Hi Eamonn ~
A big smile from me on "(that badly named WindowOnWales site
is no. 5!)". I felt that verbal nudge all the way over here on this
side of the pond!
And congratulations for the number 5 and first page listing in Google
for the search term "ipix virtual tours", even if I am looking for a
travelogue on Wales with that domain name.
To answer your question ~
Your friend is mistaken or misinformed. Overture is for the following
search engines, but NOT Google:
* Alta Vista
- see: http://www.content.overture.com/d/USm/ps/ps.jhtml
Google has its own sponsored links in the form of AdWords, which they
very carefully keep separated from the organic content. In fact, they
carefully explain in "How Do I Get My Site Listed?"
"Google does not accept payment for inclusion of sites
in our index, nor for improving the rank of sites in
our results. We do offer advertising opportunities
adjacent to our results, which are always clearly
labeled "Sponsored Links." The method by which we find
pages and rank them as search results is determined by
the PageRank technology developed by our founders,
Larry Page and Sergey Brin."
And if you think about it, if all you have to do is pay some money to
get a high ranking in the "organic" (that is, non-paying) portion of
Google, wouldn't everyone be scrambling like mad to pay money for his
or her search terms?
The impartiality of Google's search returns is what keeps over 50% of
the public using Google. There may be times they need to 'fix'
something because the results are less than optimum, but you can bank
on the fact that AdWords advertisers do NOT get any partiality in
search engine results page ranking.
I'd suggest the same is true for those using Overture. Would YOU rely
on results which can be bought?
Search terms ~
- Google + Adwords
- ipix virtual tools
Hope this helps answer your question,
Google Answers Researcher
P.S. For what it's worth, you have more links and more sites linking
to yours that contain the term, and I didn't do a more in-depth look
at why he might be no. 2 and you're no. 5. But one thing that really
sticks out while looking at the results IS the domain name, and the
first few use the term IPIX in their domain name.
I honestly can't tell you if that's the answer, on the other hand, we
can clearly see it doesn't hurt.