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Phrases repeated in the Overture Suggestion Tool
seeing multiple entries for the same term with different numbers
Robert Charlton

 6:09 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

This may have to do with MatchDriver anomalies... I'm seeing multiple entries for the same phrase with different numbers. To grab a real-life example rather than one from the widget world... checking "washington hotels"...

- up near the top:
4589 washington hotel

- then, all sorts of variations on the phrase,
and, further the list:

102 washington hotel

I'm seeing this a lot... I've even seen one spot where the phrase is repeated 3 times. It might be singular/plural, or different variations on word order made to match MatchDriver and not combined into one.

Usually, though, when they mess with word order they go alphabetical. I'm seeing word order preserved enough that I'm seeing entries like this:

146 hotel washington washington dc

And in the past, they've always just combined singulars and plurals. Any thoughts?



 6:40 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've been wondering about that one myself Robert...still wondering.


 6:50 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

After having seen the the number of searches for a given keyword change over the course of a month, I have wondered about the legitimacy of the tool, and legal repercussions of giving inaccurate results.

If "search terms for september" gives different numbers for the same term at different times (and grossly different numbers), at what point is that considered deliberately presenting misleading information to increase profit?


 10:32 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've been seeing it and wondering the same thing. I've wondered if maybe the second, small figure is maybe coming from one of their data sources a bit later than the others and is just plugged in instead of having to go through a routine of recomputing to give a combined figure.

I'm just adding the two up because I don't take too much stock in the figures anyway, especially on higher competition terms that could have a lot of position checking done. I only use the figures as a comparative basis for relative worth of keywords, not as an absolute.

Robert Charlton

 12:00 am on Oct 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just encounter something else that has me even more curious... a huge jump (down) in the number of searches reported for a phrase over a two month period.

- querying "repairing widgets"
6000 repairing widget

- querying "how to repair widgets"
3000 repair widget

- querying "repairing widgets"
450 repairing widget

- querying "how to repair widgets"
100 repair widget

Checking on Overture itself, this is very non-competitive area, only one bid on the top phrase, for .09. I hadn't checked whether there was bidding on this in August.

I have a little bit of egg on my face over this one. I'd advised a prospect (now a client) that smart targeting was the foundation of what we're doing... and even though I refused to make click-through predictions, citing the unreliability of Overture data, I also cited "widget repairing" as a better target than what they were targeting, which it no longer is.

I've never experienced a jump quite this big.


 12:12 am on Oct 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Robert, is it possible that they're not including figures from one of their partner sites for some reason?

Robert Charlton

 8:55 am on Oct 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>is it possible that they're not including figures from one of their partner sites for some reason?<<

If other terms were down proportionately, I'd say that would make sense. But looking at two other phrases, which last month didn't look like such good targets, they've both actually gone up slightly... and they both now look better than terms I'd suggested:

450 widget fixer
950 fixing widget

550 widget fixer
1100 fixing widget

WordTracker is showing numbers so much smaller overall, with enough 5-word strings searched a bunch of times, that I'm doubting their numbers... which I think are extrapolated up besides. It would be a wonderful tool if they had a larger database. They do show that "widget repairing" and "repairing widget" combined are searched more than "widget fixer," but not by much.

Google AdWords Select had "widget repairing," "repairing widget," and "widget fixer" each with about the same number of click-throughs, though that's also a function of targeting... not just searches.

But, to get back on topic, on Overture there was either a big anomalous bubble in some terms last month, or a big dip this month... as well as the multiple entries we're all seeing.

Robert Charlton

 8:52 pm on Oct 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Let me add a PS to the above to correct an error that might provide a clue about what's going on. I'd said that Overture is reporting as follows:

- querying "repairing widgets"
6000 repairing widget

- querying "repairing widgets"
450 repairing widget

Not quite so. For September, querying "repairing widgets," is actually reporting:
450 widget repairing

- No searches were reported at all in September for "repairing widget."
- In August, they'd reported nothing for "widget repairing."
(I'm so used to recent Overture results blending all word orders into one that I didn't notice the distinction).

So, I'm theorizing that these little subgroups of numbers we're seeing might be the phrases searched in various ways and returned with word order re-arranged by MatchDriver. And then maybe... as they're ironing out the system... something went awry that affected the results I'm looking at and they dropped a whole group.



 10:24 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi all,
This is the first time I've jumped in here so feel free to pummel me if I make any rookie mistakes.
Anyway, I've been a little stymied by Overture's site suggestion tool results myself lately--the repeated phrases, suspiciously low results for seemingly-popular phrases, etc. I've also probably become too dependent on it in researching my keywords. Is this the only game in town as far as search term analysis tools go? I use Analog on my existing sites, and I've just started using SiteMeter, too, but when it comes to optimizing new sites I find myself going back to the old tedious approach of looking at content and META tags on the top-tier sites in whatever category I'm working within. Thanks...


 10:41 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)


I think you can get a reasonable idea on the competitiveness of certain keywords by using BOTH Overture and Wordtracker. But I'll reiterate what Marcia stated earlier that neither is an absolute and keep in mind that Overture naturally creates an environment where the very competitive keywords have artificially inflated results.

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