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MSN uses DMOZ description
MSN using DMOZ description in SERPs
selomelo




msg:1533800
 7:08 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Today, I noticed a strange change in my site's description in MSN SERPs. Until recently, MSN used to properly display the meta description. But today, it displays the exact copy of DMOZ description that is unique and is not a part of my meta description.

Is it only me, or is there anyone having a similar experience?

 

Genie




msg:1533830
 8:51 pm on Jan 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Adding keywords to a description of example.com in a directory has no effect at all on the ranking of example.com in a search engine. The ranking in MSN is determined by its own algorithm.

But just at the time the use of Dmoz descriptions started in MSN, there were also new filters or whatever added (noted on another thread), which have clearly affected the ranking of a number of sites. Let's not get these two issues mixed up.

Miop




msg:1533831
 9:00 pm on Jan 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Msndude seems to be saying that ODP descriptions will sometimes be taken into account with ranking - in my case it means being found for things which we do not actually sell apart from not being found for things we do sell!

selomelo




msg:1533832
 9:59 pm on Jan 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I once submitted an update request to DMOZ for my existing site. The "update listing" form lists reasons for such requests including:

Suggest a new title when the title on the site has changed.
Suggest a new description when the scope of the site has changed.

which presumes that you have the option to modify your title and/or description.

What they did instead? They simply deleted my entry alltogether. Without explaining why! Editors are seem to be unquestionable, absolute rulers.

"Perhaps this is because my suggested title included some keywords," I reasoned. And I checked the respective DMOZ category to see if other sites are treated likewise, i.e., without keywords in title! Yes, all titles (active links) contain only the sitename, except one.

The title (active link) of the one of the sites was (and still is) full of relevant keywords. And to my surprise, there are two entries for the same domain. So, these must belong to the Editor of the category in question!

IMHO, it is quite uncomprehensible why MSN with own means and resources to create and maintain such a directory itself resorts to DMOZ given the fact that it is full of corruption and favors.

Genie




msg:1533833
 10:23 pm on Jan 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

>So, these must belong to the Editor of the category in question!

I wouldn't leap to that conclusion. It might seem a logical assumption, but there are other possibilities. For instance picture editor A listing a lot of sites in that category according to guidelines. [Titles should be site title only (no descriptive keywords added). For a business it should be the name of the business.] Then along comes a new editor B who is not up to speed. B starts listing sites with the titles as submitted. (Loads of webmasters submit with keyword-stuffed titles hoping for exactly this.)

Having said that you would be doing us a favour to report any problems you spot. It might be abuse. It might not. But if it's not following our guidelines, it needs fixing.

[edited by: Genie at 10:32 pm (utc) on Jan. 15, 2006]

Genie




msg:1533834
 10:31 pm on Jan 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

>They simply deleted my entry alltogether.... "Perhaps this is because my suggested title included some keywords.

That might well lead to your update request being deleted. But it shouldn't affect your existing listing. However sometimes an update request draws the attention of an editor to the site, and he/she realises that it no longer meets our guidelines, or needs moving to another category. In the latter case, the site could still be in the system.

selomelo




msg:1533835
 11:20 pm on Jan 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Genie:
I wouldn't leap to that conclusion.

You are right! As an "outsider" without an insight as to the mechanisms of editing at DMOZ, it is easy to draw such a conclusion. And of course, it might not be the case.

Having said that you would be doing us a favour to report any problems you spot. It might be abuse. It might not. But if it's not following our guidelines, it needs fixing.

In fact, I did report the case after posting my message thinking that acting is much more effective than complaining.
(BTW, my site was reincluded a few months afterwards)

Genie




msg:1533836
 1:22 am on Jan 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

>I did report the case after posting my message
Thank you.

followgreg




msg:1533837
 9:44 am on Jan 16, 2006 (gmt 0)


That's a terrible MISTAKE - DMOZ was a nice project now rotten from the inside out by some unethical editor, it can not be trusted at all -
Once again MSN is bringing fresh results and rankings, you sometimes have to wait for 2+ years to get DMOZ listing and sometimes to simply figure out that ...oooops it's been rejected 1 year ago because the editor was confused for some reason and could not find the contact page from the drop down menu apparently or something (one of my colleges experience, taking her words for granted)

Why not using the SBD?

Genie




msg:1533838
 9:09 pm on Jan 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

followgreg - If a site is not listed in Dmoz, then MSN can't show a Dmoz description for it. And this thread is about MSN showing Dmoz descriptions.

followgreg




msg:1533839
 2:09 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Genie >> What's your point again? Not sure you understood that I was talking about MSN using DMOZ which is a mistake IMO so let me put it differently:
I don't think that MSN should fall into the DMOZ trap and use this directory as an authority site, since the MSN algo ALSO features authority sites of course.

The fact that a site is not listed in DMOZ is not a sign of lower quality at all, I just don't think that DMOZ would help MSN somehow

BTW - I really don't understand what you are trying to say with that obvious statement, no one said that if a site is not listed in dmoz it can show the dmoz description and please let me know where my post is not talking about MSN using DMOZ data, please explain...or simply read twice before jumping to conclusions.

I also suggest you read again what MSNdude says about DMOZ descriptions before stating the opposite a few posts aftwards...

Eddie_UK




msg:1533840
 2:30 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think that MSN should fall into the DMOZ trap and use this directory as an authority site

Then tell them [feedback.search.msn.com].

In a world where every trick in the book is exploited and the fight against relevant content versus SEO manipulated relevant content, DMOZ and other similar directories give a far more objective insight to the content of a website. Sure it may be sharp and lack keywords in the anchor text or a dazzling description to make your site stand out but DMOZ is a categorisation directory, not a marketing tool [although search engines treat it as such to some extent].

If you're unhappy about a listing in DMOZ then submit an update request. You can even request to delete if you feel that it poorly reflects your site.

DMOZ isn't a search engine manipulation directory, it's the search engines that allow for that. MSN isn't the only SE that does this, Goolge is guilty too.

As mentioned before, try adding META description and more content to the page as one way or another you're triggering a filter within MSN that is dismissing your content and relying on DMOZ. Not a good sign...

Genie




msg:1533841
 3:47 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

>What's your point again?

Followgreg - I didn't mean to upset you. I just felt that this thread was wandering a bit. The issue of MSN using Dmoz descriptions is only really relevant to webmasters who are listed in Dmoz. Not those who aren't.

As for me contradicting Msndude - I wouldn't dream of it. He's got the inside information. Perhaps I didn't fully understand him. Or perhaps we are talking about different things. Maybe Msndude will elucidate.

My understanding is that (as with Google) the selection of what text appears in SERPs as a summary of a site will depend on various factors, which could include whether there is a meta tag description, how much text there is actually on the page to form a snippet, and the actual search words used.

So for example (just guessing here) if someone searches for 'blue widgets' and that exact phrase appears in the meta description, then the meta description might be shown, but if someone searches on 'widgets blue' and that exact phrase appears in the Dmoz description, then the latter might be shown.

However that is an issue of presentation. Ranking seems to me a completely separate issue. To rank high in the SERPs for either phrase, the site/page would have to satisfy various other criteria.

Can a site really appear high in MSN's SERPs for a phrase or word which is actually completely irrelevant to the site and appears nowhere on it or in anchor text, based solely on that word/phrase appearing in a Dmoz description? If so this is something new. That hasn't happened (to the best of my knowledge) with Google using Dmoz descriptions. Is there solid evidence?

Miop




msg:1533842
 4:42 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

<Then tell them.>

I have - and I've pointed out various spammers, all of whom are still there in the index ranking high.
Still, nothing unusual there!

<In a world where every trick in the book is exploited and the fight against relevant content versus SEO manipulated relevant content, DMOZ and other similar directories give a far more objective insight to the content of a website. Sure it may be sharp and lack keywords in the anchor text or a dazzling description to make your site stand out>

Objective - inaccurate in my case. The editor must have taken a very quick glance at the site to come up with the description - they have described us as selling the two things we had least of on the site, while ignoring the main things that we sold.

< but DMOZ is a categorisation directory, not a marketing tool [although search engines treat it as such to some extent].

If you're unhappy about a listing in DMOZ then submit an update request. You can even request to delete if you feel that it poorly reflects your site. >

Done that several times. I have always been totally ignored. I even applied to become an editor of the category concerned and that was ignored too!

I personally don't care what my Dmoz description says - I only care because it is being used by SE's to supply info.

We already have good description meta tags (no other SE seems to have a problem with them) I will try increasing the word content on the pages, but we are a shop - people don't want to read a bunch of pointless fluff n'guff - they want to buy things, and it was never a problem before.

Genie




msg:1533843
 6:21 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Miop - If your Dmoz description is wildly inaccurate e.g. it says you sell pink fluffy widgets, when you actually sell blue polka-dotted widgets, then it needs to be fixed. No argument.

Miop




msg:1533844
 3:40 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks Genie but it seems irrelevant now.
We are not ranking at all for anything anymore. If I search [mysite.com...] I get 135 pages returned (out of 3800). If I skip to page 5 of the results, it goes up to 2000-ish. We aren't getting a single hit from MSN. I can only hope they are in the middle of some sort of update, but I made a lot of changes to the site to recover from disappearing in Google! (pages much more unique content now). All pages are listed correctly in MSN.
I'll just have to wait and see and be grateful that I didn't get much traffic from them anyway. :/

afterburner




msg:1533845
 3:20 pm on Jan 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

MSN is changing frequently, now if they can just get rid of the redirect sites that dominate there listings! Does anyone know how to report blatant spam to MSN? One of the phrases I track has 4 redirects in the top 10!

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