10 years ago, a search for “free books” on the internet would probably bring you to some adult sites. Today, search engine technology has developed a great deal, bringing pretty relevant search results to most internet users. In fact, recent report shows that search engines are driving more than 80% of internet traffic. Given the rapid improvements of search engine technology, majority of internet users today are relying on search engines rather than directories to find resources online.
Although there are more than thousands of search engines and directories worldwide, only a few of them produce the majority of traffic. Among the most popular ones are Google, Yahoo and MSNSearch.
The internet is growing very rapidly and contains vast amount of resources still untapped. Many websites today are still buried and having less than 20 visitors every month. Therefore, we need a search engine that can: (1) deliver the most relevant search results to online users (2) index the most number of useful pages in the shortest time. (3) develop efficient methods and technology to rank web pages accordingly.
Let us look at some of the top search engines today:
Google In recent years, Google has emerged as the top search engine, reaching more than 80% of online users. With its unique search technology, Google is able to deliver very relevant results in seconds. It has the ability to index 8 billion web pages, which no other search engine can achieve at this time. If you are still using some other search engines, you may want to switch to Google.
Yahoo! The company has made significant moves in recent years to replace its human-compiled directory listings to search engine listings. Few years ago, Yahoo is using search results from search engine companies like Inktomi and Google. However, Yahoo! has developed its own search technology today.
MSNSearch MSNSearch is the search engine developed by Microsoft. In this race to dominate the internet community, I am sure the company will be interested too. :). Although MSNSearch is still not as widely used as Google and Yahoo, it is serving a growing number of internet users and indicates a strong growing potential.
There are thousands of other search engines which I will not elaborate here. These search engines serve less than 10% of online users worldwide.
Yahoo! is the first to develop large scale human edited directory. However, directories are losing its prominence compared to search engines today. There are few limitations for directories:
1) Unlike search engines which use robots to index web pages, directories require human effort. This is time consuming. Just imagine how many editors are needed to index 1 billion web pages and rank each pages accordingly.
2) If a user is looking for tutor, He/she may have to search the directory in this way:
Regional >> Asia >> Singapore >> Education >> Tutor. This can really take a lot of time.
Instead, many smaller, local directories today have emerged. Also, you may notice that Google has been including more directory listings into its search results recently. Directories today serve as "eyes" of search engine spiders (another name for robot). Websites accepted by many directories often receive higher rankings in search engines.
There is still much room for improvements for information searching on the internet. We shall look forward to have a perfect search engine one day - knowing exactly what we are looking look for.