The Internet is evolving at a rapid pace, with hundreds of thousands of new Web pages appearing every day. The growth in the number of documents is extremely fast, and search engines do not even have time to index all of them immediately. So it may happen that you may not find the needed page simply because a search engine hasn’t indexed it and doesn’t “know” about its existence.
With hundreds of different search engines, there is a high probability that the document the user needs was indexed by another search engine. Therefore, some applications allow you to send your search request to several search engines at once and thus make your search more effective and fast. These are so-called metasearch engines. What is special about these digital search solutions? How do they work? And what metasearch engines can you use today?
Basic Features of Metasearch Engines
So, metasearch is a search engine that simultaneously polls several independent traditional search engines. As a result, you get an extended list of search results addressing your search query. It may contain combined, duplicated, or single links that meet your search criteria. Thus, a metasearch engine acts as an intermediary between a customer and different online search engines, which is extremely helpful for a user.
One doesn’t need to browse multiple systems to find the target information. By running a metasearch, it is possible to get relevant documents — all on one SERP. Thus, you can get extended search results from Google, as well as many other systems, on a single page, which is extremely fast. A similar logic applies to the educational platform Google, where you can get SEO certification and easily find the course you need.
Benefits of Metasearch Engines
Unlike individual search engines and directories, metasearch engines:
- do not have their own databases;
- do not register site URLs.
- Metasearch engines save a lot of time by eliminating the need to enter a query in each individual search engine;
- you get relevant results — all in one solution;
- metasearch engines can be used by webmasters to find out if their site is listed in the main search engines, what its ratings are, and how popular the links are;
- webmasters and site owners can check if the new page is indexed and is accessible to users.
- Some search engines and directories do not support additional search technologies, such as quotation marks that enclose phrases or Boolean operators. So using such queries will not bring results from such search engines, or these results will be inappropriate in the ones of metasearch engines.
Types of Metasearch Engines
There are four types of metasearch engines:
- real metasearch engines — they combine and rank results on one page;
- pseudo metasearch engines of the first type — they group results by search engines on one long page;
- pseudo metasearch engines of the second type — they open a new window for each search engine used to generate the list;
- search utilities — software search tools
The work of the four different metasearch engines differs slightly. However, the core principle remains the same — the system analyses a search query, processes data from various individual search engines and collects relevant results.
Top Popular Metasearch Engines
Here’s a list of a few metasearch engines that you might find useful. This list is far from complete since more than a hundred of such solutions are available on the market today. Instead of picking some random metasearch engines, we have assessed every solution based on the following criteria:
- the number and relevance of results;
- the ability to use additional (advanced) search methods:
- the ability to define search terms (specs);
- search speed;
It works with the best search engines — AlltheWeb, Google, AltaVista, Teoma, Wisenut — and directories — Yahoo! and Open Directory. Thanks to the “Advanced Search” function, this metasearch engine also scans a small segment of the invisible (hidden) network. The system can find relevant news, web conferencing, MP3, images, and much more for you. ez2ww delivers great results in a very clear interface. The system was created in September 2000 by French search engine developer Holomedia. BEST!
The solution uses clustering technology that combines results into folders. If you don’t like the frame, then you just need to resize the top and left frames. This metasearch engine was created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, and it comes with possible additional search options, such as a Full Phrase, Boolean Operators, Search by Field (domain, host, name, URL, etc.), and others.
#3. Query Server
Query Server works with an impressive list of 11 search engines — all major ones except Google. But don’t worry: Query Server searches Yahoo !, Netscape, and AOL, which are partially supported by Google. This is another example of cluster technology — a highly customizable metasearch tool. You can change the appearance of the results page by choosing search engines, the number of results, etc. The system supports quotation marks, Boolean syntax, and parentheses. It is a very professional system that even professional webmasters can use.
Infonetware scans the entire WWW and provides relevant results — all grouped by topic in a very clean interface. This metasearch engine is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is an amazing tool.
#5. Experts Avenue
The tool simultaneously works with different search engines for web pages, auctions, jobs, and forums. It delivers highly relevant results in a clear interface. The solution offers an online translation of web pages. You just need to click the “Translate” button, and you will be taken to the dedicated translation service supported by SYSTRAN.
InfoGrid delivers great results in an easy-to-read format. This metasearch engine smoothly works with cool search engines, including Google, AlltheWeb, Yahoo! and the Open Directory. It also searches for news, auctions, discussion forums, MP3, FTP files, and more. To have no frames in the list of results, you just need to select the “Open in the Current Window” option.
Suchspider.de scans as many as 100 (!) international search engines and databases — Google, AlltheWeb, Open Directory, and all that. Results can be sorted by their relevance, source, and — much better — grouped by the domain name. The tool is extremely user-friendly and easy to use.
The number of existing metasearch engines is simply enormous. Nowadays, their number exceeds several hundred. Individual choice is often determined by subjective factors, such as a convenient interface or the availability of all needed search features. However, before you pick any metasearch too, make sure that you have tested a couple of similar solutions. Thus, you will have an idea of what works for you and what search assets simply do not make any sense at all.