Google is great when you are searching for a single webpage or source of information. Many of my searches still fit that category – so I’m a big Google user. The problem is, more and more often I find myself searching not for a single page, but for a web site. A lot of times that may be a new website or a popular website that many people have found useful. When it comes to a search like this, Google is not so helpful. Here are a few reasons Google doesn’t work so well in these situations:
- Newer websites seldom appear highly because they have not been out long enough to get ranked and assessed in Google’s algorithm
- The most useful content is sometimes not optimized and therefore appears too low in results to ever be found
- Crawler brings back any page, and not just the homepage of sites, not useful if you want to find a site instead of a page
- There is no popularity index to see what sites or pages people recently found useful (pagerank is based on links and clicks)
- Using keywords and algorithms is sometimes not as powerful as using tags and keywords other people have assigned to content online
Instead, I use del.icio.us. Rather than using an algorithm, you can use del.icio.us to "search" using the tags that people have assigned to links. Each link has a rating based on the number of others who have also saved that link. The difference is, you are finding sites instead of individual web pages. For an example of the difference, here’s an experience I recently had when seeking new online food communities to check out:
Just this week I have already used del.icio.us to find usage statistics for women online, popular new online food and cooking communities (example above), and a list of green blogs. Each search was much faster on del.icio.us and yielded useful results much more easily. This is the power of using tagging and social bookmarking to find information online. It is also the reason why the next time you seek information online you might want to start on a site like del.icio.us instead of with Google.