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The Search Engine Showdown

Written By: Courtney Heard

If you’re anything like me, you have a favourite search engine and you’re loyal to it. You never use any others (which made this research difficult for yours truly), insist yours is the be-all and end-all and you even go so far as to deny any shortcomings it may have. But is your search engine truly the best? Inspired by a great article at the BBC News (BBC News: Search Wars), we decided to compare the major search engines. Here’s what we found.

We chose the search term “real estate fiji” because it’s a competitive industry and geographically specific. We also searched with the same phrase, misspelled to see if the search engine would suggest the correct spelling.

Google

  • Initially loading the search page for Google is lightning fast.
  • The look is clean and easy to understand.
  • Search time was 0.15 seconds.
  • The search yielded 1,190,000 results.
  • All results on the first page were relevant.
  • Spellcheck was available.

Yahoo!

  • Initially loading the search page for Yahoo! is a little bit slower than Google, but still fast.
  • Search time was 0.18 seconds.
  • The search yielded 711,000 results.
  • It is difficult to tell the sponsored links from the actual web results.
  • All results on the first page were relevant, however one of them directed you to another set of results for your search at DMOZ.org.
  • Spellcheck was available.

AskJeeves

  • Initially loading the search page for AskJeeves is fast.
  • Search time was not posted and was much slower than Google & Yahoo!.
  • The search yielded 63,100 results.
  • Sponsored links take up the whole screen. You have to scroll down to see the web results.
  • All first page results were relevant.
  • Spellcheck was available.

A9.com

  • Initially loading the search page for A9 is fast.
  • Search time was not posted but was average.
  • The search yielded 209,000 results.
  • All the results on the first page were relevant.
  • There were image results alongside the text results. This could be helpful.
  • Spellcheck was available.

MSN

  • Initially loading the search page for MSN is fast.
  • Search time was not posted but was average.
  • The search yielded 112,607 results.
  • All except one of the results were relevant. This result pointed to Philippines real estate. Also, one the results directed you to DMOZ, where a second search for your keywords is performed.
  • Spellcheck was available.

Alexa

  • Initially loading the search page for Alexa was fast.
  • Search time was not posted but was somewhat slow.
  • The search yielded 208,000 results.
  • It was difficult to tell the sponsored results from the web results.
  • Some results included screen shots.
  • The look was kind of disorganized.
  • Spellcheck was available.

AltaVista

  • Initially loading the search page for AltaVista is fast.
  • Search time was not posted but was a sliver slower than Google.
  • The search yielded 736,000 results.
  • The sponsored results take up almost the entire screen. You have to scroll to get to the good stuff.
  • The results are all relevant, though one redirects you to DMOZ, where a second search for your keywords is performed.
  • Spellcheck was available.

Lycos

  • Initially loading the search page for Lycos is fast.
  • Search time was not posted but was rather slow.
  • The search yielded 114,356 results.
  • The sponsored results take up almost the entire screen. Once again, you have to scroll to get to the good stuff.
  • All the results are relevant although 2 of them redirect you to DMOZ.org.
  • Spellcheck was available.

Excite

  • Initially loading the search page for Excite is slow.
  • Search time was not posted but was rather slow.
  • The search yielded 114,356 results.
  • All the results on the first page were relevant.
  • The look of the site was clean.
  • Spellcheck was available.

HotBot

  • Initially loading the search page for HotBot is fast.
  • Search time was not posted but was fast.
  • The search yielded 114,389 results.
  • The sponsored results take up almost the entire screen. Once again, you have to scroll to get to the good stuff.
  • All the results are relevant although 1 of them redirects you to DMOZ.org.
  • Spellcheck was available.

AllTheWeb

  • Initially loading the search page for AllTheWeb is fast.
  • Search time was not posted, but was fast.
  • The search yielded 679,000 results.
  • It is difficult to tell the sponsored results from the web results.
  • An offensive content filter was available.
  • All the results are relevant although 1 of them redirects you to DMOZ.org.
  • Spellcheck was not available.

Looksmart

  • Initially loading the search page for Looksmart is fast.
  • Search time was not posted but was rather slow.
  • The search yielded 300 results.
  • There were 3 completely irrelevant results on the first page.
  • The look of the site was clean.
  • Spellcheck was not available.

Jayde

  • Initially loading the search page for Jayde is somewhat slow.
  • Search time was not posted but was average.
  • The search yielded 60,424 results.
  • There were quite a few irrelevant results.
  • The look of the site was clean.
  • Spellcheck was not available.

So, what’s the conclusion? My favorite search engine is the best. All hail Google! … Alright, alright, some of the others are pretty cool, too.

About The Author

Courtney Heard is the founder of Abalone Designs, an Internet Marketing and SEO company in Vancouver, Canada. She has been involved in web development and marketing since 1995 and has helped start several businesses since then in the Vancouver area. More of Courtney’s articles are available at www.abalone.ca/resources/.

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