How "Million Short" Search Engine Can Help You Find The Internet's Hidden Content
Search engines, like Google and Bing, are clever ways of organizing the content available on the internet. The World Wide Web would be a totally unusable mess without some way to search through it.
If you had to find new resources by only clicking on links within pages you knew the URL for, you would be unable to view the majority of the content on the web.
I remember in the 1990s when search engines were very basic, and almost completely unhelpful, there was a yellow pages for the internet that you could buy. It was a very thick physical book which sorted websites based on their topic. You would use it just like you would use the traditional Yellow Pages for finding the phone numbers for businesses. You would search for something you were interested in, "Gardening" for example, and flip to that page of the book. On the "Gardening" page they would have a list of all of the sites which covered that topic and provided their URL.
That phone book system was better than nothing, but was really primitive. It would only make you aware of a site that generally covered the topic you were interested in, but it did not provide fine-grained detail about specific questions. If you were wondering about the instructions for caring for a particular kind of plant you wanted to put in your garden, you would not find that sort of help in the yellow pages. You would need to find a general gardening website and hope they covered the information you were looking for.
That made the internet much less useful than it has become.
Google and other popular search engines, like Bing, Yahoo!, and Duck Duck Go, help internet users find precisely the content they want to find at any given moment. They are looked to as answer engines. You ask the search box your question and the resulting suggested pages will likely provide your answer. Now you do not simply find generally related pages, but specific content about your exact search phrase.
This type of search engine has made the internet and all the information it holds extremely efficient and useful to almost everyone.
These search engines are engineered and regularly updated to provide the best and most reliable answers to your questions and search terms. This is great if you are the typical user who does not care where the answer comes from as long as it is correct. What tends to happen with this sort of prioritizing of content, however, is that large and established websites and brands become favored by the search engine. If the entrenched brands have content on a given query, that content will usually show up at the top of the results above any other articles. This can result in highly accurate and consistent answers, but offers a poor experience if the user is trying to discover new sources.
Some search engine users are trying to use the search engines for another purpose. They are trying to use it as a discovery engine. They are not really looking for specific answers, but for a wide variety of websites and bloggers who are writing content about something they are interested in. Using the earlier example, someone searching for the instructions for caring for a specific garden plant might not be looking for how to care for that plant, but rather someone who is writing content who also has experience with that plant. They are looking for interesting perspectives or writers with similar interests. For users looking for new content discovery, or deep discovery, Google and Bing are poor tools because only the most popular content is displayed. You will rarely find new sources through these tools.
I wanted to find a search engine which would still sort the internet's contents by keywords, topics, and relevance, but which would help me to eliminate popular websites from the results. I wanted to find websites written entirely by a single author. I wanted to find personal blogs. These types of sources are obscured by traditional search engines.
There is an internet company called Alexa, which has been purchased by Amazon, which ranks websites by their popularity. Millions of web domains are ranked based on their popularity and average web traffic (number of visitors). The more popular a site is, the closer to number 1 it is ranked. For example, Google is ranked #1 and YouTube is ranked #2. The less popular a site is the higher the number of its rank. The rankings go into the millions.
Very often, websites which rank very highly, those with rank positions of between 1 and 500,000, are company websites. They are collaborative efforts involving many people. Many times the efforts are not of partners or a small group of owners, but rather a large group of employees or contractors who produce content for the business' owners. The websites have thousands of articles because they have so many writers who are able to constantly produce content. That content is almost always dictated by what is most profitable and not by what the writers feel passionate about and would like to cover. While many of the writers employed by these websites are very talented, they are a different sort of content producer from individual bloggers and webmasters.
Individual bloggers are interesting to read because they are not coerced into producing certain types of content by employers. They write in subject areas which they personally care about. There is also a realness, a personalness, involved in their writing since they are not having to impress a company editor or operations manager. They write what they want to write and how they want to write it. I enjoy finding these sorts of bloggers and their blogs and wandering through their content. It is a bit like digitally meeting a real person, whereas large company blogs are a bit like trying to interact with a billboard.
Because these individual bloggers have less time than huge teams of contracted writers, they have less content an poorer rankings. Because their content is ranked lower, it can be very difficult to find them with any consistency. If trying to find them using Google, you might need to search for a longer-tail keyword, then click back to the tenth page of results or even further back. You have to dig really deep. This is pretty inconvenient.
I started searching Google for a search engine which would help me filter out these sorts of ultra popular company blogs and leave me with the gold nuggets that are the individual bloggers. I searched for "search engines that eliminate the 100,000 top ranked websites" and "search engine that filter out top million alexa ranked sites". I soon found Million Short.
Million Short is a search engine that gives the user lots of control over the results they receive. Through the filters provided, users can opt for sites that have or do not have ecommerce and live chat. Those are kind of cool features. The feature I care most about is the ability to remove popular websites from the results. You can remove the top 100, 1000, 10K, 100K, and million Alexa ranked web domains.
This search engine with the popular results filter works wonders at helping you find little known blogs. I had tried to find small time bloggers through sites like Bloglovin', and while it worked better than looking through Google, it was still hard to find unpopular solo bloggers. Lots of the blogs found on Bloglovin' were really popular blogs and were often reaching the point of hiring writers to produce content. They were on the verge of becoming those large companies I wanted to exclude.
Million Short can be great for someone looking for a diversity of opinions and source materials, possibly someone producing a research paper, but it is ideal for someone looking for new individual bloggers.
If you are a blogger with the ability to provide backlinks to other websites from your own blog, you may want to find smaller blogs and provide them with link love over already super popular websites. By finding articles which have not been given lots of attention, you can link out to relevant but underappreciated posts and give those bloggers a boost. When a site has hundreds of thousands of backlinks already, one more link does very little to help improve rankings and results. When a small blog has very few or no backlinks, a single editorial backlink can make a huge and very noticeable difference which can kick off a snowball effect where their content begins to rank higher and so begins to attract even more backlinks.
I want to help push small blogs to success by finding their content and linking to it, and I think many other bloggers want that too. I have found Million Short to be an extremely useful tool in finding awesome small blogs which can use some Linkerati attention.
Whatever your reason for wanting to try Million Short, I recommend you give it a shot! Have you tried Million Short? What did you think? Is there another search engine you like even more? What is it? Let me know in the comments!