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The major search engines deliver results that are dramatically different from one another’s, according to a study that evaluated search results from the four leading search engines.

First page results on Google, Yahoo, Windows Live (MSN Search) and Ask (Ask Jeeves) overlap less than 1%, according to the study by metasearch engine Dogpile and InfoSpace, a developer of proprietary metasearch technologies.

Moreover, Only 3.6% of the No. 1 ranked non-sponsored search results were the same across all search engines for a given query, down from 7.0% in the July 2005 overlap study.

“Different Engines, Different Results: A Research Study by” was conducted by researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Queensland University of Technology in April 2007.

The research conducted in April 2007 measured the overlap of first page search results from the four engines and found that only 0.6 percent of 776,435 first-page search results were the same across all four:

  • 88.3% of total results were unique to one search engine.
  • 8.9% of total results were shared by any two search engines.
  • 2.2% percent of total results were shared by three search engines.
  • 0.6%of total results were shared by the top four search engines.


Majority of all first-page results across top search engines are unique: on average…

  • 69.6% of Google’s were unique to Google.
  • 79.4% of Yahoo’s were unique to Yahoo.
  • 80.1% of Liv’s were unique to Live.
  • 75.0% Ask’s were unique to Ask.

Yahoo and Google have a low sponsored link overlap:

  • Only 4.6% of Yahoo and Google sponsored links overlap for a given query.
  • For 22.8 % of all queries Google did not return a sponsored link where Yahoo returned one or more.
  • For 9.9% of all queries Yahoo did not return a sponsored link where Google returned one or more.


The text of the study is available here.

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