Top 25 Niche Search Engines for Students

At OEDb, we love our specialty and niche search engines. And so do college students. Recently, our interest in the variety of search engines available on the Web begged the question: which niche search engines have the biggest reach? With nowhere to turn to answer this question definitively, we thought it would be an interesting exercise to rank all of the biggest niche search engines.

In ranking the top niche search engines, our goal was to show — using objective data from reliable sources — which sites are the most popular, according to visitor traffic and site backlinks. To this end, we used data for these four metrics to calculate the rankings:

Top 25 (see complete methodology below)

Rank Site Google Alexa Technorati Compete Score
1 FreeFind 9 10 9 10 38
2 Dogpile 8 10 10 10 38
3 MetaCrawler 8 8 10 8 34
4 WebCrawler 8 9 9 9 35
5 Mamma Metasearch 7 10 6 10 33
6 Lyrics Search Engine 5 9 8 9 31
7 Creative Commons Search 8 9 5 9 31
8 Clusty 7 8 10 7 32
9 HotBot 8 8 8 8 32
10 Koders 7 7 7 6 27
11 Web Wombat 6 7 5 8 26
12 Vivisimo 8 6 6 7 27
13 sensis.com.au 6 5 7 6 24
14 KartOO 7 5 8 5 25
15 Scirus 8 6 6 4 24
16 Blog Search Engine 7 4 9 5 25
17 AardvarkTravel.net 5 5 7 4 21
18 Pandia Powersearch 6 6 2 6 20
19 Juju 6 3 4 7 20
20 Ananzi South Africa 6 7 3 3 19
21 Chemical Search Engine 7 3 4 5 19
22 Khoj 6 4 4 3 17
23 Ask an Aardvark 6 4 3 3 16
24 SurfGopher 5 3 5 2 15
25 Beaucoup! 6 2 3 4 15

Methodology

To begin, we found a set of Web sites that met a certain criteria. To become a member of the set of Web sites to be ranked, a Web site must, as of August 14, 2007:

  • be listed on the Wikipedia page List of search engines; or
  • be listed in the top 200 results on a Google search for search engines ; and
  • be primarily a niche search engine, not Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or any other large search engine.

For each metric, a score was assigned on a 0–10 scale. For Google PageRank, raw PageRank data was scored. For Alexa Rank, Technorati Link Count, and Compete People Count, the Web sites were broken up into deciles. If a Web site was in the 0>10% decile, a 1 was scored; for the 10>20% decile, a 2 was scored; and so on, up to a 10 being scored for the 90–100% decile. If no data was available, a 0 was scored.

The overall score for each Web site is the sum of the scores of the four metrics. In the event of a tie in overall score, the tie is broken according to the Alexa Rank raw data.

Raw Data for Entire Set

Rank Site Google Alexa Technorati Compete
1 FreeFind 9 3,012 4,438 1,569,920
2 Dogpile 8 2,089 8,650 3,546,327
3 MetaCrawler 8 12,204 6,391 212,471
4 WebCrawler 8 9,880 3,405 935,465
5 Mamma Metasearch 7 2,643 1,753 1,951,013
6 Lyrics Search Engine 5 7,805 3,056 1,052,727
7 Creative Commons Search 8 5,438 956 253,458
8 Clusty 7 16,428 5,142 70,952
9 HotBot 8 20,019 2,579 188,014
10 Koders 7 21,142 2,134 31,295
11 Web Wombat 6 24,944 1,125 137,902
12 Vivisimo 8 37,949 1,479 45,116
13 sensis.com.au 6 41,546 1,930 45,007
14 KartOO 7 62,678 2,409 20,171
15 Scirus 8 36,096 1,130 8,290
16 Blog Search Engine 7 68,920 3,469 13,157
17 AardvarkTravel.net 5 44,873 2,150 6,876
18 Pandia Powersearch 6 39,264 54 37,229
19 Juju 6 131,487 255 99,139
20 Ananzi South Africa 6 26,030 159 5,398
21 Chemical Search Engine 7 112,914 192 9,985
22 Khoj 6 93,731 266 4,337
23 Ask an Aardvark 6 67,362 67 3,339
24 SurfGopher 5 232,510 349 2,565
25 Beaucoup! 6 577,334 87 7,124
26 Economics Search Engine 6 884,714 12 1,333
27 South African Search Engine 5 672,916 17 0
28 The Cybercafe Search Engine 6 1,344,105 40 0
29 TSEP 5 468,327 14 0
30 Worldwide Composites Search Engine 6 1,920,095 4 0