Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Internet » Searching » Search Engines » Niche Search Engines

This is a guide to niche search engines, which are those that serve a specific purpose rather than a general one.

Smaller search engines are often identified as niche search engines too but, for the sake of categorization here, we are identifying niche search engines as those whose purpose is more specific than indexing the Web. General search engines are considered search engines, regardless of their size, while specialized search engines will be categorized as niche.

Niche search engines are tools that can be used to find specific resources. Niche engines may use preselected sources that are specifically relevant to the niche that they occupy.

Examples of niche search engines include Boardreader, which is focused on spidering the content of online forums, bulletin board systems, and news sources, which are often missed or improperly indexed by general search engines. Another is Sweet Search; designed for students, it searches only sites that have been approved by research experts, librarians, and teachers.

Niche search engines are specific, but not necessarily small in scope. Google Scholar indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature, as well as court opinions and patents. It allows users to research digital or physical copies of articles online or in libraries, indexing the full text of journal articles, technical reports, theses, books, and other documents.

Similar to Google Images in some respects, TinEye is a reverse image search that uses image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks to identify the origins of an image. Often, it is able to even match versions of the image that have been heavily edited. Unlike Google Images, it does not return similar images in its results.

Niche search sites have been set up to serve the needs of people of various religious persuasions, as well. While many of them are not true search engines, offering nothing more than filtered content from another search engine or search engines, SeekFind is a true search engine that doesn't seek to be a Christian version of Google, or to index every Christian website on the Internet, but to select websites for its index that offer useful information from an evangelical Christian perspective, allowing Christians to research biblical, religious, spiritual, and theological topics without mixing in anti-biblical viewpoints.

Million Short is a Toronto-based search engine that allows users to filter the top million websites on the Internet out of their search, resulting in a set of results from pages that don't show up in regular search engines. Referring to itself as more of a discovery engine, the intent is to reduce the effect that aggressive SEO practices may have on regular search results.

These are a few examples of the types of search engines that would be placed in the Niche Search Engines category. Someone looking for broad information from as many sources as possible will do better with a mainstream general search engine like Google or Bing. However, someone who knows what they are looking for, but not necessarily where it is located, might do well with a niche search engine.



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