Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Search Engine Recap for October 2008

Here is a summary of search marketing industry news for October 2008:

Yahoo Search Marketing

Yahoo search marketing has announced some new features.

They are:

  • Country-level targeting

  • City and zip-level targeting (Up until recently, the geo-targeting functionality was around Designated Marketing Area (DMA). FYI, Adwords doesn’t provide zip-level targeting; they say 20 mile radius around zip)

  • Targeting English-speaking US and Canada Internet users

They will be especially useful for those who want to target geo-specific audience.


Adwords has announced two changes:

We all knew that CTR plays a big role to calculate the quality score of an ad by Adwords. Since the ad position in SERP affects CTR, ad in the first position would receive good CTR, and thereby its quality score goes up, while the ad in the seventh position may not get enough CTR and thereby its quality score remains low. Google is now going to change the quality score algorithm to take ad position into account. So while one ad in the top position might have a higher CTR, an ad in the seventh position with a lower CTR should not impact the quality score as much as it did in the past. This would allow all the ads to "compete fairly".

Second change is with the ads above the organic results. With the change, only ads above a certain quality threshold can be in the top spot, above the organic results. In the past, if an ad in position 1 did not meet a threshold but ad in position 2 did meet that threshold, then ad 2 would not be promoted to the top spot. With the new algorithm, it is possible for ad 2 to jump over ad 1 and appear above the search results.

We like both changes.

First Click Free

For those sites that have been having lot of useful content behind registration. Google’s “First click Free” suggests opening up the content behind the registration for Google to index and rank, and when the user clicks on Google’s search result and come to the site, serve the page, and require the user to register in order to be able to see other pages that are behind registration.

NYTimes works this way.

Google has been offering this to News content providers. Recently, Google made it clear it is allowed to be used for regular sites as well We encourage other sites to take advantage of this.

Google Webmaster tool

When we mention that we found “some pages that are reported as not found” by Google Webmaster tool, we often get asked by the clients where those pages are linked from, and we couldn’t give them the answer.

Now, Google webmaster tool gives those links. We love this!

This feature can be found in “Not Found" and "Errors for URLs in Sitemaps" reports

MSN Business Listings

MSN/Live has enabled us to add/update business listings.

There are multiple ways to edit the business listing

Go to Search for a business. If you scroll down the search results, there would be a link “To add or edit your business listing, use the Local Listing Center.”
Go to Search for a business. Click on one of the business and go to the details page. There would be a link “Business owners: edit listing
Go to Search for a category. There would be a link at the bottom “To add or edit your business listing, use the Local Listing Center.”
Go to Search for a person name. Click on “Remove my listing” on one of the results
Go to Click on “Business listings

Do we recommend it for others? Yes – especially for those having local presence.

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