With Microsoft throwing its hat into the ring alongside Google and Yahoo!, consumers as well as search marketers have more choices.
Choices and competition are good for the marketplace. But, for search marketers, along with more choices comes potential confusion—about what works and what doesn't work on each engine.
I've assembled this side-by-side comparison of the top three search engines to serve as a quick reference sheet about each engine's strengths, weaknesses, acceptance of search engine optimization best practices, and tolerance levels for SEO worst practices:
|Keyword-rich title tags||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Keyword-rich body copy||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Links from "important" sites||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Keyword-rich link text||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Practices to Avoid
|Complex URLs||>5 parameters||>6 parameters||Unknown, but less tolerant than Google and MSN Search|
|Frames||To a degree (but orphan frames are common)||To a degree (but orphan frames are common)||To a degree (but orphan frames are common)|
|Too many links per page||Unknown||>100 links||Unknown|
|Page is too many clicks away from home page||>7 clicks||Unknown||Unknown|
|Automated queries||Currently not discouraged||Excessive queries from an IP address can result in the IP being blocked; violates Google's ToS unless using Google's API||Excessive queries from an IP address are ignored|
|Amount of page indexed||150K||101K||150K (500K for PDFs)|
|Default no. of results per page||10||10||20|
|Size of index||5 billion documents||8 billion documents||undisclosed|
|link:||Yes||Yes (but results are only a sampling)||Yes|
|Boolean logic (+, OR, -)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Local search||"Near Me" (currently very limited)||Google Local||Yahoo! Local|
|Reordering the search results||Yes (by freshness, popularity, exactness of match)||No||No|
|Query word limit||No limit||32 words||No limit|
|Results via RSS||Yes||No||Yes (Yahoo! News only)|
Keyword-Rich Title Tags
The text within your page title (also known as the title tag) is given more weight by the search engines than any other text on the page. The keywords at the beginning of the title tag are given the most weight. So, by leading with keywords that are relevant to your business and popular with searchers, you make your page appear more relevant to those keywords in a search.
Keyword-Rich Body Copy
Relevant and popular keywords should also be included in the page's body copy, particularly near the top of the HTML, as they will then be weighted more heavily by the search engines. Be careful not to go overboard—that is, to the point that your copy doesn't read well. Ideally, incorporate at least 200 to 250 words on each page so the search engines have enough content to determine the theme of the page.
Links From 'Important' Sites