Archive for the ‘Search Engines’ Category

5 Secret Search Engines Way Better Than Google

Monday, November 21st, 2011 |

Google has become such an ingrained part of our society that people simply say, “I Googled it.” The search engine counts millions of internet users among its loyal followers, often making it seem as if no other search engine is even relevant anymore. But, in actuality, Google has some stiff competition, and if you’re willing to look, you’re going to find numerous websites that are actually even better than Google, including:

DuckDuckGo

Google’s in for some stiff competition when DuckDuckGo, now still a relatively secret search engine, spreads to the masses. Perhaps the biggest benefit of DuckDuckGo is it doesn’t collect nor does it share your personal information like Google does. In addition, DuckDuckGo doesn’t make users scroll through dozens of pages to find an answer. Let’s say you want to find out when the 2012 Presidential Election will be held. DuckDuckGo will return the answer at the top of your search page. Web users also enjoy the Web of Trust, which allows them to determine which sites are safe enough to visit, and pointless pages thrown up just to make revenue but without any real content never appear in search results.

Blekko

Blekko is a dream come true for those web users fed up with spam and being taken to pages from content farms and promises spam-free results. If a website’s content does not live up to Blekko’s strict requirements for quality, it isn’t included in the search results, quite a difference from Google. Users can also use the settings to ensure theirs searches are related to specific topics, such as news or the date content was published.

Ixquick

The self-described “most private search engine” in the world, Ixquick does not store users’ browsing histories, nor does it keep track of IP addresses, making it an ideal option for web browsers who want to keep their information private. In fact, all searches are encrypted to provide you with complete privacy.

Yippy

Yippy is an ideal search engine for families and those who are fed up with porn sites ending up in their search results. The search engine promises extremely tight security. It asserts that it doesn’t store any of your private information, your search history, your email addresses, and other vital information. Search results return with a box on the left hand of the screen, allowing you to choose which way information is best presented to you: By time, by source, or by sites.

Gigablast

Gigablast advertises itself as the “Green Search Engine,” as it runs on wind energy, providing search results for an estimated 10 million web users. Gigablast has been around for nearly a decade, and the search engine searches through all websites on a particular keyword or phrase, rather than just individual pages. Parents can use the “family filter,” and Gigablast implements numerous spam filters to ensure users aren’t greeted with spam websites on search result pages. While Google, Yahoo, and Bing are currently the most popular search engines, particularly with English speakers, web users do have other options that offer them more flexibility, more privacy, and promise they won’t be inundated by spam and useless content that often show up in the search results from the more well-known search engines.

Frank Anderson is an Internet researcher and writer. He has been working on exchange 2010 hosting for some time and continues to learn about what the Internet is capable of.

The Real Time Web Is For Everybody

Monday, January 25th, 2010 |

Many internet users believe that the real time web isn’t available to them. If you don’t update on Twitter, post pictures on Facebook, network on LinedIn – people think that they aren’t able to learn and benefit from the real time web. This is not the case – and tons of startups and new websites have launched which require no login, membership, or passwords to access. Below, are examples of how to benefit from these services, right now:

Anyone can search the real time web. You can visit Twitter and instantly perform a search to see what people are saying about a specific page. To learn more about the types of searches that the real time web works best with, this search tips page offers several categories for which to search from. All in all, the best part about a real time search is that its instant. Plus, each day it changes, so a search today will offer different comments and thoughts than a search for the same keyword 3 weeks from now.

If you want to see the hottest trends, head over to What The Trend which will summarize each of the hot topics on the web right now. In a format that can be compared to WikiPedia – the site allows any user to provide feedback as to why a particular topic is trending right now. Every day, something new is a hot trend on the real time web, and anyway can track them at What The Trend or a variety of other sources.

When people share links on the real time web, it is often about topics that are hot right now. Through compiling all of the links shared on the real time web, you are able to see which lends are the most important for a given topic right now. When you perform a real time search at Sency- you will see a tab for today’s most popular links. This will show you the most popular links right now for the keyword you searched for. If you check back a few days later, for that same keyword, new links will probably show up. SO, you can take advantage of the real time web to instantly see what links people are talking about, today, for the subject matter that is of interest to you.

So, familiarize yourself with these tools today, and you will find them becoming useful in your day to day internet browsing.

Evan Britton – Founder, Sency

Image source: http://soshable.com

Sency, a New Way to Search

Thursday, November 12th, 2009 |

sency

I was contacted by the founder of Sency, Evan Britton, and he asked if we would take a look at his search engine. I did and found something interesting – real time search results for what is being said about the search term you type in. What is interesting is the fact it pulls in tweets about your subject matter as well as websites. It also gives you the time the search term was last mentioned. I saw times ranging from 1 minute ago to 2 days ago show up on the first page of results.

Time will only tell how useful this will be for search marketing and for the general populace.

Here is Evan’s “elevator speech” about Sency. What do you think, is it viable?

The real time web is hot because users want to know what is happening right now.  Many startups are making an impact in this space,  today, we will discuss what Sency is up to…

Sency offers a real time web search engine which is fast and easy to use.  It breaks out results into both what people are saying and what today’s most popular links are.  Sency also shows the source, so that you can see whom is writing the respective message that you are reading.

The main differentiator that Sency is bringing to the table is the two widgets it has created.  The content feed for websites (http://sency.com/feed.php) will bring real time results for any keyword that a website or blog wants to stream.  The popular links feed (http://sency.com/linksfeed.php) will allow any website to display today’s most popular links for any given keyword…

It is interesting to see several new startups on the real time web.  Sency hopes it can make an impact in this space.

Will Yahoo Site Explorer (as we know it) go the way of the Dodo Bird?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 |

Yahoo-dodoNow that Microsoft will power Yahoo! Search for at least the next ten years, many SEOs (and people who love backlink data in general) are wondering aloud whether the current incarnation of Yahoo! Site Explorer, which shows more backlink data than any available tool, will die right along with Yahoo’s search technology.

If Yahoo is going to farm out all of their search technology–and lay off many engineers in the process—it is logical to assume that Yahoo! Site Explorer will also evaporate.  I can’t imagine why anyone, expect Microsoft, would take pleasure in this.  But what Microsoft needs to understand is that this doesn’t have to happen.  Microsoft can surprise everyone by stepping up to the plate and showing more Bing backlink data.  If they did, they would win many fans not only in the SEO community but in every community that values the freedom of information.  Ultimately, Microsoft should want their search technology to be loved by all people, not hated by SEOs who will blame them for the destruction of Yahoo’s backlink information.

Thankfully, Bing won’t be fully integrated into Yahoo! search for 24 months.  Microsoft has a lot to think about over those months.  Do they want to embrace openness as Yahoo has for many years by showing hordes of information about the links going to the sites in their index?  Do they want to reap the benefits of lifting the veil of secrecy on the backlink information they’ve gathered? Or do they want to be more like Google and show precious little information about the sites in their index?

Microsoft’s search market share will only jump to about 28 percent in the U.S. after their Yahoo integration is complete.  If I was them, I would want to please as many people as possible, not enrage them by completely dismantling a superior product.

We’ll see what Microsoft decides in the next 24 months.  What direction do you think they’ll go in?  Is the slow, inglorious death of the Yahoo! Site Explorer tool inevitable?

Optimization of Search Engine Results in Bing

Thursday, June 11th, 2009 |

I’ve played around with Bing over the last few days to see what it offers. Most of my evaluation has been of the results page from the user’s point of view.

  • Are the results I’m getting relevant?
  • How would I use the tools on the left side (“refined” results, Related Searches, Search History, etc)?
  • How would I pick which result to click on?

As an SEO company, we know it’s important that the client’s site ranks well and that search engine users click through (more traffic + more sales = more revenue which makes our clients happy). Users only have a few pieces of information to help them decide what site to visit when they’re looking at a results page: the title (that is also the link to the page), a short description, and the URL of the page.

From what I’ve seen of the results in Bing so far, it looks like the results page is pulling the title tag and meta description, which is pretty standard. However, they’ve added a little something extra to help users decide if this is the site they want before they click. When you hover over a search result, a horizontal line with an orange dot appears on the right. Mouse over the dot and a Preview window opens. In that Preview there is copy from the page, maybe a phone number and/or email address for the site, and sometimes even 5 deep links. So where is this information coming from?

It looks as if Bing is pulling the first content on the page and the first links. This isn’t so great if you’ve put a tag line at the top or Global navigation above your more-customer friendly links. Here I did a search for “diamond engagement rings” and found MySolitaire as the #3 result. The Preview included the first content on the page (double bonus, it also contained the terms “diamond”, “engagement”, and “rings”) and the first links.

diamond-header-page

But wait, there’s more to it. A search on “Lucero CDs” gives us Amazon as the #7 result. But its Preview copy is not what appears at the top of the page (and the code). Instead, the Preview pulls information father down; it is actually a customer review.

amazon-results

In this case it looks like Bing is pulling the first “unique” content on the page since many of Amazon’s pages share the same information at the top.  And the content it pulled did not contain “Lucero” or “CDs”.  In a few other results for different searches, it seems they are pulling content near the top but not what I would’ve guessed. So it seems like  Bing is looking for copy that:

  • Is near the top of the page
  • Is unique
  • Has the keywords in it (which is like when there is no meta description and the SE pulls content from the page, that includes the keywords, for the description of the listing on the results page)

Bing is so new that I’m not suggesting your run out and change the key pages of your website to maximize what could be in the Preview window. But, if you are thinking about site optimization for Bing’s result, you might want to consider what content and links are at the top of your page and the copy around your prominent keywords for the page.

Google’s Estimating Algorithm

Thursday, February 12th, 2009 |

As always you have to take anything from Google with a grain of salt, espeically since most of their ranking algorithms are closely guarded secrets.

However you really have to wonder when their estimating algorithm has trouble counting to 17 as illustrated below with screenshot snippets from the first two pages of results I witnessed today.

1-10-of-9

page-1-2-3

11-17-of-6

Whatever Happened to the Google Killer?

Friday, November 14th, 2008 |

Back in July of this year, the internet was buzzing with news that a new search engine was coming, a Google-Killer that could unseat the giant of the search engine world. Part of the buzz surrounding this product was the fact that it was being designed by former Google employees Anna Patterson, Russell Power, and Louis Monier. This supposed Google-Killer was called Cuil (pronounced cool).

So what happened? Google is still the giant of the search engine world, and most people probably don’t even remember Cuil since its launch at the end of July of 2008. Did it collapse? Has Cuil shut down? What happened to this highly touted search engine that was supposed to draw us all away from Google?

Like most of those that attempt to overtake Google (see MSN Live, Yahoo, Ask, Excite, Alta Vista, really just about anybody), Cuil just didn’t have what it took to draw users away from the search engine that has quickly come to dominate everything we do with the web. Some blamed the preponderance of irrelevant search results that Cuil seemed to like displaying. Others blamed the unconventional style with which Cuil displayed results (see image below). But what really killed Cuil?

Cuil's unorthodox way of displaying search results.

Cuil's unorthodox way of displaying search results.

In the end, the only thing that killed Cuil was Google. Not by actively battling them, but by simply doing what they do – being the best. Sure, Cuil claimed to have more sites indexed than any other search engine, but by returning irrelevant search results, it didn’t matter how many websites they had indexed, nobody could find what they were looking for.

Google continues to capture around 80% of the search engine market, while Cuil has slipped to roughly less than half a percent (0.005% of total search traffic to be specific). Cuil isn’t the first to try and claim the title of being a Google-Killer, and they certainly won’t be the last, but one thing is for sure…there is no such thing as a Google-Killer. At least not yet.

Is Cuil the Internet startup Joke of the Year?

Thursday, August 7th, 2008 |

Every Internet startup company deserves a chance to prove itself. Unless, of course, that startup comes out of the gate and immediately starts making bombastic claims like “We’re better than Google” and “we index more of the web then they do.” Then an examiner has every right to shove that startup under a microscope and pull out its insides. But, in Cuil’s case, you don’t need to pick apart its internal organs to uncover its deficiencies. In fact, all you have to do is a simple long tail search, like “how to train a cat.” <click image for larger view.>

click to enlarge

So, what’s wrong with this picture? Well, for starters, if Cuil has 120 billion pages indexed, then why is it only displaying about three thousand for this keyword, which is roughly 29 million less than what Google shows. Secondly, why are there two pictures of dogs on the page? I recall searching for cats. Thirdly, why is there a Tropicana can on the page? I could go on, but I’ll stop in the interest of time.

Why don’t we look at another long tail keyword people might search for, like “how to give a dog a haircut.”

No results. I suppose if Cuil has its way, we’ll all live in a society where dogs walk around with hideously long hair.

Now, I don’t wish Cuil to fail. Quite the contrary, I think any competition in the search space is desirable. But, sadly, I think Cuil may end up going down in history as one of the most “borked” Internet startup companies of all time. Venture capitalists gave 33 million to a search engine that couldn’t even handle long tail searches on its launch date. Seriously? Have we entered the twilight zone? Ever heard of a soft opening, Cuil? If their algorithm was truly going to be as underdeveloped as it was on its launch date, they should have announced a public beta (and had it be real beta and not just a catch phrase). Instead, Cuil did the complete opposite. They worked the media to ensure they would be mentioned everywhere on their launch date and hyped their product to ludicrous proportions.

The often spouted but obviously wrong cliché is that all publicity is good publicity. Let’s evaluate that cliché in terms of Cuil. Now Cuil is in a hole it has to dig itself out of. The general perception is that its algorithm is awful, and the burden is on Cuil to make people change that perception. Is this really where Cuil wanted to be? Is this the finest demonstration of why all publicity is allegedly good publicity?

At least search engines like Powerset and SearchMe had premises they could back up. Powerset said it could handle natural language search, and it does an adequate job (depending on many variables). SearchMe merely claimed to offer a visual display of search results. Cuil’s tagline is that it indexes more of the web than Google. You’re really just asking for it when you say that.

I’ll end this rant with two predictions. 1.) Someone at Cuil will come across this article and attempt to fix the search results for the keywords I mentioned and 2.) when someone mentions the name Cuil a year from now, the person standing next to him will have to choke to hold back his laughter.

Now it’s Cuil’s job to prove me wrong. They do have a lot of that venture capital still sitting in the bank.

Should I use Adwords with my SEO campaign?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008 |

SEO Question: I am already ranking well for my targeted keyword phrase in Google, so should I also start using Google Adwords so I have the the top Adword ranking and the top organic ranking?

SEO Answer: This is a question we get a lot and the answer is always the same. If the ROI is worth it, then do it. If you are making more money by using Adwords with an SEO campaign then it makes sense. Running Adwords will not affect you SEO work postiviely or negatively so do not let that be a factor in whether you do it or not.

In fact, using Adwords while your SEO campaign builds is even a better idea. Also using it to test some keywords is a great use for Adwords. After all, you don’t want to rank for keywords that won’t convert into sales or clients. Adwords can test this for you rather inexpensively. Remember to watch your Adwords CTR and set up a conversion testing method.

One concern I can offer is to watch your sales and make sure you aren’t stealing from yourself. Obviously both methods, Adwords and SEO, will bring traffic an sales but if too many sales are coming from Adwords that would naturally be coming from SEO you may be shrinking your profit margin. Test this by dropping your ad for a time and watching your sales. Do they remain consistent? Ditch the ad. Do they drop? Put the ad back up.

In the end the decision to continue your Adword’s campaign should be based on actual traffic data.

To the left is a screen shot from our client’s children’s toy store, showing an example of an organic and Adwords/PPC rankings, click for a larger image.

If you have a question you would like us to answer, please send to contact[at]bigoakinc.com. Due to time constraints we may not answer all questions.

Reason 1,000,001 Why Quality Writing Matters

Sunday, May 11th, 2008 |

While I’ve discussed why having quality writing is important for various reasons on our SEO Copywriting Blog, the following image shows why not only is writing quality content important, but paying attention to your meta descriptions can be equally important.

While the website bullysticks.com may be ranking in the top position for the keyword “bully sticks”, their meta description “boasts” that their “prices do not compare!” Clearly not the message they meant to send to potential customers. While bullysticks.com seems to be claiming that their prices are higher than their competition, our client, Best Bully Sticks, has a meta-description that clearly states how their high quality product, low prices, and customer service make the difference.

Meta descriptions do get read so make sure your’s says something useful. Amazing how four little words can make a difference.

bully-sticks-results.png

Google appears to Change Algorithm: Using Capital Letters Creates New Keywords

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 |

Keyword research tools may be in for another overhaul.Google’s algorithm now appears to be viewing the capitalized versions of keywords as separate from the lowercase versions.I came across this while searching for the lowercase and uppercase versions of the keyword “engagement rings.”Look at these screen shots from the 216.239.59.99 datacenter.

Screenshot of Google results with a lowercase “e” in engagement rings. Click for larger image.

Lowercase E

Screenshot of Google results with an uppercase”E” in Engagement rings. Click for larger image.

cap-e.jpg

Searching with a capital “E” gives different results than searching with all lowercase letters, and I also noticed discrepancies between lowercase and uppercase letters with that keyword at the 64.233.183.107 datacenter.

Now, look at the differences in the SERPS at the 64.233.171.107 datacenter for the lower and uppercase version of the keyword “dog tags.”The results change after the second search result.

Screenshot of Google results with a lowercase “d” in dog tags. Click for larger image.

dog tags lower

Screenshot of Google results with an uppercase “D” in Dog tags. Click for larger image.

Dog Tags upper

Assuming this isn’t a temporary glitch, the SEO landscape will undergo another transformation.If this reflects a real change in the algorithm, keyword research tools such as Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery will have to be adjusted to compensate.They currently don’t differentiate between searches with lowercase and capital letters.Since the Google search results were believed to be identical for each, they had no reason to.

We’ll have to wait for an official word from Google (if they give one), but right now this is looking at lot less like a glitch and a lot more like a real shift in the algorithm. And it would be a significant one.I would guess that people search with different forms of capitalization as often as they misspell words or use theplural form of words.But it’s just a guess, as there is no keyword research data to back that assumption up….yet.

We’ll have to keep our eyes on this one.

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at contact@bigoakinc.com or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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