Search Relevancy Algorithms: Google vs Yahoo! vs MSN

What are the major algorithmic differences between the major search engines? I tried answering that question when I recently wrote an article comparing Google to Yahoo! Search to MSN Search.

Please let me know what you think of it.

Published: June 13, 2006 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


June 13, 2006 - 2:10pm

This is really a nice article - I'm pretty sure you're right that there really aren't any documents available which thoroughly cover the major differences between the search engine's algorithmic logic.

Comparing what you've written to my own perceptions, I'm inclined to think that you're pretty well right on the mark. Although, of course, everything will change tomorrow. :) But seriously, thorough barely even begins to describe this article -

June 13, 2006 - 4:44pm

awesome article aaron!

this deserves to be a book by itself and i'm re-reading this whole article again :-)

June 13, 2006 - 5:31pm

Aaron - Thank you - I've been doing SEO for years as a living and you always come up with thought provoking articles and some wake up calls


June 13, 2006 - 5:49pm

A well written article. There was a study done by Alladin that compared the amount of spyware/adware links that were returned by all of the popular search engines.

Every search engine returned these bad links when popular search terms were entered. The I think that all major search engines should be proactive in their effort to minimize these bad links.

June 13, 2006 - 8:36pm

Aaron, very informative article and I see why did not make it a BLOG POST :-)

I will definitely link to it from my blog.

June 13, 2006 - 8:40pm

While waiting for Brazil to start playing (or is it the Shanghai heat that stops me from sleeping) I read your article.

It's great stuff. Thanks.

I'll read it again during daylight to see if I missed anything.

June 13, 2006 - 8:56pm

Hi Arron,

Thought your writeup on the differences between major Search Algos was pretty good.

In my opinion, there are results in Yahoo that defy logic, where garbage spam sites that have no quality or original information are on the top of results. It's a hodge podge of things that I find it difficult to optimize for since it's not obvious what factor is really the most important one that bias the rest. Some say that a high ranking in the Yahoo Directory (more popularity) helps with Organic Ranking in Yahoo. Or maybe the sites that are ranking the highest are also advertising on Yahoo and spending a bit of money - Yahoo is known to skew to the commercial - and maybe they're more likely to reward payoffs.

MSN seemed simpler - just optimize the page - and if SeoBook is right - and they can't determine the quality of backlinks very well, it makes sense that you'd want to really do a good job with your on page factors.

Google is getting into the intension of a page big time; if they think your page is commercial it wont be in the top 5-8 positions, that's reserved for sites that are determined to have better information.

June 13, 2006 - 10:22pm

A very nice read indeed,

I had recently built an Internet marketing tool of my own ( I'm a PHP/MySQL developer as well as a Internet marketing professional ) that I use to find relevant links for link trading and paid advertisments searching in the big 3 search engines... and I was amazed to see the differences of results from the engines when side by side. I had to write my own Algo on top of Google's, Yahoo's, and MSN's to get the results cleaned up and shifted correctly.

I wish I had this article when I wrote my tool, because almost everything you cover here I had to find out on my own with trial and error

June 14, 2006 - 4:42am

Thank you for this great article!

Ok, so let us take a guess what will happen in search engine market next ?

June 14, 2006 - 11:54am

Great article Aaron, couldn't disagree with anything at all. Should be a great read for clients ;-)

June 14, 2006 - 1:31pm

Not much has changed like ,

1. Google
2. Yahoo
3. MSN

and also Aaron i recently watched your video about your own keyword research search engine optimization tool and from the search volume for a keyword, Google was like 4 times MSN which justs represents how much people trust Google to get them the right resource.

In the end i just have to say its a pleasure to read your stuff. Plus i would have to excuse earlier about a double post i made in "Business Partner's Article" which was due to some browser and net disconnection problem, you can delete one of the post.

Anyways thanks for your Article's they are always a good read.

June 14, 2006 - 1:35pm

Hi Muhammad
Keep in mind I programmed my keyword research tool to use the estimates it makes. The actual estimates are all driven off of Yahoo!'s search volume and then multiplied by a generic estimation of search market share.

I put MSN at half of Yahoo! and Google at double Yahoo!

June 14, 2006 - 6:42pm

Hi Aaron

Another fantastic article ...

We all appreciate the work you put into it ...

Now go and get some sleep, 'cos you're bound to need some ... ;o)


Nick :o)

June 14, 2006 - 6:58pm

Aaron, I have one word for you; Sensei.

June 14, 2006 - 10:57pm

Yeah good stuff, found you linked over at Bill's blog.

June 15, 2006 - 1:56am

>found you linked over at Bill's blog

It is not the first time and most likely will not be the last.

June 15, 2006 - 2:10am

Aaron, this is great stuff! I've printed it out, gone over it and am still digesting it. Really useful cross-comparison.

It always seems like whenever your posts slow down, you've got something wonderful on the horizon :-)

June 15, 2006 - 10:33pm

Awesome article Aaron! A ton of good insight and very extensive comparisions. Thanks, bro.

June 15, 2006 - 10:35pm

Awesome article Aaron! A ton of good insight and very extensive comparisions. Thanks, bro.

June 16, 2006 - 8:41pm

I thought that your analogy of buying text links as being akin to paying for celebrity endorsements to be pretty interesting. I can't really see the value yet in a Google competitor taking a contrarian approach to attempting to filter the impact of these out as in current implementations they seem to lack the true "star" mystique that a celebrity brings to the table.

However, as text links evolve and get more sophisticated, accepted, and more visible placement on "star properties" you might be on to something. If you get a chance to expound upon your analogy in greater depth, I'd be very interested in reading it.

June 17, 2006 - 8:22am

hi Aaron, great article.

I've been reading your blog for some time now, and I don't think I've posted a comment here before. but this article is just great, and I really have to thank you for that.

I sound so spammy don't I :)

June 19, 2006 - 5:26pm

Great article! Blogged it as reading recommendation over at
(manual trackback)


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