Business Insights

Types of Search Engines

David Kelly
Published on

Search engines are an extremely powerful way of promoting your website online. Consider them your silent Public Relations firm, quietly working in the background. Many studies have shown that between 40% and 80% of users found what they were looking for by using the search engine feature of the Internet.

According to Search Engine Watch ( – 625 million searches are performed every day!

The great thing about search engines is they bring targeted traffic to your website. These people are already motivated to make a purchase from you- because they searched you out.

With the right website optimisation, the search engines can always deliver your site to your audiences.

Crawler-Based Search Engines

Crawler-based search engines use automated software programs to survey and categorise web pages. The programs used by the search engines to access your web pages are called ‘spiders’, ‘crawlers’, ‘robots’ or ‘bots’.

A spider will find a web page, download it and analyse the information presented on the web page. This is a seamless process. The web page will then be added to the search engine’s database. Then when a user performs a search, the search engine will check its database of web pages for the key words the user searched on to present a list of link results.

The results (list of suggested links to go to), are listed on pages by order of which is ‘closest’ (as defined by the ‘bots’), to what the user wants to find online.

Crawler-based search engines are constantly searching the Internet for new web pages and updating their database of information with these new or altered pages.

Examples of crawler-based search engines are:



A ‘directory’ uses human editors who decide what category the site belongs to; they place websites within specific categories in the ‘directories’ database. The human editors comprehensively check the website and rank it, based on the information they find, using a pre-defined set of rules.

There are two major directories at the time of writing:

Note: Since late 2002 Yahoo has provided search results using crawler-based technology as well as its own directory.

Hybrid Search Engines

Hybrid search engines use a combination of both crawler-based results and directory results. More and more search engines these days are moving to a hybrid-based model. Examples of hybrid search engines are:


Meta Search Engines

Meta search engines take the results from all the other search engines results, and combine them into one large listing. Examples of Meta search engines include:


Specialty Search Engines

Specialty search engines have been developed to cater for the demands of niche areas. There are many specialty search engines, including:


  • Shopping

  -  Froogle (

  -  Yahoo Shopping (

  -  BizRate (

  -  PriceGrabber (

  -  PriceSpy (


  • Local Search

  -  NZPages (

  -  SearchNZ (

  -  NZS (


  • Domain Name Search

  -  iServe (

  -  Freeparking (


  • Freeware & Shareware Software Search

  -  Tucows (

  -  CNET (

David Kelly
Published on

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