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 US Photographer based in Coastal Georgia - Savannah, Tybee Island and nearby SC Low Country - HHI

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Web Search Engine Introduction and RATING of Search Engines

Additional comments/suggestions about using Internet Search Engines with several examples are located here.

Internet Search Engine Results 101

Internet Search Engines (SE) collect, organize, and display information found on personal, business, corporate, government and other web pages.  Many sites offer 'search features' which may be branded with statements like 'powered by Google' (or some other engine.)  

The first (few) results are sold by the SE.  Search engine companies offer businesses the opportunity to be listed in the top of any results returned  - the SE simply sells ad space.  This allows anyone willing to pay the asking price to be listed on the first page of results for a given key word or phrase.   Usually, these sponsored links are highly relevant (i.e. possible good matches for what you are searching for.)

The results after the sponsored links may or may not be relevant to your needs - what matters is that the results are both close to what is needed and if the results are presented in an easy to use format which allow you to quickly determine which links match your needs.  Note that for very broad search terms you should expect poor results; use three to five terms (or more) to increase the relevance of what is returned (see the link above for more tips.)

Summer 2009 Update

The release of  BING.Com (June 2009) is quite interesting - not only are results highly relevant (vs live.com or msn.com searches) but the presentation is also very nice.   The photo of the day feature is also very appealing - I think that this new search tool is a winner.

Current (personal/IMO) Search Engine Rankings  [pre - June 2009]

Search Engine Text Search Relevance Web SPAM? Image Search Relevance Performance
Google good Too much but getting better in 2008. good - could be better excellent - KISS in action!
Yahoo good Excellent - small amount of Web SPAM Ok but relies on Flickr for too much content excellent 
Ask moderate Excellent - should be! since the results are limited to ~200 'hits' moderate slow - the interface uses a significant amount of coding to provide 'extra' features - if you have the time then slower responses may be acceptable; results limited to first 200 matches with your search terms
MSN poor - too many highly relevant sites excluded Too much! Way too many 'index' sites that just contain ads and content scarfed from real web pages... high - nice continuous view by pressing the page-down key; best image relevance to search terms (that I have seen.) excellent - once you get off the the 'msn.com' home page

What are these 'rankings' based on?

  • I expect to find similar sites in similar range positions (within 30-50) for the same search terms among the search result listings (i.e. SE#1 result = 5, then I expect SE#X result = from location 1-55)

  • If I find non-relevant results then this indicates that the SE is not doing a good job of filtering results  (i.e. I am searching for Savannah Photographer and find Bubba's vacation photos...  Since Bubba does not live or work in Savannah)

  • If I find that good sites are missing from the results then this is also considered

  • The ratings are based on results over a 6 month period - I will continue to monitor

  • My search keyword sample set is small so your results should vary

Who Cares?  IMO - if searching in early 2008 then for highest relevance in search results:

  • If you need highly relevant results for text searches then use:  Google or Yahoo.

  • If you need highly relevant results for images then use:  MSN then Google.

  • If you have lots of time then consider text search with:  Ask.

  • Consider using some of the vertical search engines (i.e. some of Google's domain specific databases)

  • Bottom line - use more than one search engine.

What about dis-ambiguous traction?

  • Say What? Huh?  Oh! just how on the money are current search results?

  • This varies day by day - why?  two reasons - due to web spamming & due to changes in search engines themselves; they require constant tweaking/tuning/modification/enhancement to both improve relevant/useful results and to reduce SPAM..

Want to know more about Search Engines and SEO?  Take the SEO nutshell tour/intro (combination of Internet videos and text information.)


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