Hour Glass
Image courtesy: scribblesandwords.com

Time is not on the side of Cuil.com, the newest behemoth search engine which is boasts searching 121,617,892,992 web pages (at time of writing this).  Upon giving it a try, as anyone should, I find that it seems to be fraught with error and a graphic free-for-all for returning relevant results.  Will I write it off as a non-contender?  Probably not so quickly.  It has definitely grabbed my attention and I will probably do comparative searches on both Google and Cuil to see what differences, and what similarities appear.


 There is Merit to the content vs popularity that Cuil is boasting for its search results, which simply goes back to the (old?) adage that Content Is King.  The whole relevance for search results based on page content just strengthens the first lesson in search engine optimizing, which is that lasting results can be achieved based on the lowest common denominators of html, being well designed pages with well developed content.  Even Google still works that way to a greater degree than most want to admit.  However, with the popularity and authority removed from search results, and content being the driving algorithmic factor for Cuil, the results will most certainly be different between these search platforms.  Not necessarily wrong, but most certainly different.  So really, as the FULL adage must go, and I'm sure you've all heard a version here or there:  "If Content Is King, then Distibution must be Queen" and this is where the contest will heat up (if it ever gets a chance to get started).

Content Is King
Image courtesy: scribblesandwords.com

Questions come up if you have a search engine based on content alone, however.  Will it allow all of the old school methods of Search Engine Trickery such as keyword stuffing pages with same font/background colors, or does it's algorithms look for this sort of thing and penalize? Either way, if the site has been to the page, it counts toward the number mentioned above in the first paragraph.  What of reputation management?  If someone needs to be rescued from bad press, without the skills of talented link builders to take immediate action, how will one be able to undo their internet damage before it does permanent damage to their reputation online?  Finally, if Cuil has actually indexed about three times more web pages than Google has, just how relevant are the SERPs in Cuil if Google hasn't found the pages relevant enough to ad to their indexes?

Cuil Search Results Style

Now, interestingly enough, the format of Cuil is pretty slick.  They are offering up e-zine style results, complete with an image.  Granted, there is much work to do on the image delivery to ensure that the images belong with the query results and are relevant, however if they work that out, the concept is outstanding and promises yet another take on display advertising.  In fact, it would not only mean optimizing content, it would also mean optimizing images for organic search in tandem with the page content.  Also, Google has taken notice of this new format, (it would appear), and is now presenting their sponsored search results in much the same format (but without the images, which I'm sure will be forthcoming in AdWords in the future).  The change to the appearance of the Sponsored Ads page occurred the very night that Cuil launched, so I doubt there is much coincidence there.  In fact, did Google change this layout because Cuil launched it and it made sense, or did Cuil launch their entire search engine prematurely because someone found out that Google was going to roll out the new presentation of Sponsored Results in pretty much the same format that Cuil has built their engine with?  After all, it then would have been perceived as "They got that from Google".  Also, how did they (Cuil OR Google) know to roll out at what time and date?  Search Engine Espionage?

Google Sponsored Search

Finally, there are no visible advertising opportunities yet (again, at time of writing) on Cuil, so Google will still continue to rake in the money.  I wonder if Cuil will manage to stand a chance in this industry since all of the creators have been involved in search since it was started.  After all, I can remember a couple of young guys who built a search engine with what seemed a somewhat silly and unlikely name, taking on the search giants of their time, being Altavista, Lycos, Excite, and others.  Can you even imagine?

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.


The Doug
aka Doug Gebhardt

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24 Responses to “Cuil Takes A Licking – Will It Keep On Ticking?”

  1. Any competition is always good for established players and this development should get Google to sit up and become more efficient and customer friendly. Quite whether Cuil will make the cut will only be known after a while.

  2. Honestly I'm not feeling it… I searched on Cuil one time and didn't like the way the listings were layed out, or the results it gave me. Sometimes it puts irrelevant pictures next to the URL's too… not going to be using it again any time soon. After all the hype I expected more.

  3. Horse Racing says:

    Yea Cuil definitely takes some getting used to and a lot of people aren't fond of the layout.

  4. Google is a hard act to follow, but whoever gets is right is pretty much assured of unlimited fame and fortune. Haven't tried Cuil myself, but will definitely do now that I've read this post.

  5. I really don't understand the craze about Cuil. All it takes is one search and you'll realize that the quality is not there. Msn, yahoo and of course google are far better when it comes to search quality. It will be interesting to see what will happen with Cuil – although as of now its nothing to brag about.

  6. Horse Racing says:

    Cuil is pretty cool but I think a lot of people have a hard time getting used to the layout.

  7. I did a check on their alexa traffic rank and they will be attaining ard #642 in the coming week. If content is what they are looking at, then how relevant is their serps since they said they indexed 3 times more than Google. It is so sad. I did a check on my websites and it wasn't in their indexes. Some of them are as old as 6 years. Any way they do provide a online messaging page to let webmasters include their sites. I will definitely monitor the growth of this engine.

  8. Agreed. They have a lot of catching up to do. That will take loads of capital.

  9. Simon says:

    Lets not write it off just yet. Initially I was put off by the way they display the results but I can see that they are trying to be different. Google will probably always be king, but maybe some people will like the style of Cuil.

  10. jeflin says:

    I still prefer Google for its cleaner interface. I guess habits die hard, images are not that important to me.

    Also the quality of search results is disappointing for cuil. I tried searching a few keywords and suffice to say, I eventually turned back to Google.

    However, I will give cuil some time to perform.


  11. I am among these some people as really love the style fo Cuil

  12. Utah SEO says:

    You're right, time is definitely not on the side of Cuil.com. Would have been great awhile ago but it's sorry…won't win.

  13. search tool says:

    It is unclear how cuil will be making its money. Stands to reason that they will introduce some kind of a onpge ad program its unlikely that this will be adwords. That would be crazy but cuil would start making millions doing that

  14. Metaspring says:

    I have actually not tried Cuil (how do you even pronounce it) but i will because i can only think that competition will be good for Google.

  15. VMOptions says:

    I personally find Cuil's layout unappealing. Maybe I have been trained to much by viewing single column text SERPS, but Cuil's layout makes it difficult for me to even focus. I can see the benefit this would have on those listed outside of the top 3 positions, but it would still take some getting used to.

  16. MrBoating says:

    It seems that today's buzz on Cuil is just a part of their well-thought PR campaign. I don't believe that they could compete Google, MSN or Yahoo but having all that talks and recognition they could really have them sold very expensive.

  17. It is a nice effort made and nice to see some original stuff and I am among these some people as really love the style of Cuil

  18. chetan says:

    Efforts like this increase the competition companies. And now with the arrival of cuil I am sure there will be some changes in Google too.

  19. I got caught up in the hype and was really let down. I haven't been back since.

  20. I check out same queries in Google and Cuil. One query in Cuil returns thousands, but second one simple return no results. It's very strange.

  21. Wow… it has been 7 days since i submitted my sites and it has not been indexed or crawled by cuil robots. If they really take that long to even include a site into their db, i guess they wouldn't survive in the fast moving search world.

  22. Ugh, Cuil sucks, I can't even find some of the most simple queries. It's hit or miss in my eyes.

  23. Duane says:

    I def don't like cuil. Their results are just awful. Also the layout of the results page suck. I have to give Cuil 2 thumbs down. Sorry about that.

  24. skyline says:

    I never found the relevant data I needed using Cuil. When this search engine was launched, it was launched as "the Google engineers built a new se" and the traffic was just huge.
    I already saw ppl saying that they are getting traffic from Cuil, but seriously guys… did you ever found the needed information on Cuil ?