The big search engines deliver search results that are dramatically different, according to a new study.

The report, conducted by metasearch engine Dogpile and technology provider InfoSpace, found that first page results on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask overlap by less than 1%.

Only 3.6% of the top ranked organic search results were the same across all search engines for any given query, down from 7.0% in July 2005.

It also found…

  • 88.3% of all results were unique to one search engine, while 8.9% were shared by two search engines.
  • 2.2% of total results were shared by three search engines, and 0.6% of total results were shared by all four.

 
The majority of first page results were unique to one search engine:

  • 69.6% of Google’s first page search results were unique to Google. For Yahoo! this figure was 79.4%, 80.1% for MSN, and 75% for Ask.com.

Paid search results also seldom overlap:

  • Only 4.6% of Yahoo! and Google sponsored links overlap for a given query.
  • For 22.8% of all queries, Google did not return a sponsored link. whereas Yahoo! returned one or more.
  • For 9.9% of all queries, Yahoo! did not return a sponsored link whereas Google returned one or more.