Google ranks MSN search top

This amused me. After reading on Slashdot how Google “claim the top ad position for searches relevant to its own products” I tried a few tests. The first one I tried was for the word “search”:

I noted that in my results Google was not claiming the top ad spot; what amused me more was the place of MSN search in the result list: no 1.

My hunch is that MSN gets a boost from having the word “search” in the url. An impressive lack of bias from Google.

Note that your results may (will) vary. It’s dangerous to draw any general conclusions about Google ranking from your own searches, because the search engine takes into account both your location and your previous search history. Potentially it knows even more than that about your browsing habits, if you use a product like Google Toolbar or the phishing filter that sends a record of every page visited back to the mothership, though I’m not sure how much if any of this data is used to optimize searches.

Think of it like Amazon. You go there, and all your favourite music or books are there on the front page. That’s just your history being echoed back at you, not a reliable indication of what Amazon is promoting.

As far as the Slashdot piece goes, all I can say is: case not proven.


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4 thoughts on “Google ranks MSN search top”

  1. Smart people.

    The fact that you are carrying out your search on Google means that you are ‘already locked in the game’, hence SEOing for keyword ‘search’ is irrelevant for Google.

    Perhaps you will equally find it unusual that Google ranks first for the keyword search on MSN search:

    How do you explain that?


    I am just trying to be a bit of devil’s advocate here.



  2. Thanks for the comment.

    How do you explain that?

    It’s more surprising to find MSN first on Google, since I’d guess that Google has many more inbound links – considered to be the primary ingredient of page rank.

    But I certainly can’t explain all the mysteries of search engine ranking 🙂


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