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A search engine is a service generally
designed to allow users to search the Web
or a specialized database of information.
Currently, there are two types of search
engine listings: organic and paid.
Search engines get organic (editorial)
listings through crawlers (crawler-based
results) and directories (human-powered
results). These listings are referred to as
organic because search engines do not sell
these listings. These sites appear solely
because a search engine has deemed their
inclusion editorially important, regardless
of payment. Paid listings, on the other
hand, are listings that search engines sell
to advertisers through paid placement
programs like Overture or paid inclusion
programs like Looksmart.
Although there are a large number of
search engines on the World Wide Web,
fewer than fifty are considered to be
"major", and only fifteen of them are
considered to be the best search engines.
Certain search engines are classified as
being "major" search engines because they
are either well-known or well-used.
For surfers, well-known, commercially-
backed search engines usually mean more
dependable results. These search engines
are more likely to be well-maintained,
upgraded when necessary, and incorporate
the latest technology to keep pace with
the growing Web. For webmasters, the
major search engines are the most
important places to be listed because they
have the potential to generate tremendous
amounts of traffic resulting in more sales.
Below is a list of the 33 best search engines
which provide both organic and paid listings
on the World Wide Web. The top 10 major
search engines are listed first followed by
other elite organic and PPC search engines.
Google has a well-deserved reputation as
the elite choice for those surfing the Web.
Currently, Google is the world's largest
search engine reportedly delivering more
than 200 million searches per day by over
73.5 million users per month resulting in
a 32% overall search engine market share.
This crawler-based service (which feeds
search results to Yahoo and AOL) provides
both comprehensive coverage of the Web
along with great relevancy. For these
reasons, Google should be your #1 stop
in your hunt for information.
In addition to the unpaid organic listings
(mentioned above), Google also operates
its own paid AdWords program which
boasts an auction model similar to
Overture. Google AdWords are found on the
right hand column and are distributed to
partners such as AOL, Ask Jeeves, Teoma,
and Netscape. Google is currently the 2nd
largest PPC engine, recently purchasing
the 5th largest engine known as Sprinks.
Launched in 1994, Yahoo is the Web's
oldest directory. From its inception, human
editors organized web sites into categories.
However, in October 2002, Yahoo made a
paradigm shift by adding Google's crawler-
based listings for its main results. Then, in
March 2003, Yahoo purchased Inktomi (a
crawler-based rival to Google) to even
further broaden its search results. Today,
Yahoo no longer uses Google’s search
technology, replacing it with its own tools,
web spiders, and technology in an effort to
become the world’s top search engine again.
In order for a commercial site to be listed
in the Yahoo Directory, site owners are
required to pay an annual fee and meet
editorial approval before being accepted;
non-commercial content is accepted for
free. Editors (not the advertisers) decide
where site listings fit best in order to
ensure that the directory remains fair,
intuitive, helpful, and simple to use.
MSN Search (3)
MSN Search is currently the 3rd largest
search engine in the U.S. MSN, which
currently uses Inktomi as its primary
database after dropping Looksmart in
January 2004, is currently developing a
brand new search engine which is already
crawling and indexing the web under the
MSN has its own team of editors that
monitors the most popular searches and
then hand-picks sites that are believed to
be the most relevant. MSN also relies on
search providers such as Looksmart for help
with answers to many of its queries.
Finally, for more obscure searches, MSN
uses crawler-based results provided from
Inktomi. MSN Search is unique since it
provides a high quality blend of human-
powered directory information and crawler
AOL Search (4)
AOL (America Online) is currently the
world's 4th largest search engine; it utilizes
Google's database and algorithm to display
its results. Although an external search
on AOL and Google will come up with very
similar results, the "internal" version of AOL
Search provides links to content which is
only available within the AOL online service.
This enables the user to search AOL and
the entire Web at the same time.
Ask Jeeves (5)
Ask Jeeves, which initially gained fame in
1998 as being the "natural language"
search engine, is currently the Web's 5th
largest search engine and makes up an
estimated 4-5% of user searches.
In the early days of Ask Jeeves, editors
would monitor search logs to find the best
web site matches for the most popular
queries. This personal interaction made the
cartoon butler (named "Jeeves") seem real
by providing the correct answer every time.
Today, Ask Jeeves utilizes crawler-based
technology from Teoma and sponsored
listings from Google to provide search
results to its users. Jeeves also sells its
top listings to other search engines. The
combination of a good algorithm and a
steady but cautious approach to the
search engine industry should ensure
longevity and increasing popularity for
Overture (formerly Goto.com until late
2001) was formed in 1997 by IdeaLab.
The brilliant Overture auction-based model
of supply and demand forces advertisers to
pay a premium to promote their websites.
Overture continues to be the #1 PPC site
on the Web, building their model by
partnering with leading search engine
partners such as Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite,
MSN, and Infospace and by syndicating
advertiser links into search results which
are typically labeled "sponsored sites" or
AltaVista is the oldest crawler-based search
engine on the Web. It opened in December
1995 and for several years was the leader
of its day in terms of providing relevant
results and having a loyal group of users.
It ranks as the 6th largest search engine.
In 1998, a botched attempt to turn itself
into a portal site caused search relevancy,
freshness of listings, and web coverage to
drop. Today, AltaVista once again focuses
on search, making numerous improvements
to help regain its old splendor. Altavista
uses its own proprietary database and
algorithm, and like Ask Jeeves and Inktomi,
utilizes its natural results, some of which
are spidered freely, and some of which are
Paid inclusion is the best way to guarantee
a listing in Altavista, and optimization and
link popularity is the best way to attain
rankings. However, crawlers such as Google
and AllTheWeb provide even more
comprehensive results making AltaVista a
third-choice search engine crawler at best.
Lycos, launched in 1994, is one of the
oldest search engines on the Web. It
ceased crawling the Web for its own listings
in April 1999 and began using crawler-
based results provided by AllTheWeb.
Lycos offers several interesting features
for its users. These include a display of
relevant categories on the search results
page, suggestions of related topics to any
given search, and a "Fast Forward" option
which shows search results on one side of
the screen and the actual pages listed on
Lycos is owned by Terra Lycos, a company
formed in October 2000 when Lycos and
Terra Networks merged. Terra Lycos also
owns the HotBot search engine.
AllTheWeb is an excellent crawler-based
search engine which provides not only
comprehensive coverage of the Web but
also outstanding relevancy. If you are not
able to find the information that you are
searching for on Google, then AllTheWeb
should probably be your #2 stop.
HotBot entered the search engine scene in
May 1996, attracting serious searchers
with the quality and comprehensiveness of
its Inktomi crawler-based results as well as
its colorful interface.
In 1999, HotBot began using search results
from Direct Hit, one of the new search
engines at the time. Unfortunately, the
quality of Direct Hit's results couldn't equal
those of another search engine known as
Google. HotBot's popularity began to wane
as a result of Lycos ownership which did
not focus on improving its search feature
until 2001. In December 2002, HotBot
regained popularity by providing access to
the Web's four major crawler-based search
engines: AllTheWeb, Google, Inktomi, and
Teoma. Unlike a meta search engine,
HotBot cannot blend crawler results
together. Nevertheless, HotBot is a quick
and easy way to get a compilation of Web
search "opinions" in one location.
For more information on advertising with
the Christ-Centered Store and getting
your company listed in these search
engines, please view our company's
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