Do People Always Search To Be Sent To Another Site?

from the questions,-questions dept

Mashable points us to a study done by online research firm Compete about which search engines do better in “search fulfillment.” That is, what percentage of search queries on a particular search engine lead to someone clicking through to a search result. Yahoo clearly beats out Google (who then beats Microsoft). The theory, then, is that Yahoo does a better job pointing people to what they want to know about, since more of the queries end up in clickthroughs — and that may certainly be true. However, it’s not the only explanation. John Battelle weighs in to suggest that Google users may simply refine their queries a few times before clicking through to the desired results. Another possibility is one that happens to me all the time: if I’m searching for information and not a website, I may not need to clickthrough at all. I can just see the information needed in the snipped found in the search. So you could read the study as saying that Microsoft and Google provide more relevant snippets than Yahoo. The truth is probably somewhere in between, so while this data is interesting, as an aggregate number, it probably doesn’t tell us very much.

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Companies: google, yahoo

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Comments on “Do People Always Search To Be Sent To Another Site?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I also frequently use Google’s built-in conversion calculator.

Try typing “60 mph in furlongs per fortnight” (without the quotes) in the Google search box for an example. I think it only works from the Google page itself, though – not the Google search bar in your browser.

I don’t know if using the Google calculator counts as a “search”, but it certainly doesn’t lead to a click-through, since the answer’s right there on the results page.

Anonymous Coward says:

stupid Vs ... not stupid...

From working at an ISP for several years, in tech support. i have found that about 75%+ of ‘Stupid’ or, ‘Very computer/interweb illiterate’ people use yahoo.

but those who know how to remotely use their computer or remotely use the internet. use google.

idiots use yahoo
competent people use google

krm says:

Age Gap

Another thing I have noticed is age seems to be a factor. I am from a family of 6 ranging from 35 to 16 (busy parents) it seems all my siblings that are other 26 are drawn to yahoo, and every one that is younger uses google. This kind of ties back to “stupid VS… not stupid” since it seems the younger folks are much better behind anything electronic.

Tarky7 (profile) says:

Spell Check , Search and General Web Idiocy

I use Google to spellcheck all the time.

I too am looking at the Google’s cache, Page Rank and Backward Links.

The Stupid vs. not Stupid is a very interesting take. I am astounded how many of my clients or people I am doing consulting with use Yahoo. I have several friends who are in the SEM world that only use Yahoo search, because they prefer yahoo mail. I usually associate people who mostly search with Yahoo to be ‘less than’ in my mind, but I think that is my own prejudice.

Then, there are a bunch on people I know who only view the web through the AOL browser…

*throws up hands in frustration*

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

You guys are nuts!

Does it really matter? Google and Yahoo! both work fine. Stop pretending there is some intelligence issue related to choice of search engine. I use Google by default but sometimes the Google search results are not that relevant and I try a search on Yahoo and I get better links. Generally they both produce about 5 of 10 results that are the same in the top 10. But I would definitely not recommend Microsoft’s offering.

nipseyrussell says:

i will admit i didnt read the article, but couldnt this be read as Yahoo having WORSE results? if the average click through rate is the number of links clicked divided by the number of searches, then if you had to click through on two different links for every search (because the first one was irrelevant) then the average percentage would be HIGHER for worse results (assuming hitting the back button to the results page isnt counted as a second search)

Dan says:


People might also be using plugins. I use googlepedia all the time…it shows a wikipedia entry next to my google search results. 50% of the time, that plus the snippets provide the info i’m looking for.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have a gmail account and a Yahoo mail account. I use google to search, most of the time, and I use the Yahoo mail account, most of the time, (mainly because I prefer the user interface).

Frankly, I think the ‘google users are more intelligent’ argument is a nonsense. Yes, I’m in IT and been in the computer industry for 30 years.

ScytheNoire (user link) says:


I have to agree that click throughs mean nothing. Google has many more uses than just a search engine. I’ve used no other search engine since Google appeared. It may well be the single greatest thing to ever hit the internet. When compared to other search engines, there is no comparison, Google finds what I was looking for 99% of the time.

And I do miss Firefox’s spellchecker at work, we HAVE to use IE for some stupid reason. Aren’t allowed to install our own software, even if it is better. File that under Lame.

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