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SEMrush Blog

The Short History of Top Search Engines

SEMrush Blog
The Short History of Top Search Engines

With the prevalence of internet usage for finding information, one can take search engines for granted. ‘Google it’ has become a modern catchphrase for entering a search query in the world’s leading search engine. The history of search engines is short yet somehow it seems they have been around forever. Hence, it would be a good idea for marketers and any internet user in general to known a bit of search engine history. The best web search engines list will help cover the top search engines.

The First Search Engine – A Student Project

Most people aren’t aware of the fact that the first ever search engine on the search engines list was a student project. Created by Alan Emtage of the McGill University, ‘Archie’ came about in 1990. It collected the information stored on a network of computers. This was followed the next year by Gopher, another student project, this time created by Mark McCahill at the University of Minnesota. Gopher became the basis for the development of the modern interface for web engines.

Excite – The First Commercial Search Engine

It only took a couple of years for search engines to develop to a level where they became available for commercial use. Excite was created in 1993, also as a student project. In 1995, it was finally released as a commercial search engine, paving the way for future giants like Google and Yahoo. Excite is well-known for helping develop Microsoft’s search engine in the late 90s. Excite was sold off when it began to suffer as a result of Google’s rapid rise.

Yahoo! Is Born in 1994

Yahoo! was created in 1994, initially as a directory of website. At that time, a directory listing on Yahoo! had to be paid for. Till the end of the millennium, Yahoo! relied on Google and other smaller search engines for its search features. In 2002, it introduced its own web crawlers and since then has become a high-ranking member of the top search engine list. Over the years, Yahoo! has purchased several struggling search engines to power its own service.

WebCrawler Introduces Full-Text in 1994

WebCrawler came about some time after Yahoo! in 1994 but was noted for being the first search engine to allow full text searches. This resulted in it achieving rapid success and it took less than a year for WebCrawler to be running solely on ad revenue. WebCrawler was eventually sold to Excite and then to InfoSpace. Now it is used as a tool for meta-search, combining results from the top list of search engines.

Lycos Comes Around 1994

It does appear as though 1994 is an important year in the history of search over the internet. Lycos was the third search engine to be born in 1994 and proved to be comparatively successful over the years. Facing stiff competition from Google, Lycos expanded its range of services to other sectors. Still it is ranked among the top 5 internet portals.

Infoseek – The Final Member of the Class of 1994

Infoseek became the fourth and final search engine to be launched in 1994. It found early success and was purchased by Disney. The search engine remained fairly successful till 2001 when all its employees were laid off by Disney. The employees unsuccessfully launched a bid to purchase it. Now, Infoseek redirects to Go.com.

AltaVista – Or is it Yahoo?

AltaVista came around in 1995 and was another early success. The benefit AltaVista enjoyed was that the internet usage has increased exponentially around 1994 and 1995. This meant that there was a growing market of internet users for it to target, which it did. It was among the famous original search engines till 2003, where a sale meant AltaVista merged into Yahoo! and is part of the leading search engine since.

Google – 1997

Google was late to the party. It wasn’t part of the first brigade of search engines to hit the web but it surely has superseded all of them. Today the world’s leading search engine, Google continues to dominate the global search market. Its success is unparalleled and the company has expanded its services to dominate other industries as well. Frankly, writing anything about Google is pointless since you know it all!

Microsoft Follows Google

As usual, Microsoft followed Google’s lead. The same has been the case since, from smartphones to cloud storage. A decade and a half ago, MSN Search was launched a year after Google. Microsoft’s search engine has been fairly successful, partially due to the email service that runs concurrently. Since 2006, MSN Search has been known as Windows Live Search.

This is a brief history search engine from the time the first search engines came about. If you want your SEO and PPC campaign to rank high on the leading search engines, it is important that you use the tools available to you. SEMrush is the best tool for discovering the keywords you need to use in your campaigns to drive them towards success.

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