Australian Search Engines – Which are The Best?
There are quite a few Australian Search Engines in operation today, and it’s difficult to choose the best. In case you did not know: A search engine (a.k.a. SE) is not a directory. Directories like Yahoo! or Dmoz (the directory that Google uses) are collections of links to websites reviewed and edited by human beings like you and me.
A search engine, on the other hand, uses a special program (called a spider or a crawler) to surf the internet automatically, copying all the data into a huge database (an index or list of information).
So when you are “searching” the internet using one of the best search engines, you are not searching the internet at all, but the information this engine has gathered on its computers.
Not one of the various search engines has information that covers the entire Net. Nor are all the results up to date. That is why you should use more than one of the best search engines.
The databases used by search engines are made by “robots” or “spiders” that automatically map the Net by following the links between sites. The directories, on the other hand, contain sites that are hand picked by human beings.
Still, most search sites present search engine as well as directory results. Metasearch engines gather results from several search engines and directories. They are not that good at advanced Boolean searching, but may provide you with a broad sweep of the Web.
Getting back to the question, “Which are the best?” For the purpose of mining data, there’s n question that Google is the best at it’s job of returning results swiftly and meaningfully.
It achieves this by rating sites according to how many other sites there are that link to it. Links from popular or important sites counts more than links from smaller, unknown sites. The search engine figures that if many high quality sites link to a particular site, that site must contain some high quality information. They are so confident about this, that they have included a “I feel lucky” button that brings you directly to the first result on the hit list. It actually works most of the time.
Google is unique in that it includes files in a wide variety of formats in its regular index, not only traditional webpages, including Microsoft Office files and Acrobat PDF.
Google has also a special adaptation of the Open Directory, where it sorts the listings according to popularity. Another useful feature is the Google Groups SE, which lets you search in the content of Usenet/Newsgroup messages.
Australian Search Engine Submission
Now, for the purpose of submitting your website to the engines there is a separate set of criteria. You need to evaluate which search engines to allocate your precious time. Some will be well worth the effort, others will be time consuming with little benefit. In order to gain links, increase traffic and get to ranked higher in the results pages, you need to set up some priorities.
N.B. Downloading toolbars comes with the risk of gathering some spyware or tracking cookies, which may or may not have adverse effects on your computer and/or privacy.
1. Download the Alex toolbar, you can get it here: http://www.alexa.com/site/download/ Alexa computes traffic rankings by analysing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users. I won’t go into the technical information, all you need to know is this a great way to work out which sites are getting the most traffic.
The SMALLER the Alexa ranking, the more traffic the site is getting. For example Yahoo is still No.1 and a newish site will rank at around 7,000,000 or not have enough data to get ranked at all. My experience is to not bother submitting to search engines and directories that rank above, say 500,000.
For example, Big Roo has a ranking of 456,922, Dlook is 55,343, Web Wombat ranks at 23,215 and a little known directory Ezilon Australia New Zealand is 11,737
2. Download the Google Toolbar. Go to Settings/Options/More and tick the option of PageRank & Page Info. Go to the page on the SE or directory and drill down to the page which will display your link. The Google Toolbar’s PageRank feature displays a visited page’s PageRank as a whole number between 0 and 10. The most popular websites have a PageRank of 10. The least have a PageRank of 0 and very new sites won’t get a mention at all. You’ll see a greyed out PageRank indicator with the alt tag of “No PageRank Information Available.”
Google has not disclosed the precise method for determining a Toolbar PageRank value, but it is largely based on the amount of links (read votes) to your website. See if that page passes on any PageRank to your site.
So if it does pass on PageRank and has a low Alexa ranking, jump on it! Even if you sometimes have to pay a small fee, it’s usually worth it. So what are you waiting for? Go and get some great Australian Search Engine listings!