An important consideration for Google AdWords advertisers is to understand just where their contextual ads might appear. Google notes that AdWords ads can appear on the:
- Google search engine
- Partner search engines (e.g. Aol, Ask.com, Libero / Arianna, Virgilio / Alice)
- Google owned web content sites (e.g. Gmail, Google Groups)
- Third party web content sites (practically any site wishing to display Google ads)
While Google has recently improved information about participants in the Google content network2, it isn’t so easy to find an updated listing of which major generalist portals and pure search engines rely on Google for their organic and paid search results. The following table aims to rectify this, at least for the Italian market.
|Partner||Announced||AdWords||Search Results||Google Search Branding|
|18 luglio 20023||√||Unofficially Ask is powered by Google?||None.|
|7 February 20034||√||√|
|22 January 20035||√||√|
(on their home page); (on web search results)
|5 June 20036||√||√|
|13 October 20047||√||√|
|19998||√||√||None. This was one of Google’s first international agreements – important enough to merit a mention in Google’s corporate history; as such Google probably does not insist on receiving branding recognition.|
Google also supplied search results and ads to Berlusconi‘s Jumpy (now defunct for all intents and purposes) and Kelkoo (purchased in the meantime by Yahoo! which now provides marketing opportunities through Yahoo! Search Marketing).
Gruppo Espresso (Kataweb) briefly flirts with Yahoo! Search Marketing
The web properties belonging to Gruppo Espresso (Kataweb, La Repubblica, L’Espresso) have used both Google and Yahoo! / Yahoo Search Marketing (ex Overture) for natural and paid search results. The relationship with Google began in 2003. In 2006 the Gruppo Espresso sites began a flirt with Yahoo! and Yahoo! Search Marketing9, although they have since returned to Google. Yahoo!’s current promotional material still lists Kataweb as a Yahoo Search Marketing partner10 although this appears to be an oversight.
Why is Google so coy in saying who its search partners are?
Google does a great job organizing much of the world’s information, but is a bit weak when it comes to documenting who it’s current search partners are. Much of Google’s Italian documentation is out of date, referencing defunct portals like Jumpy11 while not mentioning well known sites which include search engines such as Tiscali and Ask.
Early in Google’s history, search agreements with other sites were important news for Google to disseminate. These agreements affirmed Google’s quality and importance as the premier search engine in a market not yet completely consolidated. Today Google has no compelling reason to remind people of other search engines and portals. While these search partner agreements are nice to have, every search performed on Libero or Virgilio is potential revenue lost to Google. Google has to share the ad revenue from partner sites with the search partners instead of pocketing it all as is the case when searches are performed directly on Google.
Difference between “Enhanced by Google” and “Powered by Google”
Most of Google’s search partners will display the Google logo and an identifying Google phrase next to the organic search results. The phrase Powered by Google (Cerca con Google on some Italian sites) is used when Google is the exclusive source of web search results presented on a results page12. Enhanced by Google means search results are derived from Google and other sources. If this is confusing, you are not alone. Libero / Arianna displays Powered by Google on their home page but changes this to Enhanced by Google on search results pages. Oh dear.
What about organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
The key point for natural SEO is that Google is the primary search engine in many markets, both directly and through co-branded arrangements, indirectly. Good ranking for pertinent keywords in Google will pretty much insure good visibility in Google’s search partners. It should be clear at this point that there are very few independent search engines today, not the 1000s that some might lead you to believe. Internationally, there only three significant search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft) while a few others dominate in their home markets (e.g. 네이버 (Naver) in Korea, 百度 (Baidu) in China, Рамблер (Rambler) and Яндекс (Yandex) in Russia).
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1 To simply the complexity of the AdWords/AdSense programs, the scope of this post is limited to textual ads with pay-per-click pricing.
2 Google showcases relatively well known web properties in each of several market categories. This might be a bit misleading as many AdSense publishers would probably be unknown to most web surfers.
4 http://www.google.it/press/pressrelease4.html &
10 http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/international.php?country=italy, http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/it/ysm/misc/pdf/it_mrkovr.pdf
11 The AdWords Glossary is one example. Contact me for others!
12 Source: http://www.google.com/wssynd/afs_ws/attr.html
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