Wired:

Microsoft is formally launching its new internet search engine, several months after it debuted in test form. Microsoft’s own search engine will permanently replace the Yahoo search technology that has been used on Microsoft’s MSN website. But Yahoo’s technology will still be used for the “sponsored” listings that companies pay for, and that appear separately alongside the main search results. […] Microsoft is also eliminating some text advertisements and other material from its MSN website, claiming that the new site will load up to 50 percent faster and have a cleaner look that is easier to navigate.

Streamlining MSN.com has been needed for years (since the death of huge portals). The fact that Microsoft has done this proves that simple is a good thing.

Search Term #1: chris short

On MSN the first result is ChrisShort.net, which is no surprise.

On Google the first result is the Short Family Web Site and coming in at #2 is an article on my other blog, Our Life. Number three is stats on a baseball player named Chris Short. ChrisShort.net is listed at #39 in the Google search results.

On Yahoo! the search results vary somewhat from MSN and Google. #1 is the Short Family Web Site, #2 is Short Daddy v3.0 (another blogger named Chris Short), #3 Our Life, #4 is the same baseball stats page from Google, and #5 is ChrisShort.net.

All three search results for the term chris short are different on each search engine but Google and Yahoo! are quite similar to each other while MSN is very different.

Search Term #2: ingenuity direct

Ingenuity Direct is a computer parts sales and services company right here in Tampa (it’s where I’ll be buying my PC parts in the future) that had some dismal search results (on Google) until I linked to their site the other day. When searching for ingenuity direct I was expecting that ingenuitydirect.com would be the first search result listed (based on relevance).

MSN had ingenuitydirect.com at #1, Google had ingenuitydirect.com at #7, and Yahoo! had ingenuitydirect.com at #1.

In this instance all three search engines had very different results but Yahoo! and MSN won out in terms of relevance for what I was looking for. Google seems to be the lumbering giant in this case.

Search Term #3: “our life”

With this search I’m trying to test keyword grouping using quotation marks. I’ll be searching for the title of my other blog, Our Life.

On MSN, Our Life was listed at #9 (the default last result on the first search engine results page), Yahoo! didn’t have a result for Our Life in the first 500 search results (25 search engine results pages), Google had Our Life at #1.

This search term tested two very generic words coupled together which produced relevant results on MSN and Google but did not even come close on Yahoo!

Search Term #4: short consulting

With this search I was looking for the web site of my web hosting, web site design, and search engine optimization consulting firm, Short Consulting. The site itself has a handful of incoming links and contains very few pages.

MSN came in with Short Consulting at #1 as did Yahoo! but Google listed it at #7.

I think this proves that Google focuses a little more heavily on incoming links and the “weight” of those links. Yahoo! and MSN seem to win the relevance (which is a relative thing) game.

Search Term #5: “A simple, yet powerful search engine optimization (SEO) checklist”

This search term is a tag line from a search engine optimization article that originally appeared on the Short Family Web Site and was migrated over to ChrisShort.net (of course I created a 301 redirect) then was later featured on Lockergnome.

In theory, the original “authority” site for this tag line would be the Short Family Web Site. The 301 redirect should transfer that “authority” status to ChrisShort.net. However, the article being featured on Lockergnome might make Lockergnome be the de facto authority considering Lockergnome has a lot more incoming links and traffic than either of the previously mentioned web sites. So how does searching for this relatively long, very original term pan out?

MSN had the Lockergnome page at #1, the ChrisShort.net page at #2, and the ChrisShort.net category page that the article was filed under at #3. The other 14 results for this search on MSN turned out to be news aggregator sites that once featured the article or sites that seemed to be “spammish” in nature. It would appear that Microsoft hasn’t been able to work out its anti-spam functionality yet.

Yahoo! had some interesting results as well. Out of the 11 pages listed 7 of them were RSS feeds (which may mean Yahoo! seems to embrace RSS feeds or XML in general, a little more than MSN). The first result returned was the original URL for the article on the Short Family Web Site (which redirects you to the article on ChrisShort.net). The second result on Yahoo! for this search term was the category page the article was file under and the last result was the ChrisShort.net home page. The Lockergnome version of the article wasn’t even listed but Lockergnome RSS feeds were prevalent (this might indicate the strength of Yahoo!’s duplicate content filter).

Google added another twist to the results of this search term. The Lockergnome version of the article came in at #1 while the ChrisShort.net version came in at #5. Google also picked up a trackback from Lockergnome to a link popularity article here on ChrisShort.net as well as the ChrisShort.net category for the SEO Checklist article. In between those results were news aggregator sites that once linked to the article on Lockergnome and two furl.net pages. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Google doesn’t embrace RSS feeds (and XML) like Yahoo! does. It probably means that Google focuses more on human readable pages.

Overall, I’d say that MSN search stacks up well against the two other older, more dominant search engines. As far as relevance in general MSN faired well but spam filtering seemed to be lacking. Identification of authority sites was interesting, to say the least, among all of the search engines but MSN seemed to favor number of incoming links less that Google and Yahoo!

Of course, this is just my opinion from this research (and some other research I’ve done). Your results will vary but don’t hesitate to give your opinion of the new MSN search.