Keep Your Search Engine Options Open to Find
Gone are the days when all research was done in
the library and with encyclopedias. These days, students can almost
avoid the library altogether throughout their education. The Internet
is the main reason for this - online libraries, databases, and the
World Wide Web have made nearly unlimited information available to its
users. Of course, along with any type of good searching and researching
practices, users must be cautious with the information they obtain.
It's absolutely true that there is a lot of information on the web, but
it's equally true that not all of it is valid, usable, or based on
fact. It is also valuable to switch up your search/research tactics
from time-to-time, to find the strategy that produces the most
desirable results for you.
The so-called "Big Three" search engines are: MSN, Google, and Yahoo.
These three engines are popular for a reason. Nearly 72% of searchers
use these three sites for results. At this point, all three of these
engines are massive and moneyed.
They are able to employ powerful spider programs that can crawl the
Internet, looking for and returning search results. Their funding makes
them able to afford more computing power, better spiders, and whatever
new technology evolves to comb the Internet in an automated fashion.
The downside to these popular engines is that results lists are
becoming highly advertising-focused. The big marketing term that online
marketers are consumed with is "search engine optimization" or SEO.
With a focus on SEO, search results can lead to articles that are
heavily laden with "keywords".
These keywords are often specifically implanted to draw better and
higher placement on results pages. That doesn't necessarily translate
into valuable or desired information for you, the searcher. In
addition, the big three search engines incorporate sponsored-placed
results in their lists. If searchers don't notice the "sponsored"
classification, they may believe these results are part of the desired
information, instead of merely advertisements.
An often-overlooked tool for searching the Internet is a Meta search
engine. These Meta engines don't have the budget of the big engines,
which is one reason they're frequently overlooked or simply ignored.
Another reason I believe they're overlooked is because they compile the
results of multiple search engines. There's no benefit, in the eyes of
the Big Three, to meta search engines, because their results are
combined with their competitors'. Unless they can guarantee that their
particular search results would be the highest ranked, they'd rather
not deal with meta engines at all.
Meta search engines dampen the brand power of the bigger search engine
companies. Plus, bigger search engines don't want you to find out that
you prefer a different engine over theirs!
These underused meta search engines offer different perspectives and
results than what you've come to expect from other search engines. Some
of the best meta search engines currently available are:
http://www.dogpile.com, http://www.widow.com, http://www.clusty.com,
Dogpile.com is perhaps the best-known of the meta engines. It complies
the top 10 results from various sites, including the Big Three. As a
comparison, widow.com uses a different mathematical equation to compile
results, eliminating the sponsored results found on dogpile.com and
minimizing repetition of content.
Clusty.com also compiles results, but separates out the sponsored
results at the top of the page, making it far less confusing for users,
as compared to digging through dogpile's mix of sponsored and
unsponsored results. Finally, surfwax.com lists one-line results,
giving you a large quantity of results at an eye's glance.
For a searcher who needs to find and sort through a great deal of
information available online, meta search engines are the way to go.
They ultimately save time for the researcher, who doesn't need to type
in the same search terms over and over in each individual search
engine. It also helps to cut down on repeat results if you use the
right meta search engine (widow.com, for example, does a better job of
not having repeats than dogpile.com, in my experience).
Niche search engines offer different results than the typical search
engines, as well. For many Internet users, these niche engines are not
even known to exist. However, hundreds of niche search engines do
exist, on a wide-ranging set of topics or niches.
Some popular niche engines you may have heard about (and not realized
were niche engines) include: http://www.technorati.com,
http://www.healthline.com, and http://www.blog-search.com.
Technorati.com focuses on the blogosphere of tech topics.
Healthline.com is comprised of all things health and medical related.
Blog-search.com focuses on, well, just what it sounds like - blogs!
Finally, human search directories offer yet another perspective for
your searches. If you are not familiar with these, you really should
give them a try sometime.
Directories like http://www.mahalo.com and http://www.dmoz.com are two
examples of human search directories. In these, actual human beings
research topics, providing pages with the most relevant results. They
can be really interesting and spot-on, but they can also be highly
subjective, according to who is assigned to a topic. As always, be
cautious with the information you receive, as there is real potential
for human error and human opinion to affect the search results.
Finally, when deciding which search engines to use for your searches
and research, think of quantity versus quality. Some search engines
will give you a high quantity of results, but they can contain a good
portion of sponsored results, and a lowered portion of content results.
The purpose of researching a topic online is to learn new information,
and if you are relying on the Big Three search engines, you might just
find that there is nothing new to be seen under the Google, Yahoo or
A quality search engine should save time for the searcher, so keep your
options open to less traditional search engines to get a more in-depth
understanding of your topic!
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/internet-articles/
About the Author
Trey Pennewell helps provide Pay For Performance SEO services
and he does article approvals for the free article
directory at: http://www.techcentralpublishing.com