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Microsoft Launches New Era in MS Search

 10:18 pm on Nov 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Continued From: [webmasterworld.com...]

Wow! Lot’s of excitement. Thanks for all of the feedback. We just want to address a few of the topics that came up.

What is the beta? As WebGuerilla has pointed out the beta is an evolution of our Technology Preview. As you can tell we made major enhancements to the user interface and added a bunch of new features. We still have work to do, however, to get [search.msn.com...] to be able to use our new algorithmic search results that are available at [beta.search.msn.com...] .

How does one get into the results? All of our web results are generated algorithmically so you cannot buy your way into the index. We will not try and teach site optimization to you guys – assume you have that covered :) If you want to submit your URL to us you can do that at [beta.search.msn.com...] .

Also regarding relevance, there has been some speculation on some online forums about MSNBot using Google search result pages to build our index. Let us set the record straight – that is simply not true. We respect robots.txt and as a result we will not crawl Google’s search result pages.

With regards to site availability that is something we are continuously working on. Oshoma Momoh, a General Manager in the MSN Search team, posted a blurb about this on the MSN Search blog -- [blogs.msdn.com...] .

Finally some folks have asked why we don’t just turn this on for all users right now? We love the words of encouragement, however, we have a number of bugs that we need to fix and we need to make sure that we can run the service with great performance and deliver high quality results. We will get there.

Please keep the feedback and constructive criticism coming – we appreciate all of it.

- msndude (msd)



 8:48 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

yeah back up here, results do look a litte worse. database and radar detectors coming up for prescription drug related searches.

whats up with the serps getting worse? lol


 9:46 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Results are back to normal here.

I would say it's great. I also tried results for "prescription drugs" and it all shows great here.


 9:47 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nice job on MSN. Here's some things I found that MSN seems to do better:
1- 'history of keyword1 keyword2' returns the same result as 'keyword1 keyword2 history'. The ordering of this search should have little affect on the results in my opinion, and it doesn't. Google has problems with this, forcing webmasters to do silly stuff like optimize for both options, that should be the search engine's job to handle that, and MSN seems to be able to do it.
2 - no issues with age of domains, all starting from same point, bad for established sites that get automatic boost in google just for being old, good for sites that either should merit highly based on actual content, or just good new sites.
3 - link to 'next' results on top as well as bottom of page, finally.

Things that are obvious weaknesses:
1 - over-reliance on domain names in results.
2 - server keeps stalling or failing, sure Windows can handle the load once it goes live? It's having trouble with low level beta testing already. Beta version is significantly slower to serve 'next' in list of results than google is. Acts like it's on windows. My condolences to the server farm team.
3 - since I haven't actively tried to manipulate MSN yet, I'm not going to say it's easy to manipulate. But it does seem that the potential is there, as steveb points out. But I'm not sure how much of that comes from not relying on the age of the site.

1:50 PM, click 'next', read this: This site is temporarily unavailable, please check back soon.

I've seen that a lot, are you sure this is a beta test and not an alpha?


 9:59 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

emaxhealth, try prescription diet pills. :-) Ack!


 10:10 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

at this stage its very basic....its little wonder that many here like it....steveb put it best about relevance being the wrong focus....this simply means thousands of anchor links all identical works where google trys to get a feel of real links and varied anchor....frontpage network links work where each site links to the other with the exact keyword anchor works...all the basic stuff works where authority sites dont show with their natural links and anchor navigation....

i tried a history of keword1 keyword2 search and got lightweight keyword1 keyword2 sites....i did not get sites with the history of the keywords....

on the plus side the move to user interactive sliders is something ive been waiting for a long time...it looks good too...spidering is good....

[edited by: soapystar at 10:20 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2004]


 10:17 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

One thing I will say is taht the results seem to vary widely when I run a search for teh same 3 word search.

My site can be in any of the top three positions, however the sites that appear around it are rarely the same.

Question is what am I doing right? or why is this happening to others and not me?


 10:26 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

"i tried a history of keword1 keyword2 search and got lightweight keyword1 keyword2 sites....i did not get sites with the history of the keywords...."

I think it depends on the terms, and whether that specific phrase is actually relevant, in the case I tested it is, that's what the page is about. The site in question is pretty relevant for keyword1 keyword2, MSN seemed able to take that into account. That's what I liked about the result, for a page on that topic, MSN wasn't confused by a simple rearranging of the terms.

Craven de Kere

 11:56 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am seeing ad frames being indexed. e.g. I'll have an ad served through Iframes and it's indexing the actual ad.

Craven de Kere

 12:12 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Improvements can be made by using dictionary data more. For example, for obscure single word queries that are actually dictionary words elevate definitional results.


 1:12 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

New Microsoft search engine rivals Google - New Scientist magazine



 8:49 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

its hard to understand those findings....


 11:18 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am being re-directed to wanadoo.es when I go to [beta.search.msn.com...]
I am currently in Ireland.

You know, these auto-redirects to localised versions never work properly.


 12:32 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Geez, thanks alvin123!

Three of the files served up by that URI are infected with the VBS.Bisquit.A virus!

(I should be saying "Thanks, AntiVirus eXpert!")

The article was specifically non-specific in its claims. Nothing new.


 4:59 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like how my site is in top 100,000 according to Alexa and when I try to find my site in the new search I only get the sites that link to mine.

I noticed that too. In fact, my keyword rich high traffic flagship website is no where to be seen in the first several pages of results when searching for the exact 3 words in the beta version, but lots of other sites are there.

Oddly a number of smaller lesser known sites which link to me are listed well, occupying all the top positions. In fact, for some odd reason 100% of the sites in the first several pages I looked at do in fact link to me?

Another oddity is my flagship web-site always ranks #1 in Google so those results from beta are unusual.

Getting even wierder is the fact when searching for those 3 words in my url from the IE6 Browser address bar window it gets redirected of course to search.msn.com and guess what, there is my web-site #-1, just like it is in Google. Very odd!


 8:21 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

yes, ive seen this where the site linking out has the exact searched for phrase as anchor text even though the site istelf is offtopic for an exact match....


 9:51 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

its hard to understand those findings

Hard because its obfuscated by technical language, or hard because you don't want to understand them soapystar?

Its not empirical analysis, its observed analysis, not based on where any particular site is in either SE. New Scientist are a respected authority in the field of science and technology in the UK, and I believe their findings 100%.

The experts gave MSN Search high marks for quick retrieval of data, for the quality of hits, the ability to respond to natural-language questions and possibility of finetuning the search.

This is what I too have found with the new MSN search.



 10:28 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

if they will have the same beta SERPS in there official opening ....forget it....
God bless Google,G will stay on top of user's best SE for many years ahead.-


 10:31 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

its observed analysis

Well I may not be a world renowned scientific expert but as a person involved in the web on a daily basis for a number of years my observation is the results are lousy at present and yes it is hard to understand why someone alien to the Internet would publish such obviously wrong information.


 10:55 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Numerous sites were ravished by G$'s deliberately dishonest SERPs. But those who were not so affected usually like to insult and mock the victims as if whiners.

So now that the M$ beta reveals just how dishonest the G$ SERPs are -- as many white hat G$-stripped sites are now appearing in the M$ beta SERPs where they should be -- does it seem that those mocking accusers are now the real whiners? In the face of actual HONEST SERPs, are they now the ones who are they epitome of what they had arrogantly enjoyed mocking?

Maybe someone should do like they did and arrogantly tell them to "stop whining and just buck up" to go figure out their SEO for better placement in the (currently) HONEST SERPs of the M$ beta. Or, just tell them some other similarly and extremely insulting statement, just like they've often used against the G$- victims.

Sweet justice.

And it could be very sweet justice when this M$ beta -- with its currently HONEST SERPs -- gives G$ the thrashing with a splintery two-by-four on its raw flesh that the betraying G$ so deserves.

<Moderated by Dixon - changed use of language>

[edited by: Receptional at 5:02 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2004]


 11:29 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hard because its obfuscated by technical language, or hard because you don't want to understand them soapystar?

lol! only two choices? i think we can see where you are coming from. But on the offchance that its a serious question then:
Hard to understand the finding since the MSN results are not anywhere near on a par with google for deep content searches imho. Niether does the infrstucture see able to cope with beta traffic levels. Filtering is someway behind. Little concept of networks. Fine its clearly all in beta stage but that begs the question how anyone can find a beta msn search on par with Google.

"New Scientist asked software engineers to test an early version of Microsoft's MSN Search service, which was released last week.

The experts (i.e those employed and chosen by New Scientist and now given a label of experts wich is open to a large amount of subjective reasoning and is a marketing term in this context) gave MSN Search high marks (is any scienitific study ever actually presented as high or low marks?) for quick retrieval of data, for the quality of hits (based on what parameters?), the ability to respond to natural-language questions and possibility of finetuning the search. (possibility? ok you mean a this stage the promise of what it might achieve)

"The differences between the search engines are now so slight, it's going to be hard for any company to differentiate on technical grounds," (i thought it was users who decided on the basis of the quality of sites found, how many every day users use Google because it scores on technical grounds?) Chris Sherman of SearchEngineWatch website in Darien, Connecticut, told New Scientist.
New Scientist asked software engineers to test an early version of Microsoft's MSN Search service, which was released last week. "

and you accept the findings because you believe in New Scientist 100%? Oh, ok then.

btw...i like MSN but to suggest its on a par with Google at this stage is silly.


 12:13 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

In the corner of the internet I frequent, the msn beta doesn't even begin to deliver the quantity of on-topic results that Google does. Neither is perfect, but for real results I'll be going to Google for the time being. And hoping the msn gets their act together in the meantime, because I too am hoping for some real competition.

Digital Worker

 12:18 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think the bottom line here is that when MS is launched it will be good for commercial searches as these are pretty basic. It will take time for them to get all of the deep documents from websites.

However, this is why G$ will get a trashing, because MS will scoop up all that commercial money, which is where the strength of the internet lies.

Google will always be good for finding documents that are specific, but i dont think this necessarily will bring them money.

I use G$ very easily for finding documents for programming etc. , but definetly think that MSN, Yahoo and ASK have always been on par if not better / more relevant when I have wanted to buy something and think this will only increase in the future.


 1:01 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

soapystar, my tongue is lodged firmly in my cheek ;)

New scientist software engineers commenting with observed, rather than empirical analysis (I'm sure theres an oxymoron waiting to spring out there!)

I believe that the 'experts' believe that msn is on a par with google, I even believe that my sites do better in msn than google (empirically), however, I have enormous contradictions in my mind when I wish success to msn (my primary email server is @ f**********t).

Multiman, a monolithic approach to the google 'rape' as you term it, will do you no good, yes, I had many sites kicked into obscurity, yes, my income has reduced by a magnitude of 10. I understand your frustration, but frustration breeds frustration.

Its Friday POETS

this post has been optimised for the words frustration and empirical ;)


 1:32 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

this post has been optimised for the words frustration and empirical

hum....i dont see any inbound links with that anchor....who are you optimising for?


 1:37 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

you won't see the IBL's until Feb 2005 ;)


 5:40 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

What is IBL?


 6:03 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wondered that too, I wonder if the mean inbound links?


 6:43 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

IBL = Inbound Links.


 6:04 pm on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

dear New Scientist

I decided to test your experts opinion beta msn..

first search i tried was

"shakespeares first ever play"

?...did your experts try that one?


 7:13 pm on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

hmmmm...you might want to phrase it a bit more correctly

shakespeares first ever play does produce some funky results.
shakespeares first play produces much better results.


 8:26 pm on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

no, i dont want to phrase it better, i want to use it as my kids would when using it for homework. Even with that phrasing and a basic search like that should produce useable results at one and two. It was the first search i did to test the New Scientists experts exertion that this is now worthy of top marks. I didnt do a second test.


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