While many have whined and cried over recent changes at LookSmart, I’ve decided on a different approach. Don’t get me wrong; I dislike changes just as much as next guy.
Simply put, I sincerely question value of a LookSmart listing with exception of being listed in MSN. With that said, let’s evaluate situation and take a look at 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 changes first occurred and after several cups of coffee and a few temper tantrums I was able to sit and ponder 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 changes are 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 matter is that most SEO firms have clients of various sizes with varying advertising budgets. Some of 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 Zeppelin blimp they claim to have floating around Internet. Using WordTracker we find that LookSmart is garnering less than ˝% of total Internet searches. This doesn’t include their partners so lets take a look at that also.
LookSmart’s partner sites with 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 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 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 top 3 “sponsored sites” listings when keyword bid amount has exceeded 15 cent LookSmart price and Inktomi results are shown either mixed in with or after 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 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 thinking yet?