WikiSeek Search Engine: First Impressions

Ian Lurie

When I saw that SearchMe launched Wikiseek, their new search engine, I was pretty excited.

But, as with all new things, it’s a mixed bag:

The Good
It’s a beautiful, clean interface.

As you start to type in search terms, Wikiseek automatically shows you possible categories:

WikiSeek Search Engine

And it restricts searches to content that’s in wikipedia.

The Bad

When you start typing a search term, Wikiseek immediately removes your search results from any previous search from the page. You can click to return to a previous search, but for me at least it seems like a jumpy interface.

At least at the time of this writing, when I went to, I got a ‘server not found’ error. Only going to ‘’ worked. C’mon, guys, that’s contingency design 101.

The Ugly

The ‘about’ page states that ‘The contents of Wikiseek are restricted to Wikipedia pages and only those sites which are referenced within Wikipedia, making it an authoritative source of information less subject to spam and SEO schemes.’.

That strikes me as problematic, so I did a few test searches:

A search for ‘wedding dresses’ showed drastically different results compared to Google, Yahoo or MSN. The first three links were directories or link farming/affiliate sites. Then came Davids Bridal. Then links to:

– A site for hand-made Sarees.

– A site about Queen Elizabeth’s ceremonial Robes

– The Skirball Cultural Center

– A hand-me-down site that has some wedding dresses

Sorry guys. If you want to avoid the commercial fray, fine. But your visitors will want relevance. That’s a search engine’s purpose in life.

Then I tried a search for ‘search engines’. Results were:

1. Search Engine Watch. Fair enough.

2. An SEO site called ‘’. How’d that get in there?

3. A web strategy site.

4. A wikipedia article, then a few more random items.

If they’re trying to be authoritative, wouldn’t the top links be to search engines, or at least information about them? Just to be fair, I did a comparison search on Google. The top ten included, Search Engine Watch, the Wikipedia article about search engines, a link to Dogpile, and a few other search engines. Google was #10.

My Thoughts

WikiSeek has a very long way to go if they want to compete with the major players. Their intentions are great, but for whatever reason they simply don’t deliver relevant results with the same frequency as their competitors.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. I still do not understand why you build a search engine for wikipedia.
    I mean wikipedia search function is not horrible and when you do a search at wikiseek it the first couple results are in a blue background. Kinda reminds me of Google Paid Ads.

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