Meta-Search Engines

  |  January 2, 2002   |  Comments

Rank in the results of major search engines, and you'll soar even higher in meta-search results.

Last month, I discussed surviving in the search world and strategies used by second-tier search engines. Since you can get excellent exposure in meta-search engines, I'd like to provide more information on these tools.

We touched on how meta-search works and its pros and cons, but do you know the real strength of a meta-search? It's powerful because one search can highlight strengths of a number of top search portals, such as Google, AltaVista, LookSmart, and Yahoo

You cannot be listed in meta-search engines. They don't maintain a database. If you follow my prescription in my article "Getting Listed in Major Search Engines and Directories," you'll find yourself appearing in meta-search queries to great advantage.

Why is this important? Until recently, traditional search engines only indexed a fraction of the Web. Meta-search engines covered much more. That's changing now that Google, AllTheWeb, and others are indexing deeper into Web content. You still search more of the Web with meta-search, because you are querying multiple databases. Nielsen//NetRatings said that 23.4 million unique users visited meta-search engines in October.

Who Queries What?

Below are the source lists for Ixquick, MetaCrawler, Dogpile, and Mamma.com, four of the major meta-search engines.

Ixquick

Ixquick is powerful and fast, with excellent search results. It provides a different source list for each query, depending on how various search engines ranked the Web sites containing the term queried. For instance, a recent search for "digital camera" resulted in the source list below, which includes Yahoo, LookSmart, AOL, and MSN, among others:

  • AllTheWeb: robot search engine

  • AltaVista: robot search engine

  • AOL: indexing engine

  • Excite: robot search engine

  • FindWhat.com: pay-for-placement search engine

  • LookSmart: Internet directory

  • Lycos: robot search engine

  • MSN: indexing engine

  • Open Directory: Internet directory

  • Overture: pay-for-placement search engine

  • Sprinks: pay-for-placement engine

  • Yahoo: Internet directory

Ixquick determines relevancy according to a star system, awarding each found Web site one star for every search engine that placed it in its top 10 for the query. It's reasoned that relevancy is indicated when multiple engines agree a site is tops, all reaching that same conclusion with different algorithms.

MetaCrawler

MetaCrawler is an old stand-by. Its searches include Google, AltaVista, and LookSmart, in addition to the other databases listed below:

  • AltaVista: robot search engine

  • Direct Hit: question-asking directory (Ask Jeeves)

  • Excite: robot search engine

  • FindWhat: pay-for-placement search engine

  • Google: robot search engine

  • Kanoodle.com: pay-for-placement engine

  • LookSmart: Internet directory

  • Open Directory: Internet directory

  • Overture: pay-for-placement search engine

  • Sprinks: pay-for-placement engine

  • WebCrawler: crawler-based search engine

MetaCrawler sorts and displays results by relevancy and eliminates duplications.

Dogpile

Dogpile has also been around for a while. Its searches include AltaVista, LookSmart, and Yahoo, as well as the other databases listed below:

  • ah-ha: pay-for-placement search engine

  • AltaVista: robot search engine

  • Direct Hit: question-asking directory (Ask Jeeves)

  • Dogpile Web Catalog: robot search engine

  • ePilot.com: pay-for-placement search engine

  • FindWhat: pay-for-placement search engine

  • Kanoodle.com: pay-for-placement search engine

  • LookSmart: Internet directory

  • Open Directory: Internet directory

  • Overture: pay-for-placement search engine

  • RealNames: editorial/pay-for-placement system

  • SearchHippo.com: database allowing users to add free keyword listings

  • Sprinks: pay-for-placement engine

  • Yahoo: Internet directory

Results are all-inclusive, sorted by search engine.

Mamma

Mamma's searches include LookSmart, Lycos, MSN, and numerous file types, including MP3, image, and video files. It uses the following databases:

  • 7Search.com: pay-for-placement search engine

  • About.com

  • Ah-ha: pay-for-placement search engine

  • BIGwhat.com: pay-for-placement search engine

  • Direct Hit: question-asking directory (Ask Jeeves)

  • Image:Include: Image search engine

  • Kanoodle.com: pay-for-placement engine

  • LookSmart: Internet directory

  • Lycos: robot search engine

  • Mamma Collections: proprietary database

  • MSN: indexing engine

  • Overture.com: pay-for-placement search engine

Mamma sorts and displays results from the databases listed above, ranked by relevancy. Relevancy is determined first by rating the source engine (e.g., Yahoo rated higher than Lycos), then by assigning weights and comparing and ranking results from all the sources.

Because meta-search engines do not have their own databases, results are only as good as the quality of the sources the engines query. As they improve their capabilities and become better known, the number of people using them will continue to grow. Ensuring that your Web site is found not only by search engines but also by meta-search engines can help you tap into an audience of millions.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul J. Bruemmer

Paul J. Bruemmer is CEO of Web-Ignite Corporation, a search engine optimization (SEO) and positioning provider. Founded in 1995, Web-Ignite has helped promote over 15,000 Web sites and was recognized by ICONOCAST as one of the top 10 most reputable SEO firms. Services include optimization, submission, registration, positioning, monitoring, maintenance, paid-inclusion, and paid-placement management for fixed monthly fees. Recent client testimonials report search engine traffic increased from 150 to 500 percent.

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