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Best Search Engines

Finding our club on the web:

Can people find us on the web? Google was the worst in 2005 - 2006!
by Emilio Trampuz (June 2005)

Updated in May 2006

 

If you can’t remember the exact address of our web site, you can always use a search engine (like Google), type in the words: “Mountain High snowsport club”, and you will find us on any search engine.

 
But, what about people who don’t know our club’s name? What if someone simply wants to search for any ski club in the Portland area? They would probably type in the following search words: “Portland ski club”. Would they find our club?

 
It depends on which search engine they use, and the results are surprising. Google is among the worst. Each search usually results in hundreds of “finds”. It’s no good if we are buried under hundreds of other search results. Ideally, we should be found in the top 10 results.  Here’s how our club was ranked by the various search engines (from best to worst):  Rankings updated as of May 2006.

 

SEARCH
ENGINE

WEB ADDRESS

Our web site rank

COMMENT

Yahoo Y!Q

yq.search.yahoo.com

3-4

Trips & Home page found

Yahoo

search.yahoo.com

3-4

Trips & Home page found.

AltaVista

www.altavista.com

3-4

Trips & Home page found

MSN

search.msn.com

3-4

Home & Trips page found..

AllTheWeb

www.alltheweb.com

3-4

Trips & Home page found.

A9

www.A9.com  

3-4

Home & Trips +some photos

Vivisimo

www.vivisimo.com

5

Membership page found

Lycos

search.lycos.com

6-7

Membership & home page

SearchSight

www.searchsight.com  

9

Home page found + visual

AOL

search.aol.com

21

On page 2 of the results.

Google

www.google.com

21

On page 3 of results.

 

AOL did not find us among the top results for quite a while. Now they do find us, but in position 21, on the second page of their results.  Only Google is as bad as that!

 

MSN don’t find us at all in 2005, when our web site was still relatively new. But, they soon improved greatly, and MSN is now displaying our web site prominently, among the top 10 results, just like ever other search engine (except Google).

 

Google used to put us way down, in position 109, in June 2005. After that, for several months, Google completely dropped us from its listings, thanks to their brand new "Page Ranking" system! Then, in May 2006, after much tweaking on our part to adapt to Google’s quirky requirements, Google finally found us again, and listed us in position 19 (at the bottom of page 2).  Only a week later, Google moved our site a bit lower in rankings, to position 21 (on the 3rd page).  Since everyone else finds us on the first page now, AOL and Google are the worst.  AOL's results are the same as Google's because they use Google's search engine.

 

NOTE: Just a few days after we published all of the above in our June newsletter, almost as if they had read our article, Google surprised us by suddenly listing our club in 8th place. Much better than at any time during the past year.  But, still not quite as good as other search engines, most of which put as in 3 or 4th place. Besides, why did we have to wait over a year to be listed properly?

 

In case you think that Google has somehow singled out our club, here are a couple of other examples:

 

1. Search for "Denver Ski Club"

    a) Schussbaumer Club, www.schussbaumer.com

     - Yahoo finds the club in 1st place.

     - Google hides it in 14th place (on page 2). It also shows an indirect link to the Schussbumer club in 9th place, through CitySearch. Why does Google give precedence to an indirect link over the club's own web site itself? That's just not right. If I am looking for a ski club, I don't need information about the City as a whole.

 

    b) Denver Sports and Social, www.denversands.com/skiing.html

     - Yahoo finds this club in 2nd place (of the same search as above).

     - Google does NOT find it among the top 100 results! It's just not there! Google is useless here.

 

So, what does Google put among the top 10 results of a search for "Denver ski club"? It puts the following in 8th place (even though this is not even a club at all): Denver Hotels : Travel : Tourism Guide : Denver Ski Resorts, www.denver.com/hotels/ski.html.  Google is selling us hotels and travel resorts, when all we want is a local ski club!

 

2. Search for "Portland Brits".

    It's harder for new web sites on Google. So, it's harder for us to find NEW content on Google.

    Our club member, Deirdre Lawrence, has set up a new web site for British expatriates living in Portland, Oregon. You can see that site, if you wish, at: www.PortlandBrits.org. It's a simple, well laid out site. About 2 or 3 weeks after the web site was set up, you can now easily find it using a Yahoo search: http://search.yahoo.com/ or a search on AllTheWeb: www.alltheweb.com. In fact, you'll find it among the top 10 results by using the search words: "Portland Brits".

 

But, you can't find www.PortlandBrits.org on Google (using "Portland Brits" as your search words). I did not find it among the top 120 results. Note that a similar sounding web site named: brit.meetup.com/207/?gj=sj5 doesn't count. That's a different, older web site.  Generally, it seems that Google can lag behind other search engines up to 6 months before they start listing NEW web sites. And even then, the new web sites will have such a low page ranking initially that they will be almost invisible, buried under tons of other results.

 

 

Google is, unfortunately, the most popular search engine, probably because many people are not aware that its results have been sub-par during the last year, and especially bad since early Spring of 2006. 

 

Is Google incompetent or is it doing this on purpose?

 

Google tightened its rules to stop those who were abusing internet searches, but in doing so, it went overboard and is now hurting innocent people like us.

 

Another explanation is that Google is now a public company, looking primarily for quick profit, and thus gives unfair advantage to those web sites who pay them for a better listing.  

 

Fortunately, people can also find us indirectly, by looking into some of the other web sites that list our club, such as the NWSCC web site, or SkiSite.com.

 

By the way, did you notice there are two Yahoos? The newer Yahoo Y!Q is meant to be used for searching longer pieces of text, such as quotations from articles or books.

 

Kansas City Ski Club

If you think Google has unfairly singled out our club, try searching for a Kansas ski club

Yahoo finds the Kansas City ski club, www.kcskiclub.org at the top of the list, in position 1.

Google puts this club in position 37, somewhere on page 4 of the results!

 

UPDATE July 2010:  Google has greatly improved since 2006.  It now displays our club (and all the other clubs mentioned above) usually within the top 3 search results.

 

 

How to switch to a

different Search Engine

 

How to change your search engine from Google to something else?  Well, as usual, there's always more than one way to accomplish something on a computer. I hardly ever use the browser’s own built-in search engine. For some reason, I found the other two methods a bit more to my liking.  But, I'll address all 3 ways:

 

 

METHOD 1:  USE THE SEARCH ENGINE'S WEB SITE

============================================

Use this method whenever you want to try out a different search engine for the first time.

 

Whenever you need to search for something, simply go to the appropriate search engine's web site. You might want to save their addresses in your list of "Favorites" (or "Bookmark" them).  Once you get to the web site, simply type in your search words. 

 

Try any of the top 5 or 6 search engine web sites listed above. The first 6 on the list gave equally good results.  Only AOL and Google placed our club much further down on their lists.

 

METHOD 2:  USE A SEARCH ENGINE'S TOOLBAR

==========================================

Use this method all the time, since it's always on top the screen.

 

Several search engines offer a free "Toolbar" that you can download from their web site.  You can find a Toolbar at: Google, Yahoo (under Search Services), AltaVista,  A9, and others.  You can even have multiple toolbars installed at the same time.  The toolbar simply inserts itself as an additional line across the top of your browser window.  That way it is always visible, no matter what page you might be currently browsing. 

 

Whenever you need to search for something, simply type in the search words in the space provided for that on the toolbar.  This is probably the quickest and most convenient way.

 

METHOD 3: 

CHANGE THE DEFAULT SEARCH ENGINE WITHIN YOUR BROWSER

==========================================================

Most browsers should allow you to change to whatever Search Engine you want.  There's usually a place to do that somewhere within your browser's Tools, or Options, or Preferences.  The actual method of making the change is a bit different in each browser, but the principle is the same.

 

1. In Internet Explorer, first click on the "Search" button, and then click on the "Customize" button in the upper part of the Search window.  In the new window, select "Use one search service".  Then click OK. 

This process used to work well in the past, but it looks like Microsoft messed something up lately.  One of my computers allows me only to switch to Yahoo, while another computer only allows me to switch to MSN.  Both computers run the same version of Windows XP.  So, I am not sure what is going on here.  But, it;s one more reason to use either Mthod 1 or 2 above, instead of trying to change the default in my browser.

 

2. In Mozilla Firefox, it couldn't be easier!!!  Click on the little text-box in the upper right corner (where you are currently probably displaying a letter "G" for "Google" or "Y" for "Yahoo"). This will give you a short list of other Search Engines you can select.  Yahoo is one of them.  

Or, you can click on "Add Engines" (at the bottom of the list), and then select from a longer list.  If you don't seen the Search Engine you are looking for, go down to "Additional Resources" and click on "Browse through more search engines". 

After you added your favorite search engine to the list in the upper right corner of the screen, then select it, so that it's initial letter appears in that box.  From now on, all searches will be done through that engine.

 

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