Yahoo is consistently the number one hit site on the web. Over 200,000 other sites on the web link to Yahoo. Currently Yahoo's search results are provided by the Google engine, though there is rumors that this may someday change. As far as content sites go, Yahoo has a hugh amount of site on the web, from personals to a movie database, current news as well as most emailed news content, a very useful resource to see what news items are generating the most interest. There is also most emailed news photos. Yahoo offers free email, and you get the most for free from Yahoo. There are other things at Yahoo that are very beneficial, which you will have to find on your own but some include Yahoo Maps, which I find is the best way to find locations in Canada, Yahoo Briefcase, which permits you to upload 30 mb of files for your friends and relatives to download for free and Yahoo Photos where you can upload and share images with the internet.
There are two ways of getting onto the Yahoo search engine. One is to do well at Google searches by applying the PageRank algorthym to your sites or by using the Overture system. See Overture below for more information.
MSN is currently the number 2 hit site on the web. Content is much like Yahoo except it is supplied by Microsoft. One of the nice things about MSN is that the site is able to tell if you are on a Broadband internet connection or not and if you are, it changes it's content to suite the speed of your modem, serving you more higher bandwidth items including multimeda and sound enriched pages. Like Yahoo, MSN has free email, the famous Hotmail, like Yahoo, MSN has Movies, Maps etc. The big difference is that MSN does not get it's search content from anywhere else, it spiders the web on it's won and has it's own search content, a refreshing change from the other big two, Yahoo and Google.
Google is the number three most hit site on the web and the number one most used search engine. Much more than a search engine, Google has spawned a whole culture unto it's self. Googlism have been coined. Also Google Stalking, where you use Google to keep tabs on old flames or find old friends you haven't heard from in a while. Can be lots of fun to stalk people on Google :-).
Google also has many useful features. You can also look for the links that a site has by adding link: then the web site address. Another useful feature is the search within results feature where you can search for "Apples", then search within those results for "fresh juice manufacturers" and get the exact results you were looking for.
Google also has the Advanced Search page which allows for a very powerful search definition method. Google also supports Advanced Operators like link: which are query words with special meaning to Google. The most useful of the operators is the site: operator. By adding site: to your search you can have Google check a whole domain for information you are looking for. Here is an example 2@s^hS8jS.
Ever look at your internet statistics and wonder why 80% of your US hits are coming from some little town in Virginia called Vienna? Well that is the site of the AOL routers that's why. AOL has the lion's share of dial-up customers in the US. Their "keyword" search allows people to coin special words to easily find content on the web using the AOL software which is rumored to block some content as well.
You can search at AOL using this page. Content is supplied by Google.