Major search engines offer application programming interfaces that let you tap into search results, ad listings, ad management systems and other things. This session looks at APIs that are available and how you might use them.


  • Anne Kennedy, Managing Partner, Beyond Ink


  • David Flesh, Senior Director, Product Management, SEMDirector
  • Dan Boberg, Managing Director, Sales Technology, Yahoo!
  • Julienne Thompson Hood, Director of OutSearchâ„¢,
  • Jon Diorio, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Google AdWords, Google Inc.

First from the panel to start the session is Jon Diorio a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Google AdWords.

With AdWords API it lets you:

  • manage your account
  • manage your campaign
  • report
  • estimate traffic

Other uses of API include:

  • automate the regular generation and retrieval of custom reports
  • Automate cumbersome bid management processes
  • Automate complex inventory management which stop campaigns
  • generation and expansion of keyword lists

Resources for AdWords API include:

  • a developer’s guide
  • developer’s sandbox
  • AdWords API blog/forum/email notification list
  • FAQs
  • sample code, and
  • SOAP Toolkits.

There are 9 types of varied services:

  • campaign Service
  • AdGroup Service
  • Criterion Service
  • Ad Service
  • keyword tool service
  • info service,
  • Traffic Estimator
  • Reporting and more

AdWords API Versioning:

  • No longer are they breaking things
  • The goal is to reach feature parity with the Web front-end.
  • Older versions are maintained for around 4 months
  • Version “Diff” information is available in release notes.

Usage, Units & Billing of AdWords API

API utlizes a unit based system

Every operation performed on an AdWords account consumes a certain number of API

While some types of operations may consume a single unit, others may consume more

On a regular basis, each developer will be billed $0.25 per thousand API units

The second panelist for today is Yahoo’s Dan Boberg.


Options of Yahoo Developer Network are:

  • REST based services
  • desktop based environments
  • RSS feeds
  • Presentation libraries
  • Developer centers
  • Applications gallery
  • Open Hack events.

Current Yahoo! API programs are:

  • API Programs:
  • Advertisers Program (YSM marketplace)
  • Developer Program (open access and online support)
  • Commercial Program (enterprise class support)

Recently, Yahoo! Introduced a new API commercial program which includes:

  • Robust
  • Reliable and scalable
  • Open to All
  • No fees for API access
  • Open and transparent
  • Commercial grade technical and marketing support

Yahoo’s API main goal is to build partnerships. Commercial Program Addresses Specific Needs of:

  • Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Support with SLAs

Next to discuss APIs was David Flesh of SEMDirector. David first gives out a list of search engines that have API are:

  • Ask
  • Baidu
  • Gogole
  • MSN
  • Ingenio
  • Lycos
  • Yahoo
  • Miva
  • Mirago
  • Mamma
  • Kanoodle
  • LookSmart
  • SortPrice etc


  • Not a standard around developing those APIs
  • No common data schema standards across search engines
  • Organic API data is either non-existent or offers little value
  • Occasional inconsistencies between cost data reported through the API and what is actually billed
  • Challenges to metrics that are reported are not called out in the API, therefore it comes necessary to implement checksums to make sure historical values are consistent from week to week.
  • Quota for large clients: Meaning Large clients = large polling efforts = quota usage.
  • Lack of special character support from some APIs strip out meaningful data
  • Deleted campaigns are not always noted. Matching performance metrics with account structure is difficult.

Roadmap requests:

  • Organic search APIs
  • increased quota limits
  • provide percentage of clicks seen at varying average position
  • provide the number of queries for keyword
  • more detailed demographic data
  • improve Sandbox capabilities.

Future of API?

  • Standards
  • Common Ontology or Schema

Last panelist of this session is Julienne Thompson Hood of

  • API provides access 24/7 to information.
  • Campaigns are managed across multiple engines on a portfolio basis.
  • Manual bidding is generally impossible due to a large number of terms.
  • Frequent bid challenges required because of strong TOD, DOW or season trends.
  • Intelligent bidding is necessary to improve ROI.

Best practices for using APIs

  • designing a multi-tiered architecture for engine integration systems to allow for scale and introduction of new applications
  • Develop core applications that let them translate data into their own systems
  • Identify most important business needs and decide which API features to take advantage of
  • Write application to compile and provide meaningful reports on your most important data elements, costs, bid updates, etc.
  • Test new features before implementing
  • Utilize user forums

Tips and Tricks:

  • Feature parity among engines
  • Yearly releases among products
  • Development lead team
  • Data visibility
  • costs of API usage




Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.