Updates to Search Engine Marketing, Inc.

 

 
Books are great, but a book on a fast-moving topic such as search marketing needs to be constantly updated. We’ve completely updated our book in its second edition, but if your book has the cover shown here, you’ve still got the first edition. We wrote Search Engine Marketing, Inc. to emphasize a tried-and-true methodology that won’t change, but there are always tips and techniques that will need to be tweaked as time goes on. This page helps you keep up with the updates of the book’s first edition at each printing.

This page is organized by chapter—any part of a chapter where we want to add or change something is listed, so you may see the same change flagged more than once because the original information appeared in two different chapters. One change that has reverberated through the book is Ask Jeeves renaming itself Ask.com.

 
 
 

Chapter 1: Why Search Marketing is Important…and Difficult

In just about each printing, we need to update the market share numbers in Figure 1-4. An April 2006 study by comScore MediaMetrix showed Google leading with 43.1% of all searches, Yahoo! second with 28.0%, MSN next with 12.9%, followed by AOL (6.9%) and Ask.com (5.8%) with 3.3% split among others. (Updated in sixth printing)

MSN Search has dropped Yahoo! Precision Match as its paid search engine in the U.S. and several other countries, expecting to use its own Microsoft adCenter in all countries as soon as possible. (Updated in sixth printing)

A November 2005 study by Hitwise helped us update Figure 1-11 with new shopping search market share metrics: Shopping.com (19%), BizRate.com (17%), Yahoo! Shopping (14%), Shopzilla (14%), Froogle (8%), NexTag (8%), Price Grabber (6%), Epinions (6%), and others (8%). (Updated in fifth printing)

New specialty search engines are becoming more important. Blog search engines, such as Technorati, are increasing in importance, although still dwarfed by the mainstream search engines (who now have blog search engines of their own). PODZINGER is another specialty search engine gaining adherents who are looking for audio information. (Updated in fifth printing)

Chapter 2: How Search Engines Work

Google’s paid search has always ranked its results based on the per-click bid and the clickthrough rate, but now others are moving to that system also. Yahoo! still uses a pure high bidder auction—the highest per-click bid grabs the top paid spot in the results—but MSN Search now uses a hybrid auction, like Google does, and Yahoo! has announced that it will move to a hybrid approach in late 2006 or early 2007. (Updated in sixth printing)

Chapter 3: How Search Marketing Works

FindWhat and Espotting are now known as Miva, and the old brand names will gradually be retired. (Updated in second printing)

Hybrid auctions in paid search change the way you manage your bids. Because hybrid auctions take into account clickthrough rates in addition to the bid, there’s no need to close bid gaps because changing your bid does not automatically change your ranking. This quality of hybrid auctions make paid rankings somewhat more stable—less prone to fluctuation—than high bidder systems. In addition, high bidder systems often impose a minimum clickthrough rate below which your ad is disabled. Hybrid systems are less likely to need to do that because ads with low clickthrough rates are rarely shown anyway. (Updated in sixth printing)

Yahoo! remains the only search engine to offer paid inclusion (except for certain shopping search engines), but Google offers a free inclusion capability known as Google Sitemaps, which is explained below in the updates for Chapter 10. (Updated in second printing)

Paid inclusion is also coming under more pressure from Consumer Reports and consumer advocates, which asks whether paid inclusion pages should be disclosed when they are listed in the organic search results.

Chapter 4: How Searchers Work

Some of the most important insights for search marketers surround what searchers are thinking when performing their searches.
A thorough understanding of searcher behavior can lead to better keyword planning and content optimization (for higher clickthrough rates).
More and more studies are targeting searcher behavior—here are two stories that break down the latest research:

Chapter 7: Measure Search Marketing Success

We’ve provided a spreadsheet that you can use to calculate your very own search marketing opportunity, just as we did in Figure 7-6 in the book.

On page 158, we state that 87% of searchers click on a result on the first page, which is incorrect. In fact, only 48% do, as stated elsewhere in the book. Studies vary on how many searchers navigate to the second page of results, from a high of 40% (iProspect) to a low of 5% (IDC). (Updated in third printing)

Chapter 10: Get Your Site Indexed

Yahoo! now offer a great tool to see exactly which pages are in the Yahoo! search index, as well as what pages link to each one, called Yahoo! Site Explorer. (Updated in third printing)

Google, who has long eschewed a paid inclusion program, believing it leads to the perception that organic search rankings could be tainted by money, has a free inclusion program called Google Sitemaps that provides many of the benefits of Yahoo!’s paid program. (Updated in second printing)

Chapter 11: Choose Your Target Keywords

My blog covers two new keyword tools called Keyword Discovery and Hitwise Keyword Intelligence that give Wordtracker a run for its money. (Updated in third printing)

MSN Search has implemented its own paid search facility, so it also has free keyword tools, including one for finding related keywords and one for finding spelling variations. (Updated in sixth printing)

Chapter 12: Optimize Your Content

Both Google and MSN Search are experimenting with the way they generate
titles
in their search results pages.

Chapter 13: Attract Links to Your Site

While we mention blogs as an important source of links, we probably did not emphasize enough how important they are.
Here is a story that draws from several experts at a March, 2005 conference on how to get started with
blogs
to enhance your search rankings.

As paid links bedevil search engines that do not want them to count as unbiased votes for pages, the search engines are asking that all paid links be identified with a “nofollow” attribute, but you can imagine that many link sellers are not complying. (Updated in fifth printing)

Chapter 14: Optimize Your Paid Search Program

FindWhat and Espotting are now known as Miva, and the old brand names will gradually be retired. (Updated in second printing)

Google offers two features for its AdSense contextual advertising program to control the Web sites your ad appears on. Site exclusion allows you to provide a list of sites where you ad cannot appear, while site targeting lets you provide sites where you want the ad to appear. When you choose site targeting, Google charges you each time your ad is displayed (CPM) rather than each time it is clicked (CPC), however. (Updated in fifth printing)

MSN Search and Google are each experimenting with ads targeted by demographics. Google is allowing its contextual advertisers (not search advertisers) to target Web sites whose visitors tend to fall into particular demographic groups. MSN Search is personalizing actual search results, so that paid search ads can be shown to only the people in your target market segments, using age or gender. (Updated in sixth printing)

Google now considers the quality of your landing page in its paid search ranking algorithm, hoping to boost pages that more closely fit searcher queries (and raising the bids needed for lower-quality pages to be ranked highly). (Updated in fifth printing)

High bidder paid search auctions require familiarity with bidding tactics such as “gap surfing,” “bid jamming,” and “Friendly URL.” Hybrid auctions do not require such tactics. Google has always used a hybrid auction, but now that MSN Search does also (and Yahoo! has promised to go hybrid late in 2006 or early in 2007), only second-tier paid search vendors will be left with high bidder auctions. (Updated in sixth printing)

Previously, Google disabled any ads with lower than 0.5% clickthrough rates, but now Google claims to have no threshold. (Lower click rates do mean that you must bid higher than other ads to be ranked highly.) (Updated in fifth printing) Hybrid auctions are less likely to require ads to be disabled, because low clickthrough rates naturally drive the unpopular ads down in the rankings—eventually they are rarely shown. (Updated in sixth printing)

Yahoo! Search and MSN Search put the trademark owner in the driver’s seat—trademarks can be used only for sales of that product or informational commentary about that product. Google’s policy is looser, preferring to allow advertisers to maintain a black list of companies that may not bid on their trademark (or a white list of companies that may bid on their trademark). (Updated in sixth printing)

MSN Search’s new adCenter paid search program introduced a list of match types very similar to what Google provides. MSN Search offers broad match which works the same way as Google’s broad match, and is MSN’s default. MSN’s phrase match and exact match also apes Google’s capabilities. MSN offers the same capability Yahoo! and Google do with their negative match type, but MSN calls it “excluded match” instead. (Updated in sixth printing)

MSN Search’s new paid search program introduces personalization, based on demographics. MSN allows you to increase your bids for keywords entered by searchers within your target markets. If you wish to target males between 18 and 25, you may increase your bid for any searchers with those characteristics. Increasing your bid for different segments will really pay off if you know they convert at higher rates than other groups. (Updated in sixth printing)

MSN Search’s new paid search program offers a capability to insert keywords into ad copy, that is similar to Google’s Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI), which MSN calls “dynamic text.” (Updated in sixth printing)

Chapter 15: Making Search Operational

In Table 15-2, note that both the Trellian SEO Toolkit and WebPosition 4 now support the Google API. (Updated in fifth printing)

Andy Beal’s blog on search marketing is no longer called Search Engine Lowdown, but is now called Marketing Pilgrim. Mike Grehan’s blog gives you an inside view of the search conferences that now span the world. (Updated in sixth printing)