Thursday, November 29, 2007

Top Search Engines

I’ve studied how search engines work. An integral part of any Internet marketing or search engine optimization campaign is to know exactly which search engines to target. This section discusses some of the top search engines today.


Google has increased in popularity tenfold the past several years. They went from beta testing to becoming the Internet's largest index of web pages in a very short time. Their spider, affectionately named "Googlebot", crawls the web and provides updates to Google's index about once a month. began as an academic search engine. Google, by far, has a very good algorithm of ranking pages returned from a result, probably one of the main reasons it has become so popular over the years. Google has several methods which determine page rank in returned searches.


Yahoo! is one of the oldest web directories and portals on the Internet today, and the site went live in August of 1994. Yahoo! is also one of the largest traffic generators around, as far as web directories and search engines go. Unfortunately, however, it is also one of the most difficult to get listed in, unless of course you pay to submit your site. Even if you pay it doesn't guarantee you will get listed.

Either way, if you suggest a URL, it is "reviewed" by a Yahoo! editor and, if approved, it will appear in the next index update.


Many who have access to web logs may have seen a spider named “scooter” accessing their pages. Scooter used to be AltaVista's robot. However, since the Feb 2001 site update, a newer form of Scooter is now crawling the web.

It will usually take several months for AltaVista to index your entire site. Unlike Google, AltaVista will only crawl and index 1 link deep, so it can take a long time to index your entire site, depending on how large your site is.


Inktomi's popularity grew years ago as they powered the secondary search database that had driven Yahoo. Their spiders are named "Slurp", and different versions of Slurp crawls the web many different times throughout the month, as Inktomi powers many sites’ search results. There isn't much more to Inktomi than that. Slurp puts heavy weight on title and description tags, and will rarely deep-crawl a site. Slurp usually only spiders pages that are submitted to its index. Inktomi provides results to a number of sites. Some of these are America Online, MSN, Hotbot, Looksmart, About, Goto, CNet, Geocities, NBCi, ICQ and many more.

Lycos is one of the oldest search engines on the Internet today, next to Altavista and Yahoo. Their spider, named "T-Rex", crawls the web and provides updates to the Lycos index from time to time. The FAST crawler provides results for Lycos in addition to its own database.

The Lycos crawler does not weigh META tags too heavily. Instead, it relies on its own ranking algorithm to rank pages returned in results. The URL, META title, text headings, and word frequency are just a few of the methods Lycos uses to rank pages. Lycos does support pages with Frame content. However, any page that isn't at least 75 words in content is not indexed.


Excite has been around the web for many years now. Much more of a portal than just simply a search engine, Excite used to be a fairly popular search engine, until companies such as Google started dominating the search engine market. As of recently, Excite no longer accepts submissions of URL's, and appears to no longer spider. To get into the Excite search results, you need to be either listed with Yahoo! or Inktomi.


Getting listed with Looksmart could mean getting a good amount of traffic to your site. Looksmart's results appear in many search engines, including AltaVista, MSN, CNN, and many others. Looksmart has two options to submit your site. If your site is generally non-business related, you can submit your site to Zeal (Looksmart's sister site), or if you are a business, you can pay a fee to have your site listed. Either method will get you listed in Looksmart and its partner sites if you are approved. Once your site is submitted and approved, it will take up to about 7 days for your site to be listed on Looksmart and its partner sites. 3.3 Search Engine Page-Ranking Algorithms A search engine's main job is to provide results which most satisfy a user's query. If they present a result that the user visits and doesn't agree that the document is about their query, there is a very good chance that the user may not use that search engine again. Most search engines pay no attention at all to the Meta description tags.

Meta description and keyword tags are hidden attributes that you can add to the front of your document which are supposed to annotate and describe the document. Since the users will never see this information, they will be disappointed if you stick in invalid keywords or fail to keep the description in line with the document's contents which usually is the case.

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