Search Engines - 70% Get Lost and End Up in Unexpected Places: Survey

When online searches fail, more than half conclude "it’s there, but I can't find it".  Many U.S. professionals do not get the results they are looking for and are forced to abandon their efforts when they use popular Internet search engines for work-related research, according to a survey of more than 1,000 professionals, commissioned by Convera Corp. (CNVR).

The survey reveals the critical challenges to productive search at work:

Over 95% of professionals rely on Web search at work, but results are inconsistent and mediocre.

  • only 40% say they are very satisfied with the results.
  • Only 21% feel that their search query is always understood.
  • Under 25% of professionals are very confident that when using popular Internet search engines they’ve looked everywhere to find answers.

70% get lost online.

  • Only 10% of professionals always finds exactly what he or she is looking for on the first attempt.
  • About 70% admit getting sidetracked during the search process and end up on sites they didn’t expect to visit and are not relevant to their work.
  • Over 60% disclosed they do not ask for help when lost, while 80% said they have never been trained to use the advanced search feature.

Businesses pay employees to hunt for information that can’t be found: 

  • Surprisingly, when searches do not return precise information, more than half of professionals believe the information they’re seeking exists, but they do not have the skills to find it.
  • One third of professionals will make decisions without all the facts they need after a series of search attempts fails to help them.

The search for professional-grade alternatives

The survey also questioned professionals on how they address failed searches:

  • 90% tend to enter into the same search engine a new term that has a similar meaning hoping for better results, 
  • 60% will try another popular search engine. 
  • Over 50% will try a vertical or topic specific search engine.

The survey asked professionals about their preference for vertical or topic specific search engines being developed by trade publications and professional organizations.

  • Nearly 90% of professionals believe that such search engines would offer more relevant content than popular Internet search engines.
  • 86% feel these tools would find information more quickly.
  • 85% believe they would offer access to content not indexed by popular search engines

Source: Consumer Search Engines Leave Professionals at a Loss: Convera® Survey

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