Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Search Engines & How to Place in them - Intro - Pt 1

I'm frequently asked to explain search engines and how to place in them.

1. Natural Search vs Paid Search - Type in any term (try reading) into the google search engine, you'll notice that there are two columns of info.

On the left is whats called "natural search". This is google's effort to provide you with the most relevent and important matches. On the right side, in a column titled "sponsored search", are advertisements which have been matched with your search. These are PPC (pay per click) advertisements. When you click on them, the advertiser pays google some amount of money.

2. There are many many many search engines. Focus on Google for starters, its at least 55% of the search market. When you start looking at the different search engines, one tricky to understand issue is that some search engines use other search engines. And this keeps changing. For instance, AOL relies on Google for search. AskJeeves (now ASK) primarily uses the results from Google. Yahoo relied on the google sponsored search results until they bought Overture and now they use their own sponsored search results. The three biggest search engines in order are:
- Google - 60% of the searches
- Yahooo - 15% of the searches
- MSN - 15% of the searches and climbing fast
- Ask, tom's search engine, dick's search & directory firm, harry's A-Z business directory & search etc etc
BTW - search engines are different than directories but we'll get to that another day.

3. Find out what people are searching for. The volume matters - http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ will tell you for the previous month what the number of searches were for a given key phrase in the US on the yahoo search engine. Another useful free tool is http://www.goodkeywords.com/ which you can install and use on your computer. Its not at all obvious or intuitive what the volume searches are. Plus, why.

Continue to part 2