AltaVista, as an Overture company, seems to use a very similar algorithm and spidering process as Yahoo. However, there are a few ways in which AltaVista sets itself apart.
AltaVista provides the most obvious advantage to those conducting specific multimedia searches. Directly above the search field are a number of tabs (Images, MP3/Audio, Video, etc.) that allow the user to search for files as well as webpages. If one were to create a site that targets all the different kind of searches that users of AltaVista conduct, one would need to break all the usual rules of search engine optimization. That is, while the majority of search engines reward sites with higher textual content and less fancy coding, images, multimedia, in theory AltaVista would reward the opposite. Of course, there is no reason to change your overall site strategy to cater to AltaVista. If your site requires a lot of multimedia, the reward will come naturally. If not, it would not be worth it to artificially populate your site with multimedia files to grab AltaVista searches. Chances are, you would have more to lose than gain from such a strategy.
Another perk of AltaVista is automated page translation. If the search engine perceives the site to be in a language other than English (not always accurate) a link will appear beside the URL reading “Translate this page.” AltaVista uses Babelfish to read out a “translated” version of the site. In our experience, the translations are surprisingly accurate, considering that they are being done by a computer program, but usually not enough to convey complex ideas. However, it is almost always better than nothing.