ServiceNow and Search Engines – Summer 2022

If you are anything like me, you’re constantly firing up a new tab in your browser of choice and entering “servicenow” followed by whatever you need to do. I probably do this 10-20 times each day. Here’s an example of things I did recently based on my browser history:

  • servicenow flow return record object
  • servicenow “create templated objected”
  • servicenow flow create record from template
  • servicenow flow action status

You can tell I’ve been diving into Flows lately.

The results of this are often just “ok”. There was a time when the top 5 was all I’d need to get to the right page. In my mind’s eye, this was mostly back when the wiki was a thing (or, R.I.P.). Ever since Product Docs went live, searching for ServiceNow solutions and getting an accurate answer via a ServiceNow-owned page has been a disaster. (Even searching ServiceNow’s content directly is challenging at best. Sounds like a good future post.)

ServiceNow Wiki, circa 2012, via Wayback Machine

I tried to find screenshots of Wiki in its prime, but they are apparently hard to come by. I found the Wayback Machine’s archive of the site via Jace Benson’s RIP Wiki post from 2017.

There are so many search results today that are just garbage. One person’s hastily copied brain dump from their admin test, back-alley scrapes of other peoples’ hard work, Quora posts with half-assed responses from people who call it “SNOW” (if you know, you know…).

When I first started using the web at home back in 1996-1997, there weren’t many good search engines. There were several to choose from, but not many good ones. Every other web enthusiast that I met would have some new, exciting search engine that was tHe BeSt SeArCh EnGiNe EvAr. Ask Jeeves, Yahoo!, AltaVista, and, what actually turned out to be my go-to for a bit, DogPile. Since the early 2000s, though, the primary name in town has been Google.

Since then, not much has changed. According to statcounter, Google currently maintains about 92% of all searches. Its next closest competitor, Bing, comes in at about 3%. I am guessing that most of your searches start and end with Google. I made a concerted effort to use DuckDuckGo for the last 18 months or so, but I’m not happy with the results for the most part.

I wanted to take some time to look at what I think should be simple searches of the ServiceNow ecosystem and figure out which of the major search engines provides the best results. I’m focusing on English language and using the U.S. versions of any search engines. To do this, I’m using an Incognito window that is not logged into any of the services. Hopefully this stops Google from adjusting its results based on my previous search history.

The Contenders

Google – The world’s de facto search engine, whether it was rightfully earned or bought.

Bing – The (extremely) distant second place search engine from Microsoft.

DuckDuckGo – The quirky startup with a privacy-focused offering.

Ecosia – New to me, but apparently another privacy-focused search provider.

Brave – I have never used Brave for search before, but am including them since they claim that their own search technology is capable of fulfilling 99% of the search requests they receive.

I left Yahoo! off this list, despite it being statcounter’s third-place search engine in the U.S. I left it out because its results are apparently provided by Bing and nothing else. DuckDuckGo and Ecosia also have results provided by Bing, but the results are supplemented by other sources and their own crawlers, as well.

Remarkably similar results (and “People also ask”) links for Yahoo! (left) and Bing (right).
Note that Yahoo! is so bad at its job, its logo is about 500px off to the right

Search 1: “ServiceNow client script example”

This first one is simple. My expectation is that we’ll see Product Docs first, SNC Guru and Community on the first page, and a few of the other heavyweight blogs filling out the remainder.

Google, Search 1:

My expectations were not far off. Community actually came in first and Product Docs second, but it’s indented (??). ServiceNow Elite was presented third. All of those are above the “People also ask” box. It’s curious to me that there are no ads “above the fold”. Below the fold are YouTube videos (an Alphabet property, of course), Basico Service Now Learning (that’s a new one to me, you might want to load an ad blocker before visiting it on your own), ServiceNow Guru, ((╯°□°)╯┻━┻), Google Images,, and LearnNowLab (another new one to me, but, refreshingly, no ads (except for its own services)).

Bing, Search 1:

Bing started off with a highlighted result of the Basico ServiceNow Learning site (adblocker recommended). Like I said, that site is new to me, so I’m surprised to see it first on both Google and Bing. ServiceNow Elite was the second link and the only other one “above the fold” aside from the “People also ask” section., more Basico, Developer site, and (perhaps RIP? Looks like the hosting subscription expired) appeared above a list of Bing videos. The results on the first page were wrapped up with two Community and three Developer links. Below the ServiceNow Elite link, there is a section called “Explore Further” that contains links for SNC Guru, Basico, InterviewQuestions, and Community. I also noted that there are no ads or sponsored links on Bing. We’ll see if that changes once I get beyond my first couple searches.

DuckDuckGo, Search 1:

DuckDuckGo’s page is by far the cleanest and simplest so far. They don’t try to give you any direct answers or present you with similar-but-not-the-same searches in the main body of the page. The top result is ServiceNow Elite, which is not too surprising. They are one of the heavyweights in the ServiceNow blogosphere. InterviewQuestions appeared in second, Developer third, and Basico fourth. These are all “above the fold”, which is prime real estate. Below that is ServiceNow Zone, a site that appears to be pushing its own series of ServiceNow training videos on YouTube. Community follows that and then a new entry: I hadn’t encountered this one until recently, but the author is putting out a LOT of content… sometimes multiple times per day. Developer,, and Community round out the rest of the first page. Again, no ads on this page, though there is a column on the right for related searches.

Ecosia, Search 1:

Ecosia’s site is about as simple as DuckDuckGo and looks closer to something you’d see in the early 2000s, but definitely with an influence from Google. ServiceNow Elite again leads the way, followed by InterviewQuestions and Basico above the fold. The rest of the first page is the same as we saw with the others: Developer, Community, Cloudminus89, and Ecosia wrapped up the page with an ad for Udemy, the first ad we’ve seen so far.

Brave, Search 1:

Product Docs is the first result for Brave, which makes sense to me. ServiceNow would surely prefer that it be the standard/go-to place for almost any search result of a technical nature. The second result, and the only other one above the fold aside from YouTube videos, is ServiceNow Elite. Below the fold we see Basico, SNC Guru, LearnNowLab, QualityClouds (reminds me of the company in the ServiceNow Fundamentals course), Mastering ServiceNow Scripting on Packtpub, more YouTube, and SNProTips (a perennial favorite of mine). The results take an odd turn at this point, as the page is broken into two sections with links to search the same term via Google, Bing, and Mojeek (search engine (among other things) based in the U.K.) in between. There’s an entire extra section of search results below that, effectively bringing Page 2 onto Page 1. The results there include InterviewQuestions, Product Docs, Community, O’Reilly, YouTube, more Product Docs, SNC Guru, Community, Basico, and Medium. I don’t see Medium results much, if ever, on Google and DDG. An interesting feature of Brave is that they show you the percentage of search results that come from their search technology vs. supplementation from other sources. That number for this search is 100% Brave.

Search 2: “ServiceNow flow designer custom action”

Client scripts have been around for so long and have so much content that it’s not surprising that the results between all the search engines from the first test a) didn’t vary much and b) include links to content farms with lots and lots of content that take over the top results. For the second test, I chose something that hasn’t had as much written about it, nor has it been around for a decade and a half like client scripts. I expect this one to mostly be Developer, Product Docs, and Community. Videos might be more prominent, as will ads, I suspect.

Google, Search 2:

And Google does not disappoint: The three links above the fold are Product Docs. In fact, of the seven search results on page 1, five are Product Docs. The other two are Developer results and a newcomer, NeuralWorkz is new to me and appears to have last been active around 2018. The videos that appear halfway down the page have some very specific timestamps for content in the videos, which is not surprising for Google and YouTube. The “People also ask” section also has some very good suggestions for other things to look for. It’s worth noting that there are no ads on the results page.

Bing, Search 2:

Bing’s top hit is Developer. There was a time when nothing for Developer showed up anywhere, but the crawlers and SEO have finally caught up. The second result is YouTube TechnoMonk video), oddly enough followed by Developer, five Community results, Product Docs, and vanilla Let’s hope you don’t want to hear from any boots-on-the-ground voices here. Like Google, there are no ads on this page.

DuckDuckGo, Search 2:

DDG again has no ads and reminds me of Google, circa 2004 (that’s a good thing). The results are similar to Google and Bing: Developer first followed by Developer, Product Docs, five Community links (four are the same as Bing, one is different), YouTube (same as Bing), and This result is clearly just provided by Bing without any of its own sources.

Ecosia, Search 2:

Ecosia and DDG have the exact same amount of information and the exact same results above the fold. This isn’t surprising since they both have Bing as a primary source, but still. Ecosia finishes up its first page with four links to Community, which are exactly the same as DDG and Bing. There are no ads this time, which is a pleasant surprise.

Brave, Search 2:

The first result from Brave is Community. Specifically, a link we didn’t see above the fold for any of the other search engines. Another surprise is the second result, NeuralWorkz, which we also saw from Google. A couple YouTube videos round out the results above the fold, followed by two Community and three Product Docs links. The last one before the unexpected, but incredibly thoughtful “Find elsewhere” links is, a ServiceNow partner (not my employer). Below the links for other search engines is Quizlet, YouTube, Product Docs, and Community, all of which have multiple links except Quizlet. According to Brave’s stats, 100% of these results were provided by their own search technology, just as the first round.


As a frequent user of Google and DuckDuckGo, I’m not surprised by the results from them. I honestly haven’t been impressed with DDG’s results, but I’ve been sticking with it for the privacy aspects of their service. Google knows enough about me already, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to give them access to my search results, too.

But, the surprise of this whole endeavor is Brave. I heard of them and used the browser for a couple days several years ago, but never used their search service, which is relatively new (the banner still says it’s in beta). I’m going to give it an honest shot as my default search engine for a while. I like that it provided results that didn’t always look just like the others yet the results were still quite good.

It was also shocking that I saw very, very few ads. I suspect that if I logged in or performed more searches, most of the companies would start trying to monetize my time/attention.

For fun, I decided to test Google, which is notorious for filling the “above the fold” area with ads. I performed 9 more searches in the same incognito window before they plastered ads on the page.

You get one link above the fold once Google decides to start to monetize you.

ServiceNow and Search Engines – Summer 2022 Summary

(That’s a lot of S’s.)

Google doesn’t appear to be earning its status as most popular search engine. There may be little competition, but there is at least one shining star out there. If you’re up for an adventure, give Brave Search as shot with me. I’ll update in a few months with how it’s going.

If you made it this far, perhaps you’ll go a little farther. What’s your search engine of choice? Do you bypass search engines altogether and go straight to one source (Community? Product Docs? Developer? Other?)? Do you have any suggestions for making ServiceNow search results more accurate and useful? Use the comments below to continue the conversation!

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