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Google-only searchers 'miss out on 72% of web'

Surfers that use only one search engine are missing out on 72 percent of the web. So says a metasearch firm, which might have a bit of an agenda, but there you go.

REVEALED: THE WEB'S BEST SEARCH ENGINES

Tell us more, PC Advisor. Okay. It's all to do with the expanding internet, which is now so vast that one search engine alone - Google, say - cannot do it justice. No no, what you need is a metasearch engine. (See what I mean?)

A website called WebFetch ran some research and found an overlap of just 1 percent between the leading four search engines. The top result on Yahoo, the firm points out, may not even appear in Google's first page of results. So by limiting yourself to a single search engine you are increasing the possibility that you never find the perfect website for your needs.

Press release (complete with baffling maths) follows:

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Search engine results poles apart

WebFetch research reveals less than 1% of search engine results are consistent

12 July 2007 – Relying on just one search engine is now more dangerous than ever according to recent research from WebFetch, the UK's leading metasearch engine which found that Google-only users are missing out on 3 out of 4 (72.7%) of the web’s best search results.

The study, commissioned by WebFetch.co.uk and conducted by researchers from Queensland University of Technology and Pennsylvania State University, looked into the level of overlap across the first page of search results from the four main search engines, Google, Yahoo!, MSN Windows Live and Ask. The study revealed that only 0.6 percent of nearly 800,000 first-page search results were the same across the four main search engines meaning internet users are being fed vastly different information depending on the search engine they choose. The research 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.

Some of the key findings include:

Only 0.6 percent of 776,435 first-page search results were the same across the top four Web search engines implying that the top result on Yahoo! may not even appear on the first page of Google results

Between 38 – 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 Google, Yahoo!, MSN Windows Live and Ask

Dominic Trigg, VP Search & Directories at InfoSpace, the company behind WebFetch comments: "People who depend on just one engine are choosing to limit their search potential. There may be hundreds of relevant hits being omitted from a results list, simply because of a particular search algorithm that your chosen search engine uses.

"What you could find is that the search engine you use could influence your own personal knowledge on anything from news, politics, religion to the latest celebrity rumour!

"If you compare the latest results with those from a similar study conducted two years ago you can see the situation is worsening with the amount of similar first-page results on the four main search engines dropping by 50%. This is because the web is getting bigger, making it impossible for a single search engine to do it justice. The only way to safeguard your searches is to give yourself more choice by using a metasearch engine, like WebFetch."

Using WebFetch can guarantee the most relevant results across the board are flagged, allowing you to make a more informed decision.

Metasearch technology selects the top results from all the major search engines and compiles them to produce a comprehensive combined list, giving users greater choice and reliability. Launched in March 2007, WebFetch.co.uk not only incorporates the four biggest engines, Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live and Ask, but also uses the search power of specialist engines such as Blinkx and Kelkoo.

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