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Search Engine Statistics (2003)

Search Engine Statistics: Relative Database Sizes

Search Engine Statistics: Relative Database Sizes


1. The study was conducted in the 4th quarter of 2002.

2. The values above are not indicative of actual database sizes. Rather, they indicate database sizes of some of the major search engines relative to the size of the Google database. The Teoma database, for example, is about 5 times smaller than the Google database.

3. The values were arrived at by conducting 30 single-word searches, adding up the total number of results returned by each search engine and translating that number to a percentage of the total number of results returned by Google.

4. The search terms were not chosen randomly. They were mostly English and mostly without any geographic connotation. On average, the number of results returned per search engine per word had to be 1000 or less. This was to ensure that one term could not dominate the results.


· Google includes sites in its database that it only “knows about” (through links from other sites), but that Googlebot has not actually spidered. Google’s database also includes file types (like PDF) not usually indexed by other search engines.

· AOL did pretty well, but it should be noted that this is mainly due to their partnership with Google, whereby Google supplies results to the “matching sites” category of their search results. They have their own database maintained by AOL editors, but it is fairly small.

· Wisenut and Teoma faired poorly, considering early claims that they where both capable of displacing Google from the #1 spot. Teoma’s paid inclusion program is probably a major contributor to its comparatively small database.

Search Engine Statistics: Estimated Database Sizes

Search Engine Statistics: Total Database Sizes


1. This study was conducted in the 4th quarter of 2002.

2. The results are our own findings and, although we consider them to be fairly accurate, they were not confirmed by the search engines and they should therefore not be regarded as official.

3. The estimated values are the average of the reported database size at the time, the estimated database size reported on and our own estimate based on the relative search engine database size reported in the previous graph.

4. Discrepancies between estimated values and reported values are due to many factors. Our study of relative database sizes was fairly small (30 search terms) and therefore cannot be regarded as 100% accurate. Search engine also typically spread their databases over several servers, any number of which may have been unreachable or down for maintenance at the time the study was conducted.

5. No reported database size for Teoma was available at the time of this study, nor would they give any specifics when asked. Teoma was also not included in’s study. The estimate displayed above reflect only our own estimate.

6. AOL receives results from Google and was therefore not included in this study.

Search Engine Statistics: Speed

From time to time I compare search engine speeds for my own reference. The study is far from comprehensive, but it gives a general idea of how the search engines measure up. I thought I’d share it with you. Please take note that these numbers are based on a fairly small study over a short time span.

Search Engine Statistics: Speed

Each search engine’s response time was divided by that of the fastest search engine (Google). The numbers you see are therefore not response times in seconds, but response times relative to that of Google.

Surprises here are MSN Search claiming second spot and AlltheWeb being on average 6 times slower than Google in the searches I did. But even that is FAST! In the end I think these figures mean very little. These days the level of competition leaves no room for a slower engine – and the ones in this test all still exist because they are all very fast.

Search Engine Statistics (2002)

Relative search engine sizes:

Search Engine Statistics: Relative Search Engine Sizes

Values are for total number of search results returned over 21 searches.
Date of analysis: December 27, 2001.

Notes & remarks:

1. Northern Light's free, public search engine was discontinued shortly after this analysis.
2. These figures do not indicate total database size.
3. The results on AltaVista could not be verified, because it shows only the top 200 listings for any search.
4. It's important to keep in mind that some engines - notably Google - clusters results by site. It shows a maximum of 2 listings per site, even though it indexes far more.
5. What a nifty little engine Teoma turned out to be! Not as big a Google, but at least as fast and very neat. Love it.
6. Searching on AltaVista and Lycos for the first time in months made me realize just how much faster the newer engines are. Google and Teoma seems tied in first place. Fewer advertisements and fancy graphics at AltaVista and Lycos will of course go a long way towards bringing their speed up to an acceptable level.

From the above analysis, Google returned the most results in 17 of the 21 searches.

More search engine statistics (offsite)

Statistics from
Relative Size Showdown:
Updated August 14, 2001.
Total Size Estimate:
Updated August 14, 2001.
Change Over Time:
Updated August 14, 2001.
Database Overlap:
Updated Feb. 21, 2000.
Unique Hits Report:
Updated March 9, 2000. (Data from Feb. 21, 2000)
Dead Links Report:
Updated Feb. 21, 2000.

Statistics from
Search Engines Size:
Graphical look at how large each search engine is, with trends over time. Links to information on whether size matters.
Directory Sizes:
Directories are usually human-compiled web guides that list sites by category. This compares prominent directories.
Searches Per Day:
Shows how many searches per day are performed on some search engine
Search Engine Index:
Interesting stats about search engines, at a glance.
NPD Search and Portal Site Study:
This quarterly survey measures satisfaction with search engines.
GVU Survey:
This twice-per-year survey shows how people locate web sites.
Search Engine Reviews Chart:
At-a-glance guide to search engines with the best reviews.

Search Engine Book: Search Engine Year BookThis page is based on information contained in the Search Engine Yearbook 2003. For more detailed search engine information & help, please refer to the current version of the book.

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