I touched on meta-search engines in an earlier article, and want to provide more information because meta search can give you more visibility. The advantages of a meta-search is that one search can highlight the strengths of many top search sites like Google, Yahoo! and FAST AllTheWeb.

You can't get listed in meta-search engines because they don't sustain databases. You need to get properly listed in the majors first, and then if those engines supply meta-search engines with results (see source lists below), you'll appear in the respective meta-search queries.

Why such a fuss over meta-search? Until recently, traditional search engines indexed only a fraction of the coverage you got on meta-search. That is all changing with Google, AllTheWeb, and others indexing more of the "Deep Web" these days. But you do get more with meta-search because they query multiple databases..

Meta-Search Source Lists

The source lists for four major meta-search engines (MetaCrawler, Dogpile, Ixquick and Mamma) are shown below. Other meta-search tools include Copernic, C4, Debriefing, Highway 61, ProFusion, Search.com, SearchWho, SurfWax, Verio and Vivisimo to name a few.

MetaCrawler

MetaCrawler is one of the early search engines. Its searches include AltaVista, and LookSmart, in addition to the other databases listed below. MetaCrawler sorts and displays results by relevancy and eliminates duplications.

  • AltaVista: robot search engine
  • Direct Hit: question-asking directory (Ask Jeeves)
  • Excite: robot search engine
  • FindWhat: pay-for-placement search engine
  • Kanoodle.com: pay-for-placement engine
  • LookSmart: Internet directory
  • Open Directory: Internet directory
  • Overture: pay-for-placement search engine
  • Sprinks: pay-for-placement engine
  • WebCrawler: crawler-based search engine

Dogpile

Dogpile is also an old timer. Its searches include AltaVista, LookSmart, and Yahoo!, as well as the other databases listed below. Results are all-inclusive, sorted by search engine.

  • ah-ha: pay-for-placement search engine
  • AltaVista: robot search engine
  • Direct Hit: question-asking directory (Ask Jeeves)
  • Dogpile Web Catalog: robot search engine
  • ePilot.com: pay-for-placement search engine
  • FindWhat: pay-for-placement search engine
  • Kanoodle.com: pay-for-placement search engine
  • LookSmart: Internet directory
  • Open Directory: Internet directory
  • Overture: pay-for-placement search engine
  • RealNames: editorial/pay-for-placement system
  • SearchHippo.com: database allowing users to add free keyword listings
  • Sprinks: pay-for-placement engine
  • Yahoo!: Internet directory

Ixquick

Ixquick is new, powerful and fast, displaying excellent results. It provides a different source list for each query, depending on how the numerous search engines ranked the Web sites containing the queried term. A recent search for "video camera" will result in the source list below, which includes Yahoo!, LookSmart, AOL, MSN and more.

Ixquick uses a "star system" to determine relevancy. It works by awarding each found Web site one star for every search engine placing it in the top 10 for the query. It claims relevancy based on the concurrence of multiple search engines reaching the same results with different algorithms.

  • AllTheWeb: robot search engine
  • AltaVista: robot search engine
  • AOL: indexing engine
  • Excite: robot search engine
  • FindWhat: pay-for-placement search engine
  • LookSmart: Internet directory
  • Lycos: robot search engine
  • MSN: indexing engine
  • Open Directory: Internet directory
  • Overture: pay-for-placement search engine
  • Sprinks: pay-for-placement engine
  • Yahoo!: Internet directory

Mamma

Mamma bills itself as the "mother of all search engines." Its searches include LookSmart, Lycos and MSN. Mamma also provides numerous file types in their results, including MP3, image and video files. It uses the source list below, sorting and displaying results according to relevancy. Relevancy is determined first by rating the source engine (e.g., Yahoo! rated higher than Lycos), then by assigning weights and comparing and ranking the results from all the sources.

  • 7Search.com: pay-for-placement search engine
  • About.com
  • Ah-ha: pay-for-placement search engine
  • BIGwhat.com: pay-for-placement search engine
  • Direct Hit: question-asking directory (Ask Jeeves)
  • Image:Include: Image search engine
  • Kanoodle.com: pay-for-placement engine
  • LookSmart: Internet directory
  • Lycos: robot search engine
  • Mamma Collections: proprietary database
  • MSN: indexing engine
  • Overture.com: pay-for-placement search engine
  • Sprinks: pay-for-placement engine

The quality of meta-search results are only as good as the sources the engines query. As they improve their capabilities and become more widely known, the number of users will continue to grow. Nielsen/NetRatings reported 23.4 million unique visitors used meta-search engines in October 2001.
January 14, 2002





Paul J. Bruemmer has provided search engine marketing expertise and consulting services to prominent American businesses since 1995. As Director of Search Marketing at Red Door Interactive, he is responsible for strategizing and implementing search engine marketing activities within Red Door's Internet Presence Management (IPM) services.






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