While MSN is still beta-testing its search engine, which relies upon results from Overture and Yahoo, it released a preview of its engine on July 1, 2004. However, MSN has already indexed over 1 billion pages.
MSN has avoided the paid-inclusion method altogether, dropping URLs submitted solely through Overture's Site Match Service from its search result listings. Neither does MSN include results from Looksmart in its directory listings. While MSN does have sponsored links, it restricts those listing to designated areas in the results pages.
Although the results provided by MSN searches do not vary considerably from Yahoo, Microsoft has been able to employ its considerable market weight in operating systems to spread the word of its upcoming search engine in advance. MSN.com is the default in most IE (also Microsoft) browsers included in Windows 2000 operating system.
Until MSN releases its own search engine in full, the particular optimization techniques that are best suited to its results will be impossible to know. It is best to simply follow the usual good rules of optimized site design to ensure your site will rank highly.