Have you ever been looking for something but didn’t know where to find it? If that something is online, then your search is over (or just about to begin). The following are 40 advanced and alternative search engines that you can use to find just about anything on the Internet. Use them to follow discussions about your industry, monitor your online reputation, and much more!
To start off our search adventure, let’s look at some general search engines beyond the top three.
Concerned about online privacy? DuckDuckGo prides themselves as being the search engine that does not track or personalize your searches and results. They even offer handy visual guides on Google tracking and filter bubbling.
Use your search to raise money for charities! Each legitimate search on Goodsearch raises $.01 for a charity of your choice. You’ll just have to open an account, choose a charity, and then start searching! Goodsearch uses the Yahoo! search engine. Avoid fraudulent use, though, as they’ll catch you and remove the charity.
Want trees planted while you search? That’s what Ecosia does! Simply run your normal searches and Ecosia will use its surplus income to conservationist organizations that plant trees. And you don’t have to sacrifice low-quality results to do good – Ecosia uses Bing and their own search algorithms.
If you want results from the top three search engines, but don’t want to go to them individually, try Dogpile. It’s results are pulled from the top three search engines “without all the mess.”
Want spam free search results? Blekko‘s mission is to provide a differentiated, editorial voice in search. They look for quality over quantity, source based authority over link based, removes sites whose primary purpose is monetization over information, and uses human curating through the use of user tags.
Looking for a search engine based on computation and metrics? Try WolframAlpha. It will give you website data, historical information by date, unit conversions, stock data, sports statistics, and more. You can see examples by topic to learn more.
Want an open source search engine? Check out Gigablast. While it doesn’t always get things right, it does provide a retro look, results return quickly, and a feature similar to the now-defunct Google Instant.
Social Network Specific Advanced Search
Need to find something specific on one of the top social networks? Here are some great advanced search pages.
Want to see a particular search across different areas of Facebook? Use Facebook Advanced Search. When you type in your query, click on the “see more results” link at bottom of the suggestions. Then use the filters on the left to see results within people, pages, places, groups, and more.
LinkedIn People Search
If you want to find some new connections on LinkedIn, use the Advanced People Search. This will let you narrow down your results by the above plus relationship and language. Premium members will have access to additional search filters including groups, company size, years of experience, and more.
LinkedIn Job Search
LinkedIn offers job seekers an Advanced Job Search to find jobs using the above information plus experience level and industry. Premium members can narrow their search down further by the salary offered.
LinkedIn Answers Search
LinkedIn Answers is a great way to gain exposure and build authority in your industry. Use the Answers Advanced Search to find the perfect questions to answer.
Twitter’s Advanced Search is a great way to find better results on Twitter. It is especially great for businesses looking for a local audience by allowing them to filter their results using the Near this place field.
The following search engines will allow you to search one or more social networks in one place and gain additional data about the results.
Topsy allows you to see the latest tweets on your search query. You can see more about each tweet by clicking on the orange number of tweets, including what users tweeted it. Topsy also allows you to see Google+ results by switching to it under Network in the left sidebar.
Social Mention allow you to search across multiple types of networks including blogs, microblogs, bookmarks, comments, events, images, news, and more.
If you’re looking for updates from Twitter and Facebook on a particular query, try Bing Social. Updates seem to be a day behind, but they will continue to trickle through when you click the play button at the top right of the results.
Addictomatic creates a topic page for searches using results from Bing, Google Blog Search, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, WordPress, and other search & social sources. Bookmark the page on your browser to check on the latest results regularly.
Who’s Talkin is another social search engine that will let you filter results by various networks under blogs, news, videos, images, and more.
Want to participate on forums in your industry? Use this search engine to find results specifically on forums.
BoardReader allows you to search forums and narrow results down by date (last day through last year) and language.
Find industry related blogs and posts using the following search engines.
PostRank allows you to search for blogs by topic and sorts them by social engagement metrics. Bypass the login and use the search box to find topics or specific blogs to which ones have the most comments and social shares.
Use the search box at the top of Technorati to find blogs or posts on your favorite topics.
Regator allows you to search for blogs and posts on any topic, then narrow down your results by posts with audio or video, date range, topic, and domain.
Documents, eBooks, and Presentations
If you’re looking for documents, eBooks, presentations, or other similar file types, try the following searches.
DocJax allows you to search for free eBooks and other documents. Sort by file types for documents, spreadsheets, powerpoints, and PDF to narrow down your results.
Scribd is the largest social reading and publishing network that allows you to discover original written content across the web. Sort results by category, language, length, file types, upload date, and cost (free or for sale).
SlideShare is the largest community for sharing presentations. If you missed a conference or webinar, there’s a good chance the slides from your favorite speakers are here.
Looking for beautiful images? Try these image search engines – note that you must gain permission to use any images you find unless they are specifically marked as Creative Commons licensed.
Flickr offers an advanced search screen that allows you to find photos, screenshots, illustrations, and videos on their network. You can also search within Creative Commons licensed content.
Bing offers an image search that starts out with the top trending images, then leads to images which can be filtered by size, layout, and other criteria. They also display tabs above the results with related search queries.
Google Advanced Image Search allows you to get even more specific about the images you are looking for, including specifying whether they are faces, photos, clip arts, or line drawings. You can also search within images labeled for reuse commercially and with modifications.
Creative Commons Media
Need to find media created by others to use on your website? Try these Creative Commons searches.
Looking for only images that you can repurpose, use for commercial purposes, or modify? Try the Creative Commons Search which will allow you to look through multiple sources including Flickr, Google Images, Wikimedia, and YouTube.
Wikimedia Commons has over 12 million files in their database of freely usable images, sound bites, and videos. Use the search box or browse by categories for different types of media.
Looking for video to embed on your website or simply entertain you? Try these video search engines that look across multiple sources to find what you need.
Yahoo Video Search allows you to search through video content from their own network, YouTube, Dailymotion, Metacafe, Myspace, Hulu, and other online video providers for videos on any topic.
Blinkx allows you to go beyond YouTube to find videos on any topic from hundreds of video partner sites including big names like YouTube and Hulu. If you’re looking for video, you’ll likely find it here.
Clipblast allows you to find professional video on topics discussed by news stations, newspapers, podcasting, and commercials. Top sources include CNN, ESPN, E, Sundance, BBC, and more.
VideoSurf brings clips from Hulu, CNN, TMZ, Metacafe, Fancast, Dailymotion, and other sources to provide you with entertaining videos across the web.
Website Data & Statistics
Looking for information about your favorite brands and websites? Try out these search engines for data and statistics.
CrunchBase offers insight into your favorite online brands and companies. Listings will tell you people who are associated with a company, contact information, related videos, screenshots, and more.
Quantcast allows you to search for website profiles based on topic or specific domains. Domains with a high volume of traffic will have data including total regional visitors per month, pageviews online vs. mobile, demographics, sites similar audiences like, and more.
DoubleClick Ad Planner
Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner lets you research domains and get the traffic statistics, daily unique visitors, and demographics such as age, gender, education, income, topics of interest, and more. This tool can be used with or without a Google account. You can also see a list of the top sites measured by Ad Planner and traffic stats in a glance.
Curious to see what technology your favorite sites use and usage trends of that technology? BuiltWith allows you to search for domains and see the technology they use, including analytics, content management systems, coding, and widgets. You can also click on any of the products to see usage trends, industries using the technology, and more.
Can’t get away from Google, but want to get more out of it than a simple Google.com search? Try these advanced Google search features.
Google Advanced Search
If you are looking for articles, theses, books, abstracts, court opinions or other information provided by academic publishers, professional societies, and university, try Google Scholar Advanced Search. You can also use Advanced Operators to refine your search results even more.
Google Advanced Book Search will help you find search queries in books. You can also find entire books published online that might be available to download via PDF (when in the public domain).
Google Search Features
Need to check stock quotes, the time in another city, sports scores, or other specific information? The Google Search Features page allows you to search for everyday essentials, local listings, health information, and much more.
What are your favorite advanced and alternative search engines? Please share them and how you use them in the comments, and happy searching!
About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing for personal, professional, and business bloggers. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.