As of January, 2012, this site is no longer being updated, due to work and health issues

Search Tools Survey Results

The SearchTools survey has been on the SearchTools site since December 1998. This report summarizes the 1075 completed entries tabulated as of July 12, 2001.

As with previous results, the topics covered include information about web site sizes, languages, file formats and so on, as well as why search is or is not installed, and ratings of search engines. It is a self-selected group of respondents, and the results are interesting, if not statistically significant. We will continue accepting survey entries and will analyze results periodically.

For information about search engine product ratings, see the Survey Ratings page.

Search Engines and Sites

We wanted to learn more about the relationship of search engines and web sites, and how web site managers view search engines.

Reasons for Installing or Not Installing Search

For those who have installed a search engine, most cite better navigation and a professional look for the site. Marketing and Customer Service departments are also encouraging site managers to add search engines. For more information, see the report Why Site Managers Install Search Engines.

Of those who took our survey, the majority had not installed a search engine (yet), mainly citing time and complexity. However more people recognize a need for searching and plan to add it even before the site has been completed. For more information, see the report on Reasons Why Search Is Not Installed.

Searching and Web Site Characteristics

We've found some interesting data about the web sites surveyed. As we expected, sites with more pages tend to have search engines installed, to allow people better access to their information. For details, see Site Sizes and Search Engines. In addition, sites which are updated hourly or daily are much more likely to have search installed than those which update less often: see Search and Update Frequency for details.

Installing a site search tool is easiest on a local server. Administrators working on co-located and hosted servers have a harder time installing site searching, and are significantly less likely to do so, as shown by our results for Server Location Search.

As in our previous survey, we found that there are many sites with non-English text, and they are more likely to have search engines installed: see Search and Languages on Sites. We also found that single-language sites are much less likely to have search engines installed than multilingual sites: details are in the report Search Engines & Multiple Languages.

Finally, a large number of sites are report serving non-HTML files, including interchange formats such as PDF, PostScript, Flash and XML, and office productivity files such as Word, WordPerfect, Excel and PowerPoint. Even some of the remote services and free software will index these files. For more details, see the Search and File Formats report.


Search engines requirements are more complex and idiosyncratic than they appear at first. A web site may have dynamic pages, or be missing page descriptions, or change often, requiring a flexible indexer to adjust to these conditions. An intranet may have power searchers and complex frames containing binary data recognized by special client modules, while a topical portal may have customers who perform many single-word searches. No one search engine is best for everyone, but some have consistently happy users while others are rated very badly. If you read the comments, you can learn a great deal from the experiences of our survey takers!


Survey Results

Sites & Search
 - Why Install
 - Why Not Installed
 - Site Sizes
 - Update Rate
 - Server Location
 - Languages
 - Multilingual Sites
 - File Formats
 - Summary
 - Popular
 - Custom
 - Others
This survey is copyright © 1998-2003 by Search Tools Consulting, and all rights are reserved. The survey was designed, analyzed and reported by Avi Rappoport. Personal information in the survey will be kept private at all times. For reprint permissions or survey aggregate data purchase, please contact Search Tools Consulting.

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Avi Rappoport of Search Tools Consulting can help you evaluate your search engine, whether it's on a site, portal, intranet, or Enerprise. Please contact SearchTools for more information.

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