09 Jul Meta Search Engine
Meta Search Engine
What is a Meta Search Engine?
To understand what a Meta search engine is, first you have to understand how a search engine works. The search engine visits billions of websites and creates a database or repository of sorts of the various sites. This is known as the index. Then whenever a user enters the search query, something magical happens (algorithms if you are a computer geek) and the pages that are deemed relevant to what you asked for are returned. Pretty simple, huh? If only you could improve those magical algorithms you could create the next Google (although Google is smart enough to hire you instead!).
So now back to how a Meta search engine works. Meta search engines don’t have a repository or index of their own, they take advantage of indices created by other search engines. In fact they present this as their strong point. A typical Meta search engine pulls off the results from a number of search engines, say Google and Bing, and then apply their own algorithms in some cases to re-order the results.
Are Meta Search Engines Better?
The obvious thought that comes to mind is that meta search engines get their results from multiple search engines and since two is better than one the results must also be better. The truth however is different, in fact let me put it this way – it is a matter of personal preference.
Let me explain with an example. First off, you need to keep one thing in mind that no search engine can index the entire Internet. Yes, not even Google. Now, suppose you are looking for something that is on website ‘Z’ and say you search for the term in your favourite search engine and you get no results. So now the only way a Meta search engine is going to be able to respond with a result is if any other search engine has indexed website ‘Z’. If other search engines have indexed website ‘Z’ then of course a Meta search engine is better than the one you are using. But then are you using a good search engine in the first place that doesn’t index website ‘Z’?
I say so because the index of search engines are more or less the same. It’s the algorithms they use to create and search the index and the algorithms they use to order the results that make one search engine better than the other. So if something is missing from a search engine altogether than perhaps you need to switch. But hey, if it works for you, it is the best for you. So if a Meta search engine gives you what you need then it is better. Viewed logically, you shouldn’t expect huge differences in results except for ups and downs in the ranks.