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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)
In our niche, I see a lot of pages that have a high number of keywords in MSN Beta. They are generally very long pages. I wouldn't call these pages spam, as they are usefull. It was just that they were stuffing as much information on the home page as possible.
The keyword density was not terribly high, it just that their was a large number of these keywords, due to the page length.
That would be ok if more important websites were showing up on top. That would show that Microsoft search was better than the others.
Unfortunately the sites at the top for my field are not as relevant, some newer and with fewer, less relevant backlinks.
Keep working on it guys - you'll get it right.
Yes, I am distrustful of M$. And even though the new Y (earlier this year) has clearly beat G$ in natural SERP relevance, I am wary of Y too.
But the most evil of all is the one who claims to be your friend yet lies to your face in order to rob you blind.
This last year, G$ natural SERPs were purposely made useless by G$ so that G$ could profit by forcing sites to use AdWords -- even if they are not about a commerce-keyword topic!
G$ betrayed users thinking they were getting relevance. And they betrayed webmasters who promoted G$ as being relevant. G$ turned coat and robbed everyone. That former friend exploited that friendship to became the worst devil itself.
So, despite my disturst of big brothery M$, only a company of M$'s level could give G$ the absolute thrashing with a splintery two-by-four on its raw flesh that G$ absolutely deserves.
For that reason, combined with excellent SERPs in this new M$ search, I am glad to encourage M$ in this beta.
I have been waiting for a search engine to be valuable to users again with natural SERPs, to actually help the searcher find the sites who are genuinely seeking to offer the information they seek.
G$ got successful by doing that years ago, and they earned the trust of us honest webmasters. Then G$ betrayed both user and webmaster by purposely destroying natural SERPs to generate AdWords revenue. I do not fault capitalism, only G$'s utter deceit and betrayal of those of us who helped G$ get to where it became.
And now this new M$ beta comes out and THERE IT IS -- just about all the sites of various sub-niche information in my non-commerce keyword topic all in the top 20 of natural SERPs! Finally, searchers will be able to glean all the information in our keyword topic, based on whichever sub-niche question they have on the topic.
The new Y had gotten it about half-right, while G$ maintains utter uesless SERPs. But this new M$ beta, well,... it is about time someone got it right! Good stuff so far!
Of course it makes more sense (research-wise) that entire web-sites on a keyword should rank higher than less-dedicated, one-time, one-page articles. And this M$ beta seems to have realized that -- at least, in my keyword. I am not talking about spam, I am talking about sites committed to a sub-niche of a keyword, with many pages of information available for the user on the keyword.
Now, my only concern is that once M$ thrashes G$ with such relevance, combined with M$'s additional benefit of direct browser access to the user (longhorn, et al), M$ could later likely later turn and do what G$ did in destroying the natural SERPs too, in order to make even more money for M$.
I am still optimistic in my hope that companies will learn from the G$ debacle of deceipt and betrayal, and thereby understand that it is best to use natural SERPs honestly, and to find better ways to capitalize the search-space for legitimate capitalism. Since M$ has so many opportunities for capitalism, they could (if they chose) decide to stay honest in natural SERPs too.
But, we all know that M$ does not have a history of doing that, unfortunately. So, yes, I am in "beware mode" with M$ on this new beta too.
One can only hope, of course.
In the end, while I am not happy to see it come from M$, I know that the thrashing that G$ absolutely has to have (if G$ is to ever smarten up again) can only come from a player in the market with the financial capability as M$.
The new M$ beta looks good, at this point.
I see the same problems. Affiliate sites of companies getting high rankings including one which is only a redirect to another company. No content of it's own whatsover.
Why do affilate sites get rankings over major sites like Widget's (in about every city), etc.?
This is just more of the same in my opinion. Rankings should be rated on facts like how long you've been in business, are you with the BBB, do you have secure ordering, and that you actually sell the product not just another affiliate site helping the big money payers get better rankings.
Here's something that I find intesting. If you look at the paid results at this time (Overture), not many of them are included in the first page of results.
Makes you think it's a bit of a consipiracy to maximise your advertising dollars.
There's still a lot of things wrong with the indexes and with this beta I don't see where MSN has taken a stand apart from Google and Yahoo. Just more of the same results...so I don't think you are going to woo many away from their favorite search engines.
Only differene I can see is another PPC bill coming.
Just my two cents hoping that it can help a bit
[edited by: rogerd at 5:31 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics, please. [/edit]
1) I have two sites with the same name, one is a .com and the other a .net
The .com is much more popular whilethe .net is the development site. The .com links to the .net
Because the earlier algo relied so heavily on links, and didn't downgrade multiple links from the same domain, the .net was ranking better than the .com
Now it is reversed
2) In addition, I was ranked #1 for a fairly competitive query. With the new algo change the site that ranks the best in all the other search engines is #1 and I am number 2. I think this represents an improvement, as their site should rank above mine at present.
a) Using the sliders seems to kill the ads.
b) This algo doesn't stem and find contenxt as well as Googles, but it looks poised to blow Google's algo out of the water.
c) GoogleGuy suddenly seems more interested in us reverse engineering search engines (of their competitors).
Nobody has mentioned this. Anyone think that an official release of their search engine will coincide with a revamped version of lookout?
That would be some competition... Google must be expecting this.
The MSN Toolbar Suite including MSN Desktop Search is due to launch in December
Microsoft doesn`t care about small guys and small businesses. Please check this:
"MSN also offers keyword-targeting search results in the "Sponsored Sites" section of the search results page at the top and bottom of the page. These are link placements that are limited to three paid clients per keyword and are available to advertisers with a minimum annual spend of $75,000. Please visit the MSN Advertising section for more information."
The page in question:
After dumping Overture, MSN will display its own PPC results and minimum amount is $75,000 per year. Can you imagine? If you are a small business that can`t afford to have an agreement with MSN on spending at least $75,000 a year, then you can not use MSN. Even Overture doesn`t have a restriction like that.
This is Microsoft, guys. Think twice before congratulating msn dude.
I do hate corporate speak 'delight our current customers' Yuk.
I think SE's have to concern themselves with ranking web-pages,(which is difficult enough) not ranking businesses, products etc.
The general public confuses a #1 rank on g as being some stamp of approval or something.
I see (legitimate)directories playing a larger part in
consumer type searches in the future, directly or indirectly.
I am running into a problem with my own site, however. I have something along the lines of an affiliate program that uses urls of the form [example.com...] for visitors sent by the user with the account name Bubba. Visitors receive a redirect to the corresponding page without the referral variable. Both [example.com...] and [example.com...] show up in the MS Search index, with the affiliate URL being the main URL in the listings and the plain URL being listed as an additional page from the same site.
Oh, and I should also note that this has always been a permanent redirect, so there's no good reason to ever show these URLs in search listings.
[edited by: gmiller at 3:26 am (utc) on Nov. 15, 2004]
I suggest that instead of a little red colored MSN Search Beta on the left corner, MSN puts a smaller Search box on a more prominent place and on the toobar and mark it Beta. Otherwise, I don't know how many people will choose to use the beta which is hardly seen on the MSN site.
What are you thoughts?
The more people use it while the buz is there, the better for MSN.
Very major changes today.
The results are much better. The ranking algo changed to a more sensible one which moves sites up and down somewhat, and I'd say about 40% of the useless, elementary school level spam has been a eliminated.
I agree with you there steve, definitely better and I thought it was good prior to this tweak.
If you are a small business that can`t afford to have an agreement with MSN on spending at least $75,000 a year, then you can not use MSN.
Wrong. It just means you can't deal with MSN directly as they're not interested in handling small clients themselves. This option already co exists with Overture and may co exist with whatever dealer or self service program they might use in the future.
It looks like Google has allowed too many sites to gain a monopoly (through keeping new sites down) and the same sites just come up under any search for that topic, virtually in the same order.
A couple of hiccups here and there, but altogether v good competition for Google, im quite excited about its release.
I also noticed that the Beta Search link only appears on MSN.com and not MSN.co.uk, would be interested to see if there is any traffic on it yet,
Keep up the good work guys, i guess MSN search is in the right place at the right time
:) :) :)
Hopefully MSN realizes this and is working on a bot that will do just that.