I have always used different search engines for different tasks. Daily, I use Google more than anything, especially if what I'm looking for is really random. And, I really like it when they change their logo on holidays.
However, Yahoo! was my first search engine love back in 1996 and I continue to use it for directory style searching. If I need to send flowers to a friend in Raleigh or I want to find the address for the Ronald McDonald House in Albany, I go to the Yahoo Directory.
I thought I was just quirky in my web habits, and while that may be true, there's actually a reason that I look for different things using different search engines. Earlier this year, Dogpile.com (a meta search engine owned by Infospace) released a study that proves that all search engines are not created equal.
From the press release, "Most people believe search results across all four engines are the same, when, in fact, the vast majority of the results from each engine are different. According to a new s tudy, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania State University evaluated 12,570 random queries run on MSN Search, Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves. They found only 1.1 percent of the first page results are the same across all four engines. The full results of the study can be found at http://CompareSearchEngines.dogpile.com/whitepaper."
The findings are pretty staggering. For example:
- Searching only one search engine may impede ability to find what is desired. By searching only Google a searcher can miss 70.8% of the Web's best first page search results.
- The majority of all first page results across top search engines are unique. - On average, 71.2% of Yahoo! first page search results were unique to Yahoo!
- Search result ranking differs significantly across major search engines. - Only 7.0% of the #1 ranked non-sponsored search resu lts where the same across all search engines for a given query.
- Yahoo! and Google have a low sponsored link overlap. - Only 4.7% of Yahoo! and Google sponsored links overlap for a given query.
So what? Well, if your site is listed high in Yahoo!, chances are it's not in Google. If your potential web visitors are like me, they are choosing different engines for different tasks. Your search engine optimization and marketing efforts need to be comprehensive across the search engines.
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