According to a new study this month by Hitwise, Google is still king of the search with 64.13% of the traffic. Yahoo followed with 21.26% and MSN with 9.15%. Ask.com came in 4th with 3.48% While is data shows where people are searching it doesn't say who is best.
To find out who is best, I use the "Pytlovany Test". Having a unique last name I've found it to be a good keyword to find out who has the best search bots and methodology. A search on "Pytlovany" on most search engines will usually find a number of references to me and my family and not much else.
Google not only returns the most results, but the topics that show up first are relevant and timely. Currently, the first result is this Blog which makes sense since it's updated regularly. It probably doesn't hurt that my Blog is hosted by Google. I haven't looked at all the results but they claim to find over 9000 references. This number includes non-English web pages.
Yahoo returns about 1200 hits and seems to like my LinkedIn profile. Bits from Bill is listed 4th and other results are all very relevant to anyone searching on Pytlovany.
MSN or Live Search returns over 1800 hits with this Blog at the top and nicely spreads out the results with other family members and their pages.
Ask.com returned less than a thousand sites but the results were the most annoying. On the top of their list is a link to the "Pytlovany Surname Resource Center". This is a genealogy page created to attract search traffic by listing every name they can find. It has no meaning to anyone searching and should not be included.
These days a lot of content is stolen and copied to adware sites so even the Pytlovany name isn’t safe . I decided to look more carefully at the first 5 pages of results to see how accurate the search was. I was pretty happy with what I found. Most sites listed references to myself and family members.
The only failure was to Ask.com. In the first 50 sites returned, 8 were bogus genealogy sites, surname databases, and others looking to get my attention instead of providing results. I admit, I wasn’t a fan of Ask.com and their Toolbar/Zwinky stuff but my test doesn’t lie. It will be interesting to see if spending millions of dollars promoting their poor technology will calculate into more users.