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New MSN Algo Having Problems
Fish_Texas




msg:3039402
 12:25 am on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Like many, 80% of my pages went from top 10 on MSN to page 3.
Like many I scrambled to see WHAT I WAS DOING WRONG.

Until I stopped looking for my pages and really started looking at the results I was getting for my keywords...NOT EVEN CLOSE. Little to No relevance.
Looking for blue widgets in North Shores Florida...getting used car lots in North Chicago, or pet grooming in North Carolina.

So, if you've lost pages or placement...relax (it's probably not your site) and wait for the bugs to get worked out.

Surely MSN is working on this...

If you are experiencing the same or have comments, please post.
I'd like to know it's not just me... :-) Fish

 

twebdonny




msg:3039447
 1:16 am on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's not just you, we have been MIA since Saturday
and now we aren't even being spidered anymore.

Hopefully, something is resolved sooner than later
because the loss of traffic is devestating.

Fish_Texas




msg:3039480
 2:02 am on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Mine started downhill Saturday also...How are your search results for your keywords? Used Car Lots?

Seriously, my sales have dropped off the map, but hopefully it won't last long...MSN are good folks and I believe they are working hard to perfect their new baby.
MSN has a great future for us all (not as fickle as G & Y!). We just have to be patient.
Perhaps MSN Dude can give us a word of encouragemant...while we wait.
How about it MSN Dude?

RichTC




msg:3039721
 9:57 am on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

As i see it looks like the msn search system "learns from itself"? sounds crazy but thats what its doing. It makes constant errors over what it thinks is spam or junk and duplicates / expands on going further down the wrong path, So over time the search gets worse and worse.

I cant say as i have done ANY search in msn and had results that are anything like relevent. In fact the results were far better at the launch of the search than they are now!

Bottom line however is that they are still working on it - its effectively still a beta search without the beta tag on it, so you just need to give them time to work it out. They may have to just scrap what they have produced so far and start again.

The serps are so poor they are a waste of time unless you are looking for "Blue Widgets" and forgot about www.bluewidgets.com. if you can add .com to the end of your search string the site will be listed but if the sites an authority about "blue widgets" and called something different not containing the keywords like "sunshine site" then it wont be listed, well not for "blue widgets" anyway - msn search can not currently associate a site with its content correctly unless its in the domain name.

Also, once they get the search bot deep indexing all sites (which they still cant do!) and start collecting more data they may then be able to deliver half relevent serps but until then they are still playing at it.

[edited by: RichTC at 9:59 am (utc) on Aug. 9, 2006]

Fish_Texas




msg:3039871
 1:19 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Rich
I believe you are right on... Fish

twebdonny




msg:3039933
 2:23 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

MSNDude is away for the week at SES so until
he returns, it's all just speculation.

msndude




msg:3040075
 4:00 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, but I *am* reading the threads -- I just don't have access to the tools I'd use to test queries or URLs.

There was indeed a software update on Thursday night last week, aimed at reducing spam, and given the timing and the symptoms you guys report, I'm betting that's the cause of your troubles. Any change we make has some negative impact, unfortunately, but(compared to updates in the past) the negative feedback from this one has been very, very mild, so it's not likely we'd consider undoing it.

I'm not going to tell you how to SEO your sites, but I'll offer some advice that might help with this particular update, since I think this is good advice in general.

1) Make your page(s) more "user-friendly." Think hard about whether it looks like something a customer would find easy to use.
2) Note that sometimes Less is More.

Remember that webmasters are our partners, not our customers. We expect our partners to have the same concern for pleasing the customer that we do. That should help you understand what we're trying to accomplish in the long term, and if you optimize for that, you won't go wrong.

asiaseo




msg:3040131
 4:40 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

msndude, any news about South East Asia based websites ( Singapore, Malaysia etc ) not doing well at all on the main .com?
Thanks

twebdonny




msg:3040132
 4:41 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hope you are enjoying the conference MSNDude. Sure wish we could figure out what keeps kicking our site out each time though, so we could resolve it once and for all. We really do like to please our customers.

Fish_Texas




msg:3040250
 6:16 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)
Thanks MSNDude.
katheesue




msg:3040419
 8:20 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Based on previous conversations I take this

>1) Make your page(s) more "user-friendly."
>2) Note that sometimes Less is More.

to mean something like:

1) Do not provide a complete menu for navigation.
2) Do not expose your visitors (or the search engine robot) to your categories and ontology.

Is that getting close?

msndude




msg:3040475
 9:27 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

I note that various speakers at SES keep making the same point -- design your site for users; I'm not the only one with that point of view.

Put differently, don't make your site look like a spam site. I'm not sure why so many people seem to think the "spam look" is in this year (maybe it's a fashion statement -- like torn jeans or something) but it's a fact that it can hurt you.

proboscis




msg:3040558
 10:39 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hello,

My site is over 7 years old, has a natural yahoo directory listing (not paid), is listed several times in dmoz, is referenced by wikipedia, is fully crawlable, and the msn link: command shows over 11,500 back links. My site is not fully indexed by msn and currently does not show up for any msn searches except url searches and the exact title in quotes. The site: command shows about 70 pages out of 1000.

I don't think I have the "spam look" but what exactly is the spam look anyway...what are some things that give a spam look that someone like me may not be aware of.

Jimville




msg:3040682
 1:29 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yeah, just exactly what is the "spam look"? Does Google have a different "spam look" than MSN?

Fish_Texas




msg:3040699
 1:52 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Me too...I'd like to know what is Spam Looking.
I use white hat opt....BUT...I can't avoid something if I don't know what it is...
Thanks in advance MSNDude.

BillyS




msg:3040719
 2:11 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think of spam this way - "if you have to ask what spam is, then you're probably doing it."

proboscis




msg:3040779
 3:17 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

ha ha BillyS :) I suppose if you have to ask you could be doing it - but maybe unintentionally. I am not 100% technical and there are some things that I don't understand so I am trying to learn.

Like the other day I learned not to store documents in folders on your server that you don't link to because a search engine might think they are "doorway pages", stuff like that...but I suppose msn can't give us a clue anyway because then the real spammers will use it against them and yadda yadda yadda...

Jimville




msg:3040793
 3:31 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've been reading these forums for about 4 years. I'm not a high tech guy, but I do have a website. Thanks to the technical folks who post on the forums, I've learned a lot about SEO. I've read a lot about spam, but I've never seen the term, "spam look". To me that implies a format, but, I don't know. So, to clarify, my question is not, "what is spam?". My question is what is the "spam look"? (I find BillyS's question insulting)

msndude




msg:3040823
 4:35 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Most people I talk to are actually overconfident of their ability to identify spam on sight. At SES today I sat at lunch with a group of people who were interested in "organic SEO," and there was quite a discussion on this topic. There I had to point out to people that even a human expert can be fooled if he/she only looks at the index page of a site. Just because a site has a "spam look," doesn't guarantee that it's spam, even though that's the way to bet.

What I'd like to hear, though, is how many people really don't know what's meant by this. Conversely, I'd like to hear people speak up who agree that you can generally spot a spam page with at least fair accuracy purely from visual inspection.

proboscis




msg:3040867
 5:26 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just because a site has a "spam look," doesn't guarantee that it's spam.

And vice versa. Alot of the time you can tell by just looking but other times you can't. Like how do you know if a site just stole all of its content from some other site or if it is on a mini network.

I just found a site like that the other day. It had a pr 5 but it was one of several identical sites that were part of a network of hundreds of sites all owned by the same person (some, maybe all, of them with stolen content) and all interlinking. I think that is spam but I would never have known without doing some digging. Only reason I found out was that he stole some of my content :)

cabbie




msg:3040868
 5:28 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>...I'd like to hear people speak up who agree that you can generally spot a spam page with at least fair accuracy purely from visual inspection. <<<

I have 99% accuracy spotting spam by the url in the adult serps.No need to look at the pages.

katheesue




msg:3040900
 6:46 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have absolutely no idea what you mean by a "spam look."

katheesue




msg:3040901
 6:47 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

However, I can spot a spam page by looking at it.

Marcia




msg:3041024
 10:29 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just because a site has a "spam look," doesn't guarantee that it's spam, even though that's the way to bet.

Conversely, just because a site doesn't look ike spam doesn't guarantee that it isn't. ;)

Incidentally, even though there are IR purists who swear that KWD is a complete non-issue, as a point of interest I ran some homepages through the WebmasterWorld Keyword Density Checker (the only one I've used for almost 6 years), and the pages of my own that dropped down some have a considerably higher KWD than my pages that stayed stable where they've been.

I only wish that MSN used conversion factors in scoring, because my personal pages that have moved down are ones that convert like crazy for the MSN demographic and have a 15-20% bookmark rate - and I consider that a very rational metric for what's quality from the users' viewpoint.

Marcia




msg:3041026
 10:32 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

However, I can spot a spam page by looking at it.

Aha, but you can't spot link spam by looking at a page!

RichTC




msg:3041032
 10:41 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Most people I talk to are actually overconfident of their ability to identify spam on sight"

Is that so? - Here is the problem at msn.

Whilst, you can establish a site is spammy from visiting the site and reviewing it and maybe you can pick up spam from urls alone that read sub-sub-sub-sub-domain etc etc i dont buy the fact that your algo can pick up spam from automation and believe that is why so many sites are missing from your index.

Are you intending to hand edit every site? - If not, its a pointless comment imo - The real spamming networks are ahead of the game imo.

Earlier on in previous threads we discussed "Spam" V "Junk" - Your search should not be just about Spam, dont get so hung up on it - imo their is probably five times as much "junk" on the internet as their is "Spam" this should have at least equal priority.

Regarding the "less is more" point - I find it hard to believe what im reading. If a site is an authority on a subject or it is a site in a large topic area, it is going to have a lot of content. It is going to have a lot of pages and its likely to have more than one site map. Meanwhile a junk site might be a few pages, sub 100 pages - what do msn do? reward the junk and bash the authority, less is more after all!

Also, it looks to me that in view of a lack of any comment regarding deep indexing, that simply msn bot cant cut it and because you cant get the data you need you are maintaining this push for top skimming a site, less is more - another daft idea.

The real issue as i see it now is "how long will it take for the penny to drop at msn that this method of producing quailty serps is a lost cause?". When this day arrives imo you will either scrap the whole search concept you have established so far and a start a new algo from fresh that has been thought out properly - or most likely msn will cut their losses on the existing search and buy the likes of Yahoo who have a least a half decent search facility already established.

This thread has been educational, i have to say - im almost speachless over some of the comments made - truely amazing!

Liane




msg:3041059
 11:23 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I believe this is another step in the right direction for MSN! For years, (well since I became a webmaster) ... I have completely ignored MSN because the quality of their search results were so poor (in my opinion) that it wasn't worth bothering with them.

I refused to lower my standards and optimize for MSN because it would have destroyed the "quality" of traffic I receive from Google.

With this latest round of spam fighting, I think MSN are finally on target and are quickly gaining on Google in the arena of quality.

I know what the spam "look" is and quite frankly, its about time the search engines targeted them. You all know the look too!

  • Autogenerated pages that look remarkably like blogger pages.
  • Pages which are crammed full of adsense ads, a hundred other links and very little content.
  • Pages with a dozen nested tables touting various products and screaming "buy now!"

    Good job MSN Dude ... Keep it up! But these are the easy targets. You still have a lot more culling to do of the more insidious forms of spam. ;)

    <added>Oh yeah - let's not forget Wikipedia pages

    [edited by: Liane at 11:30 am (utc) on Aug. 10, 2006]

  • Marcia




    msg:3041091
     11:58 am on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

    I'm seeing pages that have dropped down quite a bit that are not in the least bit "spammy." I'm also seeing pages that have moved up, and while the "pages" may not look spammy, let's remember that link spam does not show on the page - just in the backlinks, and sometimes checking those out "by hand" when there are a ton of them can be quite enlightening.

    [edited by: Marcia at 12:13 pm (utc) on Aug. 10, 2006]

    Liane




    msg:3041099
     12:05 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

    I'm seeing pages that have dropped down quite a bit that are not in the least bit "spammy."

    Yeah ... me too. Collateral damage I suppose. Some of my pages fell prey to this as well, but as MSN Dude said:

    Any change we make has some negative impact, unfortunately, but(compared to updates in the past) the negative feedback from this one has been very, very mild, so it's not likely we'd consider undoing it.

    We just have to wait and hope they get it right at some point. But I think they are definitely headed in the right direction!

    Marcia




    msg:3041104
     12:14 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Unfortunately, I'm seeing a little bit of "whoseover buys and/or chases after the most links wins" creeping in. That is not very encouraging for people who prefer not to become "linkwhores", but would really rather focus on the user experience and communicate with users in their own language.

    [edited by: Marcia at 12:17 pm (utc) on Aug. 10, 2006]

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