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Search Engine Placement and Submission

"Alliances: Databases being Accessed by Other Search Engines for Results"

Search Engine Placement and Submission

"Alliances: Databases being Accessed by Other Search Engines for Results"

Where's the Most Traffic Coming From?

Where's the traffic coming from? Excite, Yahoo, Lycos, InfoSeek and AltaVista listings used to be a good start. Increasing traffic to your web site used to be easier when you knew which search engines get the most traffic. 

I have attempted to rank the search engines and directories using alliances (one search engine accessing the database of another for results) and the prominence of the alliance search engines listings at each site. This will be a key to determining which of the search engines or directories will improve traffic to your web site the most.

While I was doing this research I was also doing the research I do for the secrets section of the the search engine placement index. Much of the information for optimization has not changed since my last major update. 

What has changed is the ease to do it! All of the major search engines are using some sort of directory or site review for the listings at the top of the list. They may come from other indexes like the ODP, Direct Hit or from reviews for channels within the engine. 

This makes the info below in "Other Databases Accessed" of special importance because it is often positions on these that really affects "exposure on the site". Top 30 may not be as important as getting this prominent exposure.

Atlanta-based RelevantKnowledge announced the results of a Study for September 2000 which monitored and estimated the usage patterns of Web users at home, at work and at college. RelevantKnowledge claims the study is far more accurate than previous studies since it monitored usage in all three demographic areas.

The results below leave out properties which are not really useful in developing  a search engine strategy. The sites below are from  the U.S. study. You may be interested in reports for other countries. Take this link to see other countries.

Rank

 Site

Unique Visitors (000)

Other Databases Accessed

1 AOL 60,988* GOTO.com and ODP are prominent Inktomi does have a less prominent role *1
2 Yahoo 52,679* Google.com *2
3 Microsoft Sites 51,425* Inktomi, LookSmart, Direct Hit *3
4 Lycos/Hotbot 30,780* ODP and Direct hit *4
5 Excite Network 26,958* LookSmart, on the Inktomi paid service page they list excite as using them *5
6 Go Network (formerly InfoSeek) 22,987*
7 About.com 20,637* Inktomi for Sprinks *6
8 AltaVista 19,249* LookSmart to lesser extent Ask Jeeves*7
9 LookSmart 13,518* Inktomi
10 GO2Net Network 11,999* Meta Crawler Engine *8
11 Ask Jeeves 10,931* Direct Hit *9
12 GoTo 8,841* Paid listings and secondary results from inktomi
13 GOOGLE.COM 5,725  

*- denotes traffic includes all properties in the network. For example Microsoft would include, Microsoft.com, MSN.com
 
*1-
3 sponsored links at the top of listings which are generally the most expensive keyword purchases on GOTO. Uses the ODP for categories/directory

*2-
Google is used for secondary searches which means a search did not find results in the Yahoo index

*3
-  Most popular sites list is generated by direct hit. Inktomi have provided results in the past and still seems to be although I've heard they were no longer involved the submission page did seem to suggest they are still using them. LookSmart index is used for the directory and secondary results. 

*4- Direct hit is especially important on Hotbot. See the update of the secrets index for more info on Lycos properties.

*5- LookSmart index however I was not able to ascertain how it affected placement preliminary indications are it really doesn't matter other than for directory listings. Inktomi listings weren't readily distinguishable either.

*6- Inktomi is used by many engines such as Snap. It has been used by Yahoo, MSN and other major engines in the past however it is a search technology and is being dropped by many in favor of directories such as Looksmart and the ODP. In order to get into Inktomi you submit to a participating site like Snap or they have a paid service. I could not find a means of adding your site on the about.com site.

*7- LookSmart index however I was not able to ascertain how it affected placement. In the past it has boosted relevancy however AV is always a moving target and at present it looks like this has changed.

*8- MetaCrawler searches:
About.com
AltaVista
DirectHit
Excite
Google
GoTo.com
Infoseek
Kanoodle
LookSmart
Lycos
Internet Keywords
Thunderstone
Webcrawler
FindWhat.com
and then uses an algorhythm to rank the sites.

*9- Ask Jeeves uses direct hit to some extent

Search Engine Alliance Summary

Other Facts from RelevantKnowledge

Strategies are part of a plan in this case the plan is for submitting a site. What we have learned so far is that the sites above get the most traffic and some use other indexes in their results. If you go to the "Top 10 Portals in July 2000 According to Reach %" on the RelevantKnowledge site you get a little more useful data.

1-7 were in order Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Lycos, GO, Netscape, Excite.

Note that of these two are default search sites for the major browsers, notably Netscape and MSIE. For this reason I have the following information on search in browsers.

Netscape uses primarily the ODP and Google for default searches but as in the past does offer many of the engines in the list above. Note that MSIE  also uses REALNAMES. More importantly the Netscape portal and smart browsing features use Google and ODP.

You may want to add these 3 to the mix which weren't in the top sites but also have search as features of the Portal.

Rank

Site

Reach
%

Other Databases Accessed

8 iwon 13 Inktomi powers search, Top 10 comes from direct hit, directory uses Looksmart, internet keywords are from RealNames.
9 infospace.com 12 ODP for directory and direct hit for popular and for obscure listings it's using GOTO.com
10 Xoom .com (nbcI)  10 Inktomi for search the directory is comprised of member submitted sites.

Now we've added the top portals lets see exactly what is happening in the search services data. Note 1-5 were AltaVista, LookSmart, Ask Jeeves, GOTO and Google.

Rank

 Site

Unique Visitors (000)

Other Databases Accessed

6 DogPile.com 3,500 is part of infospace network
7 Direct Hit.com 2,600  
8 WebRing.org 2,100 is part of Yahoo
9 etour.com 2,000 AltaVista search is prominent
10 Clickheretofind.com 1,750 search uses GOTO

Putting It All Together for a Top Ten Search Engine/Directory Submissions List!

First off lets start by picking the Top places to be listed to provide a strategy for improving exposure. Why? Well in my plan I separate engines/directories which can be manipulated from those that can't be. Almost all of the top 10 can't be easily manipulated however they do influence overall exposure.

The top 10 are sites whose databases are being accessed by other sites and placed in prominent or prime positions. This is important because it is the prominence or position of the results which makes them so important.

#1- ODP (Open Directory Project dmoz.org) it is used prominently by 2 0f the top five sites for traffic, 4 of the top 10 portals directory listings, and by several other directories. Since anyone can use the database of reviewed sites free of charge and you can only list your site once, spend some time when submitting here! It will only grow in importance. You may also want to spend the time submitting to other categories. Read the guidelines for submission carefully, this is why most sites don't get listed.

#2- Yahoo for all the same reasons as it has been number 1 for years. It drops in my view because ODP has far more potential for growth of its exposure. Yahoo is tied to Internet Demographics. I have seen reports that 45% or more of all traffic from search sites comes from Yahoo. I have been collecting some data on my server and in my case it is significantly higher than 45%. However much of that seems to be tied to my prominent positions on Google for search engine optimization and webmaster resources.

#3- MSN is the default search and default home page (until it is changed by the user) for the browser with the greatest market share. At present submitting here gets you in Inktomi as well which is used by several of the other sites mentioned above. MSN.com is like AOL and Excite@home in that it is a network which provides members with access to the internet. Many are most likely using it as a default home page in the browser.

#4- Google is the search service for Yahoo when there are no directory listings. It is also the default search service for Netscape browser (smart browsing) and Portal and is used by infospace properties in its meta searches. It also placed number 5 in the search service study. 

This engine is quickly becoming the engine of choice for internet savvy individuals. It is also highly regarded among members of the search community because of the quality of the index. The added bonus is to some extent it can be manipulated but not in the usual manner. 

#5- Inktomi because it supplies main or secondary results for many of the top sites in all the studies. It now is offering a paid service. You get into their engine by submitting to the sites that they provide results for. For example MSN.com or snap.

#6- Ask Jeeves was number 3 on the search services list and is used by a few of the properties above such as AltaVista. This is also a trend I see. Search engines have pretty well given up on spidering to find the "best of breed' and are looking for services like this one to improve their results.

#7- Direct Hit because it is used prominently on many of the properties above and was number 7 in search sites study. Most important is the prominence factor and how it is used. Usually it is used with a heading such as "most popular sites" and is, in most cases, before the actual results for the search. On HotBOt it literally makes up the first ten listings on many searches.

#8- AltaVista because although down on the traffic side most of its traffic is search related. All of the others traffic numbers are higher because a large part of their traffic is to other properties that aren't search related. It is also easily manipulated. 

#9- GOTO.com a paid listings site which is used by some of the properties mentioned. Note that it has a prominent place on the AOL results page. I see this as a real trend as far as engines go almost all are trying to find a way to get paid for submissions or are willing to give prominent positions in the results for cash. GOTO was number 4 for search services. It also comprises almost all the results for the #10 portal Clickheretofind.com.

#10- Lycos Network because it is so high in the traffic study and includes some very good properties such as Tripod, Angelfire, HotBot, Webmonkey and wired.com to name a few. Tripod and Angelfire feature Lycos search. Wired news features HotBot search.

I have not listed LookSmart in the top 10 though according to them their database is used by more than any of the above. I don't believe they are as well represented as they would have you believe. They do get a lot of unique visits as illustrated by its number 2 position in the search services study. However, this list is about maximizing exposure.

Although LookSmart has a presence on a large number of the sites in the RelevantKnowledge studies it is by no means prominent and has little or no affect on top 30 results for the best keywords, AltaVista being the loan case where it is possibly used prominently. I looked closely at all the sites they are on and in most cases the listings are no where near as prominent as ODP, Google or Direct Hit on the sites using these services. They provide mostly secondary or directory results.

Purchasing a keyword at RealNames.com may also be a good idea it is used in the MSIE browser and sites like 

<snip from RealNames>
MSN, AltaVista, GO.com, Google, and iWon. When you enter an Internet Keyword, they simply look for the Internet Keyword symbol displayed prominently in the search results. To see a full list of navigation partners, Click here.
</snip>

Well that's ten! What is significant is that a year ago over half would not have made the list! Search engines are using these types of databases to make it harder to manipulate them. The ten sites listed here are now even more important than what used to be referred to as majors:

  • Excite is a top site traffic wise because of its partnership with @home. Both of the indexes it used to power are almost entirely off the radar. When @home was installed for me the default home page was Excite @home. With millions of customers I would say this could be why it has such big numbers. I am hoping that there are reps from both Excite and Go at the upcoming search seminar so I can maybe get a better idea of the actual % of traffic is search related. Due to its' traffic portal reach and the fact you can still manipulate it easily it would be where i would spend a considerable amount of my optimization time.

  • Go (formerly Infoseek) gets a lot of the traffic from the Disney properties. The actual searching going on there would be significantly lower than the figures in the study. Note it was nowhere to be found on the search services study.

  • WebCrawler (see below)

Lead Times for Listings At the Major Search Engines:

Of note here is that recent information has declared WebCrawler dead! It no longer is spidering and receives little traffic. I used to keep track of lead times but it is becoming harder and harder to find reliable information.

The paid submissions do result in quicker listings and I would say generally the info on the sites you're submitting to are using optimistic response times. Generally add at least a week and quite possibly more.

Related Articles & Information 
secrets | search engine placement index

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