1.Primary Search Engines
Each of the major search engines differs in some small way. Google is the king of search engines, in
part because of the accuracy with which it can pull the results from a search query. Sure, Google
offers all kinds of extras like e-mail, a personalized home page, and even productivity applications,
but those value-added services are not what made Google popular.
What turned Google into a household word is the accuracy with which the search engine can return
search results. This accuracy was developed when the Google designers combined keyword searches
with link popularity. The combination of the keywords and the popularity of links to those pages
yields a higher accuracy rank than just keywords alone.
However, it’s important to understand that link popularity and keywords are just two of hundreds
of different criteria that search engines can use in ranking the relevancy of web pages.
Most people assume that Yahoo! is a search engine, and it is. But it’s also a web directory, which
basically means that it’s a list of the different web pages available on the Internet, divided by category
and subcategory. In fact, what few people know is that Yahoo! started as the favorites list of
the two young men who founded it. Through the acquisition of companies like Inktomi, All the
Web, AltaVista, and Overture, Yahoo! gradually gained market share as a search engine.
Yahoo!, which at one time used Google to search its directory of links, now ranks pages through a
combination of the technologies that it acquired over time. However, Yahoo!’s link-ranking capability
is not as accurate as Google’s. In addition, Yahoo! also has a paid inclusion program, which some
think tends to skew search results in favor of the highest payer.
MSN’s search capabilities aren’t quite as mature as those of Google or Yahoo! As a result of this immaturity,
MSN has not yet developed the in-depth link analysis capabilities of these other primary search
engines. Instead, MSN relies heavily on web-site content for ranking purposes. However, this may
have a beneficial effect for new web sites that are trying to get listed in search engines.
The link-ranking capabilities of Google and Yahoo! can preclude new web sites from being listed for
a period of time after they have been created. This is because (especially where Google is concerned) the quality of the link may be considered during ranking. New links are often ignored until they
have been in place for a time.
Because MSN relies heavily on page content, a web site that is tagged properly and contains a good
ratio of keywords will be more likely to be listed — and listed sooner — by the MSN search engine.
So, though it’s not the most popular of search engines, it is one of the primaries, and being listed
there sooner rather than later will help increase your site traffic.
2.Secondary Search Engines
Secondary search engines are targeted at smaller, more specific audiences, although the search engine’s
content itself is still general. They don’t generate as much traffic as the primary search engines, but
they’re useful for regional and more narrowly focused searches. Examples of secondary search engines
include Lycos, LookSmart, Miva, Ask.com, and Espotting.
Secondary search engines, just like the primary ones, will vary in the way they rank search results.
Some will rely more heavily upon keywords, whereas others will rely on reciprocal links. Still others
might rely on criteria such as meta tags or some proprietary criteria.
Secondary search engines should be included in any SEO plan. Though these search engines might
not generate as much traffic as the primary search engines, they will still generate valuable traffic
that should not be overlooked. Many users of secondary search engines are users because they have
some loyalty to that specific search engine. For example, many past AOL users who have moved on
to broadband Internet service providers still use the AOL search engine whenever possible, because
it’s comfortable for them.
3.Targeted Search Engines
Targeted search engines — sometimes called topical search engines — are the most specific of them all.
These search engines are very narrowly focused, usually to a general topic, like medicine or branches
of science, travel, sports, or some other topic. Examples of targeted search engines include CitySearch,
Yahoo! Travel, and MusicSearch, and like other types of search engines, ranking criteria will vary from
one to another.
When considering targeted search engines for SEO purposes, keep in mind that many of these
search engines are much more narrowly focused than primary or secondary search engines. Look
for the targeted search engines that are relevant to your specific topic (like pets, sports, locations,
and so on).