Enterprise Search vs. Web Search: 5 Fundamental Differences

Although both web search and enterprise search are powerful ways to deliver the right information when needed, here are the 5 key differences between the two.

Marcel Deer - Writer for Unleash
By Marcel Deer
Nevena Radulović - Editor for Unleash
Edited by Nevena Radulović

Updated March 1, 2023.

Enterprise search and web search have a lot in common—they both pull from large data sets, use indexing technologies to make information easier to find, and return relevant results quickly. However, these two types of searches are fundamentally different in the way they're accessed and used, the type of data they process, and how they generate results. Here are the 5 specific ways in which they differ.

1. Network Access

The intranet where enterprise search takes place is a closed network. On the other hand, web search is open to everyone who has an internet connection.

2. Search Clients

One of the most significant differences between web and enterprise search is who'll be using them. With web search, end users are the main audience.

However, enterprise searches often need to accommodate both end users and client systems within an organization. These clients will require UI development and other specialized features.

3. Resource & Search Types

Most people who conduct a web search do so using a keyword.

However, enterprise search users need to perform more nuanced queries. A component of enterprise search is faceted search, which enables users to swiftly locate content relevant to their query without having to navigate through a large amount of data by filtering down results using facets (data attributes).

* Learn what key features an enterprise search tool should have.

4. Security

With enterprise search, security is one of the most important considerations. Most businesses will only want particular individuals at specific organizational levels to have access to certain documents and data sets.

On the other hand, due to the anonymity and public nature of web searches, access control isn't an issue with this type of search. Generally, it doesn't matter who is accessing or reading what information.

5. Indexing

Web search engines index the internet, while enterprise search engines index the intranet. Whereas web search engines index data by crawling the web, going through content on websites, and adding them to their database, enterprise search relies on an index that has been created specifically for the organization.

Enterprise search is typically more complex because there are more variables that must be accounted for, such as how certain semantics or domains are being used within the organization.

Choose a Comprehensive Enterprise Search Tool

As you can see, there are many differences in the way enterprise search and web search function. If you haven't already invested in enterprise search, it might be time to do so—Unleash offers a comprehensive, high-performance enterprise search solution to boost your company's efficiency.