21 April 2014

SimilarSiteCheck -- a neat & sometimes useful search tool and not just for genealogical research!

Search, search, search ... we are always searching for new information and sources.

We do much searching on the internet.  You may use Google, Mocavo, or any of a myriad of other search engines as we ferret out the genealogical gems to be found in the online and offline worlds.  We frequently run into duplicated information, “hits” completely unrelated to what we seek, spam websites and much more.  We are always seeking “better” ways to search the internet for what’s valuable to us.

ResearchBuzz introduced me to a site called SimilarSiteCheck.

“In order to find similar websites for a given domain Similarsitecheck analyzes the entire content as well as external links for the webpage. During the analysis we collect the most important keywords and phrases for a webpage. To actually calculate the alternative websites we search for the found keywords and phrases in our database, compare the sites and get a similarity score for the domains.”

What a neat idea. Any tool that might improve the efficiency and effectiveness of doing online searches gets a thumbs up from me. This website is German-based with an interface in either English or German.

It’s incredibly easy to use.  You enter the URL for a website of interest and then click the arrow.  The results are returned below.

Do know that for some websites, I did run into issues.  I tried the websites for both the State Library of North Carolina and the State Archives of North Carolina and the site seemed unable to handle these. I would get messages of “invalid domain.”  I also tried the Library of Congress website with the same issues.  It might be that government entity website platforms just are not compatible.

I then tried www.familysearch.org and it gave a result of 49 similar webpages.  Possibly because it is German-based, the results seemed skewed to a lot of UK websites.  It might also be language usage – are the terms family history et al used less on US websites?

I then entered the URL for New River Notes (a regional NC/VA website) and the results were kind of all over the place as you can see from this image.  Though I might want to rend a cottage or condominium, those are not websites that will help my genealogy research.  I tried a few other searches and received equally entertaining and eclectic mixes of suggested websites.

So, as with many tools, it might not be helpful.  On the other hand, if it guides you to just one “new-to-you” website with valuable information, then it’s helped.

When you play around with it, let us know if it guided you to a website which is new to you and relevant.

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