This is a very important point for a sourcer or anybody who uses search engines.
Google, Yahoo, and Bing will never show more that 1,000 results per search.
Many of us know that, but with that comes the fact that an announced approximate numbers above 1,000 cannot be trusted.
Any “number of results” displayed by each of these search engines is just a wild guess, and the approximation that can be off by orders of magnitude . The engines are not trying to fool us and don’t claim the numbers have close relevance to the reality either.
Numbers of results, especially if there’s more than 1,000, change as you go through the pages of results, based on the search engine trying to make a better guess (try it).
It’s unfortunate, but we can never rely on the numbers that are over 1,000 for any conclusions. As an example, you cannot tell which of two search strings bring more results, or which of the two search engines found more results based on the numbers (if they are large). The only reliable numbers that we see are less than 1,000, and only with the “omitted results included”.
Note, that I am not even talking here about results that are relevant but have not been found.
Why wouldn’t the search engines display the correct numbers of results? The answer is simple. It is just not possible with the huge amount of info to go through, large – but still limited – storage and reasonable time frame to respond to our queries.
If you search, for example, on Google, you will find some interesting articles dedicated to the matter and also more than a thousand articles making mistakes on the number of results assumption.
Of course, this made our “how many resumes are there on the internet?” contest pretty difficult. 🙂