By Kalena Jordan
of you who are long time subscribers to our newsletter The
Search Light will remember my article from way back in December 2001 titled Search
Engine Predictions for 2002.
time to take a look at that article and the grand predictions I made for the
search industry to determine whether I’m a “Nostradamus” or a “NoSuchLuckus”.
were my personal predictions for 2002:
in Pay For Performance (PFP) Options
first prediction for the year 2002 related to pay for performance options: “I
see this trend increasing, with the major engines and directories expanding on
the range of PFP options they provide, whether in-house or outsourced”.
like I was right on the money with this one. By the end of 2002, all but one of
the major search engines and directories had a pay for performance option
available. Paid inclusion services in particular proved to be a popular addition
to search engines in 2002, with Lycos, FAST / AllTheWeb and Ask
Jeeves / Teoma each introducing a paid inclusion product for the first time.
Pay per click services also gained in popularity in 2002, with Google
introducing their AdWords Select Pay Per Click product in February 2002
(that recently!) and Overture spreading their market reach via major
partnerships with AOL Europe in January, MSN in February and
September, InfoSeek in March, Yahoo in April, CNET and AltaVista
in May, Lycos Europe in June, Yahoo Japan in November, CNN
and Freeserve in December.
popularity of Google’s AdWords grew quickly throughout the year, with AdWords
becoming a major competitor to Overture, helped along by new
partnerships with Earthlink in February, AOL in May, Ask Jeeves
/ Teoma and AT&T in July, InfoSpace in September and Yahoo
Japan in November. In fact, AdWords became such a threat to Overture
that they filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Google in
April 2002. I believe the outcome is still pending on that one. Smaller PPC
engines began to gain more market share in 2002, with eSpotting, FindWhat,
Kanoodle and Ah-Ha each finding a market niche.
who could forget LookSmart’s disastrous entry to the realm of pay per
click in April 2002? The
deceptive nature of LookSmart’s announcement and their decision to
force existing Express Directory Submission customers to rollover into the new
PPC system instead of “grandfathering” their listings demonstrated a
complete lack of market understanding and for some, forever etched the LookSmart
brand with the word “untrustworthy”. It seems LookSmart are still
paying for their mistake months later, with a reduced market share and a
predicted, search engine optimizers have had to embrace this trend towards Pay
for Performance and integrate it within their traditional site optimization
services in order to offer clients balanced, measurable and successful search
engine marketing campaigns. As a result, the term SEO has become increasingly
eroded by the more logical term SEM (Search Engine Marketer).
in Paid Submissions
original article predicted: “I believe we’ll see other engines and
a fee for submission to their commercial categories. I think Google could be the
the fairly new JoeAnt and GoGuides directories both introduced
paid submission services late in 2002, they don’t really counteract the fact
that LookSmart dropped their directory submission option in favor of PPC
and (thankfully), Google have refrained from introducing a Paid
Submission service. So much for THAT prediction!
prediction here was: “With engines like Google leading the way in the
crackdown on search engine spammers, other engines should follow suit in 2002.
As a result, there should be far less spammers and more relevant results across
the search engines by this time next year.”
search engines have indeed followed Google’s lead against spam in 2002,
by introducing more sophisticated search algorithms, (such as AltaVista’s
revamped algorithm consisting of 100+ ranking determining factors), by
incorporating more spam filtration methods (such as those capable of detecting
invisible text and hidden links), by providing spam reporting facilities and by
boosting site relevancy factors such as link popularity when measuring sites
against search queries.
still leads the War Against Spam, with their dreaded PageRank site
penalty scheme and their crystal clear anti-spam stance publicized via their Webmaster
Guidelines. The result has been a victory for searchers – more relevant
searches, less bacon and ham. Even those search engines and directories renowned
for providing irrelevant results recognized what Google had known for
years: the need to keep searchers satisfied. Yahoo in particular got back
to basics by the end of 2002, partnering with Google to combine Google
search results with their own directory listings instead of serving them up
of the SEO Industry
then I said: “With the importance of search engines finally sinking in, the
need for quality SEO services is booming in the U.S. and the U.K. I predict this
solid demand will continue in 2002, especially in newly developing markets such
as Australia/New Zealand and Europe”.
longer a niche market, SEO/SEM has indeed become mainstream over the past 12
months and is now recognized as a vital part of the marketing mix in both the
U.S. and the U.K. Thankfully, search engine marketing has also become
increasingly in demand in European, Asian and Australasian markets with scores
of new specialist SEM firms springing up regularly and more media coverage than
of Two Majors
prediction here read: “I think 2002 will signal the demise for at least two
of the major search engines and directories”.
2002 we said goodbye to industry veterans Excite
and Northern Light. Excite
ceased to be a major player in January 2002, when new owners InfoSpace
replaced Excite’s search database listings with a mixture of Overture
paid results and Inktomi search results. Excite UK shut their doors
around the same time. These days the Excite portal still exists, but
nobody searches there anymore. Perhaps it’s because Excite now uses a
mixture of regular and PPC listings from Google, LookSmart, Inktomi, Ask
Jeeves, About, Overture, FindWhat and FAST, with no disclaimers to
help searchers identify which are paid results.
January 2002, Northern Light closed its public search service. A week
later, Divine, inc., a provider of content management and delivery
solutions for enterprise customers, bought the search site. In a separate deal
at the same time, Yahoo partnered with Divine to make Northern
Light's Special Collection documents available in a new service called Yahoo
Premium Documents Search.
we could say that HotBot
also “died” in 2002, given it lost its own search database and became a META
search engine in December to display search results from search
FAST, Google, Inktomi and Teoma under
the ownership of Terra Lycos.
or More Major Partnerships
prediction was: “I
see some major rivals combining in 2002, just to stay alive. I also see some
more major partnerships between online and offline firms”.
Yahoo deal with Google in October 2002 to provide combined search
listings and Yahoo’s purchase announcement of Inktomi in
December 2002 spring to mind here. So do the many partnerships between Google
and search rivals Ask Jeeves / Teoma, AOL and InfoSpace for the
provision of AdWords paid listings (as listed in 1. above) in 2002 and
the expansion of Overture via partnerships with various search engines,
directories and portals worldwide.
not forget the Lycos / FAST deal for paid inclusion services either. Yahoo’s
2002 move into the ISP market and Ask Jeeves’ provision of an
offline “butler service” are relevant to the latter half of this prediction.
away from In-House to Outsourced Services
original article predicted: “As
search engine optimization becomes even more complex and time consuming in 2002,
more businesses will realize SEO is a full-time job and not something their
marketing or IT staff can do ‘on the side’.”
year ago, if you had gone to a major employment site such as careerbuilder.com
or monster.com and conducted a search for
“search engine optimization”, you would have been hard-pressed to
find many jobs in this field. Do a search today and you’d be amazed at the
increase in demand for SEO specialists - just as predicted.
prediction was: “With consumer watchdogs keeping a close eye,
developing industry standards and ethics, as well as the crackdown on spammers
sure to continue, the SEO industry is sure to experience a major shake-up next
year, with only the most successful and ethical SEO’s left still standing.”
could say that 2002 gave rise to the ethical SEO. A line in the sand was drawn
between so-called “ethical” search engine optimizers and marketers (SEM’s)
and “unethical” search engine optimization firms, nicknamed “Search engine
deceivers” (SED’s) by some. A number of long-time SED’s found themselves
permanently banned for search engine spamming by Google in 2002, to the sheer delight of
many in the industry. As more search engines introduced or tightened their anti-spam
filters in 2002, many shady SEO cowboys were forced to pack up shop as they
realized their spam techniques were no longer effective.
unprecedented decision to publish their definition
"ethical" search engine optimization on their Webmaster Guidelines
page forced many search engine marketing firms to rethink their SEO techniques.
It was also the start of what many believe is a new era in the industry, where
search engines and professional SEO's start to communicate openly, creating an
information exchange for the possible development of an industry-wide set of
acceptable search engine optimization standards.
final prediction read: “I’m sure there will be some significant
technological developments in 2002 that will impact the search engine industry
and make us all head for the forums and chat rooms in a panic.”
enough, developments such as Google News, Gator, LookSmart LookListings, the
SEO Consultants Directory, Overture’s Auto-Bidding Tool, Froogle, Wireless
Search, TopText, Link Loader, MPZ Format, the Chinese Government’s ban on Google
and Search King’s PR Ad Network resulted in some frantic forum activity
none of these compare to the storm in a teacup caused by a little green bar.
Yep, Google Page Rank™
my vote for the most talked about technology in search for 2002.
with a final score of eight out of nine, it looks like I’m ninety percent
Nostradamus after all (-: .
The above article may be
re-published as long as the content remains unchanged and the following
paragraph is included at the end of the article, including the URL links:
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia and New Zealand, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.
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