I might tell you something shocking: Google is not the only search engine on the internet!
Yes, I know, you’re probably thinking of Bing or Safari if you’re an iOS user, but know that there are plenty of search engines you probably haven’t heard of, but might help you in the future, depending on the searches you do.
But so we don’t mess up your life right off the bat, let’s start at the beginning.
What you’re about to read in this article:
- What are search engines?
- How search engines work
- Top 10 search engines worth trying, as well as what minuses and pluses we found with each.
If you’re ready, let’s get into the bread!
What are search engines?
In short, a search engine is software that helps you find specific information based on the searches you make. It explores a giant database and chooses the most appropriate results based on the keywords you put in the search bar.
How do search engines work?
The work of a search engine can be divided into three stages: discovering information, organising information so that it can be accessed and presented correctly and efficiently when the user makes a particular search, and stage 3 in which information is evaluated to present users with relevant answers to their questions/queries.
These three stages are known by the following names: crawling, indexing and ranking.
But let’s take them one at a time:
Crawling – How Google scans websites
Imagine the whole Internet as a big spider web where each intersection on that web represents a page, and the links between them are the links.
To find all the documents on the Internet, Google uses programs called spiders or crawlers that scan all the sites on the Internet, and then organize and store them on huge servers.
That is, if the spiders start crawling the Internet from site A or page A, and from site A there are links to sites B, C and D, the spiders will follow the links and go to sites B, C and D.
Once they find a website, spiders memorize it in their databases and organize it according to various criteria. Just like in a library: books are not put in a chaotic order, but sorted by genre, author, etc.
What happens when you do a Google search?
Let’s say you do the following Google search: pancake recipes.
Google searches its database for every page that contains the search terms you enter. There are hundreds of thousands of possible results.
To sort the results and make sure it shows you the answer you’re looking for, Google asks itself questions (over 200). That is, it analyzes On-Page elements as well as Off-Page elements, i.e. from outside the site (how many links to your site you have, how qualitative they are, etc.) to figure out if a page best answers your search or not.
All of these questions are actually variables (ranking factors) in the algorithms by which Google extracts certain sites for a given search from its database and constantly updates to prevent spam.
By the way, this information is all about SEO, and if you’re interested in learning how it works and how you can get your site to show up in the top results on Google, download our free SEO guide.
The information found by these crawlers is organized, sorted and stored so that it can be further processed by algorithms to be presented to the search engine user. This is known as indexing.
Not all page information is stored by the search engine, instead, it is only the essential information needed by the algorithms to evaluate the relevance of the page for ranking purposes.
When you search for something (the keywords you entered in the search bar), all the sites that match your search are sorted and put in a hierarchical order by an algorithm.
This ordering of search engine results pages (SERPS) is known as ranking, but most often you’ll find it called indexing.
Each search engine uses different algorithms and thus yields different results. But over time, the algorithms have become extremely complex and manage to give you more and more specific and relevant answers depending on the searches you make.
And these algorithms are the basis for differentiating different search engines.
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Now that you understand what a search engine is and how one works, let’s review some of the most popular ones.
Is there any point in talking about it anymore?
You most likely came across this article from Google and I’m sure you use it at least 5 times a day.
Google is the most populous, yet popular search engine, and statistics say it has a 91.42% market share in the search engine market.
Favour and keep track of fresh content, this means that if on a particular search found fresh results, it shows them to you. Of course, if the site is properly optimized from an SEO point of view.
It’s user friendly. It has a simple, easy to use, super intuitive interface and can be accessed from any device, anytime.
Searchers get highly specific and relevant information, thanks to the super smart algorithm it has. That’s probably why over 90% of people who use the internet, use Google.
Collects information about users. If you have a Google account, you also have an email address with which you probably logged into Google and a bunch of other sites and apps.
Google takes all that information and stores it somewhere. You probably know about GDPR and the whole private information scandal, so we won’t linger here.
We said above that Google has 91.42% market share. Well, in second place is Bing, with 3.14%.
Bing Search is owned by giant Microsoft and is the corporation’s attempt to dethrone Google.
Despite its efforts it hasn’t succeeded and probably won’t anytime soon, and that’s because the algorithm is not yet up to the level of the main competitor.
Favour old, trusted, visited pages.
Ranks homepages and not blogs that may not always be trusted with accurate information
Put forums at the end of search results
Visually, it’s very busy, you don’t know what to click on.
If you’re part of the generation of people born in the 1990s or earlier, you know that in the early days Yahoo was the boss of the Internet. From the fact that absolutely everyone had a Yahoo email address to using Yahoo Messenger almost obsessively.
Don’t laugh, back then there was no Facebook, Instagram and all the entertaining methods that exist now.
When I was in grades V – VIII being on the internet meant strictly talking to other people on Yahoo Messenger or MIRC.
Asl, pls 🙂
On the home screen you can see the latest news that you can filter by preferences and also see the weather for the next few days, depending on your location.
User friendly. Although the design is quite busy, at least on the home page, it’s intuitive and gives you a lot of information.
Paid advertisements on Yahoo! Are not labeled as ads, so you don’t know if the site you click on is one with quality products/services or just had ad money.
Search results are not dated. The risk is that you find old information that is no longer relevant to the current time and take it for granted.
Founded in 2000, Baidu is the most widely used search engine in China and ranks 4th worldwide.
I wouldn’t know how to tell you that too because….
Although globally accessible, the search engine is only in Chinese, but because it’s so accessed by millions of people every day, I had to share it with you.
Duck Duck Go Search
A simple search engine, but one that does its job excellently. Duck Duck Go Search has banked on Google users’ displeasure about storing personal information, so it promises it doesn’t.
Moves very fast and comes with pretty specific results.
Does not store user information
Search results are not dated. Same problem as Yahoo!
Image results are pretty poor in that they don’t give you a large enough library of pictures.
About 25, 30 years ago, Dogpile was among the most used search engines in the world. Then came Google and…well…Google.
The whole theme of this search engine is based on puppies and, WHO DOESN’T LIKE DOGS.???
So as you search, you’ll find little jokes about the world of our best friends.
It moves very fast.
Looks like the early 2000s.
You can’t customize your home page
Shows extremely many ads in search results
Google Scholar Search
Although still owned by Google, this search engine is different and will help you be the smartest kid in the schoolyard. That’s because it gives you scientific results.
In other words, it takes information from PhD theses, scientific studies and all sorts of academic papers.
You can see how many times an article/work has been cited and by whom
It’s the world’s largest library of such papers and it’s free
You can’t delineate results by discipline or theme
You’re not always guaranteed that those papers are correct or relevant
Webopedia may be one of the most useful sites on the internet, and here’s why.
It’s a resource dedicated to researching terminology in the technology or computer world. So if you’re passionate about the field, here you can find quick and technical answers to the questions you have.
Focus on technical terms
Easy to use even for non-technical people
Home page gives you the word/term of the day every day so you learn something new every day
Results are not dated
You don’t have a meta description to the results so you can see a summary of what you’re about to read on that site
Internet Archive Search
A search engine for the nostalgic.
Internet Archive Search is exactly what it says it is. A huge library of sites, articles, movies, old music. If you want to see what a particular site looked like in 1997 you can check it out with this engine.
People all over the world have taken screen shots over the years of the World Wide Web so that you and I can travel back in time and see what the beginnings of what we call the Internet looked like today.
Provides a wide variety of results, from news, articles, old archived sites, or even music and movies.
Advanced search function
Wayback Machine function that allows you to see all the stages of a website from when it was created to now
Other than not being a site you can use every day, I don’t see any minuses.
Ah, maybe it would have helped if the information was structured a bit differently. Now it can be overwhelming to see all the results it gives you because you don’t know which direction to start from.
AOL has been around since the late 1990s, when it was considered one of the biggest players on the Internet.
Over time, however, other search engines have taken its place although it is still on the list of a minority of people who like this search engine.
Home page gives you lots of information: latest news, weather. It’s meant to be a copy of Yahoo!
Poor loading speed
Not very specific results for the searches you do
Mno, let’s get this over with.
These were the top search engines to know about and worth trying.
I’m curious, did you know about all of them?
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