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Old 02-16-2006   #1
asorensen
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MSN Rolls out new search interface

MSN has rolled out a new search interface and it looks like a change again in their algorithm. I don't know the logic behind their rankings, they've really been all over the place. How can I get any sense for optimizing on MSN when the rankings change dramatically almost daily?
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Old 02-16-2006   #2
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While MSN has been a little volatile lately, for the past year or so they have been the SE where I've seen the most consistency with maintaining my results. From what I've tracked, here is where I focus my efforts to maintain and improve rankings:
1. Title tags - MSN is bigger on titles than any other SE imho. The order of your keyword phrases matters.
2. Content - FYI: They are pretty swift to drop your rankings for dup. content
3. Affiliate Links - MSN seems to be going the way of DMOZ regarding affiliate sites. If they see too many OBAL's it will definitely hold you back a bit. For instance, I have an affiliate site that from the get go was doing very well in MSN right from the get-go. I noticed about a week into it that my affiliate tracking links were wrong. Once I fixed the links, my site was not only dropped from the first page, but out of their index altogether. (I can show an example for those that PM me) I'm not saying you can't get ranked with them if you have an affiliate site, as I have many others that are doing alright, but it seems to me they are tinkering with something resembling an affiliate site penalty. Again, just my opinion from my own experience.
4. Meta Data - Unlike the other "majors", MSN seems to still be placing some importance on this. Meta Description tends to attract the most attention on my sites.

I hope that helped a bit. The main thing for MSN (and most other SE's) is to have your site appear as "natural" or "non-optimized" as possible - of course that is the key to good SEO anyway, imo.

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Old 02-16-2006   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attak
While MSN has been a little volatile lately, for the past year or so they have been the SE where I've seen the most consistency with maintaining my results. From what I've tracked, here is where I focus my efforts to maintain and improve rankings:
1. Title tags - MSN is bigger on titles than any other SE imho. The order of your keyword phrases matters.
2. Content - FYI: They are pretty swift to drop your rankings for dup. content
3. Affiliate Links - MSN seems to be going the way of DMOZ regarding affiliate sites. If they see too many OBAL's it will definitely hold you back a bit. For instance, I have an affiliate site that from the get go was doing very well in MSN right from the get-go. I noticed about a week into it that my affiliate tracking links were wrong. Once I fixed the links, my site was not only dropped from the first page, but out of their index altogether. (I can show an example for those that PM me) I'm not saying you can't get ranked with them if you have an affiliate site, as I have many others that are doing alright, but it seems to me they are tinkering with something resembling an affiliate site penalty. Again, just my opinion from my own experience.
4. Meta Data - Unlike the other "majors", MSN seems to still be placing some importance on this. Meta Description tends to attract the most attention on my sites.

I hope that helped a bit. The main thing for MSN (and most other SE's) is to have your site appear as "natural" or "non-optimized" as possible - of course that is the key to good SEO anyway, imo.

Attak
I will have to play with the descriptions and see what happens... that's a good tip if it helps.... thanks
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Old 02-16-2006   #4
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They aslo rolled out a new index which quite possibly could be the worst set of results ever released by a major SE.

Incredibly bad.
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Old 02-16-2006   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmac
They aslo rolled out a new index which quite possibly could be the worst set of results ever released by a major SE.

Incredibly bad.
I have to agree the listings suck... and not only for my industry
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Old 02-16-2006   #6
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Agreed - Maybe they'll work it out, maybe they won't. The way I look at though, is that if an SE has bad listings but you are able to get ranked (positions 1-3) for whatever terms you are targeting, your conversion rates should go through the roof if in fact you do belong there.

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Old 02-17-2006   #7
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New MSN Search???

Good Day All,

Like many, I have noticed the changes not only to MSN's look but also what appears to be their new ranking system/algo..

With that said, does anyone have any concrete evidence to support what actually changes they have implemented into their engine?

Although initially the results might not be great, this has to be one of the most drastic changes to a search engine I have seen in years..

Any articles, releases anything stating the actual changes MSN has made would be much appreciated.

Cheers

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Old 02-17-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
I have to agree the listings suck... and not only for my industry
I can't agree. We're looking fantastic in MSN today.
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Old 02-17-2006   #9
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doing well also

I am in the real estate business and we are ranking fairly similiarly as we are on Google and in a number of cases much higher.

I have also seen MSN using our DMOZ description in their search results.

I use MSN more than Yahoo but Google is still top dog.
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Old 02-17-2006   #10
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I can't agree. We're looking fantastic in MSN today.
Yeah everyone loves a listing that improves their own spots....
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Old 02-17-2006   #11
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I agree that the new MSN SERPs are terrible. From what I've seen so far, it appears as though MSN is placing less weight on actual on-page content and more weight on title tags, keywords in the domain name, and anchor text of IBLs.

Is anyone else seeing the same? Different?
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Old 02-17-2006   #12
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Just finished reports on 4 of our sites - MSN was the only one, week on week, to show dramatic swings in positions. Phrases we have typically ranked very well for for the last 6 months plus, we suddenly drop 57 places.

Been noticing this type of thing more frequently with MSN - the phrases usually rebound, but it's a PITA to "interpret" the data on guessing where it "might" be next week...

Ah well, so goes SEO, I suppose.

Though I, too, will be playing with some descriptions to see what the results might yield for us.
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Old 02-18-2006   #13
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Now it looks to me as though the results are resembling the SERPs that were in place before this update began...

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Old 02-18-2006   #14
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The ones for my industry were sorted a little but are still a mess.
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Old 02-19-2006   #15
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I guess I must be lucky, I've only noticed slight changes across many different sites.
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Old 02-20-2006   #16
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Several of my sites are ranking higher as a result of the new algorithm. Naturally, I'm in favor of the new algorithm. I've read several complaints about msn not giving content enough weight, all of my sites, which are ranking high for some very competitive keywords, are filled with unique, well written content. However, I do notice that msn is finding and displaying more inbound links than either yahoo and google is currently reporting. In addition, I find my ranking for various keywords to be almost identical with google.
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Old 02-20-2006   #17
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The funny part is the PPC interface is also changing and has a bunch of best-of-breed widgets to offer users.... apply that to the organic results and they will be in better position to do well against Google.
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Old 02-20-2006   #18
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myebux is right...msn is showing more inbound links than yahoo for all the sites I checked....waaaay more. I'm actually wondering if it may be a glitch.
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Old 02-21-2006   #19
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2. Content - FYI: They are pretty swift to drop your rankings for dup. content
I don't see this. One of our sites has a lot of duplicate content. For valid reasons. IE, multiple states. This site is not intended to do well in SE, as it is one that is sent directly to the people who we want visiting it.

Yet despite the dup content, it comes up all over the place on MSN. This duplicated content has been up for several months.
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Old 02-21-2006   #20
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Obviously what I've stated is solely based on my experiences, but I should clarify what I meant. I simply meant the rankings will drop once they find you out, not get removed from the index entirely. In any case, a few questions/statements regarding your site come to mind while reading your post.
1. What level of competition would you truly think best describes the one(s) you are in
2. Is content that is duped within the same site, or did you dupe the content from a different site altogether (duped from other sites is where I've seen the effect take place)
3. If it is in fact duped from a different site altogether, how is their SE exposure overall
4. Maybe it simply hasn't been caught yet

It sounds like for whatever reason your site hasn't been effected yet, and that's good, but if I were in your shoes I'd be looking for a way to "un-dupe" the content as soon as possible if the SE's mean anything to your long term goals.

Just my opinion of course

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