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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Google Annual Report at SEC Online

Google Annual Report at SEC available for public review. Here's a link to the Securities and Exchange Commission web site showing Googles Annual Report with details about many things that aren't publicly discussed. Interesting reading!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Google Press Center: Press Release

Google Press Center: Press Release

Google Agrees To Acquire Urchin

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - March 28, 2005 - Google Inc. today announced it has agreed to acquire Urchin Software Corporation, a San Diego, California based web analytics company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Urchin is a web site analytics solution used by web site owners and marketers to better understand their users' experiences, optimize content and track marketing performance. Urchin tools are available as a hosted service, a software product and through large web hosting providers. These products are used by thousands of popular sites on the Internet.

Google plans to make these tools available to web site owners and marketers to better enable them to increase their advertising return on investment and make their web sites more effective.

"We want to provide web site owners and marketers with the information they need to optimize their users' experience and generate a higher return-on-investment from their advertising spending," said Jonathan Rosenberg, vice president of product management, Google. "This technology will be a valuable addition to Google's suite of advertising and publishing products."

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions. Google anticipates that the acquisition will close before the end of April.

About Google Inc.

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program, which is the largest and fastest growing in the industry, provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit


Google is a registered trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names
may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

Media Contact:

Michael Mayzel

Google Inc.

+1 650-623-4565

Thursday, March 17, 2005

MSN Previews PPC Advertising Platform

MSN to Preview Prototype Advertising Platform This headline is linked directly from the Microsoft web site press release announcing the sixth annual "MSN® Strategic Account Summit" and mentions that "MSN remains committed to working with Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture) and will continue to collaborate with it to offer high-quality search listings to advertisers." HMMMM, does that mean they have created a new advertising vehicle that will go nowhere? I doubt it. It just means they intend to be in "Beta" on the new PPC platform for some time, I'm sure.

They are testing this "product" by rolling it out "within the next six months in Singapore and France to gather customer feedback." Well they promise some ability to target to specific demographics, so that will be something that isn't done right now by Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing (Formerly Overture). I imagine this one line will set Yahoo Search Marketing to hurry up and buy somebody who can make that possible, and Google to release something they have been working on already. ;-)

Go get 'em Google!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Referred Traffic From Searches All That Matters!

It seems I now do this rant every single year when traffic statistics are discussed in the web industry news. Last week I posted (7 days before the Bill Platt article below this post) that referred traffic numbers are the only statistic that webmasters should be concerned about when looking at their search engine rank. I wrote about it last year as well.

In last years article, I suggested to Micorsoft as they developed their own search technology that MSN search might consider resisting the urge to keep searchers on their site by plastering both PPC and "Sponsored Sites" above and below search results. Google displays two "Sponsored Links" above organic results and none below, along with Adwords ads along the right column.

Well now that MSN search has made its official debut, we can see that they put three "Sponsored Sites" links both above AND below their organic search results, along with those Overture (Soon to be Yahoo Branded) PPC ads along the right side of the page. Not bad visually, but it appears to be keeping visitors on the MSN search site because they simply are NOT clicking through to highly ranked sites according to closely watched traffic statistics of several sites I monitor for clients.

Zippo, NONE are coming from MSN Search even though we are better ranked in several important search phrases for client sites at MSN that at Google! This is serious and it's a problem that we must resolve. "Searches performed" statistics, like those exhaustively researched by Bill Platt in the article following this post below, are absolutely meaningless if searchers don't click through to top ranking sites! What does this mean?

Even though I write a similar article each year, discuss this topic on large discussion lists and mention it regularly right here in Reality SEO blog, I have yet to get honest answers from search engine representatives at Yahoo or MSN. I did get a couple of Yahoo Search managers to admit that more visitors stay on the Yahoo site and continue to either PPC ads or to other Yahoo links because "There is more of value to the searcher at Yahoo." What is of more value to a searcher than relevant search results?

I gave those Yahoo's access to my traffic statistics and those of clients so they could see that nearly 70% of my traffic and that of clients was coming from Google - EVEN WHEN THOSE SAME SITES RANKED HIGHLY IN SEARCHES AT YAHOO! No comment and no explanations about why, when they generate huge numbers of search queries, that far fewer visitors click through from Yahoo search results than do from Google search results.

One must assume that someone searching for something visits at least a few of the sites that appear in the list of results, no?

Yahoo and MSN Search are both failing to send referred search traffic to sites ranked highly in their search results. Why?

The Day the Internet Search Engines Stopped Growing!

Copyright © 2005 Bill Platt
TechCentral Publishing

A fascinating thing happened today on the way to this article. The story here was not planned, rather it was discovered.

An amazing and bizarre event seems to have happened in January and February of 2003. In those early months of 2003, the major search engines stopped growing, and few people seem to even care.


After an exhaustive five hour search running the best and brightest spider search engines and a host of search key phrases, the most up-to-date numbers I could locate for the "Number of Searches Performed Per Day", or per year for that matter, for any search engine was done by Search Engine Watch in February of 2003. And in that issue, Danny Sullivan the editor of Search Engine Watch had his numbers authoritatively from the powers-that-be at each search engine company.

The global February 2003 "Searches Per Day" numbers for all of the listed search engines added up 625 million. For just the United States, the numbers from January 2003 totaled 319 million searches per day.
SearchEngineWatch Figures

Apparently, I am not alone in the discovery that current numbers just are not available. Every reference to "Searches Per Day" that I was able to turn up pointed back to the February 2003 numbers, or the numbers of a previous month.

I did find a few people lamenting the fact that up-to-date numbers were not available, but these people were few and far between.

I was at a loss. Never before, when I undertook to find specific information on the web, have I ever come up empty handed! I am still stunned.


Still interested in the state of internet searching, I devised a plan to discover up-to-date numbers that I could use to better understand the value of the search engines in my daily marketing activities.

Thank God for the Wayback Machine, Alexa and Google!


I know it might seem that I am just throwing numbers out there for you to read, but the following numbers will come in handy to help you to understand my methodologies and calculations.


Internet World Stats shows that as of 2005 that there are more than 817 million people online, with 218 million of those people being from North America.
Internet World Stats

The same site showed 607 million global users in 2003, 25% fewer users than in 2005.
Internet World Stats

I will now turn to Alexa statistics are notoriously skewed, even by Alexa's own admission. Let's face it, Alexa only divines their results from the people who use the Alexa toolbar. And, the people who use the Alexa toolbar are primarily marketers and webmasters. shows that there are currently 49 million domains registered world-wide.

In 2001, ZookNIC stated that the five largest domain name holders possess 8.7% of all registered domains. That value probably has not moved downward over the last two years.

So, roughly 4.2 million domains are held by five companies! This leaves 45 million domains held by all but five companies. Given the number of people whom I know that possess an average of 5 domains each (I own nearly 20 myself), I would like to take that number down further to an estimate of 30 million domain name holders for these 45 million domains.

To spin this another way, I might just be onto something. Alexa has had just over 10 million people download their toolbar. And figuring further that less than 1/3rd of the webmasters would even know what Alexa is, that too would put the number of webmasters at about 30 million people.

With 30 million webmasters and 817 million users, the ratio would indicate that 3.6% of the total internet users are webmasters.


Interestingly, Yahoo's claims that they had only 1.9 billion page views per day in March of 2003 and 2.4 billion page views per day since March of 2004.

Yahoo's Figures

Alexa shows that Yahoo! has been receiving visits from 300,000 unique individuals online, for every million internet users consistently for the last two years. Alexa also shows that Yahoo! has consistently been serving 12.9 page views per user over the same time period.

With 817 million people currently online, Yahoo! is knocking down 245 million users a day. So, the Alexa numbers would seem to indicate that Yahoo! is pulling more than 3.1 billion page views per day, JUST from the Alexa userbase in 2005. The same indicators would put Yahoo! page views at 2.3 billion page views per day in 2003.

Alexa Traffic for Yahoo

We have already determined that roughly only 3.6% of the internet's userbase is using the Alexa software! Granted, Alexa's userbase is much more active than the rest of the internet's users, but it appears that Yahoo! is expecting us to believe that Alexa users are Yahoo's only users.


For most of the past two years, Google has been serving 13 thousand Alexa users for every million users. This breaks down to 7.7 million visitors a day. And, over the last six months, Google has edged upwards to 18 thousand per million, or roughly 14.7 million visitors per day. And once again, Alexa only tabulates the activity of 3.6% of the full range of internet users.

We also know from Alexa's Google analysis that the average number of page views per user is 5.2, and we also know that the first page view at Google is not a search. Therefore, we can safely assume that the average Google user does 4.2 search queries. This carries on to show that Google does an average of 62 million queries a day from Alexa users alone.


Since Alexa users only account for 3.6% of the total internet userbase, and these people are among the most active people on the internet, we might assume that they account for a disproportionately high number of the actual "Searches Per Day" served.

As the worst case scenario for our search engine friends, let us take the Alexa values and multiply the numbers by 15. This would assume that Alexa users account for 54% of all search queries done.

And then we will take the same numbers and multiply them by 27 (100 divided by 3.6 and rounded down) --- the best case scenario which is that Alexa is completely and totally representative of the real-world internet.


In February of 2005, Nielsen/NetRatings suggested that Google delivers 47% of all search engine queries, and Yahoo! delivers 21% of the queries.

47% goes into 100% roughly 2.13 times. I will use the 2.13 number to calculate the total number of searches globally served, based on the Google search query numbers which I believe to be very close to accurate.


- Google's WORST Case Scenario -

* 62 million Alexa queries times 15 = 930 million queries daily

- Google's BEST Case Scenario -

* 62 million Alexa queries times 27 = 1.67 billion queries daily

- Global Search Queries WORST Case Scenario -

* Estimated Google Queries ~ 930 million times 2.13 = 2.139 billion total estimated queries daily

- Global Search Queries BEST Case Scenario -

* Estimated Google Queries ~ 1.67 billion times 2.13 = 3.557 billion total estimated queries daily

- Yahoo's WORST Case Scenario -

* 2.139 billion total estimated queries daily times 21% market share = 449 million estimated Yahoo queries daily

* 3.1 billion page views times 15 = 46.5 billion daily page views

- Yahoo's BEST Case Scenario -

* 3.557 billion total estimated queries daily times 21% market share = 747 million estimated Yahoo queries daily

* 3.1 billion page views times 27 = 83.7 billion daily page views

It has been noted quite frequently in the past months that the new roll-out of Yahoo! Search is making big waves in the actual search results served by Yahoo. While this may be true, their overall page views have not changed that much over the last two years. So, it would seem that Yahoo! is actually succeeding only to cannibalize their own page views.


If you can trust my methodologies and the resources that I have uncovered, then you can trust that after a long two year silence that we finally have some reputable "Searches Per Day" numbers that we can actually believe in.

If you wish to comment on any of my methodologies or calculations, then please feel free to visit my website and use my contact page to reach me.

Through his article distribution services, Bill Platt specializesin getting your articles to 12,000+ publishers & webmasters eagerfor content. The Phantom Writers 1280+ articles archived

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Search Traffic Referred Most Important Statistics

I've been pouring over web stats for a half dozen clients looking for traffic from MSN and it is missing in action. Even though these sites rank well for targeted terms for my clients - MSN is not delivering the traffic at all.

This has always been an issue for SEO's and their clients and we are puzzling this one over, looking for results from those top rankings at both Yahoo and MSN as they seem to retain the searchers no matter how well we rank the sites!

Yahoo has dropped dramatically, with referred traffic that used to amount to over 5% of the visitors to client sites, it has dropped as low as 1.5% of total referred traffic from search engines. After a recent increase in referred traffic from Yahoo search, we were hopeful it would stay high, but it wasn't to be. Rankings haven't declined, just the referred traffic!

Google has gone up in referrals from foreign countries, including foreign language sites. We used to see tiny amounts of traffic trickle in from non-English language countries, but Google Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Mexico and a dozen other country specific Googles have combined to send more non-English referred traffic than the total coming from (English) Yahoo Search!

The search world is getting very odd when great rankings at Yahoo and MSN don't equal referred traffic. This has always been the case to a degree, but is getting extreme and very disturbing. Google has always sent more traffic, with as much as 85% of referred search traffic coming from English Speaking Google variants in US, Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia, and UK sending more traffic than the US Yahoo or MSN.

What is the value of top rankings in MSN and Yahoo if those top positions don't bring traffic?

Mike Banks Valentine
Ethical Search Engine Optimization Specialist