By Amanda MacArthur • 11/03/2008
How search engines work, make money and can help you build your business
As an online publisher, you may or may not know that there are five different types of search engines. Some of them may be integrated into your site and some of them work on a stand-alone basis. From vertical search to sponsored directories, there are quite a few ways to integrate a search product into your business model.
Here are a few examples of how search engines make money:
- Display Advertising: Charging sponsors for text and image ads in search results (CPM).
- Keyword Advertising: Charging websites for individual keywords that display relevant ads in search results (CPC).
- Paid Inclusion: Charging to be listed in a vertical or otherwise targeted search engine or directory.
- Habit Reports: Selling marketing data on consumer habits or using it for targeted advertising.
- Syndication: Charging other search engines to use their results catalog.
- Any/All: Any combination of the above.
Search engines might work on any of these business models or a combination of a few. There are five different types of search engines that we’ve identified and all of them run a little differently. All of them, however, can be helpful to publishers when looking to identify new sources of revenue.
Here are the five different types of search engines:
Crawler (Google): This crawler search engine can be stand-alone (like Google.com) or be embedded into your site (like Google Custom Search). A crawler search engine generates its results by the automatic compilation of of web pages and sites. In other words, it works with its own algorithm and delivers search results with no intervention.
Directory (Open Directory Project): A directory search engine is a user-generated collection of search results and sites. The Open Directory Project (dmoz.org) was constructed and is maintained by 81,586 volunteer editors. Its search results come from 4,581,316 sites in over 590,000 categories that were submitted by users across the web.
Vertical (Business.com): A vertical search engine can be stand-alone (like Business.com) or can be integrated into your site (like Pure Contemporary Magazine). The results from this type of search engine come from sites that are hand-selected by the publisher. Google Custom Search is an easy tool you can use to start a basic vertical search engine.
Sponsored (Kanoodle.com): A sponsored search engine relies on search results that are sponsored by a retailer or publisher. Buying your way into a sponsored search engine like Kanoodle also gets you into CNET’s Search.com, and the InfoSpace properties, including Mamma, WebCrawler and Dogpile. These paid-inclusion results don’t normally come with a ranking guarantee; instead, they guarantee that the site gets indexed immediately instead of the normal schedule of a crawler search engine, which is monthly. This makes sponsored search engines ideal for new online businesses.
Hybrid (Yahoo!): Hybrid search engines rely on both user submissions and crawling. Yahoo! Directory Submit is a paid-inclusion model where a publisher or retailer pays $299.00 a year to get their site indexed within seven days to the Yahoo! Directory. They also run Yahoo! Sponsored Search where companies can get listed as a sponsored result on search result pages. In addition, the results of user searches are all based on their own crawler algorithm (unless they’re sponsored).
Now that you know a little more about search engines, maybe you’re interested in how search engines can help build your business. Maybe you want to start a directory, or a sponsored search engine within your site? Or maybe you want to boost traffic by paying to be included.
All of these things are likely more simple than you think, so Wednesday we’re going to cover just that—how to make money with search engines.
Posted in Audience Development Strategy