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Re: start.com not working in Opera. Thank you for the feedback. I will pass this along to the team.
With regards to spam we are constantly working on this and we have improved and will continue to. Please send along any private relevance feedback via stickymail.
Also, there are other folks that seem to say MSN Search is no good. That may be fair feedback, however, would love to get some ideas on where we need to improve most -- is it spam, relevance or another area altogether?
A number of folks have said that Google drives 3 times as much traffic as MSN
Have you done a proper survey across a reasonable number of sites? You might be hearing what you want to hear.
For my sites, with a variety of audiences, MSN referrers vary from 0.2% and 1.2% of the Google referrers (on two sites with millions of pages), to 6% on several medium size sites, to a maximum of 13% on a site with few pages.
Just to clarify that first figure, it's 4,007 referrers from Google yesterday, 9 from MSN. Way less than a third...
It does seem to be inversely proportional to the percentage of the site indexed, so if you could keep most of the pages you crawl in your index I'd expect your share to rise.
I do realise driving traffic to sites is not the objective, but that is a visible side effect of being successful at finding what the searcher is looking for.
Is that an algorithmic issue (you're not ranking) or a volume issue (same ranks and no visitors)?
Mostly an indexing issue, affecting the ranking for minor keywords. On Google several million pages from the sites are indexed, so the sites are (correctly) found for tens of thousands of obscure terms, tens of thousands of entry pages.
MSN also crawls many thousands of pages a day, but the number of pages indexed (after a year) is a few thousand (on one site) to a few hundred (on another site). Which is why the MSN traffic proportion is higher for small sites where they are more likely to have indexed most of the pages.
It may also be related to volume on MSN, as one site is #1 for the main keywords on MSN and #20 on Google, yet MSN sends almost no traffic.
AGAIN BIG THUMBS UP TO MSN!
My point is that my site is packed full of relevant travel information which is useful to the user but still has suffered a pentaly. I am not angry but i do intend to re jig my site to be succesful on msn i would appericate your feedback as to there is an oppurtunity for me to be succesful on msn or not.
secondly my site is a .com but my users are based in the uk will this cause a problem in respect to my results showing on msn.com and msn.co.uk
Your advice on this matter would be invalubale as my funds will only allow me to operate for a number of months and making the wrong decision could have a distarous effect on my business and family.
i look foward to hearing your advice and will of course take it on board.
Just to clarify that first figure, it's 4,007 referrers from Google yesterday, 9 from MSN. Way less than a third...
For a specific site, as msndude said, there are always issues of the demographics of the search engines userbase.
As well as msn having 1/3 of Google's traffic, probably the other statistic which affects msn referrals is where users click.
A survey published in April last year (with about 1600 participants) showed that around 72% of the surveyed Google users clicked on the algorithmic results rather than the paid. But only 29% of msn users click on the algorithmic results - the majority hit the paid.
So by the time you factor in the demographics of the msn search engine/ lower traffic/ more likely to click on the paid adverts - the amount of traffic your specific site will get from msn from an algorithmic only campaign could be understandably low.
And the converse could also apply - e.g. if your strategy was to just rely on e.g. AdWords only in Google.
Historically (pre 2002) - didn't we all do the Looksmart thing for the msn traffic and conversions?
The traffic & conversions are there - you just need to understand that not all search engines appeal to the same users, there are paid and algorithmic options, and you can't target all customers just one way.
Why is MSN more visited than Google, their MSN bot hits our site much more than Google, they update their cache results faster than Google but we get hardly any visitor from MSN, despite ranking in top 10 results on very big keywords.
I am really amazed at the progress MSN has made in the past 6 months. You guys have finally added stock quotes search from fieldbox, definition search, the engine looks alot smarter than it was a year ago, at this speed you guys will topple Google for sure. I think you just need to whack that search bar in every Windows desktop in the next release and you will take down G*. :)
The traffic conversion is the main problem - I am doing very well on MSN, especially with my new sites being on the first page near the top, but I'm getting very little traffic compared to Google where the sites typically feature on pages two or three.
Surely MSN gets oodles of traffic, so what can MSN do to improve this?
BTW, I'd like to also add that I tried to uninstall the Google toolbar, only to re-install it a week later, the MSN toolbar lacks a few important features such as "open search in new windows".. or was this it Y! bar.. hmm
Google can't find EITHER of these business names! It bugs me to no end, because customers can't find me on Google. However if I add one more obscure word to each company name like “ABC Widgets Redones” and “XYZ Service Fastfuzzy”, I show up on Google at number one. So what is that all about? Did I offend some Google god or what?
Maybe it’s a little off topic for MSN Dude. Vent over now.
Also, msnbot crawls my site every day, taking loads of bandwidth, yet not a single one of my internal pages rank for anything. The site is 4 years old, and the homepage does well. Would be nice to see some of the internal pages that the msnbot is spidering appear in the serps occasionally.
This may not be the norm but widescreen's are becoming more common. Actually, even when I change the browser window it looks bad.
You need to lay it all out better. I like what I see as far as content though. Search results are not great but you have my site where it should be so I won't complain too much.
What I would do is what you are likely already doing; The synchronize and stabilize method of implementation, it worked for you with the development of IE.
We will see big things I'm sure.
MSN is noticeably one notch above the others in terms of referred visitors finding our content relevant enough to request additional info about it.
As for the search results:
They seem great for the most part with a few set backs. I love how new sites/pages are listed quickly, however larger sites seem to have a problem with getting their pages listed.
As well, I don't know how others feel, but I think search results from other search engines should not be included within the MSN results. If a user wanted to use Ask Jeeves to find what they are looking for, they would have went there in the first place.
There is also some problems with certain sites getting much more weight than what they should have, whereas other sites who should be having more weight don't. News papers seem to have a problem with this -- many times I have searched and a news article from some paper I never heard of pops up that doesn't even come close to what I searched for.
It also seems that pages with a certain amount of links are getting ranked quite high. I have seen several sitemaps and other pages with only links being listed in the 10-20 slots and sometimes higher.
A small suggestion I have to MSN and that I think all other engines should do as well (althought I don't know any that does) is give more weight to the sites who have the exact phrase that is searched for come first.
For example, let's say I do a search for [green pumpkins during spring]. It seems logical that the site that shows first is the one with that exact phrase. Instead, the user must do a search for ["green pumpkins during spring"]. However, if a user is searching for just that, why not give the quoted results first then after maybe the top 2 or 3 (or possibly have a thing at the top where it says "Did you mean:") show the unquoted version of the results -- if nothing else, this is at least worth testing out (or maybe you have... I don't know). Users know what they are searching for, the engine doesn't, so why not give the searcher the benifet of the doubt and give them the results first?
Overall I see good returns from MSN giving me quality visitors. Once the screws get tightened a little more it might have the best results out of the big three.
I think MSN has been quite fair with the half-dozen or so established sites I watch on specific keywords.
The only thing I noticed is that one of my authority sites is a .com hosted in the UK. MSN assumes it is only of interest to UK users with a huge bias - basically it is nowhere to be seen on msn.com for the main keyword. Google.com has it at #2 and Yahoo.com at #8 accordingly, the regional versions of both put it at #1.
I think MSNs geolocated results are somewhat simplistic. Have you included the geolocations of the backlinks pointing to the site? Do you scour for references of the country or particular spellings which look like British English rather than American English to differentiate, etc?
I'm pretty certain if I moved this site to a server in the US, it would rank much higher on .com, but I don't see why I should, when the other two big engines are quite happy where it is (and so am I!).
You might want to bring in new criteria in your determining location relevance, or indeed turn down the knob of just how much bias you put on US hosted sites.
Thanks for the opportunity to engage you in this.
A lot of credit is given to websites exchanging links as well and because MSN Search is new I think they consider as one-way, the links obtained by exchanging links but the corresponding reciprocical links were removed.
[edited by: Receptional at 4:15 pm (utc) on Sep. 10, 2005]
[edit reason] You must not use specifics, Please see terms of service [/edit]
MSNDude has a good point as to the search habits of different users. Some people just go with one thing over the other if its what they're used to. So I most definately believe conversion from different engines can be heavily dictated by the demographics of your potential visitors.
Anyhow, I'm lovin the bot. I have a site I opened barely over a month ago, and that puppy currently brings in 64.3% of my referred traffic, with yahoo at 8.9% and google at a sad 3.1%, mind you I only have maybe 3 backlinks so far, and how fresh the site is, but I say MSNBot is welcome any time ;)
As for your search functionality, one thing I would personally like to see from a security point of view, is efficient (while un-obtrusive) input sanitization of query input to deter script kiddies whom already plague the g double oh g el e. I mean christ, how many friggin sites need to get tagged by idiot 12yr olds using the same kiddie tool do there need to be?
for example, say a kid searches for something like
intext:username password cvv2 inurl:customer
redirect their azz's to cybercrime.gov or something.
etc. blah, you get the point... Anyway thats one of my main grievences about google, sh*t man there's even a friggin book on using google to be a wanna be 31337 ¦-¦4><0¦2
know what I mean?
Anyway thats my two cents. What's the word on a pay-per-view no holds barred grudge cage match between Ballmer & Schmidt? hehe..
Oh an p.s. - start.com is crap in firefox, might want to look into that ;)
I have a site I opened barely over a month ago, and that puppy currently brings in 64.3% of my referred traffic, with yahoo at 8.9% and google at a sad 3.1%, mind you I only have maybe 3 backlinks so far, and how fresh the site is, but I say MSNBot is welcome any time
Lucky you! ;)
But it is exactly by things like this that we can state the low quality of MSN search.
If at all possible human check as many areas as you can, accept the fact that spammers will always find a way. Besides no surfer ever searches past the first 5 pages so human editing wouldn't actually be impossible for competitive terms and that way you can really target spammers without harming the little guys making a genuine living. G causes collateral damage to the decent majority every time they try and target the minority. Also, I’d put more emphasis on a sites theme and not a pages theme.
IMO people are no more unsatisfied with the MSN algo / results than they are with G or Y results, but MSN is like an old Grandfather that web savvy users can’t be bothered with (for search). It’s your image that isn’t right, not your results. Most importantly you need to become the Media darling, that’s G’s biggest strength.
I guess where I'm going is what Google has turned into. They have stale results (especially if a site made in 2005 can't rank) and an algorithim that is so complex that it has destroyed their SERPs. I'd much rather search and find a site for someone who built 10,000 link with the same anchor text than to have a complete pile of garbage. Why? Well the guy who built 10,000 links probably is relevant, while throwing in too many filters and variables ends up with a result filled with scrapers and message boards. I know a search engine like Yahoo! is easier to game, but to a common user, their results are probably more relevant.
In a nutshell, try not to be too cute with the filters and penalties. :-)
When I search the following "What is keyword", I get the same results as if I only searched for "keyword", "What" and "is" is ignored. For my particular search, "what is" just happens to be relevant, as there are several good documents entitled "What is keyword". I think the delivery of the search terms clearly indicates that I really want to know "what is". Maybe after some research, I'll spend some money on "keyword".
It seems that the MSN index gives organic link credit to advertisements listed on MSN. So, my perception is that if I pay to advertise, I will get a higher organic placement when a search is conducted for my relevant keywords. If my observation is correct, your search results are subject to credibility issues. Kind of like double ad servings
I think that as long as GG and Yh continue to deliver credible and relevant search results, that MSN will be on a slippery catch-up slope.
I think that needs more qualification. There is inordinate reliance on certain page on-site elements, particularly the query in the URI string.
My take: Previously MSN had an inordinate reliance on backlinks from a single domain but the reaction to on-site elements has overcompensated toward the easily identifiable onsite elements.
Middleground would probably yeild better results, and qualifying backlinks more accurately (simple example is to differentiate between contextual backlinks on multiple sites vs sitewides more acutely in the backlink qualification routine) would allow for greater reliance on qualified backlinks (which really help you qualify pages on popular searches).