want to guarantee inclusion in the search results. To the credit of Yahoo!, they claim that payment does not influence placement within the results. However, considering Yahoo! only gets paid when people click on the listings, do you really think payment does not influence the search results?

AskJeeves Buys Interactive Search Holdings including iWon.com, Excite and MyWay for 343M in stock

March 4, 2004

As the battle for search properties, technology and advertising revenue heats up, struggling search pioneer AskJeeves sought to increase marketshare and ad distribution with the acquisition. The addition of six new properties roughly doubled Jeeves market share and provides the opportunity to gain a wider audience for what may be the best search engine technology and most relevant results associated with Jeeves core search engine, Teoma.com.

With the recent YAHOO! acquisitions of Overture, AltaVista, FAST & Inktomi, the anticipated launch of a new search engine from MSN, and Google's dominant presence this give Jeeves more of a leg to stand on. Could they be aiming to become an attractive acquisition target for MSN or AOL? Only time will tell.


AskJeeves discontinues paid inclusion Index Connect feed programs

March 2, 2004

Controversy is nothing new when it comes to paying for inclusion in what are assumed by most people to be editorial search results. Despite claiming that accepting data feeds from advertisers did not adversely affect the relevancy of search results as Search Engine Strategies conferences, AskJeeves decided to drop the Trusted Feed style paid inclusion programs previously offered to large advertisers.

According to Jim Lanzone, VP of product management bulk inclusion of search listings via a data feed proved detrimental to the relevancy of search result for Jeeves and Teoma users. This may or may not have been the case, however, given the timing of the announcement it appears to be more of an attempt to help Jeeves distinguish itself from Yahoo! which just launched the new SiteMatch™ and SiteMatchExchange™ paid inclusion programs designed to help advertisers ensure pages from their website are included in the search results.


YAHOO! announces new paid inclusion programs SiteMatch™ and SiteMatch Exchange™

March 2, 2004

Following its acquisition of search properties Overture, Inktomi, AltaVista & FAST it was apparent that search portal Yahoo! had some rather large changes in mind. Soon after severing ties with Google, YAHOO! launched a new database and consolidated all paid inclusion programs from AltaVista, FAST & Inktomi into the SiteMatch™ program. Unlike previous paid inclusion programs offered by web properties now under the Yahoo! umbrella, the new SiteMatch™ program will hit advertisers hard who choose to participate. The new program requires a per URL annual review fee of between $10.00 and $49.00 and additional click fees of either $0.15 or $.30 depending on the keyword market.

While the Yahoo! PR folks spin the new inclusion program as beneficial to the end user, its pretty clear that it is first and foremost a plan designed to increase revenue for Yahoo! in the red-hot search sector.

Tim Mayer of Yahoo! has repeatedly stated that Yahoo! will be aggressively crawling the web and including most web pages for free. If you want to guarantee 1 or more pages of your website will be included in the Yahoo! search results, head on over to Priority Submit (an authorized reseller of the service) and submit your page(s) to Yahoo! SiteMatch™ today.


YAHOO! drops Google, launches new search database

February 20, 2004

As the search engine wars heat up, changes abound. The latest move by Search portal Yahoo! was to drop the Google database as the source of "organic" search results on Yahoo.com and replace the listings with its own new search technology. Rumor has it that there will be a new paid inclusion program that advertisers can use to be included in the Yahoo! search results. Will it be pay per click, paid inclusion or both? Only time will tell but with Yahoo! looking to cash in on search nothing is out of the question.

MSN Drops LookSmart, plans to launch its own search database in 2004

December 15, 2004

In the quest to improve the MSN search experience, MSN has "officially" announce that LookSmart search listings will no longer appear in the "web directory" section of its search results. LookSmart offers paid inclusion programs to large and small advertisers that MSN syndicates. Relevancy of these listings once syndicated on MSN has led to questionable relevancy. Over the years as more and more advertisers have joined the LookSmart program, it has become common to see 3 or more similar links to the same site on the first page of MSN search results. Once LookSmart listings are gone, Inktomi listings will provide all editorial listings on MSN. Many of those are from advertisers who have paid to be in the search listings as well. Ultimately, MSN plans to launch its own search engine. It appears that MSN has been crawling the web but as of now there is no sign of any new MSN search experience.

Google Unveils AdWords PowerPosting

If you've ever used Google AdWords you know the ROI can be tremendous. Bids start at $.05 and prices tend to be lower than Overture. Creating campaigns on AdWords, however, can take forever. Now that Google sponsorships are being phased out, the pay per click AdWords program will be the only game in town.

In an effort to simplify the process of setting up campaigns on AdWords, Google quietly unveiled the PowerPosting feature. Its not a huge step forward but it can cut down on the time needed to setup an AdWords campaign.


Overture Signs 3-Year Deal With Gator...UGH!

April 5, 2003

In what may be considered a desperation move ("Strategic" would probably be the term used by the PR folks), pay per click search engine provider Overture Services, Inc. signed a deal to syndicate its search listings on Gator "contextual" popups. Gator is a software application that is installed on surfers computers when another application such as the eWallet (which helps to remember passwords) is downloaded and installed.

The Gator application tracks your online behavior and monitors your surfing habits. It then serves you unwanted (Gator calls you a "permission-based" consumer if you've downloaded their software) "contextual" popups as you surf the web. Search Scout, the new Gator application now serves pop-unders based on keyword searches to its user base when they perform searches on search engines like Google.

As you might expect, Gator has been the subject of numerous lawsuits due to the objections of publishers who see the Gator application as hijacking their ad space and "stealing" ad inventory. If you suddenly see listings for your company on popups around the web and have an account with Overture, chances are you're being "Gatored".

Scumware applications degrade the value of the web. The return on investment from the use of such applications can sometimes be very good, but at what cost? Do you want your brand affiliated with this type of advertising? It's definitely something to think about before you open an Overture account, consider advertising directly with Gator, or let some agency consultant sell you on Gator.

SingingFish Announces First Multimedia Search Engine Paid Inclusion Program

March 31, 2003

SingingFish, a specialist and pioneer in the area of multimedia file search announced the first paid inclusion program of its kind. SingingFish teamed up with MarketLeap to offer the service. SingingFish includes both multimedia files or steaming downloads and an associated "traditional" landing page. The paid inclusion program can include various types of content including Music, Sports, Live Concerts, Movies, News, TV and radio broadcasts, as well as Web-cam footage. Visit the SingingFish paid inclusion page for more information.

Google Announces New Expired Domain Spam Filter

March 7, 2003

Google has announced plans to unleash a filter to help eliminate the value of buying up domains with high PageRank™ scores. Ever since Google has provided a tool (the Google Toolbar) to show the PageRank™ and declared the importance of PageRank™ in determining search engine rankings, web marketers have sought ways to manipulate it to their advantage.

According to posts from the infamous "Google Guy" in a WebmasterWorld thread titled Google thread on expired domains, when a domain expires it loses credit for all existing incoming links. If it works, we may see significant changes in the March update and a dramatic decrease in the demand for recently expired domains.

Search Engine Strategies Boston is a Huge Success

March 6, 2003

Danny Sullivan's search engine strategies conference recently held in Boston and the Park Plaza hotel and conference center was once again an overwhelming success. While no official numbers have been seen, attendance was estimated to have been about 1400.

As has become tradition at Search Engine Strategies, many of the top experts in the industry were in attendance and gave presentations on the future of the industry, how its evolving, and the growing importance of conversion rates, not just search engine rankings or generating traffic.

Notable presentations included:

Brett Tabke of WebmasterWorld on "Budget and Overlooked Search Engine Marketing Techniques"

Brett, a self described search engine addict who has been trying to kick the search engine habit for quite some time, discussed techniques that have helped him generate millions of search engine referrals and page views for clients and the WebmasterWorld network of sites without ever using pay per click, pay for inclusion or otherwise spending one cent on any kind of paid program offered by any search engine. Jaws dropped and eyes opened wide during this presentation.

In case you missed his presentation it has been posted online. Be sure to view the "What If There Were No Search Engines?" Presentation at WebmasterWorld.

Other presenters in the track included:

Adam Jewell - Search Engine Marketing Specialist at NetPlus Marketing

Jessie Stricchiola - Founder of Alchemist Media

Ann Kennedy - Managing Partner of Beyond Ink

Bryan Eisenberg - Chief Information Officer at Future Now

Bryan has become one of the most highly regarded speakers at search engine strategies. Future Now focuses exclusively on conversion rate marketing. In his presentation, Bryan presents a road map to identifying conversion events within a website and making simple changes to increase the percentage of visitors that complete those conversion events. The industry is constantly evolving and Bryan is one leading the evolution.

Carolyn Griffin - Director of Search Engine Marketing at Carat Interactive

If you are like most in the search engine marketing industry, you've probably never heard of Carat Interactive. It turns out Carat is the fifth largest media services company in the world with over 15 billion in billings in the 2001. Carat is relatively new to the North American market and presumably new to the search engine marketing arena. The most visible players tend to be interactive agencies and search engine marketing specialist firms no more than ten years old.

The presence of Global media agencies like Carat at Search Engine Strategies conferences may be a signal that search engine marketing is set to go mainstream, be taken more seriously, and receive a larger percentage of online marketing dollars traditionally allocated to banner and rich media advertising that is beginning to test the patience of web surfers. (Beware of the intrusive advertising on that page and the full screen ad that will take over your screen a few seconds after you start to read that article!) :-)

Fredrick Marckini - CEO of iProspect

Fredrick's firm, iProspect, was one of the first entrants into the search engine optimization arena. Fredrick spoke on the future of search engine marketing along with a panel of other highly respected industry veterans.

iProspect recently announced a partnership with Future Now so presumably the Future of search engine marketing is about generating sales, leads and generating conversions as opposed to simply increasing search engine rankings and generating traffic.

Google Launches "Content Targeted Advertising"

February 27, 2003

Google announced the launch of yet another new product on Wednesday, February 27, 2003. Building on the stunning success of Google's brilliant and wildly popular AdWords program, the new Content Targeted Advertising extends the reach of AdWords placements beyond Google's current search partners, AOL web properties, Ask Jeeves, and Earthlink. Clicks are free for advertisers through the beginning of March and may come from syndication of AdWords placements on on content sites such as HowStuffWorks, Blogger, Weather Underground and others.

This move has the potential to put Google in competition with DoubleClick and other ad networks. Looks like Overture faces an uphill battle and the banner networks may soon be feeling the heat. Go Google!

Overture Buys Fast (www.alltheweb.com)

February 25, 2003

Overture Services, Inc. announced plans to acquire the commercial search engine assets of FAST Search and Transfer. FAST (alltheweb.com) is an engine based in Norway that offers free inclusion, pay for inclusion, and large scale Trusted Feed bulk pay per click programs for websites with more than 250 page to include in the index.

Over the past year, Overture has face intense competition from arch rival Google in the pay per click advertising syndication market. With the acquisition of AltaVista a few days ago, and now FAST, it appears that Overture is either trying to develop a complete search solution similar to that offered by Google or develop their own portal to compete head to head with MSN, YAHOO!, Google, and AOL. Good luck Overture!

Overture Buys Search Pioneer AltaVista

February 19, 2003

Overture Services, Inc. announced a deal in which it would acquire search pioneer AltaVista from CMGI for a total of 140 million in cash and stock. AltaVista was once king of the search engine landscape; one of the most popular search destinations on the web. Possibly due to its tendency to change business models constantly and lose focus on a regular basis, AltaVista is a shadow of its former self. AltaVista is not a significant source of traffic to most websites and offers the most overpriced pay for inclusion program on the web today.

Overture reportedly plans to use AltaVista as a testing ground for new advertising programs. Just what we need, more search results skewed in favor of the advertisers with the largest pockets. Keep an eye on this new combination but don't expect much to happen - for now anyway.


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