MSN Search Engine Analysis

Ah, memories! The evolution of Microsoft’s search engine approaches, from MSN, to the launch of Bing in 2009, to the rebranding to Microsoft Bing in 2020 is a fascinating look at how SEO strategies have changed through the decades. While Google still dominates the search engine game, Bing comes in second place, with just shy of 3% of search engine market share worldwide. If you’re curious about how this evolution began, check out our previous reporting from back when Microsoft’s only search tool was MSN.



You would think the Microsoft would be leading the search engine wars.

You’d be wrong. Believe it or not, MSN Search is a compilation of search results from other search engines. Of course, in a way, MSN is leading – they report that they are the most trafficked search engine, but there is wide disagreement about which search engine really gets the most traffic. It is not clear whether MSN is reporting traffic throughout their entire network of sites, or just through their search portal.

MSN! NewsFlash On October 6, 2003, MSN announced that they will not renew their contract with LookSmart, which provides search results to MSN. Instead, MSN will develop its own search tools. The contract will end as of January 15, 2004.

MSN Search Engine Analysis

URL: [Update: MSN Search has been replaced by Bing]

Get listed on LookSmart.

The MSN directory is a copy of the LookSmart Directory.

In the MSN search results, the second, third and fourth results, which appear under a heading called “SPONSORED SITES” and are not numbered, are Overture paid listings. Directly below the Overture listings is a heading called “WEB DIRECTORY SITES” and a link that says “Get the 10 most popular Web sites for __________”. These you get DirectHit results.

After the “Sponsored Sites” and the “Web Directory Sites” link, the numbered results begin. These are made up of paid listings from LookSmart mixed in with results from Inktomi’s database of websites. You can tell whether it’s a paid listing by putting your mouse over the link and looking at the status bar at the bottom of your screen. If the link starts with “”, then it’s a paid LookSmart listing. Each time you click, the webmaster pays LookSmart 15 cents.