I read about this new search engine called Cuil (pronounced “cool”) in the New York Times and decided to go over and take a look. It was created by someone who used to work for Google, so it’s someone who should know something about search engines, right?

The first thing you notice is its black background, the antithesis of Google. The print is white and light blue, and it’s main logo is a light gray with one letter a light blue. So, it’s clean like Google.

I decided to start with a safe one by putting in a search term that my main business comes up as number one on Google. What you get back are 11 blocks of websites with the words of the particular page that Cuil has brought for you to review. A logo also comes up, but I realized pretty quickly that the logo isn’t necessarily the business. I figure I know which site it has decided is number one, but after that I’m not sure if you go across or down in determining who’s number two. Not that it mattered for me, as my site didn’t appear until page 3, which means it feels that, for my search term (for which I’m also number one on Yahoo and MSN) doesn’t qualify until 23-33. Oh well, stinks to be me here, doesn’t it? Oh yeah; my logo didn’t come up either, but there is a logo associated with my site.

I decided to try another of my search terms that I know my main site is in the top 5 on Google for. It does come up on the first page, but oddly enough it’s not the same page that Google highlights, and the logo, once again, isn’t for my business, or for the item it’s actually linked to, which is my book. And the logo is too small to even identify what it’s for; very odd indeed. For kicks and giggles, I decided to go to the second page to see if I had another page listed. I didn’t, but what I noticed is that the logos that were on the first page are present on the second page, so maybe those logos are for advertising purposes of some sort; I’m missing it.

As a final test, I put the name of this blog into its search engine with quotation marks; surely it would come up, right? Well, in a way it did, but not how I’d have thought. The name of the blog comes up, on the first page, but as a link off my main business site. It was also on the second page, once again off the links page of my main business site. At least this time it picked up my logo from that site. On page three it finally had a link to a post off this blog; but it’s still not on my site, but on another site that, oddly enough, wouldn’t come up when I clicked on the link. And I saw the name as being listed on my business blog, along with other blog links.

So, what’s my overall take on Cuil? Well, it’s pretty fast, and since it’s searching over 120 billion pages (so it says), I guess that’s impressive. The search itself probably needs to be drastically refined, as, with further tests, it seems that putting something in quotation marks doesn’t actually help refine the search for the term. From a SEO perspective, at the moment it would be difficult to figure out how to optimize your site for Cuil. I do believe some people would like how it shows the information on some of the pages, but if it’s not taking people to the pages they need, then the information is useless.

I hope Cuil improves with time. For now, Google has nothing to worry about.

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