Archive

Archive for the ‘Search Engines’ Category

SEO Snapshot

November 7th, 2011 22 comments

Most people have a general idea of what SEO is, but most people don’t really understand everything that goes into it. SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or “un-paid” (organic) search results. On the surface this sounds fairly straightforward, so what is really involved here. The people at response mine interactive have put together one of the best snapshots of SEO I’ve seen in a long time. Take a look and it will give you a much better appreciation on what’s involved.

SEO Snapshot Image

Wolfram|Alpha – Answers, Not Just Search Results

June 27th, 2009 Comments off

wolfram_alpha

While Bing, Microsoft’s revamped search engine, has been the big news item in search the past few weeks, only a few weeks earlier another search engine became available that has greater potential to change how searches are conducted in the future. That engine is Wolfram|Alpha

How is Wolfram|Alpha different?

To call Wolfram|Alpha a search engine is a bit of a misnomer. It is better described as a computational knowledge engine using systematic knowledge to generate results rather than returning links to pages like other search engines.

To simplify things a typical search engine takes your search term(s) and compares it to the immense directory of pages that the search engine has indexed, typically in the billions. Then using closely guarded algorithms the search engine outputs a list of links, the search results, that it thinks best matches your query. Wolfram|Alpha on the other hand generates its results by doing computations from its own internal database and outputs answers, not links. In the developers own terms, “Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.”

Will Wolfram|Alpha replace your current search engine?

Wolfram|Alpha will not replace your current search engine of choice. A typical search will most likely produce the statement “Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input.” For example a search for “Halo 3” or “Black Table Lamps” will not produce any results (at least when I wrote this); however a search for quantifiable data yields excellent results blowing away the other search engines. For some great examples of what Wolfram|Alpha can do see the “New to Wolfram|Alpha?” sidebar on the right of the screen of the main screen.

While the average person may not find much use for it other than a novelty, it is Wolfram|Alpha’s ability to generate live and comparable results make it an excellent tool for any researcher or student. Wolfram|Alpha may not replace your current search engine but it represents a huge leap forward in our ability to obtain quantifiable data.

Categories: Search Engines Tags:

Bing.com: How Does It Compare

June 11th, 2009 1 comment

bing-logo

A big Internet Marketing news item the past few weeks has been the launch of Bing.com (officially launched June 3), Microsoft’s revision and re-branding of its search engine. According to Microsoft, “Bing.com is a decision engine that offers consumers a way to make informed choices fast,” and has even been touted by some proponents as a “Google Killer.” Bing is supposed to simplify search and save time by not just providing search results, but “help[ing] you make decisions.” Microsoft is following up Bing’s launch with “a broad reaching awareness campaign” with the hope of regaining some of its declining market share.

Let me start off by saying that Microsoft has done a good job reinventing the way it dose search and I am happy to see that they are still in the search game. With that said, I can’t say that Bing will be able hold up to the hype.

The biggest difference between Google and Bing is that Bing categorizes its search results. For example, a search for “table lamp” brings up the following categories: brands, types, styles, shades, fixtures, shopping, and images, whereas a search for “Home Depot” beings up: news, jobs, coupons, catalog, and local. Another neat feature is that if you mouse over to the right of the search results a small window with a text preview of the page appears, which can save time by not having to open the page to see if it really contains what you are looking for. Items missing from Bing that you can find on Google’s results include the “promote result” and “remove from search” options that Google allows when a user is signed in to their Google account for a more customized search experience. Other than that many of the other features are similar. For example both search engines provide related searches, suggested searches, and maps for locations.

But the thing that matters most, no matter what search engine you are using, is the quality of the search results, and that is where I felt Bing still fell short. Basic searches or searches for brand names tend to bring similar results; however, Google has higher quality results for more detailed searches. A great tool to do side by side comparisons of the search results for Google and Bing can be found at http://www.blackdog.ie/google-bing/search-com.php

In the end while Bing is a great improvement over Live Search, it is not a “Google Killer,” actually it is far from it. The greatest thing that Bing does accomplish is that it shows Google that others search providers can, and are, catching up. In the end this renewed competition will only lead to better quality search products.

Categories: Search Engines Tags: