by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 1st 2007 11:13pm
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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