There has been quite a lot of media interest recently in the Million Short search tool (including it being featured on BBC News’ technology programme Click a few weeks ago).

Described as a ‘discovery engine’, Million Short basically allows the user to eliminate the top sites from their search (this can be the first million, hundred thousand, thousand, or hundred). The idea is that rather than just getting the popular, more predictable sites showing up, the user can come across sites that might actually be more interesting but don’t rank that highly on the search engine results due to poor SEO, or because they are new.

Given that the vast majority (it is estimated that it is over 90%) of user searches rarely go beyond the first page of results and the effort involved in actually getting to the millionth normal search result manually, the developers of Million Short feel they have something of real value to offer. Through it they believe users will be able to dig a bit deeper, find more obscure sites and get access to a side of the Internet that would otherwise go unseen.

The question is does this effectively turn the whole reason for using a search engine on its head? If Million Short became a serious rival to established search engines, then wouldn’t the time, money and effort that companies put into their SEO activities suddenly become irrelevant?

Personally I can’t see this happening. Though it is a rather quirky idea, Million Short is never likely to even come close to being a major threat to the likes of Google and Bing. Once the novelty value has worn off, people who try it will go back to the usual methods of searching for information. Though Million Short could be a bit of fun on occasions, the reality is people want to get to the most relevant material and this will never prove to be an efficient way to do that. The importance of investing in SEO is only going to heighten as the plethora of data located on the Internet increases.

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