When it comes to the complexity of search engine algorithms, it is known that MSN is the least sophisticated, Yahoo (Inktomi) is better than MSN, and Google is the most advanced. With that in mind, it is slightly surprisingly to me that I’d find the following rankings for my SQL Tutorial site:
Query Term = SQL Tutorial
Google rank: 3
Yahoo rank: 9
MSN rank: 12
Note that those rankings are all coming from the .com version of the site.
The relative rankings were somewhat unexpected because I had applied all the basic SEO techniques to this site, which should lead to the site ranking well on MSN and Yahoo, which focus more on page content than Google does. But as you can see, this is not the case.
I ran across an article by Aaron Wall of SEO Book.com on search engine relevancy, which shed some light on this matter. Aaron pointed out that Yahoo and MSN results tend to favor commercial sites, while Google favors information/content sites. As my site is clearly content-oriented (confirmed by doing a search at Yahoo Mindset), this explains why it ranks better on Google than on Yahoo and MSN.