Uniquely African search engines
How does one search for African sites on the Internet? Does he or she go the path of country-specific Google site, local upstart search engine, or targeted web directory? At one point, the most common method across the Internet was to browse or search custom web directories. However, the manual process of creating an accurate and current directory is becoming ineffective as the number of websites proliferates. Still, many of these directories still function for African nations who boast relatively few sites. In other words, the manual process of submitting URLs to directories and search engines is still effective – but barely.
Perhaps, for raw searching power, the best route at the moment is to utilize Google’s local domain searches. Most African nations have a Google search under their TLD. And, searches are available in more than a dozen languages spoken across the continent. Interestingly, google.com searches by African country for “[country] search engine” only find local Google pages for Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Africa.
However, the most common type of African search still relies on the directory. The next most popular seems to be searches based on ccTLD. There are also quite a few Google knock-offs that have been developed using generic search scripts and marketed as a unique entity. CIO East Africa reported on this trend a couple of months ago.
Either way, there is plenty of room for African startups to enter the search engine field, especially in nations without sufficient web directories. Google often overlooks smaller (but useful) African sites that have a low Page Rank. In many cases, smaller African directories are overshadowed by large international directories that appear at the top of searches even though they are outdated.
Without more ado, the list, based on what ranked high on Google searches by country. Additions are welcomed:
- Tafuta.net: A searchable directory of East African sites.
- GoBATLA: Business directory started in 2006.
- CamOnNet: Directory w/ directory search. Started in 2003.
- search.gm: Small user-submitted search engine indexing 93 sites and 14,000 links.
- Yahoonoo: Easily searches .et domains.
- GhPortal: Searches a limited number of Ghanaian sites.
- Goallet: Basically a targeted Google-style search script.
- ikenya: A searchable portal started in 2001.
- irozho: Similar to Ghana’s Goallet, this search uses a generic script.
- Kayambo: An apparent Mauritian start-up that searches in the Internet at-large.
- Mauritius Search Engines: A legitimate local search engine.
- University of Mauritius Search Engine: A customized search engine that utilizes Google.
- tidodo: “Your Search Engine For Mauritius.” Excellent.
- Kirole.com: A Mauritian portal started in 2002.
- info.na: Searches an index of 2,299 Namibian sites.
- NamSearch.com: Search a user-submitted directory
- Finelib: Business directory and search engine showcasing Nigeria information.
- Naijoo: Utilizes a custom Google search.
- Naija Search: Nigerian directory search started in 2007.
- Search Nigeria: A new Nigerian search engine based on a standard script. This site indexes based on the word “nigeria”.
- Bongoza: Still in beta, this search engine accesses “84,414+ webpages in East Africa”.
- Search Tanzania: A directory indexing 1,500+ sites.
- Tanserve: Another Tanzanian web directory which uses an internal custom Google search.
- myUganda: A Ugandan web portal started in 1996.
- Search ZA: Search the directory with an option to include only .za domains.
- Ananzi: South African web directory.
- Aardvark: A newer search engine that utilizes a Google custom search.
Africa in general:
- WoYaa: Once considered the default African web directory/search, this site now seems very outdated and not targeted enough.