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December 13, 2007


Jeff W.


Enjoyed the post, but I have a few comments - I don't think people are frustrated with searching, I think they're frustrated results - perhaos the fact that search traffc is increasing is because people are taking a longer time to find exactly what they're looking for?

As a test I like to take either the URL or the title of an article, along with the author and punch it into Google to see what I get and it's usually not a good return, especially when I'm looking for related content to the original article. Technorati and Blogrunner are great are returning related content, but the web search engines aren't.

And as you;ve mentioned before, it's not the serach technology that's the business, but the advertising. If someone created a better advertising model and attached it to their search engine or site I think there'd be a great chance to capture a few % points and make a profit.



I think more people use toolbars. what i will never understand is why popular sites will create a ppc campaign using their domain name even though they come up first every time so whats the point. eBay is guilty as anyone and I bet they waste so much money on this.

christian cadeo

Hey Don,

It is not free advertising actually. If no clicks on the ad, then the QS goes down therefore raising the cost of the ad when someone eventually does click it.

Don Dodge

Thanks for the comments. Jeff, you are right about the ad model...that is what made Google financially successful. Innovations in the ad model could propel another search startup to success.

Andrew, Hmm...you would think advertisers would buy keywords that were not their domain name. If they have already done the SEO so that they come up first in organic search results...it doesn't make much sense.

Christian, Good point. You must be a search guy. Most people wouldn't know what QS is. Google is so clever it is frightening. Thankfully, the Microsoft and Yahoo search people learn very fast.

Jeff W.


What's QS?


Jeff W.


Almost forgot to speak to when you mention "Search engines are better at finding relevant content than the destination sites themselves" - it seems that a majority of a destination sites have Google as their search engine, which you would think allow you to find relevant information quicker

Don Dodge

Jeff, QS stands for Quality Score. It is an algorithm Google uses to measure the quality of your advertisement related to your keyword. They don't just put up the ad that paid the highest CPC. They calculate the expected click through rate to determine which ad will generate the most revenue.

A highly relevant ad might generate more clicks even though they bid less for the keyword in the auction. Google will move that ad up and show it more often as long as it generates lots of clicks...and revenue.

Quality Score is way more complicated than that. You can read more about it here. http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=10215&query=quality+score&topic=&type=f&onClick=

Pretty clever.


I'd like (and do like) to disagree. Search engines are not the start page of the Internet. For me, and I believe many others, feed readers are the start page of the Internet.
Honestly, people must go somewhere first before they know where to go next. And, feed readers do that in a very efficient way.
In a very unscientific way I've seen this. You put someone (my ex-girlfriend for example) in front of a computer with nothing but your search engine of choice, nothing happens. Honestly, I've seen it. It happens to me all the time too. Try it out. Sit someone down and only let them use a search engine. Five, maybe ten minutes of fun that it.
People need things like an online social network or a news feed as a diving board.
I have never found, what I consider to be my best sources on the Net, from a search engine. Will this change? For me, I don't think so. There is something about having a human editor, that has look at and evaluated a site, that I do not believe will be duplicated before a certain button gets pushed.

Sandeep Sharma


Maybe the reason why people type the keywords as mentioned above is just to get url. A lot of people (like me) do not want to remember url and may type in on search engine to locate it. One hears second life somewhere and types in on a search engine to see url or dig out deeper from the same site using search engine. Just a thought.

I do not believe that people would not click on the advertisement if is relevant. Not clicking can also mean: poor advertisement, less relevance or more time for homework.! It definitely reinforces trust on search engine as it is the best way to find contextual advertisement online - till date.


Mike Ford

"Meaning, why would anyone enter these search terms, since in most cases the search term is itself the URL. Why not just type in the URL directly?"

The real reason is less than 50% of web users KNOW the difference between the address bar and the search box. More don't care and enter search terms for speed or convenience.

The top performing keywords for any brand in Google-Yahoo-MSN? Their name and their domain name spelled out-- with and without the "www". User types "amazon.com" into search bar instead of address bar. 3-7% of the time they will click on a paid listing. Amazon pays search engine for the privilege of the users mistake.

To your other point on advertising- Many users don't know the difference between organic and paid listings. Your natural results go up because you own more real estate on the page -- two placements instead of one.

Gord Hotchkiss www.enquiro.com and others have done a few studies regarding the impact of paid listing on organic, too.

Jeff W.


Thanks for the information on QS



Hey! I wuz gonna write that ... :-) Oh, well, now I can use this post as a reference!

Anyway, great post, Don! I wonder if any of your readers has any numbers that suggest that this is happening - the growth of Search Engines as the start page for the Internet.

Kaila Colbin

Great post, Don! Here's a thought that might account for a tiny percentage of searches: people who are looking for information about the topic, rather than the destination site itself. So someone searching for Club Penguin might want to learn about their sale to Disney, or how they got started, or some other bit of meta-information.

There could be as many as seventeen people in this group, so don't underestimate it!

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