Search Engine News
Major changes may be underway in the Google search engine. During June, Google tested a new way to group listings to help users search by category. In the method that Google used to test the new system, Webmasters were required to fill out a form choosing what category the website should be listed in and install a special code on the webpage. Again, this new category of search is still just being tested, but we will keep you updated as events unfold.
Overture has recently unveiled its new Local Match option. While the Internet has historically been used to promote to a large global audience (hence the “world wide web”) more and more resources are now finding ways to target smaller geographic areas. Businesses wishing to target visitors in areas defined within 5-100 mile radiuses from their location can now do that on Yahoo through Overture Local Match. This may be helpful for promoting special getaways from nearby cities or more successfully for business only wanting to attract local traffic (dentists, contractors, lawyers, etc.).
There are a few drawbacks to this new feature. First, you cannot add local match to your current Overture account. You will need to setup and maintain a totally separate account. There you can still control your keywords, cost-per-click (still a minimum $0.10), and customized title and description.
Another drawback is that when a visitor clicks on your ad, they are not sent directly to your homepage. Instead they are directed to a intermediate page that includes a map of your location, business name and number, short description, and a link to your website. While this is all helpful information, it creates one more obstacle for your visitors to hurdle before entering your site, where they can find all the unabridged information about your business. Additionally, the intermediate page is not trackable, because it is not a page on your website. Therefore we are at the mercy of Overture’s reporting system and there will be no way to know if you are really getting what you are paying for.
Right now, we are not recommending a Local Match account until we have had time to test the results. Your promotion account manager will be able to help you to make the decision about adding this resource in the future.
As we mentioned in our April newsletter, MSN has been busily working on new search technology that will compete with that offered by Google and Yahoo. In the past, MSN has displayed results from Inktomi, a Yahoo subsidiary. On July 1st, MSN unveiled a test version of their new search results at http://techpreview.search.msn.com/. Here you can search using their new algorithm and provide feedback on the way those results are displayed.
Currently, there are a few major differences in the way MSN’s new search results are displayed compared with those of Yahoo and Google. The biggest difference today is that MSN is displaying results based on pages instead of websites. You may have noticed that some interior pages of sites are sometimes listed under the homepage in Google and Yahoo results. In MSN’s new search method, pages are listed by relevancy whether they are an interior page or homepage.
We will be testing this new algorithm extensively and providing our feedback over the next month.