Thursday, March 25, 2004

Did you come here because you were thinking of food?

I've become aware that a lot of people arrive at this dubious little corner of cyberspace because they were searching for something on 'hominy grits (as in the foodstuff).' Indeed, if you search for 'hominy grits' on Yahoo!, guess what comes up at the very top of the list?

Yes, indeed -- this humble little site. I should warn you right now, dear visitor, that this site has very, very little to do with food, even though I do have a pretty handy set of links to hominy grits, the food, over on my sidebar. This unusual phenomenon made me ponder about whether or not the net's most popular search engines can be trusted to really give the idle surfer relevant hits.

So I decided to do a little 'road test' of about a dozen popular search engines to see how they fared using my own blog moniker as the obstacle course. (Some of the search engines tested are actually "meta" search engines -- they poll other search engines, like Google and Yahoo!) The results are pretty interesting (at least I think so):

As just mentioned,

1) I am number one on Yahoo! Thank you, Yahoo!

Here are the rest, in order of this blog's ranking in a search for hominy grits. The engines where I rank higher come first, and are therefore doing the worst job of given the seeker relevant hits.

2) Search.com ranks me at #2.

3) I come up #3 on both Kazazz and About (on About, I'm 3rd in the "On the Web" portion of the search, not the "on the network part).

4) Hotbot ranks me number 4.

5) I'm number 7 on the netscape search engine and also on Google. (Netscape is probably just googling.)

6) Dogpile puts me at #8;

7) Mamma metasearch (cute site) lists me at 13;

And Lycos and Alta Vista don't list me in their top 50 hits for hominy grits.

So there you have it. In terms of relevance, Lycos and Alta Vista are the hands down winners. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. People go to a lot of trouble trying to get their sites to pop up on search engines, and here I'm number 1 on Yahoo! and number 7 on Google without even trying! Imagine that. Maybe it's beginner's luck.

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