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No need to hold out on us, if you are genuinely looking for feedback on why some people prefer some SE's over others tell us why.
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Welcome to WmW, jliving. I think this is probably a very oversimplistic answer to your question, but seeing as how I am a search engine user when I'm not being an SEO, I'll give it a shot.
I like an easy, uncluttered user interface, like Google for one, but the most important thing I look for is fresh, relevent information when I perform a search.
Some engines take forever to update their databases, like Excite, Fast/Lycos, and it makes me wonder how useful their site results are when sites are appearing and disappearing like crazy on the web. These days a company can launch and go out of business before some engine finally list them!
YUP and what I do not like is when:
aol sometimes puts a popup right in front of the search box.
netscape puts a popup right in front of the search box.
But they are not search engines. They are cluttered Portals with an engine.
return pages that fail to show the url of the return line.
compressed returns (i.e., more pages from this site). the titles of each and every page help me determine relevancy. If I want to dismiss a site, I know how to code a minus sign.
background sounds, music (waste of my bandwidth/time)
I DO like the option of setting total number of returns per page. I had used AV text version for years, so the "clean interface" issue wasn't the reason I switched to Raging.
I used to be an avid AV user until Google. Google's descriptions stink so you one up them there, but they seem to do a bit better for me relevance wise (duck!), especially on obscure topics, I always find what I am looking for in the top ten, I can't think of one exception, but I still use AV occassionally (except when my pages aren't ranking well!). I really like AVs option to be able to turn on file size and last updated, last updated is extremely helpful for me. I appreciate that AV is the fastest updating spidering engine these days. I, like a lot of others around here, would love a clear definition of spam but all in all, it is my second favorite engine. Thanks for stopping by...
Give us a clue jliving. ;)
In answer to your question:
Most satisfied = AV; Why? = Relevant results, low spam.
Second = Google; Why? = On obscure searches where the search terms would not normally appear in the desc they are invaluable. If only they would display the desc tag if the keywords were present they would be No. 1.
Least satisfied = Yahoo
Second = Excite
AltaVista, 95% satisified. I really like what Alta has done in the last year. A few minor points-of-contention with AV:
- The need for speed. Av has ben slow and slower this summer and fall. Ya, it will make me use soemthing else when I'm in a hurry.
- Don't want or need the "translate", "more pages" or "related pages" links. Nobody uses that stuff - it is not worth the extra bytes to download it. No I don't want to configure it. I want it gone by default.
- Page size and last download date. I'd like them back.
- Cut down the search page size. It is kicking at 30k. That is too much for 10 simple listings.
- Darking the search results. The descrptions are so visually overpowered by the titles and the "translate" links, that they are hard too read. They are almost the most important part of the page and it is displayed in a very light color (too light). I think this fact alone drives me away from av some times. Almost every time at AV I end up clicking the "kill css" button within Opera.
- Autorefresh? Why, it's annoying to be surfing in a new window, and see alta refresh it's self in the back. Although, I use it as a disconnection stopper for the entire day.
Raging: a nice idea. Sometimes the results line up with AV, sometimes they don't. Why? I always wonder just what the results really are.
The speed is better. Still has the 'more like this', 'related' junk on the page. Who told the se's we wanted this stuff? I sure don't.
I wish they would also nuke the "hr" tags between the results - makes the page hard to read with no white space.
Fast AllTheWeb85% satisified. It really is FAST. Touch spammy at times, but it is so quick to use. I often find myself there when I know I'm to have to dig though alot of results to find what I want. (I wish AV were this fast).
Lycos, way too much extra info on the search page (self spam). The ratio of content to advertising is much too much. I think Lycos is in a contest with Internet.com to see who can put the most self advertisments on a page.
Hotbot, if I wanted to know who can write the best description line, I'd hold a contest. They turned one of the best se's on the net into one of the worst. I don't care for dayglow.
Infoseek. I still like em. Fast, clean looking results and mostly relavant. No depth though - searches tap out at the top ten. Search Within These Results is killer.
Excite: I like what they have done this year by cleaning up the search results of all the extra nonsense. The problem with Excite is coverage - results just aren't deep enough or fresh.
Google. The results pages read like randsom notes. I rarely find what I am after at Google, I rarely use it anymore. The excerpted style results is of no use. I'd rather read a full title and full description.
heh, heh... With an attitude like that, you're going to do alright here, UKS. Welcome to WmW.
My pecking order:
For the type of searches I'm doing, I rarely have to leave raging, but I often run a concurrent search in ixquick to see where the parallels are in the returns. For threads just not seen elsewhere, I find I'm going more and more to metaeureka. Knowing that the SE has spidered deep is very, very important to me.
A quick search of the parent sites for mitsubishi and honda shows that AV has only a tiny tiny bit of their pages indexed: here [altavista.com] and here [altavista.com] and they don't show up in searches. The same stands true for the other 60 plus car makes. What is more on target than the parent company???
Some of those sites are dynamic - but AV completely wiped out doorway pages that made it possible for people to find them and/or their product. Thousands and thousands of sites that went to the trouble to build static pages are no long findable in AV because those static pages were considered spam.
Granted some of them were - but what kind of policy is it to kill everyone in the village just to make sure you get the one guy who ripped off an apple from the village leader.
And on top of that it appears there are still tons of spamy doorway pages in AV - safely tucked into the database. As long as they are not re-submitted they seem to go undetected.
Agree with Brett on Google's description but feel their results are by far better then any other SE today. The same could have been said about INKTOMI about 6 months ago.
Back to Google - they are current (looking for a cancer treatment, current could help) they are not afraid to spider and index everything (seems they have faith in their own algorithm) But - the same could have been said for INKTOMI and AV a year ago...
It seems with most search engines that turning a profit and valid serach results are at odds with each other. When someone figures out how to make those two things go hand in hand, the internet will have a useful search engine agian.
John - assuming you work for AV I want to compliment you for coming to the front lines to find out how to better server your visitors. I also think that (though I can't speak for) all the moderators here would welcome the opportunity to communicate with you publicly as well as in private. It's the kind of relationship that out of could grow the biggest, the best and the most profitable search engine on the internet. Welcome!!!
My suggestions for any "Commercial" SE:
Keep the "glut" on the start page, and keep the search listings as "lean and mean" as possible. I understand that selling as much "real estate" as possible equates to revenues, but it's gotten ridiculous over the last year.
I want to see the listings, without having to think about it, navigate through a half page of "sponsored" crap, and feel the frustration setting in.... :)
And of course, I want the SE to be "stable", and let my top 10 rankings to "totally relevant content of course" stick like cement! :)
Things that get stuck in my craw (Old Missouri saying):
1. Sounds/Music. Get rid of them, even on banners.
2. Autorefresh. Can't stand anything stealing bandwidth.
3. Blanket banning. Referencing stcrim here, sites with dynamic content who build RELEVANT static doorways should not be banned. I know of several.
4. Not updating a DB. Webcrawler (worst offender) & Excite.
5. Clutter. Bothers me mostly because of bandwidth.
6. Using links as the only reference to relevance. I'm not sure that this is the brightest idea. I find alot of unrelevant searches on Google. Let's still base relevancy on CONTENT!
//Irish Brogue//"Throw the lot of 'em in the lake"
Not really. Most are doing a bang up job. Most could do much better too.
John, I've always felt communication can solve mountainous problems. I appreciate, more than you know, your being involved. Keep up the good work, and bring your buddies!!
Along these lines, I recently spent a few minutes doing searches on the metasearch engine, IXQuick. I was using three word phrases. Since the results they return must be in the top ten on at least one engine, some high degree of relevance would be expected.
Nevertheless, most SERPs were relevant to only one, or at most two of the words. A search of the returned page often would not find all three words. In the top ten, that just isn't good enough.
And within the top ten for the above search do you see any pages that would actually help someone learn more about or purchase a Toyota 4Runner other than the paid ads???
And, do you feel any user would be satisfied with such results, when their goal is to learn more about or purchase a Toyota 4Runner.
Your insight and thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
I agree with all the opinions, that say to use the K.I.S.S method. Clean interface, fast response time and definitely UPDATED results. Love the speed and results on IXquick.
Just my 2 scents :-)
Also, what about opening a new box when clicking on a result. (With one box - after following dif links of a result, and going,"well that was a ****** waste of time"; i have to either click back several times or start over. [In my line of biz, one has to be on the lookout for new resources, one never knows where it might be].
stcrim: i think perhaps you should leave Toy alone and look at Mitsubishi! :)
Back to jliving: which SE?? and... err.. buddy ..err... you joining in the cloaking discussion soon??
*clean results page
*direct link included in listing
*date of page d/l in listing too
*text ads rather than banner ads (good job Google)
*search within results
*fresh results (get movin' spidy)
*excessive spam filters (chill out AV, a *little* spam never hurt anyone)
*discussion board posting pages in the top 10 (or the whole index altogether)
*having to scroll before results are visible
***results pages that read like randsom notes (needs to be stressed)