Search engines compete with each other, but they also collaborate. Many search engines use technology from their competitors to present results. Understanding how each engine delivers its results helps you target the most effective search marketing efforts.
Search engines are deceptively simple in appearance. Visitors to search engines enter the words they are looking for and the search engine shows the results. But this outward simplicity masks a complex set of business relationships.
Ask Jeeves uses Google's paid placement. Yahoo! used to use Google's organic search, but it bought a few organic search companies and does not use Google anymore. Figure 2-11 provides a glimpse of how complex it all can beand it changes constantly. (By the time you read this book, it will certainly have changed again.)
Figure 2-11. Search engine relationships. Many search engines utilize technology owned by their competitors.
Source: Bruce Clay Associates (August 2004)
Why is this important to you? Because what you do as a search marketer sometimes has broader ramifications than you might thinkthe paid placement you buy from one search engine might show up in others, for example.
Do not be concerned if you do not understand everything on the charthonestly, you might never need to. What you should understand is that search engines are more complicated than they look, and you need to learn a little about how the important ones work so that your company can take advantage. In the next chapter, we break down organic search and paid placement (as well as other search marketing techniques) and sort out how these relationships affect you, the search marketer.