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MSN is making great strides in the quality of its SERP's and it appears to me that they are indeed listening to what webmasters are telling them!
Thank you for MSN Microsoft!
I only track stuff in other niches in a ballpark way, but where I look most of the time MSN is the wildest ride by far of the search engines. I can't believe some of these posts complaining they lost and returned to some stable ranking. Pages moving anywhere from #1 to #150 for a search is very common on MSN... or at least very common in a niche where hundreds of new "sites" (and of course far mmore pages) are introduced every day, built on six figures of blog comment links, which MSN gleefully rushes to rank.
I'm guessing that the MSN results since yesterday seem too eratic to stay in place for long.
But I confess to being stunned lately at the downturns in quality at all three of the major SE's, all of which have now dropped out many quality pages across a variety of different kinds of SERP's, seemingly due to various filter tweaks/additions.
On some searches I track, the changes are almost identical to the changes I saw in Yahoo starting in late July... not only messed up, but messed up in the same way, with the same pages shifting in the same patterns, within one or two places of each other. On others, they're way different. I've kept thinking that Yahoo would have fixed its problems by now, but it hasn't. Whither MSN? Maybe it's starting to scrape the Yahoo serps. ;)
Even though MSN doesn't yet bring in any traffic, it would be nice if its results weren't as chaotic as they are right now.
Back to MSN and Yahoo... while on some searches they're very different, I'm coming across more searches where they're both bringing up the exact same pages of highly-debatable merit that haven't been seen since the Pleistocene. Very curious.
I don't think MSN is scraping Yahoo, but it might be trying out what it perceives Yahoo to be doing just to see how it works for them. I sense that the reason MSN has been jumping around as much as it has is that it's still playing with lots of different things... and that we're stilling seeing a beta. Just a guess.
1) good incoming links
2) unique content
3) good site structure
4) strait html updated weekly as a minimum
5) nice relaxing colour scheme (oops sorry ego go me there strike last reason)
Now other search engine results on the first page are full of similar products that are
1) descriptions that are obviously copied information do a "this sentance" search and 50+ copies of it are on the net
2) hard to navigate round
3) The MOST APPAULING colour schemes you can imagine
What ever you say about spam and MSN well ... mutliply it by 10 fold and mention the other search engine too.
IMO the results tend to be ok and do flutuate regularly thus .. once at the top you have to work at it to stay there. What more do you want from a search engine?