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6/98 Company Name Test: Search Engine Results

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NOTE: Click Here for the most current Company Name Test

Scoring Information

100% Company home page was listed first.
75% Company home page was listed among the top results.
50% Inside pages from company web site were listed in top results.
25% Pages from a secondary company web site were listed in top results.

The Results

  • Read across to see how well each search engine did for a particular term.
  • Read down to see how well a particular search engine did for all terms.
  • AV=AltaVista, EX=Excite, HB=HotBot, IS=Infoseek, LY=Lycos,
    NL=Northern Light, WC=WebCrawler, AVG=Average.
  • Results are as of June 25, 1998.

Name

AV

EX

HB

IS

LY

NL

WC

AVG

altavista

25%

75%

25%

50%

75%

25%

50%

46%

excite

100%

100%

50%

25%

50%

25%

75%

61%

infoseek

50%

100%

50%

75%

0%

0%

0%

39%

hotbot

0%

75%

75%

50%

75%

50%

75%

57%

lycos

50%

100%

50%

25%

50%

0%

75%

50%

northern light

50%

50%

100%

50%

75%

50%

75%

64%

webcrawler

0%

75%

50%

50%

50%

50%

75%

50%

looksmart

0%

50%

75%

75%

75%

50%

50%

54%

snap

0%

50%

100%

75%

50%

0%

75%

50%

yahoo

50%

100%

50%

25%

100%

50%

0%

54%

microsoft

25%

100%

25%

100%

75%

25%

75%

61%

netscape

25%

100%

50%

50%

50%

50%

100%

61%

geocities

75%

75%

75%

75%

50%

50%

75%

68%

Scores

AV

EX

HB

IS

LY

NL

WC

AVG

Average

35%

81%

60%

56%

60%

33%

62%

55%

March 98

47%

72%

36%

81%

8%

n/a

n/a

56%

Change

-12%

9%

24%

-25%

54%

n/a

n/a

-1%

Excite Has Best Score

Excite scored the highest, helped greatly by the new search enhancements it introduced in May 1998. Search for a prominent business, and Excite will preface the results with selected company information, such as that pictured below for Infoseek:

excite.gif (4061 bytes)

It might help to actually have the words "Infoseek Web Site" next to the URL, because some people may still not realize that's what it is. But many will easily find the link they are looking for, and Excite's top scores are well earned.

Infoseek Has Largest Drop

Infoseek was the previous winner, but its score showed the largest drop. Ironically, the service also introduced its own search enhancements recently, in April 1998.

It would be unfair to say this test shows those changes, called ESP for Extra Search Precision, have made searching worse on the service. ESP is primarily designed to yield better results for generic searches, such as "travel" or "cars," which are prone to degradation due to spamming. A search for those type of topics is a better way to measure if Infoseek's changes are doing what it hopes.

However, the service clearly didn't do as well for company name searching as in the past, and perhaps ESP has caused a drop for these type of searches.

Infoseek does preface its results with suggestions from its associated directory or other information sources. For example, the picture below shows results for "excite" prefaced by a "Best Bets" line (and no, that's not the Excite search engine listed in the actual results).

infoseek.gif (15139 bytes)

Selecting the first link leads to a company capsule page, which in turn has a hyperlink to the site. If this were counted as a 100 percent hit, as in a similar situation with Yahoo (see the Directory Results page), then Infoseek's overall score rises to 79 percent.

However, I felt the links were too small, and that most people would likely gravitate to the large "search results" area. Thus, I didn't credit these higher.

Lycos Show Greatest Improvement

Lycos, the lowest scorer last time, had plenty of room for improvement. And improve it did, going from 8 percent to a respectable 60 percent.

One 75 percent score comes from the suggested links that appear above Lycos web search results. A search for "microsoft" resulted in this:

lycos.gif (5764 bytes)

It doesn't get much easier than this, for those seeking the Microsoft home page. The highlighted link (by me, not Lycos) goes right to Microsoft. It's not really a category, but I think most looking for the Microsoft site would spot this as the link they want. Ideally, more of these direct and descriptive links will appear.

The Others

  • Excite-run WebCrawler, not tested last time, took second place.
  • HotBot showed much improvement and tied with Lycos for third place.
  • AltaVista saw a large drop, which put it in next-to-last place.
  • Northern Light, not tested last time, ranked worst on this test.

Directory Results


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