Generally, when you’re trying to complete a piece of research on the Internet, whether this is for an academic study, a term paper, or just your own information you want to investigate, you’ll move first to Google. There are many reasons for this, but Google has the majority of share as a search engine, and for many people it opens up automatically on their home page, so you go to Google almost without even thinking about it. The good news is that Google generally provides an accurate level of results, and they continually update their algorithm to make sure the information they return is relevant.
But sometimes you may not find the information you want on Google. After all, Google doesn’t index every possible web page, and there may be alternatives there. So what are the best ways to get around Google when this happens to you, or to find information through other sources? The answer is to use alternative search techniques. And I’m going to talk about these in this article.
The first thing you should do is look for specialized search engines instead of Google. Google is a very generic search engine. It will search almost any page on the Internet, providing it’s available within it’s database. But often information isn’t kept in that database. For instance, if you’re a member of a private forum then chances are the forum would not have been giving permission to Google for its index and information.
The good news is if you were to log onto that private forum and do a search using the forum software, that would generally have indexing completed within that much smaller field. And so by using that specialized search engine you’ll be able to find the information you want in that place.
Now this is also true of different areas and many products indexed in specialized search engines, and many niches have their own search engines. A good trick is to go into Google, type in the area you’re interested in, and then type in “search engine,” and see if a particular specialist search engine comes up. If it does, then that would be a better place to start your research than going directly through Google.
The second thing you can do is look at some of the main competitors to Google. And one that’s very well-known is a Microsoft alternative which is called Bing. Because Bing uses a different database to Google, you can sometimes find information that Google doesn’t. For instance, a page that isn’t on Google may be in Bing. Of course, the reverse may also be true. So a page that isn’t in Bing may be in Google, which is why it’s sometimes a good idea to use multiple search engines.
There is another reason why you may get different results back. Because the whole algorithm used by Bing is different to one used by Google, it will return different results on the first page of the results. And often you won’t go beyond the second or third page of a set of results in Google. By taking this same tactic in Bing and just looking at the first, second, and third page of results you’ll find a whole host of different sites and information that you might not otherwise have looked at for your research.
The last thing you should try is to find a meta search engine. That is one which will search all of the search engines at once and provide a balanced set of results. And the best known meta search engine is Dogpile. By using this type of service, then you get the benefit of searching multiple search engines at once, but not having to go independently through all the pages and go through the laborious process of typing in the information and collecting together the results.
What Dogpile will do is it will use its own algorithm to re-rank the information that it’s returned from Google, Bing, and all the other search engines it uses and to then return an ordered list on the front page. So just by going straight to Dogpile, rather than going through Google and Bing, you can save yourself a lot of time on searches where the information is slightly more spread out or harder to find. This can be a good alternative for research to Google.
So there’s no need to worry if you end up with few results when you use Google to carry out a search. There are alternatives, and they can be equally valid. First of all, look in your niche if there’s a specific search engine which is more appropriate for the type of research you’re carrying out. Failing that, look at search engine alternatives. You can go straight to one of the big competitors, like Bing, which indexes a different set of the web and returns different results. Or, alternatively, you can go to a meta search engine, like Dogpile, which collates together results from a number of different services.
By considering all these alternatives, you’ll be able to get much higher quality research results in a fraction of the time that you would otherwise have taken to complete this.