Following a tweet that I ran across and digging a few links, I found one of the new style search engines. SearchMe presents a flash based gui that upon searching, allows you to scroll through lists of textual results while viewing quasi-graphical representations of the target pages. My first thoughts as an SEO were of course where am I ranked! Kind of vain, but very typical of SEOs.
After a couple initial searches for my SEO clients, I actually did some hands on results browsing. My thoughts of SearchMe are:
- The pages are busy. As I look at the pages, I don’t know that this is a bad thing, just different. As we have grown accustomed to the stereotypical search results page of Google, Yahoo, etc, I think we get used to the paradigm of text lists.
- My mouse scroller would not work on the lists. Dumb you say? Of course, but as a user I’ve grown accustomed to being able to scroll on the page by rolling the little rolled on top of the mouse. Convenience, UI, generally accepted user interface. I expect that they will tweak for something like this down the road (if there is a down the road).
- Clicking on a listing in the text list immediately loads the quasi-graphical page view of the search result. A big plus on the cool meter.
- Mouse over the listing and you get a text ad that pops on the bottom of the result. I guess they need a way to monitize their data, so I’ll not pass judgement yet as long as the ads are relevant. If the ads turn spammy, then I’m not so sure I want them associated with my content.
- Click on the magnifying glass, and you can zoom in on portions of the target page. Big plus on the cool meter.
- I clicked on a results page for a site that we do SEO on. I just want to see if the referer information will be helpful. To my dismay, All I get for the referrer is “http://www.searchme.com”. Now, that is not very helpful for an SEO. We need referer to keep up with which keywords are being searched.
I realize that SearchMe is still in beta. I was more interested in getting an initial read on it. From a UI perspective, I am not sure that all the bells and whistles are something I like. I am very much a utilitarian searcher – give me data in a very easily navigated format. I can see though where others might prefer it. Ultimately, as all search engines, they will be judged based on the quality of data they provide. For the few keyword searches I ran, the results were different than Google’s, but not to such an extreme that I would be concerned. As you dig in to more competitive terms though the results may vary significantly.
[EDIT: When I went to test this out this morning, Januay 27, 2010, the search is down and they are offering to sell their intellectual property. I guess this answers the question of how people don’t like their search!]