Weekly SEO news: 15 November 2005
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at Google's new service Google Analytics. You should think twice before using this service.

In the news: Yahoo releases new features, Google files a patent for a classified ads system and plans a book rental service and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your web site. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Facts of the week: Google Analytics - is it worth its price?
Yesterday, Google released a new service with the name Google Analytics. Google Analytics is basically a rebranded version of Urchin, a web analytics service that Google purchased in March.

What is Google Analytics?

Like other web analytics services, Google Analytics is a service that tells you where visitors to your site are coming from, what links on the site are getting the most traffic, what pages visitors are viewing, how long people stay on the site, which products on merchant sites are being sold and where people give up in multistep checkout processes.

The main difference between Google Analytics and other web analytics services is that Google Analytics is free. In exchange for sharing your data with the company, Google doesn't require you to pay directly for their analytics service.

Should you use Google Analytics or should you stay away from it?

Why is Google Analytics free? Does Google have to give money away? Of course not. Google will find ways to monetize this service. There is no such thing as free lunch. Everything, even what is seemingly free, must be paid for by somebody in some way.

Google already knows a lot of things about you. If you also use their new tracking service, you will tell Google how much you earn, when you earn it, which products you sell, how often you sell them, how much you spend for ads on other sites and you will reveal much more information about your online business.

Ask yourself if you want Google to know that much about you and your company. Do you really want to share your revenue information with a company that also wants your advertising dollars? Do you want to share your revenue information with any other company at all?

Google officials have declined that they will use the data to better understand how much you are willing to pay for ads, based on conversions. They also claim that they do not plan to tap into the data as a means of improving regular search results or to identify bad sites. Nevertheless, these things are easily possible if you use Google Analytics.

Google engineer Matt Cutts even writes in his blog: "Blackhat SEOs may be leery of using Google for analytics, but regular site owners should be reassured." That sounds as if Google might actually use the information for other purposes.

Think twice before using anything that is "free"

While Google's new analytics tool looks great at first glance, you should think twice before using it. The market power of Google can make your business highly dependent on Google if you decide to use all of Google's services. The more Google knows about you, the better they can get your money.

If a company in the real world asked you to tell them everything about your interests, the shops you visit, the magazines you read, your full address, your revenue and a lot of other very detailed and confidential information about you and your company then you probably wouldn't give that information to the company.

When it comes to Google, many people happily reveal information they wouldn't even tell their friends. Be careful.

2. Search engine news of the week

Yahoo ranking algorithm part 5

"We will be making changes to the index tonight. You should see some changes in ranking as well as some shuffling of the pages that are included in the index. This update will be complete by Monday morning."

Yahoo releases Shoposphere

"The Shoposphere and Pick Lists are examples of social commerce. We believe the community of shoppers is one of the best sources for product information and advice. The Shoposphere is a place to discover interesting and cool products thematically arranged into Pick Lists by other shoppers."

Google Automat to spew classifieds?

"Analyst John Zappe discovered the patent application, which includes screen shots for Google Purchases and Classifieds.Google.com, as well as an interface for posting classified ads. [...] They're certainly planning for an all-out assault on classified advertising."

Google might plan a book rental service

"The search giant has approached book publishers to measure interest in a concept to allow consumers to essentially rent books online for a week."

Google now offers print ads

"Google Publication Ads enables you to place ads in print publications, allowing your advertising to reach an audience that's targeted to the demographics and topics you choose."


Search engine newslets

  • Google has registered new domain names: GoogleMagazines.com, GooglePapers.org, GoogleMicrofilm.com, GoogleLibrary.org.
  • Google Personalized Search is no longer beta.
  • Google phishing scam promises a $400 windfall.
  • Shopping search engine Shopzilla has launched in the UK.
  • Google Analytics seems to be very slow.
3. Articles of the week
Reading the Google tea leaves

    "Every time Google comes out with a new product, many people talk about how great it is and highlight the product as a category killer. However, it increasingly appears to me that Google is filling up holes in their offering, in an attempt to match its competitors."

Can Yahoo sign on to Hollywood?

"In the year since the company consolidated its Santa Monica office and began hiring a slew of former Hollywood executives bent on 'convergence,' Yahoo's leaders have sought to downplay the tensions. But the union has sometimes been rocky."

Google: birth of a money machine

"'We are about money and profits,' said Brin, revealing his conversion from strident student to pragmatic company president. 'Banners are not working and click-through rates are falling. I think highly focused ads are the answer.'

One company that caught Brin’s attention, for the simple reason that it seemed to be making money by selling ads to accompany search results, was GoTo.com, later renamed Overture Inc."

Throwing Google at the book

    "Google's new search engine of books puts a world of knowledge at our fingertips. Publishers say the Internet giant is robbing them of their rightful fees. Maybe it's time to call copyright laws history."

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com

4. Recommended resources

Another 5 out of 5 rating for IBP - Get top 10 rankings on Google

Internet Business Promoter (IBP) has received another top rating from a software download site:

"IBP is the multi award winning web site promotion tool that helps you to get more revenue with high search engine rankings in Google, Yahoo and all other major search engines.

The suite of 10 professional website promotion tools includes a search engine submission tool, a search engine ranking checker, a top 10 optimizer and a keyword generator. IBP creates professional reports in PDF, HTML and Microsoft Word format."

If you want to have top 10 rankings on Google, Yahoo, MSN Search and other important search engines, take a look at IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com

5. Previous articles

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com