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May 10, 2004, 2:13 pm
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tools. It seems it will mostly effect adwords and commercial sites who
pay for it. But it explains a lot why we see some wierd results that
seem non relevant often times. So far at my own serp I have been able to
stay ahead of the non relevant results but they are there, plenty of
them, right behind my sites a page or two down. Anyway read the article
below and see what you think:
Search engine leader Google is close to releasing new tools that
could expand its
profitable keyword-advertising business and fuel growth as it
prepares for a highly
anticipated initial public offering, according to sources familiar
with the plan.
The technology aims to enable Google to examine the Web sites of
large advertisers and to
develop automated lists of keyword combinations that are likely to
turn up in search
queries, the sources said. If successful, the system will match more
advertisements, and thus boost revenue.
An analysis of search-engine advertising suggests there is
significant room for growth in this
area. Only 40 percent to 45 percent of the 120 million Internet
searches a day in the United
States are currently linked to an ad, according to research firm
ComScore Networks. But
such a service could also create new risks for Google, which has
stumbled in the past with
automated advertising efforts.
Google, which is preparing for a $2.7 billion initial public
offering later this year, would not
comment on the project. But executives at companies working with
Google said such a
service is in the works.
"There is something like that on the horizon," said Kevin Lee, chief
executive of Did-It.com,
a prominent search-engine marketing company that works with
advertisers to test Google
products before they are released. "All the search engines are
experimenting with what is
the best way to allow large advertisers to get the right number of
listings into their engines."
Over just a few years, search engines have seen enormous success
selling keywords, giving
the highest bidder for a queried word the right to display ads above
and to the side of query
As much as 95 percent of Google's $991 million in revenue last year
came from the
sponsored listings that appear on its Web site and on those of its
Meanwhile, sales from U.S. search-engine marketing will reach a
total of $2.1 billion in
2004, up from $1.6 billion last year, according to Jupiter Research.
By 2008, sales are
expected to hit $4.3 billion.
But search-engine advertising has barely gotten off the ground, and
there are still many legal
and business questions to be answered. For example, a limited number
of keywords will
always command the greatest interest. That means search engine
companies face the
specter of a revenue ceiling--unless they can put an ever-widening
circle of obscure terms
and phrases to work.
But that, too, could create complications. In seeking cheap
alternatives to popular terms,
marketers might be forced to manage massive lists of keywords. They
may well have to
push constantly to dream up previously overlooked combinations of
search strings that
work well for their products and services.
The brass ring
External factors could also curtail growth projections. At least one
trademark holder has
sued Google, seeking to prevent the search company from selling its
trademarked words to
advertisers. Google has already taken steps to bypass such concerns
in the United States.
But if the courts deem that trademarks are off-limits to Google and
other search engines,
sales could suffer.
As a result, Google and other search engines are highly motivated to
develop ways of
expanding their inventories of keywords. One way to do this is to
use technology to
automate tasks for large marketers, for example, to help them choose
keywords in order to
place ads on a search engine.
Google and Yahoo-owned Overture Services already offer
phrase-matching tools. These let marketers buy one keyword, or a set
of keywords, that
can appear in many search variations. For example, with broad
matching, a marketer can
bid for exposure on the term "running shoes," but also show up on a
query for "shoes for
running." With phrase matching, that marketer might also show up in
results for "purple
Most large, sophisticated marketers are taking advantage of these
tools to leverage search.
Ninety percent of marketers with an annual ad budget of more than $1
million are using
ad-matching tools from Google or Overture, according to Jupiter
that show a preference for Overture, however, tend to use such tools
more, Jupiter has
Now, Google wants to take the technology even further. Its proposed
service would allow
marketers to pay to have a Web page examined more often for
inclusion in sponsored
listings, according to one source. Instead of having to bid on
thousands of keywords, a
large advertiser--such as Amazon.com--could rely on Google's search
automatically create connections between its Web pages and related
Amazon would pay Google to examine thousands of its pages and to
serve an ad whenever
the software deemed it appropriate. Amazon would pay an amount
previously bid at
auction for those pages, whenever people clicked on its listings.
In this scenario, a Web surfer who searched Google.com for "Stevie
Wonder" might see a
sponsored listing for "Stevie Wonder at Amazon.com," for example.
Amazon may not have
bid on those granular keywords, but Google's crawlers will have
found CDs and books on
the musician during the engine's indexing and will have
automatically placed an ad based on
Mind over machine?
By contrast, Overture takes a slightly more human approach to
advertising. It employs
slews of account managers who help marketers invent new keyword
combinations to drive
people to their stores, according to an Overture representative. It
also offers technology
that lets marketers measure the effectiveness of their search
campaigns, as well as of
campaigns via e-mail, Google or banner ads.
"We work with advertisers closely to make sure they're bidding on
the most possible
keywords," said the Overture representative.
Similar technology has been put to use by Yahoo and others in
programs, which increase the chances that Web pages will appear in
search results in
exchange for a fee. Yahoo's service promises that participating Web
pages will be indexed
more frequently than those on other sites, thus increasing the
chances that searchers will find
the most recently updated pages, for example.
In the same way, Google's proposed service would accept data feeds
marketers, in order to index those pages more often. But unlike
Yahoo's paid inclusion,
Google would not allow commercial listings to appear in its general
Experts said search companies run the risk of trading off relevance
More-obscure terms may turn out to serve ads to an audience that is
less receptive to
clicking on them.
"With sponsored listings, you don't get to target the end of the
tail--that big stream of
searches that happen rarely. Because who's thinking of all those
queries?" said Danny
Sullivan, publisher of newsletter Search Engine Watch. "With paid
inclusion, your site
speaks for you. So the two need to have an intersection, and that
idea has been to use
automated tools to populate both services...The downside is that if
you're automating, the
targeting may not be as good."
Google has faced criticism of its automated marketing tools in the
past. In one case, it
served up an advertisement for a suitcase maker in a news article
about a murder
investigation in which body parts were discovered in a travel case.
Nevertheless, ad-matching technology could become essential as
search queries get more
complex over time. And as Web surfers get more savvy, they tend to
enter more search
terms for better results, according to search experts.
"The limitations of search-engine marketing are the burdens on
keyword campaigns is a nightmare...and lots of keywords are left on
the table," said James
Lamberti, a research director at ComScore. "A move from a manual to
a highly automated
process will be the next big shift for the industry."