In many ways, Google controls the fate of your website. You simply have to pay attention to how Google is assigning value to links and be constantly aware of changes to their algorithm if you want to rank high and come up on that all important first page. Lately, the emphasis has been on integrating information from social media to supply better results.
However, Google isn’t the only search engine out there and despite it’s power in the business and marketing world, is not the best engine for every type of search. You know about Bing, Yahoo, and Ask, but their experience isn’t that far off from a Google search.
When you go to do your next search, first consider what type of content you are looking for and then try out one of these alternative and niche search engines. We outlined each one’s specialty below, these are great for supplying a different type of result than you might be used to and finding different types of content.
As many of these engines are finding success, they influence the ways the major players like Google, Bing, and the rest adjust their own algorithms and search offerings. (One of my former favorites Like.com was even acquired by Google.)
- Topsy: ‘Real-time search for the social web’. Topsy gives you a feeling of taking the pulse of the social media world at any given time. There is little to no lag between when content starts to become popular and when Topsy displays it in search results. The results are extremely fluid, from one hour to the next you are going to get different results and that makes total sense for the way social media sharing happens and the online life cycle of social content.
- Mahalo: Mahalo considers itself ‘human search engine’ and takes search results to a personal level by hand-crafting search results for many popular search terms. The goal is to return results that are more relevant if fewer in number. Mahalo is a popular start-up and has generally been met with praise from the search industry.
- SocialMention: “Real-time social media search and analysis”. If you are looking for how a phrase or one of your keywords is doing in the world of social media, SocialMention is really nice. A simple search of one your keywords, say ‘salty waffle’ in our case, brings back some great real-time results with associated social metrics like strength, sentiment, passion, and even offers a list of top keywords associated with your search and the most associated Twitter hashtags. Widgets and alerts offer a nice way to track real-time buzz on a phrase as well.
- Wolfram Alpha: “Computational knowledge engine”. Wolfram Alpha works much differently than Google. Wolfram is a very ambitious project that tries to provide answers to factual queries ‘by computing the answer from structured data‘ rather than returning a list of websites.
- TheFind: Next time you’re looking to go online shopping, try out TheFind. TheFind is a ‘discovery shopping search engine’ that puts emphasis on how customers shop in order to provide personalized results. It helps find new products and places to buy them.
- Dogpile: Essentially, Dogpile is what it’s name sounds like, a pile of search engines in one place. Dogpile indexes results from a slough of other search engines, including Google, then eliminates duplicates displays the compiled results.
- Blinkx: Blinkx is a video and audio search engine that is unique in that it uses ‘speech recognition to listen to the audio component of the video content, and then uses both the phonetic and text transcripts to match content with search queries’. Blinkx also indexes podcasts and video blogs and says it has the most indexed video content of any video search engine.