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August 2, 2005

Search Engines Not Identical

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It’s tempting to think that Google, Yahoo and MSN deliver essentially the same results with only slight spins on the data but new data suggests that might be wrong. Chris Sherman reports on the divergence of search engines. A recent study by Dogpile and researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University reveals that the top four engines overlap on first page results merely 1.1% of the time.

From the article:

  • 73.9% of Ask Jeeves first page results were unique to Ask Jeeves
  • 71.2% of Yahoo first page results were unique to Yahoo
  • 70.8% of MSN search first page results were unique to MSN search
  • 66.4% of Google first page results were unique to Google

Dogpile, of course, is a meta search engine with a vested interest in proving that you should be searching more than one engine for every query but that doesn’t make these findings any less interesting or important for every search engine marketer. Considering the wide gap between engines, it’s doubly important that you ensure your clients have visibility across all engines. Optimizing for multiple engines is getting harder all the time.

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