Typing a keyword into an internet search engine continues to produce inconsistent and inexact results. To help surfers gain a sense of the results various search engines produce, the ranking directory TOP9.com today launched a weekly search engine comparison based on scientific web research.
Each comparison will feature a different search engine and common keywords. Two comparisons kick off the reports; "newspapers" and "book sellers." The first two search engines featured are AltaVista and Lycos.
The results will be compared to those web sites that consumers actually prefer to visit, based on objective, consumer preference data.
For example, under the keyword search "book sellers," Lycos listed "homeschooling.com.au," "runaraven.org" and "periplusbooks.com" as the first three sites. TOP9.com lists "amazon.com," "barnesandnoble.com" and "audiobookclub.com," the three sites consumers actually visit most often.
In the second comparison, AltaVista lists "ottaway.com," "newspapers.com" and "worldnewspapers.about.com/newsissues
/worldnewspapers/mbody.htm" as their first three listings under the keyword search "newspapers." The TOP9.com "Newspapers" category lists "nytimes.com," "washingtonpost.com" and "usatoday.com" as the top three sites for July.
"Just looking through the results gives you an idea of how far off search engines can be in their top results," said TOP9.com president Dan Bohan. "And frankly, some of the search results were rather puzzling. The first sites listed are not the sites consumers visit very often."
Complete results for the two comparisons can be found at http://www.top9.com/compare/index.html. A new comparison will be posted on the TOP9.com site each Wednesday afternoon.
TOP9.com is a quality assurance ranking directory. Along with weekly search engine comparisons, the site features designations for sites which "lock in" viewers, and will soon list sites which use annoying "pop-up" windows. TOP9.com displays web site rankings in nearly 300 categories. The scientifically derived rankings are based on consumer research provided by PCData, the internet's leading market intelligence research firm.