One engine is not enough! Study by InfoSpace reveals vastly different results from top search engines

By Greenlight | 05 Jun 2007

Findings Reinforce the Value of Metasearch Engine to Find More Useful Results on the Web


infoSpace Inc. a leading developer of proprietary metasearch technologies, today unveiled the results from a study that evaluated search results from the four leading search engines. The study reveals that search engines deliver results that are dramatically different from one another. In fact, first page results on Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live (formerly MSN Search) and Ask (formerly Ask Jeeves) overlap less than one percent. With search engines producing such differing results, the study illustrates the value of metasearch and, which returns the top results from each of these leading search engines to provide users with the most relevant and useful information.

"This study reinforces what we at InfoSpace have long known - often users do not find the results they need with any single search engine. Metasearch offers the most robust and efficient search solution to meet their needs," said Rod Diefendorf, vice president of online and local search at InfoSpace. "With less than one percent overlap in first page results, there is great value to using a metasearch engine like to quickly comb through multiple search engines at once for the most relevant results."

The study, titled, Different Engines, Different Results, was conducted by researchers from The Pennsylvania State University and Queensland University of Technology in April 2007. Key findings highlight the value of metasearch and include:

-- Only 0.6 percent of 776,435 first-page search results were the same across the top four Web search engines

-- Between 38 and 46 percent of all searches fail to elicit a click on a first-page search result, don't meet users needs and drive users to try additional engines.

-- Web searchers on average use three search engines a month

-- Search result rankings differ significantly across major search engines; only 3.6 percent of the number-one ranked, non-sponsored search results were the same across all search engines in a given query.

The study expanded on a similar overlap study conducted in 2005, finding that the major engines produce even fewer of the same results today than they did just two years ago. "There is a perception that most search engines function similarly and deliver the same results, but that is not what these result show," said Dr. Jim Jansen of The Pennsylvania State University. "In fact, the engines are increasingly diverging in their approach to searching the Web. For some searches, users are obviously missing quality results."

Another recent study confirms that Internet users are seeking out multiple engines and greatly value the benefits of metasearch. In 2006, received the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates award, ranking it 'Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Internet Users with Primary Search Engines/Functions' in the U.S.A.(1) The J.D. Power and Associates study also found that nearly 75 percent of Internet subscribers use multiple search engines, with 44 percent of those customers using multiple search engines because each one has better sources depending on customer needs. has long embraced this customer-oriented view and combines results from multiple engines to bring together the highest ranked results in one place.

In conjunction with releasing the study, debuted a refreshed look and feel, enhanced usability, an improved algorithm, and a "video metasearch" capability that delivers video results from multiple sources. To experience the newly enhanced site, please go to

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