Resources > How to Search the Intranet
How To Search the Internet
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The Internet has changed a lot since the
days of the big 4 search engines (Yahoo!, Lycos, Excite, Altavista).
Nowadays, many engines and directories have become a lot less useful by
charging for listings thereby excluding many sites or by placing sites
higher if they pay money for each click generated leading to irrelevant
results. To understand the relationship between the search engines,
view the Search
Engine Relationship Chart which is a free PDF chart provided
by Bruce Clay
Internet Business Consultants. Many of the US search engines
also have UK sites. Some of these have been listed below but in the
main, it really doesn't make a difference which you use. Finally, if
you don't understand any of the words below, find them in the Search
Engine Terms Glossary.
There are hundreds of search engines but
only a few useful ones. Sites like looksmart and yahoo are too
selective in their listings and because they charge a fee (bribe) to
list sites quickly, are often out of date. Pay Per Click sites
and Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture and before
that, GoTo) also result in less relevant results and are often
full of adverts.
In the lead -
- Without a shadow of a doubt the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Google mixes its own results with those of DMOZ (see below) resulting
in accurate, uptodate results. I am not sure how long it will remain
this way for and it may fall victim to greed. There is also a Google UK and now Google De but
searching the US site is generally the same.
- Very good site with many additional features. The results are
comprehensive and usually accurate. Alltheweb is powered by Fast Search
Close Behind -
are two new engines to keep an eye on. Teoma provides standard results
alongside results handpicked by experts. Wisenut prides itself on
trying to be comprehensive and accordingly has now indexed 1.5 billion
has always been around and used to be the best engine available. It had
some problems towards the end of 1999 but following a shake up of the
site things seem to be back on track. There is of course a Altavista UK
site but again it doesn't make a difference.
Some of the others - (Click UK for the UK
UK - New site, not really comprehensive yet.
- Okay, nothing special. (UK)
Jeeves - Good but limited. UK site is better. (UK)
- About to be redeveloped. Stay tuned.
- Okay but used to be a lot better. Suffering a lot of financial
- Large number of indexed pages. New so we'll see how it performs in
the long run.
- Okay but recent changes have taken their toll on the quality of the
- Too exclusive.
- Still good but not great. (UK)
- Okay but UK site is far too exclusive. (UK)
- Okay (UK)
Light - Now only searches certain information tools only.
It should be noted that many of the search
engines listed above are also directories. Yahoo! in fact is just a
directory even though it is often referred to as a Search Engine.
Open Directory is the largest online directory maintained by
almost 30000 editors worldwide. This human touch means that the results
are often more relevant than anywhere else.
- Terrible, sadly! Great example of why the internet should not be
dominated by companies. (UK)
Meta Search Engines
In the lead -
- Amazing engine which delivers every time. It has many additional
features which make it stand out from the rest.
- Excellent metasearch engine which searches 15 engines at once then
delivers the most relevant results from these based on their ranking in
the other engines.
- Results are okay but the unique approach to layout and design means
it deserves a top mention.
Some of the others -
- Quite a good metasearch engine but instead of compiling them it lists
each engine separately. Ads.
- Has far too many ads and uses paid listings. Ads.
- Okay, not great. Ads.
- Used to be good but now awful. It tied itself to certain engines so
has limited results. Metaspy
is an amusing feature on the site where you can be a voyeur and watch
what other people are searching for. Ads.
- Searches several engines at once including the "invisible web".
- CNET search engine which lets you search several places at once.
Nothing special though. Ads.
- Same idea as Dogpile but has a better layout of results.
- Meta search engine that uses Yahoo, Wisenut, MSN, Alltheweb and
- Copernic is an amazing free tool which searches 10 sites at once and
delivers the results to your desktop. These are then kept for as long
as you like and can be updated whenever you want. This tool would be
invaluable if you were, for example, to try and compile a directory of
Scottish Law Firms!
Searching for software -
- Excellent site which not only has pretty much all software available,
it also rates them, allows you to see users reviews and shows how
popular they are too.
Further Reading & More Engines
- A directory of search sites. Quite comprehensive collection of search
engines and specialised engines which can help you find information
Click Search Engines - Guide to the top Pay Per Click
Clay Internet Business Consultants have a large selection of
guides on this subject which should prove useful.
Engine Watch - Useful site with good guides and searching
tips and tricks.
Engine Glossary - Find out why a spider now has a lot more
than 8 legs.
Engine Showdon Reviews - Excellent reviews of each of the
engines from Search
Engine Terms - A massive glossary of internet search
Kevin F Crombie 2002
Scottish Law Online
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guide is not definitive. It is simply collection of hints and tips
which will hopefully prove useful to the internet beginner or
intermediary. If you would like a topic to be covered, or a question
answered then use the Feedback
form on Scottish Law Online and I'll try and find someone to answer it.
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