Which Search Engine Is The Most Relevant?

Relevance, eh. Subjective thing, that.

Intralink, a search marketing research firm, conducted a relevance study. It’s a noteable study, if only for the fact that MSN scored highest!

No, I’m not making this up.

While the study throws up some curious snippets, it’s mostly subjective and qualitative, so difficult to gain much insight that would be widely applicable. Obviously, the problem with determining relevance is one person’s gold is another persons junk.

For example:

“…in the search for “Chicago car dealer,” the Interlink study lowered Google’s marks because none of the first-page results linked to a specific car dealer; instead, the search returned lists of directories”.

Why was Google marked down for that? If I was searching for a non-specific Chicago car dealer, then I’d certainly want to see results from local verticals. If I wanted to locate one specific car dealer, I’d have structured my search query differently.

There’s been a few initiatives trying to compare search relevance over the years. Here’s a few interesting resources:

The End Of The Size Wars by Danny Sullivan

Thread About The Difficulty Of Conducting Comparitive Search Relevancy Studies at SEW

2006 French Relevancy Study comparing Google, MSN, Yahoo!, Exalead, Voila, and Dir.com

PS: when asked “which search engine is best”, Google currently answers “Dogpile” 😉

  1. JuggoPopJuggoPop05-03-2006

    I agree with you. If I was searching for dealers I would rather find a list of lists… so i could look each over one at a time… not shown a few main dealers and feel as if those are my only choices.

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