If you use the Internet on a daily basis, then I am sure you use search engines as part of your regular routine to find information on the Internet. But the Internet is made up of millions and millions of pages, and it is almost impossible for one search engine to index them all. So it is critical to become familiar with more than one search engine, so you can capture the majority of the Internet. Below are some ideas on how to stay on top of the latest and greatest in terms of search engines. When selecting a search engine, there are several things to keep in mind ? these factors will help you to determine where you should search first:
- Size: In this case “size” relates to the amount of pages a particular search engine has indexed. Now I know you are saying, “How do I know how many pages a certain Search Engine has indexed?” Well, you are in luck. Go to Search Engine Watch to find out how the top search engines stack up against each other. The following graph, which is updated on Search Engine Watch, will give you a snapshot of the top Search Engines:
As you will notice, Google has the most pages indexed, but how is Google’s functionality? That leads me to my next point.
- Functionality: Having the most pages indexed is quite an accomplishment, but search functionality is key to getting the most out of a search engine. It is important to find out if a search engine supports full Boolean searching or only allows limited search functionality. By limited search functionality, I mean that it will not allow you to use AND or OR statements as part of your search string.
- Relevant Results: If you are using a search engine and you are getting dead links or results that are not relevant to your search, then you may be using a search engine that does not have a strong relevancy rating. If this is the case, then it is time to try another search engine or two to insure that you are not missing any critical information. In my experience, AltaVista tends to bring back the most relevant results in terms of locating resumes with the skills that I am seeking.
- Search Engine vs. Directory: Many people often confuse a search engine with a directory. The main difference between a directory and a search engine is that a directory’s information is indexed manually, while a search engine’s is indexed using robots and spiders. For example, when you search for information using Yahoo!, you are going to view pages that were indexed manually. When you use a Search Engine like AltaVista, the pages you will see have been automatically indexed. Directories are great for being able to search for things like a hotel in San Diego. It would allow you to conduct this search by putting San Diego Hotels in their search engine. If you use a search engine like AltaVista or Excite, you would need to put together a more complex search string to get the desired results. What you will notice is that a Directory is easier to use for finding simple information, while Search Engines are more useful for more complex searches, niche sites and particularly resumes.
As you can see, you need to take time to learn about the different Search Engines and determine what best fits your needs. Just remember that if you don’t find what you are looking for with one Search Engine, it doesn’t mean that the information doesn’t exist. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>