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Types of Search Engines

Types of search engines include crawler-based, human powered directories, hybrids, metacrawlers, metasearch, news, paid listings/CPC, shopping, multimedia, kids, specialty, country-specific, and so on.

The two major ways that search engines get editorial listings is from crawler-based results and human-powered results.

Crawler-Based Search Engines

Crawler-based search engines, such as Google, automatically compile their listings, by sending out ‘spiders’, robots or bots to crawl through your website pages. Build your pages using search engine optimization techniques, and you may have several pages listed, giving you high ranking on search engines. Crawler-based search engines have three major elements:

Spider (crawler)
The spider visits a web page, reads it, and follows links to other pages within the site. The spider returns to the site on a regular basis, such as every month or two, to look for changes.

Everything the spider finds goes into the second part of the search engine, the index, or catalogue. This contains a copy of every web page the spider finds. If a web page changes, then this book is updated with new information.

Until pages are indexed, they are not available to those searching with the search engine. Indexing can sometimes take many weeks.

This is where the search engine software sifts through millions of pages recorded in the index to find matches to a search term and rank them in order of what it believes is most relevant.

If you change your web pages, crawler-based search engines eventually find these changes, and that can affect how you are listed. Page titles, body copy and other elements all play a role.

Human-Powered Directories

A human-powered directory, such as the Open Directory (, depends on humans for its listings. You submit a short description to the directory for your entire site, or editors write one for sites they review. Getting listed means carefully submitting your pages (preferably by hand).

The three most important directories for getting your site listed on major search engines
are Yahoo, Open Directory Project ( and Inktomi Keywords.

A search looks for matches only in the descriptions submitted. Changing your web pages has no effect on your listing.

Learn more on our Directory Submissions and Search Engine Submissions pages

"Hybrid Search Engines" Or Mixed Results

Usually, a hybrid search engine will favour one type of listing over another. For example, MSN Search is more likely to present human-powered listings from LookSmart. However, it does also present crawler-based results (as provided by Inktomi), especially for more obscure queries.

Metacrawlers and Metasearch Engines

Metacrawlers don't crawl the web themselves to build listings. Instead, they allow searches to be sent to several search engines all at once, and bring the results together onto one page. Metasearch utilities make it easy to search more than one search engine at the same time. Examples are:

Vivisimo | Kartoo | SurfWax | Fazzle

News Search Engines

The latest news stories from hundreds of sources on the web can be obtained from services such as Google News, Dailyearth, and Newsdirectory. These services provide exceptionally good results for current event searching, as they crawl only news sites several times every day. Examples are:

Google News | Yahoo News | AltaVista News | World News Network

Paid Listings / CPC Search Engines

You can pay to be listed on Cost per click (CPC) - also called Pay per click (PPC) - search engines. Advertisers pay for every click the search engine sends them, and those who pay the most generally get listed higher. For more information, read our Pay per Click Search Engines page. Some of the larger companies also provide their ads to other search engines, which integrate them alongside editorial results. Examples are:

Overture (GoTo) | Google AdWords | |

Shopping Search Engines

Shopping search engines are designed to check prices at various online stores or locate ecommerce outlets by category. Examples are:

BizRate | DealTime | Froogle | Kelkoo

Multimedia Search Engines

Multimedia search engines help you locate sound, image and video files, as well as radio and television programs. Examples are:


AllTheWeb | AltaVista | Google Images (images only) | The Music Finder (artists & songs)

Radio & TV Programs

PublicRadioFan.Com | Radio-Locator

Kids Search Engines

There are search engine services designed primarily to serve the needs of children, either in focus, or by filtering out sites that some parents and teachers might find inappropriate for kids, such as websites that deal with explicit sexual matters, porn sites, violence, hate speech, gambling and drug use. Some examples of search engines for kids are:-

Ask Jeeves for kids | Kidsclick | Cleansearch | Education world

Specialty Search Engines

For those times when you want to find more than just web pages and web sites, some of the "specialty search engines" can prove useful. Also called topical search engines, "vertical" search engines or "vortals", they help you search through specific types of listings in different areas. Just type the topic into your browser and you will see the results. Some search suggestions are:

Answers Searching Computer Search Engines
Domain Searching Financial Search Engines
Government Search Invisible Web
Legal Search Engines Mailing Lists
Medical Search Engines Newsgroup Search
Science Search Engines Shopping Search
Travel Search Engines WAP Search Engines
Other Specialty Services

Country-Specific Search Engines

There are also search engines that are devoted to particular countries and regions of the world. To find them, simply do a search using your regular toolbar, and type in ‘search engines in Australia’ or Italy, or whatever country you are looking for. Alternatively, link up to either of these sites below, and you are on your way:

Search Engine Colossus | Search Engine Watch - Search Links

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