The Meta Search Engines: A Web Searcher's Best FriendsWritten by Daniel Bazac
I know what you're thinking: Google gives you such accurate results that you don't need any other search tool. Well, let's see about that. You might - or might not - know that no major search engine indexes ALL existing Web pages. OpenFind states that it indexes 3.5 billion Web pages, Google claims 2.4 billion, AlltheWeb - 2.1 billion, Inktomi - a little more than 2 billion, WiseNut - 1.5 billion and AltaVista - 1 billion Web pages. The truth is, nobody knows how wide Web is. Some say 5 billion pages, some 8 billion, some even more. Anyway, what's definite is that major search engines (SEs) index only a fraction of "publicly indexable Web". Moreover, every SE indexes different Web pages, which means if you use only one SE you will miss relevant results that can be found in other search engines. One way to more effectively search Web is to use a meta search engine.
What Is A Meta Search Engine? A meta search engine (also know as multi-threaded engine) is a search tool that sends your query simultaneously to several search engines (SEs), Web directories (WDs) and sometimes to so-called Invisible (Deep) Web, a collection of online information not indexed by traditional search engines. After collecting results, meta search engine (MSE) will remove duplicate links and, according to its algorithm, combine/rank results into a single merged list. An important note: Unlike individual search engines and directories, meta search engines 1. Do not have their own databases and 2. Do not accept URL submissions. Pros and Cons of Meta Search Engines Pros: MSEs save searchers a considerable amount of time by sparing them trouble of running a query in each search engine. The results - most of time - are extremely relevant. MSEs can be used by Webmasters to find their site's presence, rankings and link popularity in major SEs. Cons: Because some SEs or WDs do not support advanced searching techniques such as quotation marks to enclose phrases or Boolean operators, no (or irrelevant) results from those SEs will appear in MSEs results list when those techniques are used. MSEs Come In Four Flavors: 1. Real MSEs- which aggregate/rank results in one page 2. Pseudo MSEs type I- which exclusively group results by search engine 3. Pseudo MSEs type II- which open a separate browser window for each search engine used and 4. Search Utilities, software search tools.
The following provides detailed information on each of four MSE types, along with my ranking: 1. Real MSEs These real MSEs simultaneously search major search engines, aggregate results, eliminate duplicates and return most relevant matches, according to engine's algorithm. Following is a list of a few meta search engines that you might find useful. It's by no means complete, but it might help you find what you need. (The criteria I used to determine best MSEs were: amount and relevance of results, capability to handle advanced searches, ability to enable users to customize searches, speed of their searches and others.)
ez2www [ ez2www.com ] Searches best SEs - AlltheWeb, Google, AltaVista, Teoma, Wisenut - and directories - Yahoo! and Open Directory. Through its "Advanced Search" function it also searches a small part of Invisible (Deep) Web. It also searches news, newsgroups, MP3, images and many, many more. Provides excellent results in a very neat interface. Created in September 2000 by French search engine developer Holomedia. THE best! Vivísimo [ vivisimo.com ] Uses clustering technology, meaning matches are organized in folders. Don't like frames? Just modify size of both upper and left frames. This MSE was created by researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University. Advanced searching options available: exact phrase, Boolean operators, fields searching (domain, host, title, URL, etc.) and more. A jewel for serious searcher. Query Server [ www.queryserver.com/web.htm ] Searches an impressive list of 11 SEs - everything important except Google. But don't worry: Query Server searches Yahoo!, Netscape and AOL, all partially powered by Google. This is another example of clustering technology. Highly customizable metasearch tool. You can modify appearance of results page, selecting search engines, amount of results, their timeout, etc. It supports quotation marks to enclose phrases, Boolean syntax and parentheses. Very professional. Infonetware [ www.infonetware.com ] Searches Web and provides relevant results, organized in topics, in a very clean interface. This MSE is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and is a very good tool.
Metaseek [ www.pcdigest.net/metasearch/en/main.shtml ] Excellent MSE from Ukraine. Searches major international and local search engines. Besides Web you can search images, MP3, FTP files, news and more. You can use "Phrase" (""), "natural language" processing, Boolean logic and field searching (by URL, title, site/domain or link). Very nice. IBoogie [ iboogie.com ] Uses a minimalist design. This MSE performs intelligent clustering of results. It searches Web, Invisible (Deep) Web, images, video and audio files. Vinden.NL [ www.vinden.nl ] Searches best providing very good results in a clean interface. This MSE comes from Netherlands. Search Online [ www.searchonline.info ] Uses an excellent selection of search engines and directories. This MSE provides relevant results in a relatively crowded interface. For each result you can see search engine where hit was found, and its ranking. Meta Bear [ www.metabear.com ] Provides relevant results from both international and Russian sites. Be sure you type query in Search The World box. Web Scout [ www.webscout.com ] Searches Web, news, newsgroups, auctions, MP3 files and jobs. This Australian MSE utilizes major SEs - except Google - and provides relevant matches in a clean results list. argosa:de [ www.argosa.de ] Searches 17 international and local SEs. I suggest you avoid checking boxes of Acoon, Abacho, GoClick and ah_ha.com search engines, because they give many irrelevant hits. This is Germany's first MSE, and provides excellent results organized by relevance, source (quelle) or title. Experts Avenue [ www.expertsavenue.com ] Searches different search engines simultaneously for Web pages, auctions, jobs and forums and provides very relevant results in a neat interface. Enables online language translation of Web pages. Click on "Translate" and you will be brought to AltaVista's Babelfish translation service, powered by SYSTRAN. InfoGrid [ www.infogrid.com ] Provides excellent results in an easy to read layout, despite a very confusing Home Page crowded and with frames. This MSE searches "big ones" including Google, AlltheWeb, Yahoo! and Open Directory. It also searches newswires, auctions, discussion forums, MP3, FTP files and more. To avoid frames in results list select option "Open in Current Window". Suchspider.de [ www.suchspider.de/meta-suchmaschinen ] Searches a whopping 100 (!) international SEs and WDs. Google, AlltheWeb, Open Directory, you name it. You can sort results by relevance, source or - much better - grouped by domain name. This "Meta-Suchmachine" is based in Germany.
Do You Know What Your Customers Think About You?Written by Andrew Lanciani
Whether you offer products or services, you may find yourself wondering what your customers or subscribers think about your offering and how you can improve it.
Below are just a few of questions you can get answered about your product or service by simply surveying your customers. -What do they like and not like about it? -What do they think about potential new features? -Who are your customers? -How much are they willing to pay (or how much more would they pay) for your product or service? If you have a Web site, you may also have specific questions about it as well. -What do your visitors like and not like about your site? -Why are they visiting your Web site, but not purchasing? -What does your average visitor look like, e.g., demographics, online usage, or online purchasing? -Why do your visitors come to your site, and what are they looking for? -Is your site meeting your visitors' needs? -What other services should you add to your site? -How does your site rate on attributes that are most important to your visitors?
As an example, when I first started marketing my service, I asked my site visitors what they were looking for when they came to my site. I found that I was delivering my service in a way that was exact opposite of what they desired. Consequently, I completely transformed my offering and began delivering my service to satisfy my target.
Once you decide which questions you would like to ask, you are ready to create your survey. Many survey creation options are available, spanning from do-it-yourself services to hiring someone else to carry out entire process. Take some time to decide on many options and choose those that work best for your purpose and budget.
Once your survey is complete, select a method to collect responses. Several methods can be used, and each can be accomplished quickly and easily if you use right tools.
1.Survey via email.