Search Engines and the Crockett Johnson Homepage:

An Unscientific Survey

       For a webpage to be listed on a search engine, its webmaster (or someone else) must submit the page to the search engines (most have an "add URL" option). In August of 1998, I first submitted the Crockett Johnson Homepage to the following search engines: AltaVista, Excite!, HotBot, Infoseek, Lycos, Webcrawler, and Yahoo! I then resubmitted the page approximately once a month until it appeared in the search engine. I tested the accuracy of each search engine by doing a search for "Crockett Johnson." Of the engines listed above, Yahoo! and Webcrawler have been consistently accurate in listing the page: that is, for both, the first "Crockett Johnson Homepage" link sends you to the main page. Though inconsistent for a few months, the first "Crockett Johnson Homepage" link from both Excite! and HotBot now directs the searcher to the main page. Though AltaVista and Infoseek do have links to the Crockett Johnson Homepage, the top matches for these engines vary widely. Lycos took nine months to establish a link to the Crockett Johnson Homepage, and so holds the distinction of being the slowest to respond.

       I've created two lists with slightly different criteria:

  • The Small List: includes only the search engines to which I submitted the Crockett Johnson Homepage.
  • The Large List: includes all major search engines.


List #1: The Small List

Includes only the search engines to which I submitted the Crockett Johnson Homepage

       Using accuracy and the date on which the engines first added the page as my two primary criteria, here's one ranking of search engines:

  1. Yahoo! (not first to add the page, but always accurate)
  2. HotBot (first to add the page, accuracy has varied, but is now accurate)
  3. NorthernLight (took two months to add, quite accurate in main listing, but mis-categorized as "personal" in folders)
  4. AltaVista (one of the first to add the page, formerly accurate, but now accuracy varies)
  5. WebCrawler (accurate, but it took five months to add the page)
  6. Infoseek (early listing, but accuracy varies widely)
  7. Lycos (took nine months to list the page)
  8. Excite! (initially inaccurate, then accurate, then inaccurate, then disappeared from index. Took over two months to add the page, which vanished from its listing in May 1999. A recent policy -- which seems to have been discontinued -- of spamming the searcher with advertisement windows considerably diminished the usefulness of this search engine: the main page took longer to load in and, before you search, you had first to kick the ad-windows out of your way.)

LookSmart, MSN Search and Magellan added the page without my submitting it. Since they acted without my intervention, I don't feel that I can rank them on the above list (because the time it took to add my site cannot be factored in). I can say that LookSmart and Magellan are accurate; MSN Search does not list the Crockett Johnson Homepage in its first 20 hits (the first hit? My personal homepage). In February of 1999, I submitted the page to NorthernLight; in April of 1999, the Crockett Johnson Homepage's Site Map was added to Northern Light.


List #2: The Large List

Includes all major search engines.

       Criteria for ranking includes rank of the Crockett Johnson Homepage, how the engine organizes its results, the degree to which the page is cluttered with unnecessary bells and whistles. The speed at which the Crockett Johnson Homepage was added to the search engine becomes a criterion only if I submitted the page to that search engine. (Unless otherwise indicated, the words "page" and "main page" refer to the Crockett Johnson Homepage.)


THE BEST
  1. Yahoo! (not first to add the page, but always accurate; page is ranked first),
  2. Google! (more accurate because it ranks sites based on how many other sites link to it; page is ranked first)
  3. Metacrawler (a subsidiary of Go2Net; searches multiple engines simultaneously, ranks results; page is ranked first)
  4. HotBot (a subsidiary of Wired Digital; first to add the page, accuracy has varied, but is now accurate; page is ranked first)
  5. LookSmart (page is ranked first)

     


    THE REST
  6. Mamma (searches multiple engines simultaneously, ranks results, but not as neatly as Metacrawler does; based on Yahoo! ranking, page ranks first)
  7. Magellan (a subsidiary of Excite; page is ranked second)
  8. NorthernLight (took two months to add, Site Index ranks second in main listing, but mis-categorized as "personal" in folders)
  9. AltaVista (owned by Digital; one of the first to add the page, formerly accurate, but now accuracy varies; when last I checked, main page ranked 10th, though old page [defunct since August 1998] ranked fifth and [current] Bibliography page ranked second)
  10. WebCrawler (a subsidiary of Excite; took five months to add the page, but page is now ranked first)
  11. SavvySearch (searches multiple engines simultaneously, page ranking varies -- when last I checked, it was third)
  12. Profusion (searches multiple engines simultaneously and gives you lots of options for defining the parameters of your search; but, depending on which options you use, the page ranks between fourth and sixth)
  13. Infoseek (affiliated with GO Network, subsidiary of Disney; early listing, but accuracy varies widely; when last I checked, page ranked ninth)
  14. Ask Jeeves! (searches multiple engines simultaneously, but merely reports rankings of other engines and does not impose its own order. Also uses frames and sends you to pages within Ask Jeeves! frame)
  15. Lycos (took nine months to list the page)
  16. Excite! (initially inaccurate, then accurate, then inaccurate. Took over two months to add the page, which disappeared from its listing in May 1999. A recent policy -- which seems to have been discontinued -- of spamming the searcher with advertisement windows considerably diminished the usefulness of this search engine: the main page took longer to load in and, before you search, you had first to kick the ad-windows out of your way.)
  17. MSN Search (subsidiary pages show up in top 20, but main page is not in first 20 hits)

 
Search Engines: Some Data for This Unscientific Survey
 

      

Accurate Search Engines (first hit is main page): Yahoo! since 11/20/98, WebCrawler since 2/5/99, LookSmart since at least 2/10/99, MSN Search since at least 2/17/99, Magellan since at least 2/22/99

      

Vague Search Engines: Infoseek from 9/27/98 to 11/20/98 (sent you to the Biography), no link from 11/20 to 12/18/98, from 12/19/98 (link to my personal homepage), as of 5/1/99, 13th hit sends you to the Bibliography; AltaVista from 8/4/98 to 1/17/99 (main page), since 1/18/99 (top matches are the "Books" and "Characters" pages); Excite! from 11/11/98 to 1/28/99 (top matches vary widely), since then (main page), no link as of 5/99; Hot Bot from 8/98 to 11/22/98 (low-ranked link to pages other than the main page), from 11/22/98 to 1/17/99 (main page), from then to 1/28/99 (my personal homepage), since then (main page); NorthernLight since 2/29/99 (Site Map); Lycos since 5/12/99


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Last updated Tuesday, September 16, 2003.