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MSN referrals

Need some help to understand log entries

5:02 pm on Feb 1, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Inktomi has never played a big role in my life - until today, when I found various pages from MSN occupying almost half of the first page of my december statistical summary. (I don't read logs so much, that's why I haven't found out until now. Don't tell the spider people - they'll despise me)

The whole thing is all about a subdirectory of ours with about 800 pages in it. For a fairly common keyword this directory places as #3 on the main search reply page, which in this case is the same as #1 among the Web directory entries, i.e. directly after "Featured sites". If people click the first choice under "Popular search topics" the result will be the same. If they click "Top 10 most popular sites for 'keyword' " it will top the list from Direct Hit with 5 out of 5 possible points.

The MSN-related entries in my statistical summary read as follows:

From:/To:/No of pages:
search.msn.com/results.asp /directory_name/ 2124 (trailing slash in directory name)
search.msn.com/spbasic.htm /directory_name 1316 (no trailing slash)
search.msn.com/results.asp /directory_name 1124 (no trailing slash)
search.msn.com/spbasic.htm /directory_name 753(no trailing slash)
auto.search.msn.com/results.asp /directory_name/ 628 (trailing slash)
auto.search.msn.com/results.asp /directory_name 342 (no trailing slash)
msn.directhit.com/fcgi-bin/DirectHitMSN.fcg /directory_name 90 (trailing slash)
msn.directhit.com/fcgi-bin/DirectHitMSN.fcg /directory_name/ 71 (no trailing slash)

Further down the list, there is much more like this, but from Canada and other countries.

1. What is the difference between the SERPs results.asp and spbasic.htm?
2. Why do they sometimes have the link with trailing slash and sometimes without?
3. Is auto.search.msn the function whereby a keyword entered into the address field of IE5 converts to an automatic MSN-search?
4. msn.directhit.com etc would be the ones who clicked "Top 10 most popular..." and then went for the #1 choice, right?

8:21 pm on Feb 1, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I can help you on questions #3, #4:
Auto search is from the address bar, the default setting is MSN but this can be changed.
MSN Directhit, this one I haven't seen since they changed to their new format about 2 months ago. On the old format if you did a mouse over you would see msn.directhit.com, sometimes. This feature was turned off and on for good reasons.
It seems they are still using DH but doing a better job of hiding it.
3:24 am on Feb 2, 2001 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 21, 1999
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1- It is the difference between the search bars in ie 4-5, MSN IE 5, WebTV (yes web tv), that goes direct to msn, vs docked search "bar" that uses WSH in ie5). I'm not sure which referral goes with which action. They are always split about 70-30 here.
2- That one I'm not sure about. (bet lm knows)

btw, that is a great site you've built there. I'd put what you've done there up with just about anything anyone here has built. About time some one at Ink woke up to it.

If you've not seen Jan's site - take some time an look around. It is an education on how to do a regional portal site right.

2:30 pm on Feb 2, 2001 (gmt 0)

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>that is a great site you've built there

To be perfectly honest, I have done only 400+ pages myself. We purchased the 800+ "Smorgasbord" pages in English from a big corporation liquidating a division. I have spruced it up a bit, added site search, but optimized only a few pages. And yet, we have enormous traffic from search engines. (Google managed to squeeze in between lines 1 and 2 above and almost all referrals on page 1 of the statistics come from SE:s)

There is a really interesting lesson here, but perhaps I should post that somewhere else?

Thing is: That site was originally built in 1995, when there were no Java enabled browsers, most of them couldn't even render a table and SEO simply did not exist. The programmers set TITLE to the contents of the header and didn't bother with description or meta keywords. So the engines grab the header and the first two lines of text. Which - as we all know today - pays off most everywhere. "One size fits all SEO" by default! And of course everything is neatly tied together with conventional links running up and down and sideways through the site.

Trafficwise, the site outclasses all the million dollar official sites on the same topic. When I was recently hired as search engine advisor for one of these government agencies - the dying victim of highly advanced but lethal site design and programming practises - the CEO asked me to suggest a goal for the operation they were about to embark upon. My suggestion for twice our traffic in two years was accepted with a smile. (I guess he realized that if I fail to achieve results through normal optimization, I'll have to strangle our own site.)


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