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Social Search Engines

To make any online marketing strategy garner the desired ROI, it is imperative that the right search engines be chosen to get maximum mileage out of the Online Marketing initiatives.

Thus far the obvious choice of most Online Marketers has been the big three Search Engines, viz Google, Yahoo and MSN, besides the smaller regional Search Engines like Looksmart, Altavista etc.

While most of these Search Engines have been successful in delivering relevant results for the searched query, they have lacked in objectivity.

A website can rank well by being Search Engine compliant, however, it may not always be the sought website. Eg. When the keyword oxygen is searched, only one website of the top ten gives relevant result and provides information about the element.

Though the Search Engines were successful in delivering the expected results, however the efficacy of the same appears to be diminishing. The inherent deficiency of the first generation Search Engines has been addressed by the emerging Social Search Engines (SSE).

SSEs like Google or Yahoo, Social Search Engines seek to produce relevant information for end users, but with an element of human mediation. While regular search engines are purely algorithmic, based on link and text-based computations, social search engines attach importance to book marking, tagging, voting, highlighting and other prejudicial indications of relative popularity of content among its consumers.

The Social Search Engine concept gained boom between 2004-2005. Yahoo MyWeb 1.0 (2004), for example, allowed users to save one favorite links and web pages in a searchable and sharable directory. Encouraged by its success, Yahoo introduced MyWeb 2.0 in 2005 that allows the users to form groups and expand their communities by sending invitations to people.

The prominent difference between a social search engine and a regular search engine is the expanse of human opinion that plays a pivotal role in concluding search results. While search engines place more value to the choices of web masters, social search engines organize their choices based on the consumers of the content. It has been established beyond doubt that Content is the King and any website that is content rich will always have loyal patrons who would further act like walking talking billboards of the respective website.

Social search engines also enable web masters to compete better. For example, social search engine Eurekster provides Swikis service that enables empowered websites to control the listings in their search results index to their benefit.
Another advantage that the social Search Engines have over the first generation search engines is that the SSE are specifically more fruitful when finding non-textual content, including photos, videos and music. Google is attempting to address this deficiency by introducing Google Universal Search.

From the marketers view point Social Search Engines offer the advantage of using videos to promote the website, while also leveraging their popularity among the visitors to their advantage.

Human mediated search engines is a rather novel concept that still is exploring its true dimensions. A major limitation that handicaps the actualization of the potential of this concept is its overt dependence on human element. The chief pitfall of human involvement is that it cannot cope up with the rapid pace of Internet propagation. In other words, the social search results cannot be expected to be as comprehensive as the results from regular search engines. Though in terms of delivering dynamic and relevant results.

However, the phenomenon of social search engine holds a lot of promise on the basis of the merit of the concept itself. The phenomenon is anticipated to take off with flying colors in the coming years, probably in conjunction with algorithmic search.

Watch out this space for more on the emerging web 2.0 Search Engines.