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The Search Light Newsletter - Vol. 2 Issue #1


                THE SEARCH LIGHT

          Guiding your web site to the

            top of the search engines...


17 January 2002                        Vol. 2 Issue # 1       

Editor : Kalena Jordan, CEO, Web Rank Ltd


 Welcome to the "THE SEARCH LIGHT".

 You are receiving this monthly newsletter because you
 are one of our clients, you've subscribed, requested
 a free ranking report or quotation via our site, sent us
 an FAQ or someone has forwarded it to you.
 UNSUBSCRIBE instructions are at the end of this
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 If you like this newsletter, please forward a copy of it to any
 friend or colleague who is responsible for a web site and
 would like to improve their ranking in the search engines.


    =>  Editor’s Message
    =>  Sponsorship Notice
    =>  Feature Article – PPC Bid Management Software Showdown
    =>  Industry News – Yahoo! Introduce Annual Submission Fees
New Version of SEO Buyer’s Guide Released
                                  Overture Results Now on Excite & MSN
    =>  Search Engine FAQ's – Can Engines Index Cgi-Bin Content?
    =>  Site Spotlight – Web Rank Partner Opportunity
=>  Subscribe / Unsubscribe information


Happy New Year readers!

Well, the year is barely upon us and already the search engines have
us on our toes. Yahoo has introduced a controversial (and confusing)
new annual fee, Excite & MSN have become the latest of Overture’s
conquests and PPC (pay-per-click) is the new trend in SEO campaigns.

While looking for some software to manage PPC campaigns for some
of Web Rank’s own clients, I gathered a lot of information and free trials
that I thought Search Light readers might find useful. So this month’s
article is a review and features showdown between the major players
in the Bid Management software industry – the good, the bad and the
downright unattractive. Enjoy!

Till next month,

Kalena J


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PPC Bid Management Software Showdown
            by Kalena Jordan

If you’ve been reading this newsletter regularly, you’ll know that Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
is a fast growing trend in the search engine industry. Nearly all of the major search
engines and directories have now integrated one type of PPC or another into their
search results. At the moment (formerly GoTo) is the clear leader in
the PPC field, with an estimated 90% of the total PPC search market. But others
such as FindWhat, Kanoodle and eSpotting are slowly catching on.

Overture currently has partnerships in place with Yahoo, AOL, AV, Lycos, Netscape,
InfoSpace, MSN and Excite. People bid to purchase keywords from Overture and the
top 2 or 3 bids (called Premium Listings) appear on their partner sites when searches
are conducted for those keywords. Most of the time, Overture results appear above
regular search results as “sponsored matches”, so you can see how effective this type
of campaign can be when used to draw targeted traffic to a web site. Whenever a
viewer clicks on a sponsored listing, they are taken to the advertiser’s site and the
advertiser is charged for the click at the rate determined by their bid on Overture.

The main drawbacks to advertising on PPC engines to date have been:  

a)       The quick exhaustion of funds due to large traffic volume

b)       The time consuming nature of bid rank analysis for multiple keywords

c)       The impact of bid gaps on cost-effectiveness (when your bid is more
than it needs to be to maintain your target rank).

When you are managing PPC campaigns for hundreds of keyword sets for multiple
client sites, these problems are compounded. Fortunately, software has sprung up
to help people manage their PPC campaigns and automate the bidding process.

We have reviewed eight of these Bid Management Software programs in our effort
to find the one right for our client campaigns and thought we’d share the results
with our loyal newsletter subscribers:  

(Please note a more detailed version of this article, including a Software Features Chart can
be viewed at our site here:

1.       Tangare’s Pay Per Click Maximiser    

The Pay Per Click Maximiser is a great product. A downloadable desktop program,
no monthly fees, plenty of keywords and a good price for the Standard edition (USD
$199 for 500 keywords). It supports FindWhat, Kanoodle and eSpotting in conjunction
with Overture US & UK and allows the user to determine the bid update frequency.
Other notable features include the ability to export reports to Excel, HTML and email.

My only real problem with this program is the Interface, which tends to be confusing,
(all that gray on gray) and not very intuitive. There is a help menu, but on first launch,
it is not clear where to start or how to launch a new project. The “manage search
terms” tab is also a little user unfriendly, but once you study the help menu to determine
how to set your rank targets and bid limits, you’re off and running. Their free trial download
simulates the bid optimization process, but is otherwise fully functional. Score 8/10

2.       Click Patrol

Click Patrol claim to be the largest provider of automated Pay-Per-Click bid management
services, but I can’t see any redeeming features that differentiate the service from other
providers. For starters, it is Internet based, so if you are security conscious, you may not
like the idea of handing over your Overture account login details to a third party provider.
Then there are the monthly fees, which are the most expensive of all programs reviewed,
ranging from $100 to $500, with an extra fee per keyword if you want your bids checked
more often than every 24 hours. See the
Features Chart for details. They do support seven
of the major PPC engines and I hear their “Auto Position” feature works well to close price
gaps, but there is no free trial of their system that I could find, only case studies and a
screen capture. Score 5/10

3.       Gapster

With the release of their freeware bid optimization tool Gapster, Did-it had an opportunity
to win hearts and capitalize on a thankful market. It sure sounded promising: free automatic
bid monitoring & updating for 200 keywords on Overture US & UK, FindWhat and Kanoodle.
Unfortunately, they chose to abuse the privacy of their customers and win enemies for their
trouble. As reported by Danny Sullivan in his latest Search Engine Update newsletter, beta
users of Gapster allegedly had their Overture account login details published on the Internet
last month, care of one of Did-it’s own servers. The security breach was quickly corrected,
but the damage to Did-It’s reputation was already done. Mindful of this first impression clouding my judgment, I tried to download the beta version to verify the product itself and give them the benefit of the doubt. But at time of writing the download was unavailable due to the software undergoing an update. Let’s hope their updating their security protocols. Score 0/10

4.       Save Per Click

Another Internet based program, Save Per Click supports more PPC engines than any of the other products we reviewed, Nine in total, including some I’ve never heard of. They offer a free 7day trial, but you need to have an account already in place at one of the supported PPC engines. This is a fairly straightforward program, but my major gripe is price and the inability to pre-determine bid update frequency, although you CAN choose time of day. The monthly fee ranges from $19.95 to $89.95 for the Standard edition (updates once a day) and $59.95 to $199.95 for the Pro edition (updates once an hour). Price range is determined by number of keywords. See the Features Chart for details. Score 6/10

5.       Auto Pilot  

Probably the pick of the Internet based programs, Manage Bid’s Auto Pilot software was the only one reviewed that provided unlimited keywords. The hitch is that each keyword will cost you 0.25 USD a month to monitor, with a minimum spend of $25 per domain, per month. Bid updates are done every 24 hours and the program provides support for eight PPC engines (some obscure). There is also an Economy Mode for the penny pinchers, at 0.10 USD per keyword, with a minimum spend of $10 per domain, per month. But economizers must update their bids manually – see the Features Chart for details. 
Score 7/10

6.       PPC Professional

Now this one has real potential. You have the choice of purchasing a lifetime version or a
monthly subscription and you also have the flexibility of determining how often your bids are
checked and updated. Keywords supported range from 50 to 5,000+ with costs staggered
from $89 or $12 per month for 50 keywords to $999 or $100 per month for 5000+ keywords
(see the
Features Chart for detailed pricing). With a “Smart Bid” feature to ensure your bids
are cost-effective and the ability to import keywords straight from Overture, this new product
has many features the bigger names don’t. You can print reports or email them directly to
customers and the developers claim to keep your login and account info secure. It also
supports unlimited Overture accounts for those of you with multiple clients. Currently the
software only supports, but a new release planned shortly will support other
engines and include new features. The 10 day, 10 keyword trial version has a few bugs to be ironed out and the interface isn’t as intuitive as others, but definitely one to watch. Score 7/10

7.       Position Guardian

Not the most feature-packed product, Position Guardian (Premium) is an Internet based bid
monitoring and gap analysis tool that automates the process of checking your bids on Overture and sends you daily notification of bid gaps. Unlike the other products reviewed, Position Guardian does not include automated bid updating, you have to manually change the bids yourself by logging in to your Overture account. Sure it’s cheaper than some, with prices ranging from $7.95 to $57.95 per month depending on keyword numbers, but it still seems like a lot to pay for less than half the work (see the
Features Chart for detailed pricing). In their defense, they do provide a free online version that allows you to manually check for bid gaps one keyword at a time – handy if you’re worried about that all important keyword. Score 4/10

8.       BidRight

We have a winner! BidRight was very hard to fault. A downloadable desktop program, no monthly fees, generous keyword limits and a very competitive price for their new release Pro edition (USD $199 for 500 keywords). See the Features Chart for more pricing options. Version 2 supports FindWhat, Kanoodle and eSpotting in conjunction with Overture US & UK and allows the user to determine the bid update frequency from every 60 seconds to every 24 hours. Their interface follows the WYSISYG principle and it was the easiest of all the software to install and start using.

Particularly impressive is the “Gap Surfing” tool that finds the most cost-effective position from a range of ranks that you predetermine. So if you wanted to remain in the top 5 positions, you choose #1 as your target rank and enable gap surfing with a range of 4. BidRight will find the largest price gap in the top 5 and slot your bid in there automatically whenever it is scheduled to update, preventing you from overbidding and saving you lots of money in the process. Other new features include the ability to export reports in CSV format, a drop back rank feature when maximum bid has been reached. Combine all this with the ability to customize the update frequency for your most important keywords and you have a very powerful tool that becomes a must for managing any PPC campaign. You can download a fully functioning 15 day demo, with the only disadvantage a five keyword limit. Score 9/10

Well BidRight was the ultimate winner of our Showdown and I was so impressed with the product that I immediately signed up to become an affiliate! If you would like to buy BidRight, you may like to use our affiliate link: Be sure to mention Coupon Code WR 007 to obtain a 5% discount (we do get a commission if you use our link, so if that
bothers you, feel free to use the general link above). Remember you can view the Features Chart for all the software reviewed from the longer version of this article located at our site:

If you are in the market for any kind of Bid Management Software, you may want to keep an eye on current talk about the implications of such software on server load at Overture. Apparently Overture are considering restricting access to their servers from persons using bid management software because the server load is becoming too great. They may block access from certain IP addresses that abuse the system or they may restrict access by software. To reduce the impact on search engine servers, you should use your bid management software responsibly, restricting bid checking to every few hours or daily rather than every few minutes. However Overture decide to handle this issue, we’ll keep you updated with developments. 



The above article may be re-published as long as the following paragraph
and URL link are included at the end of the article: 

Kalena Jordan, CEO of Web Rank Ltd, was among the first
search engine optimization experts in Australasia and is
well known and respected in her field. For more of her tips
on search engine ranking and online marketing, please visit:


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Yahoo! Introduce Annual Submission Fees

Just when we thought Yahoo! couldn’t surprise us any more, they have introduced a
new recurring annual fee for Express Submission to commercial categories. The price
is the same as initial Express submission: US $299 (or US $600 for adult sites), but the
fee is now payable PER YEAR. Sites already included in the index on or before 28th
December 2001 are spared the annual fee. Sites submitted after that date are subject to
additional review each year and (assuming the site passes review), the new fee is
automatically deducted annually from the credit card used when first submitting.

Revealed quietly, with just 24 hours notice, the new fees created plenty of initial controversy
and confusion, particularly over the automatic renewal system, which is poorly explained in
Yahoo’s Express Service Agreement. Clarification from Yahoo! Billing states:

After you submit your site, you will receive an email from Yahoo! that will include an order
ID for your submission. Please use the order ID as a reference for billing-related questions
only, and contact our Customer Care department at to have
your credit card information updated.
You will receive a renewal email 30 days before the
recurring annual charge to your contact email address on file”. 

Also, if the agreement is cancelled at least five business days before the due date, there
will supposedly be no additional annual fee. But for SEO’s who normally use their own
credit cards for their client’s Yahoo! submissions, but don’t want bulk automatic debits
from their credit cards each year, this new system creates a billing headache.

Personally, I think the new fee is a little exorbitant, particularly for smaller companies that
may have scrimped and saved for their initial submission, only to be faced with the prospect
of annual payment. You would think that a fairer pricing structure would have been a high
initial cost, with a smaller recurring fee (say US $100 a year).

So why introduce an annual fee? The following reasons are being suggested at various forums:

1)       They are cash-strapped and desperate to raise capital. This is doubtful, given their
concrete market share, but don’t forget they partnered with Overture last month in
another bid to raise funds quickly. Perhaps cash-hungry would be more apt.

2)       They’ve realized their index is cluttered with spam and are attempting to weed out
the serious sites from the clutter.
Possibly, but spammy sites have been in their index
forever – it would be strange if Yahoo! suddenly grew a conscience about this issue.
Besides, many spammy sites have deep pockets and could afford the new fee.

3)       They have researched their market VERY thoroughly and believe the cost is justified
by their continued market share and perceived return-on-investment for customers.

This seems logical. It’s probably no coincidence that the day before the new fees were
announced, Yahoo! and ACNielsen issued a joint press release regarding growing
consumer confidence in e-commerce and wider acceptance of online transactions.

4)       They are changing their business model to an advertising focus. Most likely. Danny
Sullivan of Search Engine Watch has likened Yahoo’s new fee model to that of the
Yellow Pages – an annual advertising space, with fees to match. It certainly bears
all the same hallmarks of a display ad contract, with the addition of an annual
editorial review. When viewed in these terms, the price is almost justifiable.

Whatever their reasoning, Yahoo! is likely to make a small fortune out of the new fee standard.
Sure there will be plenty of small companies that simply cannot afford the annual payment, but
it is unlikely to affect the majority of companies that will simply increase their marketing budgets to cover it. Love them or hate them, Yahoo! continues to dominate the search market and we continue to fork out the money for our little slice of that market.  


New Version of SEO Buyer’s Guide Released

Marketing Sherpa’s insightful Buyer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization and Positioning
has been updated to include rating information on 17 UK firms to accompany the 26 US
based search engine optimization firms originally reviewed. For those unfamiliar with the Guide,
it is basically a detailed comparison of SEO firms, rated from A+ to F according to set criteria,
including pricing, methodology, knowledge, best practice and sample rankings.  

Researched by Anthony Muller & Tim Gibbon and published by MarketingSherpa, Inc., the Guide includes an Easy Scan Best Practices Chart and a valuable list of questions you should ask any SEO firm before hiring them. The new version also includes an Executive Overview of SEO and a Best Resources Guide to SEO related sites and tools on the net. The Buyer’s Guide is available as an instant download PDF for US $119. Watch this space for info on the next edition that will include SEO Firms from Canada, Australia (including Web Rank!) and more from the U.S.



Overture Results Now on Excite & MSN

PPC leader (formerly GoTo) spent the holidays tying up deals with Excite &
MSN to provide paid search listings at the top of results on those search portals.

As previewed last month, all searches conducted at now include Overture's
top five search listings at the top of the page, with the remaining results coming from an ODP
feed. For selected terms, it claims, 10 additional Overture search listings are displayed. Although where the search distinction begins between Overture and ODP results is unclear. Some tests we conducted showed Overture results as the top 40 with no sign of ODP. But where they do occur, the ODP results have a link to ODP submission underneath and show up as Directory results.

What is particularly scary is that these Overture listings are not marked as advertising or
“sponsored matches” like on most other engines. On Excite, there is no indication whatsoever
these are paid results as they are simply labelled “search results”, a very misleading practice
in our opinion. What would Ralph Nader make of it?

MSN Search has taken a different approach with their integration of Overture paid listings.
Responsibly labelled as “Sponsored Sites” and distinguished from other results by bullet points,
the top three Overture listings appear above Web Directory results with a little “About” link to
denote their existence as advertising.

However, MSN has taken the Overture integration one step further, by melding their own search
results with Overture’s for particular keyword combinations. For example, type in a search on for “used cars” and you’ll see three of MSN’s “Featured Sites” above
Overture “sponsored sites” on the results page. According to MSN, these “F
eatured Sites” are
links that MSN Search editors believe are likely to be particularly relevant to users, chosen
from sites published by MSN affiliates, partners, sponsors, and advertisers.

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 SEARCH ENGINE FAQ'S : Can Engines Index the Cgi-Bin?

Web Rank answers your search engine questions.
Please submit your FAQ's

From: Mike Bulmer

Apart from our home page, most of our site is made
up of dynamic pages stemming from the cgi-bin. My
question is: can search engines spider the contents
of the cgi-bin?


~~~~~~~~~~ Kalena's Response ~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Mike

I had to turn to my friends in the ihelpyou Forums for
help on this one (
as I wasn’t 100% certain myself! (Thanks to Alan Perkins
and Mazy for advice on this).

The easy answer is: yes, most search engines are capable
of crawling the cgi-bin. But how much of the contents are
crawled depends on the individual search engine and
whether the URL’s are dynamic in nature. Some engines
will not crawl dynamic URL’s containing symbols such as
“?”, as they can cause spider traps (endless code loops).

Both AltaVista and Google can index dynamic content, even
symbol filled URL’s. But for the rest, you are better off
integrating a parameter workaround to remove symbols
from your URL’s, whether they are in the cgi-bin or not.

Hope this helps!


Please submit your FAQ


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Are you in the business of web site design or hosting?
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but have no time or expertise? Are your clients demanding
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Then partner with us! Become a Web Rank Partner,
on-selling our services as part of your own and we’ll give
you all the marketing/sales material you need, plus a
20% discount on all services. Or merely refer clients to
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Email us for more info!


Last month we discussed several important topics including:

- Search Engine Predictions for 2002
Yahoo! & Overture Ignore All but US & Canada
- Looksmart’s New Small Biz Options
- Excite – Wanted Dead or Alive?
- AltaVista To Refresh Country Indices
- How Often to Resubmit?

If you missed these or other key topics, you can find back
issues of The Search Light at:


The information presented in The Search Light has been compiled from
various sources for the benefit of our clients. You should not rely on
the information contained within this newsletter as detailed advice.
No part of this newsletter may be copied without permission from
Web Rank Ltd, the copyright owners 2001.  You may forward this
newsletter, as long as it's kept in its entirety.



Web Rank Ltd, Search Engine Ranking Specialists
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Last Updated: December 19, 2010

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