Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Search Engine Recap for August 2008

Here is a recap of search marketing industry news for August 2008:

Yahoo recently announced Search Monkey

Search Monkey is a set of open-source tools that allow users and publishers to annotate and enhance search results associated with specific web sites.

Now, Yahoo announces that it turned on some of the Search Monkey applications built by the developers. So, Yelp, Yahoo! Local and LinkedIn Enhanced Results will automatically appear in the search results.

For example, if I search for my Linkedin Profile in Google, I get the following result:

Deepamalar Manimaran - LinkedIn

View Deepamalar Manimaran's professional profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world's largest business network, helping professionals like Deepamalar ... - 18k - Cached - Similar pages

The same search in Yahoo gives the following result:

1. Deepamalar Manimaran - Group Manager, SEM Technical Services at Digital...


Greater New York City Area


Group Manager, SEM Technical Services, Digital Brand Expressions


Yahoo claims that these kinds of enhanced results lead to increased clickthrough rate and so far, I like what I’m seeing.

MSN has made significant improvements to its Webmaster tool

MSN Webmaster Tools introduced a number of new features that provide webmasters with more information on their websites’ crawl issues and indexing details, plus new tools like the robots.txt validator. One feature I found particularly interesting is the enhanced backlink data.

While Google WMT also gives backlinks data, data given by MSN also shows how important Live Search views those pages that link to your site. This feature is very useful for analyzing the quality of the links that point to your site.

The crawl issues list is also very useful. While Google also provides this feature, the issues that are listed by Google and MSN are different. By using data from both MSN and Google, webmasters can get a good view of potential issues affecting a site.

Google is going to compute quality score in real time

Google is now set to compute quality score based on the location (where the user is searching) and keyword (for example, “buy books” keyword set to broad match can also be shown for “buy computer books” but now the quality score will be calculated for the exact keyword user is searching for.)

How will this affect advertisers?

If you’re a company that focuses on a certain geographic area, you’ll want to make sure that you have the geo location mentioned in the ad copy and the landing page copy. That way, when the user searches from that location the ad will have a higher quality score, and you will pay less.

In terms of the quality score based on the exact keyword, tight management will be necessary. For example, if you have the keyword “buy books” set to broad match and a user searches for “buy computer books” Google will calculate the quality score based on “buy computer books.” As such, you may get a low score because the site doesn’t necessarily sell/have “computer” mentioned on the landing page. So, Google may increase the click cost to show the ad in the top results and in this case your CPC will be higher. You’ll need to stay on top of the negative keyword list and/or adjust ad copy and landing page copy to cover the different keyword variations.

By making proper use of negative keywords, adjusting keyword matching options, and carefully managing SEA budgets, advertisers can easily compensate for these changes to the Quality Score system

FYI, our SEA expert, Rob Trautner has blogged his take on adwords’s recent changes here.

Doubleclick cookie based tracking

Google announced that they will be utilizing the DoubleClick cookie-based tracking technology to bring more targeted ads and better targeting features to advertisers using their content network.

The enhanced features include:

  • Frequency Capping enables advertisers to limit the number of times a user sees an ad.
  • Frequency Reporting lets advertisers view the frequency data, including how many people have seen an ad and how many times a user saw the ad.
  • Google says the enhancements will also provide "Improved Ads Quality” and better conversion tracking with "View-Through Conversions".

Once these new features are fully implemented, DBE will test them out and let you know our take.

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