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I am trying to understand the numbers I am seeing using the search site:example.com on yahoo & bing.

Firstly on yahoo if I use site:https://www.example.com/ using https - Yahoo declares 121 results. But site:http://www.example.com/ or site:example.com Yahoo declares 1300 results. Why would this be? On both Google and Bing there is no difference in pages declared whether I search for http or https.

Secondly when I try to see what these extra pages are they disappear. On Bing site:example.com says 542 results, and clicking on page 2 shows 11-20 of 151 results. Where did they go? Yahoo shows 1300 results until I get to page 5 when it shows 365 results. Then on page 12 this number goes down to 154 results. Page 16 is the last page of results, showing 154 pages, so I cannot see what these 1300 pages they declared are. But back on page 3 etc it is still showing 1300 results.

What is going on?

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    You cannot expect these to be the same. Google indexes anything of relative quality while Bing will not. Bing indexes pages with inbound (back) links. Yahoo has their own algorithm different from Bing even if the data come from Bing. Between Google and Bing there are two philosophies about indexing. One is expensive, the other much cheaper. Google indexes everything and then makes decisions where Bing makes decisions before indexing. Bing is hamstrung by a lack of information whereas Google is not. Google can afford to index everything but Bing cannot. – closetnoc Apr 15 '18 at 17:51
  • the results are different on the same SERP, so do not get your point. Why should I not expect the http & https search on Yahoo to be the same? – Jon Apr 16 '18 at 11:48
  • Because in the SE world https and http are different sites. These are still not the same. You are getting expected results. – closetnoc Apr 16 '18 at 15:09
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Firstly on yahoo if I use site:https://www.example.com/ using https Yahoo declares 121 results. But site:http://www.example.com/ or site:example.com declares 1300 results. Why would this be?

Different search engines will index your pages differently and the site: tool across these different search engines could also work differently. You wouldn't necessarily expect these 3 different search engines to return the same results.

Secondly when I try to see what these extra pages are they disappear.

The initial "estimate" of the number of results is just that; an estimate. When the first page of the SERPs is returned the only thing that is certain is the results on the first page - this is all done to return the first page of SERPs back to the user in the fastest time possible.

Together with the "initial estimate", there will often be results omitted at the end of the SERPs if the search engine has determined that the omitted pages are similar to the results already returned.

  • Good points on the 2nd question, and I guess its normal for 150 pages to be estimated 10 times more pages? But the difference on http & https is both on Yahoo so its the same engine? – Jon Apr 16 '18 at 11:50
  • "normal for 150 pages to be estimated 10 times more pages?" - Have a lot of non-canonical URLs been indexed? – DocRoot Apr 16 '18 at 14:47
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I tried searching for https://twitch.tv and http://twitch.tv on yahoo. Both returned the same number of results: 11.8M.

If you have a smaller site, it's possible that Yahoo just isn't indexing your same way that it does for other sites.

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