Archive for August, 2006

Oilman's Thought

August 31st, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

Todd (Oilman) made a solid post today on original thought. If you don’t know him, he’s a really nice, smart fellow who calls things as he sees them.

I’ve often remarked how too many postings in various blogs are un-original, or derivative, (forget the ones that are just outright plagiarized). Too often they’re people just re-stating / re-phrasing what someone else already had to say, without actually contributing additional information, or any meaningful insight.

Too many blogs are “me too” in nature. No, I’m not referring to all the splogs out there. Marc Cuban, who has been raging on about that issue for quite a while in articles like
“attack of the splogs,” does a great job of that.

Todd’s post today was excellent and right on the mark - witty and tongue in cheek. (on original content, not splogs)

My mother taught me “if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all.” Man, I’ve bit my tongue a lot over the years. I look at a lot of blogs, and think “If you have nothing to contribute, why are you posting?” Looks like Todd’s been thinking the same thing; and came up with an original and intelligent way to say it.

Thinking up original posts is tough work.

Next Enquisite Update

August 31st, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

Now that the first round of fixes, improvements, and changes to Enquisite Search Engine Metrics Reports are out of the way, I wanted to let you know what’s up next. But before I go there, we noticed a couple of errors yesterday, and corrected most of them. The final corrections are rolling out today - so by the end of the day it should all be perfect.

As to the next round: The first thing that is being worked on is an enhancement to the internal search feature. It’s a quick update, so should be live within a week or so. I had three separate complaints about a legend / glossary etc. yesterday. So, we’ll add a legend (file under: things that get overlooked), and we might have an engine or two to add to the list. I’ll keep you posted. These are all quick, but functional improvements.

Then we tackle a biggie. PPC v. Organic reporting, and PPC campaign tracking. It’s been a long time coming, I know!

We were going to tackle data exports to tsv’s next. Instead we will finish off, and release, the PPC reports. The reason we switched them around is simple; users (a lot of them) asked us to do so. That’ll hopefully roll out in September.

Enquisite Search Engine Metrics Update

August 30th, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

I’m pleased to announce a significant update to the Enquisite Search Metrics reporting tool today. We’ve had a tremendous initial response to the launch, and while our user base has been growing steadily, our development team has been plugging away on feature requests, updates, and bug fixes.

This will be the first in a number of updates / improvements. There’s quite a lot that has changed at our end over the last few weeks, and most of it is invisible to the user. That’s good. There are a few obvious changes which everyone should notice.

First off, there was an AJAX related bug in the previous reports; when anyone clicked in certain areas it caused a red “busy” bar appeared in the top right corner of the screens. This was a legacy issue from some earlier changes we had made. It was annoying and it’s been dealt with.

Second, the default report listings are now set to 10 instead of 5. I can’t remember why we went to 5 by default. We had a lot of people ask us to change it; so we did.

A big change is to the “Top 5 Over Time” charts. Previously, there were two charts at the top center, and top right of the summary screen. One chart was “Top 5 phrases over all time,” and the other was “Top 5 Search Engines over all time.” We’ve kept those, and added a lot more features to them.

Users were asking for more features, and easier to read graphs. So now it’s not just search engine and phrases. We’ve taken the combined space used for both reports previously, and made it into one very large graph. This makes it a lot easier to read. We’ve also added more reports and made it line up with the drill down details report below: Top 10 phrases; engines; pages; countries; regions; cities; plus top search engine positions.

The top 10 search engine position report is particularly interesting for many people. Enquisite is kind of like a search engine ranking report on steroids. It’s a passive search engine positioning report, so it’s the only tool out there that won’t negatively impact your position in the SERPS. Unlike traditional rank checkers, it’s also free of data skewing based on geography. It’s important to understand how geography affects your site’s position in the search results. What percentage of your traffic comes from a page 1 listing? Now you’ll know at a glance. The data will likely surprise you; We haven’t seen a single site which matches up with the data presented at conferences.

For marketers, having this page position report at your fingertips will be invaluable.

Anyhow, this enhancement alone is a lot more data than previously available. We hope you’ll like it.

Based on user feedback, you also no longer simply need to look at this report as “All Time” - now you can look at summaries for the last 30 days; 3 months; year; as well as “All Time.”

Finally, we made some major coding adjustments, designed to speed up the overall reporting interface significantly. It seems to have worked on the testing sites. Some massive sites are still slower than we would like; but we’re making additional changes. We still have some modifications to implement which will make it even snappier, but today’s changes seem to have made a significant difference overall. More to come!

If you notice any bugs, please send me a note.



Danny Sullivan

August 29th, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

Although no longer newsworthy, (it’s been blogged about a zillion times already today), I wanted to take a moment, and thank Danny Sullivan for his contributions to the entire Search industry over the years. He’s not done contributing yet, by any means. But his decision to close out this chapter of his life with Search Engine Watch and the Search Engine Strategies conferences, marks the end of an era, both for himself (obviously), and for those of us participating in building various facets of the industry.

Many, many of us have been deeply involved in areas of the search industry over the last decade or so. Some far better known than others. Some have come and gone, or made a short term impact, whereas others have left a lasting mark. Some have been extremely important in one area of the search industry, be it SEO, SEM, Analytics, the search engines themselves, or simply areas within any of those disciplines.

Danny has transcended that. He’s been an important opinion maker and contributor across every area of the search industry, almost from its birth. Every area, every facet. No one else’s name springs to mind as being as involved across the spectrum as Danny Sullivan has been. Analysis, opinions, ideas, suggestions. In doing so, he’s helped shape more areas in search than any other individual.

I don’t know where Danny will end up. I do know that Search Engine Watch, and the Search Engine Strategies Conferences will sorely miss his contributions. The world won’t end, and the industry will continue to grow, evolve and flourish. People like Chris Sherman and Barry Schwartz will continue to make the conferences and site successful. They’re awfully bright and talented individuals. Danny himself will discover a new avenue through which to contribute.

I wish him well in this next phase of his journey, and like everyone else in the industry, I look forward to watching where his travels take him.


Jason's Arby's Adventure

August 21st, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

Jason seems to have a run in at an Arby’s while picking up meals for himself and his family. He got some coupons in the mail / newspaper, so went to Arby’s and found out their coupons were not suited to his needs,… and it all went downhill from there.

After reading the story I have only one thing to say: Hey Jason - Learn to cook!

Jason Dowdell is slated to become a contributor to this blog in the near future.

AOL's Data Fallout

August 21st, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

I’m sure everyone has heard about AOL’s infamous data release a couple of weeks ago. Today, AOL’s CTO, Maureen Govern resigned as part of the fallout. A mistake was made, and she took responsibility. Good for her. Two other employees who were involved in the debacle were dismissed.

A very poor decision was made, regardless of the intentions. Privacy concerns are usually the first concerns raised by online users. With so much information floating about out there, it should be. I know we spent a lot of time working on our privacy policy, and we don’t face a fraction of the issues AOL does.

Google Sandbox Injury

August 9th, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

So, I just found out that Jade Carter from Metamend was injured last night playing in Google’s Sandbox.

Nothing “black hat SEO” about it. He literally pulled his hamstring playing volleyball.


Eric Schmidt (Google) at SES San jose

August 9th, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

I’m sitting here listening to Eric Schmidt (NASDAQ: GOOG) being interviewed by Danny Sullivan. Danny’s running an excellent interview, and both are doing a great job communicating their thoughts.

It’s an excellent session.

One topic just came up with gave me pause to think: Google’s plans to extend advertising to video.

At present, Google Video Search can play videos from third party web sites from within Google, not by referring the searcher directly to the site. Here’s an example showing a Fighter Jet which I just fetched from the Google site. Google plans to integrate advertising into this tool, as it makes financial sense. The advertiser’s win, and Google’s opened a new revenue stream, and monetizes a service which had no revenue stream.

Makes sense. This is an expensive service to offer, and it needs to cover the costs and expenses associated with it. But how does the publisher fit into this model?

Right now, the way Google Video operates, they don’t.


Enquisite Passsive Search Engine Ranking Reports

August 1st, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

Enquisite started as a means to report on a web site’s position within the serps (search engine results page). It became a lot more - but still has that very positive feature. It’s still a search engine ranking report, except unlike any other one out there, it complies with the search engines’ Terms of Use: We don’t actively query the search engines to determine your web site’s rank / position. We figured out a way (and filed the patents) to gather that information passively.

You’ll notice everywhere in the reports a series of columns beside every entry: H / L / A / K / # / %  Here’s what they mean:

H - The highest page your site was found on in the search engines. Basically, this usually is 1 - for page 1. It means that someone, somewhere entered a query into a search engine, saw your site’s listing on page 1 of the search engine results page (SERP), clicked the link, and arrived at your site.

L - The lowest page your site was found on in the search engines for the query. (or territory etc…). I’ve seen page 100! It means someone, somewhere a query into a search engine, saw your site’s listing on page X 100 of the results page, clicked the link, and arrived at your site. Within a day of starting the prototype testing phase I saw a listing page of 63. I thought we had a error. We didn’t. Someone using Google Romania entered in a query which contained a word that appeared in both English and Romanian. They kept going through the SERPs until they found a listing in English.

A - It’s the average. A lot of times it’ll read 1.4 or 1.2, 1.6 etc. I look at that at top 14, top 12, top 16.

K - This is a biggie - The last time someone arrived at your web site from a search engine, it was from page #K. It’s really useful for tracking particular queries.

# - The number of queries / entries.

% - The percentage that represents.

I’ll let users explore more and more of the features - the tool is designed so that you can look at data three dimensionally - you can’t do that with any other analytics or metrics tool. But you need to. Our users demanded it.

My favorite tool is the search engine comparison tool. For almost every site, Google, MSN and Yahoo! are the 3 top engines. Now, you can easily compare the way they send differing traffic to your site. This data is useful for PPC buys - easily see which terms are driving traffic from one engine but not another. It’s also useful for organic SEO work - you’ll be able to discover which factors are being weighted / used in on-page optimization by the different engines. (yes, I know that black hats will love this too).

We’ll be adding more features to this tool, like omission reporting - find out which terms are arriving from other engines, but not Google / Yahoo / MSN… knowing what’s not there is as important, or more important than knowing what is there. We’ll also be making the comparison tool available with constraints. Compare just Google traffic from 3 cities, or MSN / Google / ASK from just Nebraska, etc…

There’s lots to come. We’ll be posting the development lists in the next few weeks - we want your feedback, and requests to help us build out the reports you want.

Enquisite Search Metrics - What it Does

August 1st, 2006 by Richard Zwicky

So what are Search Metrics, and what is Enquisite?

Search metrics reports are also search trends reports. Traditional web analytics are great tools which let you know what’s happening once a visitor arrives at a web site. Search metrics are about the how’s, why’s and where’s that visitors who are arriving, or are not arriving, from search engines. We examine what’s going on up until the user arrives at your site.

Enquisite started off as a passive search engine ranking report. Here’s how that part works:

When you sign up, you are assigned a userid, and sent some Javascript. You embed the Java Script in your web site, and as soon as your site gets a search engine visit, the reports update. The first update usually happens within 10 minutes, and then every few minutes thereafter. Reports only track human visitors from search engines, who arrived at your site as a result of a search query. If someone arrives at your site from a link within an article at Yahoo, they won’t show up. If someone arrives because they ran a search at Yahoo for a query relevant to your site; then that will be reported.