Before Google, the web was a very different place. Nowadays, the self-appoint SEO content police and undisputed gateway to all Internet activity is Google. If your website isn’t optimised for visibility on Google, then it may as well not be on the web to begin with. It’s that simple.

before google

Once upon a time, long before Google assumed the mantle of king of the web, the late 90s to early noughties saw huge competition in the search engine market. Something that I feel we are now seriously the poorer for. I was a frequent user of the search engine HotBot around circa 1998, later I would use MetaCrawler and Yahoo before switching (like everyone else) to the only game in town, Google.

Before Google there was HotBot
HotBot Search Engine (Cira 1997)

Although Bing, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo and one or two others are still active competitors today, they don’t hold a candle to the dominance of Google. HotBot is still going actually, although clearly a minor search engine by today’s standards. Other popular search engines from back in the day included Excite, WebCrawler, AltaVista (Now Yahoo.com), Lycos, infoseek and Netscape search.  

Before Google, there was Metacrawler
Metacrawler (circa 1998)

Many of these once popular search engines continue to exist today in some form or another, but none of them are in anyway as relevant as Google. So in the interests of nostalgia, which search engine was your favourite to use from before the Google era?

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