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Google is the leader in the search space and definitely the most loved search engine today, but some policy changes they have been making in the last few months is not going down too well with many. Now with its declaration of its new user data sharing policy, some have now started looking out for alternate search engines already.
While most may not come close to the Google experience, there are some pretty decent search engines one can switch over to, if you are willing to change habits. Here are a few, if you are planning a change.Alternative search engines
Apart from Google, here are some good alternative search engines that you can use:
Bing from Microsoft – many do not want to try or use it for one simple reason! It’s from Microsoft! But if you can lay aside your negative bias for ‘anything Microsoft’ and check it out for a week, you will be surprised at the results it delivers. If you don’t like it, you can always go back to using your earlier one. Bing is now also powering Yahoo Search results. You might want to read this Bing vs Google post.2] DuckDuckGo 3] IxQuick
IxQuick was IxQuick which was the first search engine to offer encrypted search back in 2009. It has now also made SSL encryption the default on all searches – although other search engines too followed suit. Ixquick has a sister search engine called Startpage.
Read: How to find Similar Images Online using Reverse Image Search.4] Startpage
Startpage may not exactly be a Google alternative, but for lovers of Google Search results, it looks to be the best alternative as basically Startpage uses Google Web results – but does not track you or your searches. You can use Startpage to search the web anonymously and protect your privacy. Moreover, Startpage shows only a limited amount of relevant sponsored results on the top and the bottom of the results page. You can even add StartPage to your browser.5] Dogpile
Dogpile is a metasearch engine, that allows you to simultaneously search for not only Google but also Bing and Yahoo. No longer can you trust just Google Search, as it pushes results from its own sister sites. Using such meta-search engines, you can get the best of the three worlds.
Read: Specialized Search Engines to find specific content.6] Metacrawler
Metacrawler is another metasearch engine that searches and delivers search results from Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By accessing multiple search engines for each query, it can provide you with a more relevant spectrum of results than you would from using any single search engine.
Related: How to search for a Face on the web using a Face Search Engine.7] Blekko 8] Wolfram Alpha
Ask is the largest of the small search engines having approximately 5% odd US market share.10] Ekoru
Ekoru Search Engine is dedicated to supporting animals and the environment.11] Gigablast
Read next: Best job search engines to find a job online in the US, UK, India, etc.12] Ecosia
Search with Ecosia, and the company promises to plant a tree. They take privacy seriously too.Which search engine does not track you?
There are many private search engines that you can use if privacy matters a lot to you. Duck Duck Go is the most popular private search engine. While surfing the internet on Duck Duck Go, your online activity will not be tracked. In addition to this, Duck Duck Go also has a lot of features that will be beneficial for you while internet surfing.What is the most private way to search the internet?
There are many free privacy web browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, Brave, Epic Privacy Browser, etc. But if you are searching for the most private web browser, you should go with Tor Browser. Tor Browser is the most private web browser as it is used to explore Dark Web and Deep Web. Tor is the best browser for those who want to keep their internet activities private.
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Let us know if you have any suggestions or observations to make.
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It’s important to understand how the search engines have analyzed links in the past and compare that to how search engines analyze links in the present. Yet the history is not well known.
As a consequence there are misunderstandings and myths about how Google handles links. Some concepts that some SEOs believe are true have been shown to be outdated.
Reading about what actual algorithms did and when they were superseded by better algorithms will make you a better search marketer. It gives you a better idea of what is possible and what is not.Statistical Analysis Algorithms for Links
Circa 2004 Google began to employ link analysis algorithms to try to spot unnatural link patterns. It was announced at a PubCon Marketing Conference Meet the Engineers event in 2005. Link analysis consisted of creating statistical graphs of linking patterns like number of inbound links per page, ratio of home page to inner page links, outbound links per page, etcetera.
When that information is plopped into a graph you can see that a great majority of sites tended to form a cluster. The interesting part was that link spammers tended to cluster on the outside edges of the big clusters.Link Manipulators Adapted to Link Analysis
By 2010 the link building community generally became better at avoiding many of the link spam signals.
Thus in 2010, Microsoft researchers published this statement in reference to statistical link analysis, admitting that statistical analysis was no longer working:
“…spam websites have appeared to be more and more similar to normal or even good websites in their link structures, by reforming their spam techniques. As a result, it is very challenging to automatically detect link spams from the Web graph.”
The above paper is called, Let Web Spammers Expose Themselves. This is a data mining/machine learning exercise that crawled URLs in seven SEO forums, discarding navigational URLs and URLs from non-active members, and focusing on the URLs of members who were active.
What they discovered is that they were able to discover link spam networks that would not have been discovered through conventional statistical link analysis methods.
This paper is important because it provides evidence that the statistical link analysis may have reached it’s limit by 2010.
The other reason this document is of interest is that it shows that the search engines were developing link spam detection methods above and beyond statistical link analysis.
This means that if we wish to understand the state of the art of link algorithms, then we must consider that there are methods that go beyond statistical analysis and give them a proper analysis.Today’s Algorithm May Go Beyond Statistical Analysis
I believe that the Penguin algorithm is more than statistical analysis. In a previous article I took a deep dive into a new way to analyze links that in my opinion were good candidates of what the Penguin algorithm might be.
It was a new method that measured distances from a seed set of trusted sites, link distance ranking algorithms. Those are a type of algorithms that go beyond statistical link analysis.
The above referenced Microsoft research paper concluded that 14.4% of the link spam discovered belonged to high quality sites, sites judged to be high quality by human quality raters.
That statistic, although it’s somewhat old, is nevertheless important because it indicates that a significant amount of high quality sites may be ranking due to manipulative link methods or, more likely, that those manipulative links are being ignored.
Google’s John Mueller has expressed confidence that the vast majority of spam links are being ignored.Google Ignores Links
Many of us already intuited that Google was ignoring spam links and post-Penguin algorithm, Google has revealed that real-time Penguin is catching spam links at an unprecedented scale. It’s so good that Googlers like Gary Illyes have said that out of hundreds of negative SEO cases he has examined, not a single one was being affected by the spam links.Real Time Penguin
Several years ago I published the first article to connect the newest link ranking algorithms with what we know about Penguin. If you are a geek about algorithms, this article is for you: What is Google’s Penguin Algorithm, Really? [RESEARCH]Penguin is Still Improving
Gary Illyes announced that the real-time Penguin algorithm will be improving. It already does a good job catching spam and at the time of this writing, it’s possible that the new and improved Penguin may already be active.
Gary didn’t say what kinds of improvements but it’s probably not unrealistic to assume that speed of identifying spam links and incorporating that data into the algorithm is a possible area.
Read: Google’s Gary Illyes on Real-Time Penguin, Negative SEO & DisavowsAnchor Text Algorithm Change
A recent development in how Google might handle links is with anchor text. Bill Slawski noted that a patent was updated to include a new way to use the text around the anchor text link to give meaning to the link.
Read: Add to Your Style Guide Annotation Text: A New Anchor Text ApproachImplied Links
There are research papers that mention implied links. A clear explanation is seen in a research paper published by Ryan Rossi titled, Discovering Latent Graphs with Positive and Negative Links to Eliminate Spam in Adversarial Information Retrieval
What the researcher discovered was that discovering spam networks could be improved by creating what he called latent links. Basically he used the linking patterns between sites to imply a link relationship between sites that had links in common between them. Adding these virtual links to the link graph (map of the Internet) caused the spam links to become more prominent, making it easier to isolate them from normal non-spam sites.
While that algorithm is not from a Googler, the patent described by my article, Google’s Site Quality Algorithm Patent, is by Google, and it contains a reference to implied links.
The phrase “implied links” is also used in a Google patent to describe branded searches.BackRub
Google’s first original algorithm that started it all is nicknamed Backrub. The research paper is called, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. It’s an interesting research paper, from a long time ago.
Everyone in search marketing should read it at least once. Any discussion of link algorithms should probably include this if only because it’s guaranteed that there will at least one person complaining that it wasn’t brought up as an important research paper.
So to that one quibbler, this link is for you.Takeaway
This is not intended to be a comprehensive review of link related algorithms. It’s a selected review of where we are at the moment. Perhaps the most important change in links is the distance ranking algorithms that I believe may be associated with the Penguin algorithm.
Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author
Sawafi Arab Language Search Engine to Launch
Seekport is panning on launching the Arab language search engine “Sawafi” (“sandstorm”) later this year which will be specially designed to meet the challenges of the Arabic language. Sawafi will be the project of Dubai based Seekport Internet Technologies Arabia FZ-LLC,, a joint venture between Seekport and the MITSCO Group of Saudi Arabia.
From the release:
The Arabic Internet search market is currently one of the most dynamic and least exploited worldwide, with an estimated 24 million users in 2005 – and as many as 43 million users expected by 2008.
The contracts for the joint venture were signed at the GITEX IT trade show in Riyadh on 23 April 2006, in the presence of Seekport and officials from MITSCO which is a leading provider of innovative technology solutions based in Riyadh.
“We will launch Sawafi this year. It will be the first search engine optimized for the Arabic language, said Hermann Havermann, managing director of the new Seekport Internet Technologies Arabia, at the contract signing ceremony in Riyadh. “This joint venture is pioneering work, because it is the first Internet search engine to take up seriously the challenges of the Arabic language and culture.”
Interesting info on Arabic and Search:
* The ten most popular websites in the Arabic region account for between 16 and 70 million page-impressions.
* Estimates put the total number of Arabic language websites at around 100 million at the present time, doubling every year – which is only a very small proportion of the total worldwide Internet content of more than 12 billion sites.
* One of the reasons for this is the very high requirements that the Arabic language makes for Internet search engines. Current search algorithms in the usual Internet search engines are hardly capable of observing even the simplest morphological conditions required to process Arabic-language contents in a meaningful way for users.
Back Pain of Search Engine Marketing
If you’ve ever suffered from back pain you’ll relate to the grief that I discuss in this article. You’ll relate even more if your back pain started on the onset of your SEM career. Not surprisingly, mine did.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this industry. It’s entertaining, thought provoking, and challenging. It’s an ever-changing industry that keeps me on my toes in constant search of information, knowledge, and new ideas.
But there are some aspects that make me just want to squeal. Most of my rants rest on the shoulders of the SEO kinship. The, often self-proclaimed, gurus and goddesses of the search engine community. The often disbelieving falsities, self propaganda nonsense that many in this industry procreate.
Don’t get me wrong. I respect many SEM professionals. The likes of Danny Sullivan, Shari Thurow, Morgan Carey, and Peter da Vanzo – to name but a few. But then there are those, who I’ll refrain from naming, who seem to think they are know-it-alls, alluring people to follow their often devious or bandwagon practises, and occasionally belittling those who don’t.
What really gets my pain throbbing is the constant battle to find original content from these self-proclaimed “gurus”. As you will know, many swear that increasing link popularity is the most important factor in obtaining high search engine placement. Those same experts proclaim that bulking up content is the way to gain link popularity.
I’ll take this one step further and say that original, interesting content is what really works. These are the sites that people want to share with friends, families, and colleagues alike. The problem I have with this is quite simple: where has the original content disappeared to?
The majority of the population, myself included, don’t have the time to sit and read old information. As far as link popularity is concerned, why would someone want to devalue their own site by linking to sites that have similar content? Makes no point at all. Ever noticed that the most populated sites on the Net are those that genuinely have interesting and original information that people find enticing. Isn’t that what the gurus mean by “content is king”?
I believe that this “cloned information tendency” that is spreading the Net, like a virus on steroids, is due to a lack of creativity and imagination. The effort of tapping into ones own resources and deciphering ones own opinion of the industry seems daunting to many people. I don’t blame people for rather clinging on to the already said like fleas on a dog’s coat during the summer months. Fear of the unknown is a risk that very few people wish to take.
I receive a lot of newsletters and RSS feeds from many sources. Of the over 17 hours of reading I do per week, half has been wasted on reading repetitive jumble. Ok, so maybe the wording and style of the jumble is different, but the nuts and crux of what’s being said still remains the same. Being the busy person that I am, I don’t have time or the inclination to read “old news”.
So why am I going on like an anal granny in search of some estrogens? I suppose that I’m just a diehard fan of original content. I like to have a smile in my mind when I finish reading something, either because I’ve just read something really interesting, or because I can relate to what the author is suggesting.
Just because I want to learn and stay informed on the industry does not mean that I want to be bored either. Nothing gets my natural endorphins running more than entertaining content. The mixture is undeniably a recipe for readership. Readerships means link popularity, and that my dear friends is the only antidote for serious back pain.
Microsoft’s MSN portal launched Newsbot last year, a fine effort of indexing and making news stories searchable in the shadow of Yahoo and Google News. Newsbot is in partnership with Moreover news syndication services and too gathers news from over 4,000 sources.
Like Google News, MSN Newsbot clusters the top and most relevant news stories on their Newsbot main page. Currently in beta testing on the MSN’s UK network, Newsbot also has international versions throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. For a selected Spanish speaking US news audience, MSN offers Newsbot Latino.
Still in beta testing, Newsbot now uses personlaized search to let users view their search history and store past material, a feature MSN calls “The Daily Me.” Adding a bit of Social Networking to MSN Newsbot, “The Daily We” lets users view stories commonly read by other Newsbot visitors with the same taste.
“Personalization is a huge cornerstone for MSN to make search more relevant for consumers,” said Karen Redetzki, MSN product manager told CNet.
Moreover, it looks like Newsbot won’t be Microsoft’s last stop in Social Networking. On the heels of Google’s Orkut, Frindster and other social systems, Microsoft is now fooling around with 3 Degrees. According to Microsoft:
3° is software that connects a small group of family and close friends, people who know and trust one another, so they can do fun things together in a whole new way. 3° is a beta test of an innovative application that lets users connect online, extending real-world social interactions.
Initiate group chat with MSN Messenger.
In other words, Microsoft is building and testing a social network which is not only web based, but also has the ability to be used across desktops and MSN Messenger – again, leveraging their MS Windows dominance. If you’d like to beta test “3 dgrees”, “3°”, or “three degrees”, it’s available here.
French search engine Qwant has ambitious plans to one day beat Google at its own game. Founded just 4 years ago in 2013, Qwant has since grown to serve 21 million monthly users across 30 countries.
Qwant’s user base has grown substantially over the past year, boasting a 70% year-over-year growth in monthly users. With its recent integration with Firefox, and impending launch of a mobile app, that momentum is expected to continue.
So, other than privacy, what does Qwant do that sets itself apart from Google? Or even DuckDuckGo for that matter?
For one, it currently has over 31 different search categories. In addition to the standard news, images, and video categories, Qwant offers categories such as: social media, music, jobs, cars, health, and more.
The company also has a unique philosophy that artificial intelligence and digital assistants can be educated without having to collect data on users. That’s a completely different philosophy than what is shared by Google, which collects every bit of information it can about users to fuel things like Google Home and Google Allo.
“We won’t try and lead you to a specific service instead of a better one because we would have business interests in doing so, or filter out results based on some political or commercial agenda… Our promise to the users and to the whole web community is that we are fair with everyone.”
Qwant also has measures in place to ensure it stays accountable for its promises. It has made its source code available to third-party data protection agencies so they can continually verify Qwant is not collecting data on its users.
Is all of this enough to go head to head with the reigning search giant? That’s impossible for anyone to predict at this point, but it sure has a long way to go. Qwant has quite a few hurdles to overcome. First, it needs to get more of its users to engage with the search engine on mobile. Currently, only 12% of its users search Qwant via smartphones.
Second, it needs to expand beyond Firefox. Currently, Firefox is the only browser with which you can select Qwant as your default search engine. In order to become more competitive, it has to work on being listed as a default search engine for Chrome and Safari as well, which it sounds like Qwant is working on. Big things could be in the works for this French search engine in 2023.
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