How Big Is The Internet?

Good question. To give you an idea, when Bill Clinton was inaugurated as President there were 200 domain hosts in use (200 numeric addresses in use and only eight (8) of them ended in .com or .net! As of January 1, 2004 there were 194,000,000 domain hosts in use.

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Major search engines such as Google, Inktomi, FAST and AltaVista are always competing for the title of largest index. It’s not just a matter of prestige. A larger index offers users hope of finding obscure facts, but they don’t guarantee quality of results. The following tables show how many pages the major search engines and directories each claim to index.

  • AltaVista 1.689 billion pages.
  • FAST 2.106 billion pages.
  • Google 3.083 billion pages.
  • Inktomi 1.600 billion pages.
  • Wisenut 1.453 billion pages.

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Figures courtesy of Search Engine Showdown

What Do These Numbers Really Mean?

They show the number of web pages indexed. Not the number of websites. Remember the chart above. There are over 171 million web hosts now in use. Think of each one of these as a distinct website(some websites do span multiple hosts, but some hosts deliver multiple sites). Each website has content within it. This website, Metamend, has over 500 pages of content. This is still a relatively small website. We have clients with over 10,000 pages. Let’s say for argument sake however, that the average web site has 100 pages of content. That would mean there are 171,000,000 sites X 100 pages content average = 17,100,000,000 or 17 billion web pages of content out there. So Google and Inktomi would have each indexed little more that 10% of the Internet. Is this number realistic? We cannot confirm or deny this, but the number of pages out there is probably a little higher.

So How Fast Is The Internet Growing?

Research shows that the known Internet – the Internet excluding the Deep Web is growing by more than 10,000,000 new, static pages each day. In contrast, the fastest growing search engine database is increasing at about 10% of this pace.

If Only 10% of the Internet is Indexed, What About My WebSite?

Many of the websites that are not indexed are meant to be invisible. However, most of the existing web pages do not have any “Spider Food” – any content for the search engines to actually read, absorb, or index a website by. More than 50% of web pages on the Internet do not have a title tag, or simply have a title tag that says “Home Page”. Content is invisible on any page built in Flash or Graphic Only. Pictures may tell a thousand words, but search engines can only read text. This is why you need to optimize your website for the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization. A Necessary Evil?

We don’t like to think of search engine optimization or SEO as an evil, but it is necessary. If there are 17 billion web pages out there, and more being added daily, you need to ensure that the search engines can index your website so that your clients can find it easily. Search Engine Optimization is the way to ensure that this happens.