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I also have discounted:
Text on the page, believe it or not.
Title, believe it or not
I am out of ideas on this one, unless they use a different algo for the results they have in there that have L$ tracking codes on them, and the ones that do not (I assume they come from looksmart also, but are not pay per click, ie, grandfathered in, or L$ editor added so as not to have a completely garbage search result.
Anyone have any ideas here?
Like IMM I've tried to discern some patern to the pages ranking above my own, but could find no pattern (other than a single competitor being #1 for each word I checked).
My most basic question would be: Do on page factors (derived from Inktomi's Slurp) play *any* factor in sorting the LS results at MSN?
What role does Zeal play?
Is there a seniority factor? (Sounds ridiculous, but I had read a mention of this)
P.S. Am I totally dense for not knowing this? I feel very comfortable with the Google algorithm (discounting aspects of the most recent update), but know next to nothing about MSN. I would think this would be discussed much more.
OK, here is how Looksmart works. The HTML page title, on page content, alt tags, etc. are TOTALLY irrelevant to Looksmart. The Looksmart database has no clue what is actually on the page. It all depends on how the editors decide to enter a listing in Looksmart. (On the Zeal side, Zealot = editor) The pay Looksmart editors control the pay listings. Pretty much the volunteer Zealots are in total control of the nonpay listings. Makes sense from Looksmart's point of view. Why should Looksmart want its pay editors wasting their time (and company money) on nonpay listings when the Zealots are doing this for free for them? Pretty much the Looksmart editors seem to leave the Zealots to do their own thing. I'd have to figure if some Zealot were really screwing up the Looksmart editors would intervene, but that is not common. Also, there is an internal hierarchy of Zealots. The Zealots who have been around the longest and have the most points pretty much have great influence. Thus, this acts as an internal control at Zeal.
My best guess is it all depends on how the Looksmart editors (this includes the Zealots as they manipulate the same database) decide to list any site in question. I have no reason to think that pay listings rank higher than the nonpay ones. Thus, as a Zealot if I enter a listing such that with whatever algo Looksmart uses my edit comes up better than a pay listing, I'd expect that my edit would come up higher. Basically, the page itself, and what is on it, means zilch at Looksmart. It is what the editors in control of the listings that govern.
Odds are that once a Looksmart editor or Zealot enters a listing into the database, nobody is gonna change it. Thus I'd expect the results to stay fairly constant over months.