While many have whined and cried over the recent changes at
LookSmart, I’ve decided on a different approach. Don’t get me
wrong; I dislike the changes just as much as the next guy.
Simply put, I sincerely question the value of a LookSmart
listing with the exception of being listed in MSN. With that
said, let’s evaluate the situation and take a look at the stats.
Quite possibly it’s not as bad as you might think knowing that
there are other good engines and directories out there.
I’ll have to admit I was a bit shaken when the changes first
occurred and after several cups of coffee and a few temper
tantrums I was able to sit and ponder the situation. Not long
after doing so, I did a bit of research and I was able to see
things a bit more clearly.
I’ve heard several opinions that state “the only people upset
with the changes are the fly-by-night (so-called) SEO
companies.” This in my opinion is absolutely not true and I
wonder how much LookSmart is shelling out to have people post
such blatant blathering. The truth of the matter is that most
SEO firms have clients of various sizes with varying advertising
budgets. Some of the smaller clients simply cannot afford this
piracy and most SEO companies (large or small) either cannot or
are unwilling to spend these valuable advertising dollars.
Especially for something that would make them LookStupid…
After doing a bit of research here is what we’ve found to be
true and accurate. First we decided to find out just how large
LookSmart’s reach really is. It appears to be smaller than the
Zeppelin blimp they claim to have floating around the Internet.
Using WordTracker we find that LookSmart is garnering less than
½% of total Internet searches. This doesn’t include their
partners so lets take a look at that also.
LookSmart’s partner sites with the exception of MSN don’t send
us much traffic either based on server logs. The minor LookSmart
partner sites either have 2nd or 3rd page LookSmart listings or
they are placed in very obscure places. In order for users to
see these listings they must first customize the search engine
to include these listings or click a separate tab to get to this
“Alternate” database. Not very good placement is it?
Let’s talk about the big partner MSN for a minute also. While LS
listings appear front and center on MSN (below sponsored
listings), Inktomi and Overture results are still present.
Overture’s results are placed in the top 3 “sponsored sites”
listings when the keyword bid amount has exceeded the 15 cent
LookSmart price and Inktomi results are shown either mixed in
with or after the LookSmart listings. What does this tell us?
Well, after much calculation and studying we have determined how
much traffic loss we would see if deciding to Opt-out of
LookSmart’s new program. For our clients the average traffic
loss would be about 6%. While being a significant number, it is
nothing we can’t overcome. How many of those 6% are actually
converting is another question that must be evaluated. Are you
Ponder this for a moment…
I did a search the other day on MSN for “oklahoma free
checking”; a banking client wants to target this keyphrase.
There were no sponsored results but front and center from the
self proclaimed Internet search directory god LookSmart is? You
guessed it, Long-Distance Oklahoma Movers - AAA Move. Now that’s
relevant! Quick MSN get out while you can as we are doing!
I shudder to think that I am alone in my thinking method.
Actually with the likes of Brent Winters, President of
FirstPlace Software saying, “Unfortunately, I find it difficult
to recommend LookSmart as a good value at this time as I have in
the past.” “Today, there's many other factors to consider,
making recouping your costs significantly more risky with
LookSmart.” And with the tremendous complaints and reports of
people being double charged, not receiving the clicks that
LookSmart claims and getting no response from a customer service
standpoint, somehow I don’t think I am.
Simply put and all jokes aside, we’ve done the math and
evaluated the losses in traffic/conversions and when it comes
down to it we can use the money that LookSmart is wanting us to
pay; to pay someone else and receive a much more targeted and
highly visible top placement.
With Overture listings almost everywhere on the web and being
placed more prominently than LookSmart listings (with the
exception of MSN) and with Google and other PPC programs out
there, we will surely recover the 6% loss from LookSmart.
Stop whining, do your homework, and you too can survive the
LookSmart piracy. The question is, will LookSmart survive? Will
MSN stick with them with relevant results such as the one
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Article by Kevin Gee. Kevin and JUMP Internet Marketing are one
of the most respected and recognized search engine-positioning
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About the author:
Article by Kevin Gee. Kevin is a certified SEO specialist
through Coastal Carolina University and has been performing SEO
strategies for over 3 years. He is currently employed as
Internet Marketing Manager at JUMP Internet Marketing.