Internet marketing - eVision

eVision Online Marketing Newsletter
December 2004

In this issue


This is the first newsletter in a few months. There hasn't been much major news (except for Google's IPO which didn't affect search engine results)

But now we have what could be one of the biggest news stories of the new year:


MSN has released its new Search Engine in Beta.

MSN long awaited search engine has been released in Beta form. You can try it here;
http://beta.search.msn.com

For a long time the results you've see at MSN search, http://search.msn.com, have actually come from the Inktomi Search engine which is now owned by Yahoo. We expect MSN will replace these Yahoo results with its new search engine early next year.

As we've been predicting for well over a year, when this happens, the search world will change from two major players to three.

At the moment there are really only two major search engines, Google and Yahoo. Google's share of the search market is about 50%. Most of these searches are performed at the Google and AOL search sites. Yahoo, which owns Inktomi, AltaVista, and All-the-web as well as Overture, accounts for about 44% of searches. That leaves about 6% for all the others!

Yahoo's share of the search market currently includes searches performed at MSN search. MSN sees about 15% of all searches so after MSN moves its new search engine into place we'll have three major players with approximately the following share of searches

Search Engine Search Share
Google 50%
Yahoo 29%
MSN Search 15%
Total 94%

MSN's new search engine will be responsible for about 15% of the search market when it is released. 2005 should be an interesting year as we watch to see if MSN gains search share on Google or Yahoo. And of course we'll have a new search engine to learn how to optimize for.

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Local Search and Microsoft's New Search Engine
Local search has been evolving for all the major search engines. Basically a search engine tries to offer up what it thinks are relevant results in your local area for some searches or at your request.

Search on "red widgets”, for example and Google may display a link near the top of the results asking if you'd like to see results for your search in your area.

This works fairly well if you include a "localization” phrase in your search term such as "red widgets Connecticut”. The problem has been when you don't include a localization term. In the past most search engines would then look up the address of the server you use to connect to the internet and display results for that address. However, people are not always located in the same area as the server. For example AOl's servers are in Virginia, so many AOL users would see "local” results from Virginia even if they lived in Oregon.

However local search is evolving and MSN's new search engine looks like a big step in the right direction.

Right next to the search button on the new MSN search engine (http://beta.search.msn.com) is a big "Near Me” button. Type in a search phrase and click "Near Me”. At the top of the results MSN displays "Web Results Near Me” with a town and state listed. If the town and state is not correct just click on the "town, state” (it's a link). You'll be taken to a page where you can "personalize” the search results and correct the town and state. Any time you ask for search results "Near Me” in the future, from that computer, you should get reasonably accurate results.

Yahoo and Google have similar local search systems they are testing and evolving.

As Local Search evolves we should be able to do a much better, more cost effective job of search engine marketing for sites that focus on a more local territory. It should be easier to get near the top of the results for a local search as there should be much less competition from other web pages. Also, the costs for search engine advertising (the Pay Per Click ads often called Sponsored Links) should be lower than ads with a national (or international) focus as there should be less competition for them too.

Local search will also make the use of online yellow pages much more important. The search engines are starting to include results from online yellow pages in their local results. Google, for example, displays results from the online Yellow Book listings in its local search.

George Aspland

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eVision, LLC
179 East Main Street
Branford, CT 06405
Phone: 203-481-8005

 

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