The search engine landscape has undergone some incredible changes in recent years; not only in the refinement of technology, but also in various partnerships between search companies.
You may be running your queries on search engine X, but who is actually supplying the results? It may be another company altogether!
So who is feeding whom? The following is a breakdown current as at August 2005 of various search companies and their relationships with other engines.
Provides primary search results to Yahoo Search, Alta Vista and AllTheWeb. Receives paid listings from Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture)
Provides primary search results to Google AOL Search and Netscape. Supplies paid listings to Lycos, Ask Jeeves, Teoma, Netscape, AOL Search and HotBot. Supplies secondary search results to HotBot. Receives directory data from DMOZ.
Receives directory search results from DMOZ, primary search results from Ask Jeeves and paid listings from Google Adwords.
Receives directory search results from DMOZ, primary search results from Ask Jeeves, paid search and secondary results from Google Adwords.
Receives primary and paid search results from Google, plus directory results from DMOZ.
Provides primary search results to Ask Jeeves, Hotbot and Lycos. Receives secondary search results from Teoma and directory results from DMOZ. Receives paid listings from Google Adwords. Rumor has it that Ask Jeeves is currently developing their own PPC platform.
Provides directory results to Lycos, Hotbot, AOL Search, Google, Teoma and Netscape, plus thousands of other less well known directories and engines.
Provides primary search results to Teoma, secondary results to Ask Jeeves. Receives directory results from DMOZ and paid listings from Google Adwords.
Receives primary and paid results from Google and directory results from DMOZ.
Receives primary search results from Yahoo and paid listings from Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture)
Receives directory and primary search results from Yahoo and paid listings from Yahoo Search Marketing
Supplies primary search results to MSN Search. Receives paid listings from Yahoo Search Marketing. Note: MSN is launching its own PPC program in France and Singapore sometime later this year, but as far as I know, no announcement has yet been made for rollout on a global basis.
All rather confusing isn't it? If you're a more visual person, check out the great Search Engine Relationships Chart TM provided by Bruce Clay.
Given the above, you can see why it's crucial to gain decent rankings in Google and Yahoo, and also a listing in DMOZ. It's not just the traffic from the originating source you can benefit from, but also their partners whom they provide data to. Also, don't underestimate the value of a good MSN Search ranking. MSN has only relatively recently started it's real push for increasing it's share of the search market - I'm expecting big things from them in the future.
If you're just starting out in search engine optimization, read my beginners guide to search engine optimization for tips and submission URL's.
Further learning resources
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