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5-25 MSN Search Update



2:41 pm on May 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing major movement in the serps. Nothing looks pretty at all. The authoriy knob just got turned off completely. I am seeing a new load of spam and overall lack of relevency.


1:22 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The fact that msndude is here is a great step forward. There is communication. A level and fair field is all anyone asks. Not everyone can be at the top. It would be nice though if local content sites with good and updated content can achieve a 'reasonable' position without having the have thousands ( or tens of thousands ) of links.
If you have a website for a restaurant on a tiny island, just how many pages can you have, 4, 5, maybe 10 maximum, and just how many links would be realistic? For our area arabia and brazil are great compared with other SE's.


1:23 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

In spammy areas, prior to this update there were no authority sites... and "no" means pretty much just that.

After the update there is a mix of the best authority sites with absolute piffle... and the piffle is a wide variety of piffle, rather than just the pure subdomain/blogspam crap that was there before.

This is the first significant step forward MSN search has ever had since their second alpha release back in week two or whenever it was.


1:43 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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MSNDude: Here's the problem I see with the current update, and it's not just me, there's hundreds of posts about this if you look: Keyword Domain Insertion Importance. For example, in a niche that I follow, it's all about "widgets". Now there are 100's of sports teams named after these "widgets". Before the update you had a decent mix of some of the most well-known sports teams named after the "widgets" as well as websites dedicated to the actual "widgets" themselves. Now, considering that keyword insertion in domains seems to have so much importance, the first few pages are taken up by these sports teams because they alllll have widgets in their domain names, with a few "widget-widget.com" spam sites sprinkled in there.

I realize you're trying to do your best in the relevancy area, but stressing so much importance - or at least seeming to - on domain keywords, is not helping, there's alot of people/companies/websites with unique names out there that don't have the actual widgets they're talking about in their name.


2:52 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

well if you have multiple data sets, you should seriously consider floating all 4 in seperately once a week and compare performance/ click-thru rates, etc... You should be able to experiment and see which ones perform better between datasets.

i cant even find ebay on msn search...?
phrases such as "online auction" or "auction site" and ebay is no where to be found? now when ebay is missing in action, but found on 3 other major search engines for the same keywords on ask,google,yahoo. something-is-off-i-think

is it possible some data is missing or weight factor was left out?

at the moment, it seems difficult to even find msn search on msn itself. a search for 'internet search engine' doesnt even list msn. and the relevancy is way off. At least google gets it pretty good and lists msn on page 1 above google itself. :) yahoo results are pretty good.. msn is on page 3. on msn itself, again like WebmasterWorld, msn search is not even in the top 100 for a relevant term for itself.

Even on ask.com seems way more relevant and accurate, Searching for 'webmaster forum' shows www.WebmasterWorld.com in the top 10.. 'diet pills' is also pretty clean/accurate on ask..a mess at the moment on msn.

hopefully all our suggestions and critical analysis is helpful and it will improve.. keep trying. if possible try to float in different data-sets and compare performance over a week or 2 for each and go with the one that performs best.


4:04 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


The strategy to fix your serps (msg 205) is great: "but since people were nice enough to give me feedback, when I thought the system was wrong, I reversed it myself on the spot" as long as every person with a site incorrectly marked as spam contacted you. Otherwise, MSN searchers are missing valuable information. Did Webmaster World and/or eBay contact you?


4:34 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Msndude, my 2 strongest competitors are completely gone from the first page. I never new them as spammers as they appear to run legitimate businesses and are also featured on the first pages of google and Yahoo. On one hand I'm quite glad they are replaced by much weaker sites, on the other hand I'm worried that tomorrow it will be my turn.


5:24 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm quite sure Webmasterworld.com and ebay.com were not marked as Spam! :-)

If a site is marked as spam, it is completely gone from the index. Even a site: query won't find it. If a site only moved down in the rankings -- no matter how far it moved -- that can't be attributed to the spam list. Not today, anyway.


5:42 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

thats beside the point.

Hes trying to tell you that its sad that when searching for "auction site" etc you do not find the most dominant website or most relevant when you previously would have.


6:21 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


How MSN runs its business is totally up to MSN. And what MSN considers to be relevant serps is also totally up to MSN. Some folks in this thread are saying, "How can these serps be relevant when we give you examples like Webmaster World and eBay. You say, "MSN has examined the serps and we stand by them. They're good." I say, "Good for you. Stick to your guns. Show people that MSN is in chagre here. If the public wants those well known websites, they can just use those other search engines."


7:57 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

MSNdude already said they will be making changes this summer. Some folks won't want to, but I'd presume that they think these changes will improve their results. They wouldn't be planning more changes if they thought everything was just peachy.


8:48 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Can you tell me how it is possible this one:

I performed a same search in IE and Firefox at search.msn.com. The both have same language settings (en-us).I got results from search.msn.com (not arabia, brazil..etc).
BUT I got DIFFERENT results. The browser cache was empty.
Our main page is for main keyword in TOP2 in FF MSN results..but in IE MSN results our page is not in TOP100.

The positions for other keywords are same in both IE and FF results.
I note that I got these results for each from our 50 domains.

Our domains are NOT spammy , but regural with regular content.

where is a problem?



9:10 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Not a single site has been re-indexed since the 28th.


9:46 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The point I'm trying to make here is that we're not going to have knee-jerk reactions to anything that isn't a clear disaster, and that is not what we're seeing here. We're still watching, and we're still listening, but our next steps will be forward, not backward, and those steps will be deliberate, not hurried.

I don't see this update as a clear disaster, in fact, quite the opposite. This is the first time I have seen anything which even remotely interested me since MSN launched their own search.

I am now convinced MSN has the ability to provide accurate and meaningful results. You're getting there ... but I hope your spam team is solidly in place and are able to just as accurately identify spam without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. My particular area is rife with spammers, gamers and content thieves. Your spam team (if you have one) has their work cut out for them.

I also hope that MSN is able to come up with a more accurate way to determine authority sites than other search engines. I am tired of seeing huge sites with a few pages of decent (but skinny) content and lots of "trust" ... outrank better, more relevant sites with hundreds of pages of "in depth and original" content.

With MSN's mega resources, you should be able to select a large team to identify, smaller authorities to help your relevancy factor surpass other leaders of search.

Oh ... and the keyword in url thing really does have to be looked at. Your "on page" content knob does need to be turned up a tad while the keyword in URL and title knobs need to be turned down a small pinch. :)

All in all, I am really very impressed and look forward to watching MSN make those deliberate steps forward. Let's hope that those positive steps will become apparent more quickly than in the past.


10:46 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I have a site that was ranking in the top 5 for all of its keywords.

Now it is just on one out of several hundred.

The site: command is all mixed up as well.

Thing is i add approx 9 pages of handwritten unique content to the site each day and all search engines value the site very highly.

I dont seam to be banned but something has effected the rankings.

Its not like i have just dropped in rankings in most i simply dont exist any more.




11:05 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

"Thing is i add approx 9 pages of handwritten unique content to the site each day and all search engines value the site very highly."

I'm in the same situation. I'm starting to think there is a "relevant content penalty" on the MSN search results :-) The more relevant content, the worse your rankings on MSN. The less content and the more spammy words in the domain name and URL, the better your rankings.
In my sector when searching for "widgets", www.widgets.com gets a very good ranking at MSN Search. Only, there is no content on this website. Conclusion: Content is not important. Only the name on the box is important, not what is in it.
I don't worry too much about this though. MSN was only good for a very small percentage of visitors. I do feel sorry however for those that depend on them for traffic.


11:12 am on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What I see is that arabia.msn.com has a lot of spam pages compared to msn.com.
2msndude Why are the results so different for arabia.msn and msn in terms of spam? Is it just a testing phase?


12:46 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Guys, be easy.

I don't see any site re-indexed after the 28th. With a few 29th exceptions. Or at least no update.

They must be busy testing stuff offline, or they are going the Jeeves way of manually finding good sites for the common queries. Joking ;-)

Either way, until they are daily updating the results again, I don't believe it's smart to examine everything.

Question is, when will they start updating like normal again? One of the great things in the past was that they beat any SE with 'new news'. Always when I wanted to look up something recent, I used them.


1:23 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's funny. WE definitely think the Engine is continuing to update the index. There have indeed been some fixes over the past several weeks aimed at improving stability, but they didn't go THAT far! :-)


1:39 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

MSNDude - I cant see anything cached after 28th either. :/


4:19 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

i hope nobody minds these tests, but here is another good one:

Try and find MSN's own hotmail.com in msn search.
Please exclude the obvious 'hotmail' search.. use the most common terms that a searcher would use:

free email service
free email
free mail
free web mail

I understand hotmail is not banned, and WebmasterWorld,ebay are not banned either.

on the one hand www.hotmail.com is linked from www.msn.com but when you search for common/relevant phrases and its not there? and i mean authoritative as in some of the top 10 most trafficed sites on the internet, you cant find these sites at all under the most common terms. WebmasterWorld,ebay,hotmail
No matter how hard i try, hotmail does not appear in the first few pages on msn's own search?

Google gets it perfect.. every relevant term puts hotmail at #1 a search for 'free email service', free email, etc., but on MSN's own search engine hotmail.com is MIA?

I hope these queries are beneficial as well.

i do notice some comment spammers that were causing serious spamming problems before this update to be fixed a bit/pushed back a few pages... (unfortunately blogspot spammers replaced them in some cases) and I do notice some results that are pretty good/relevant. But, this update Seems to have fixed some problems but caused serious others at the same time. and i assume eventually a balance/happy mediums will be made soon or hopefully over the summer.


4:37 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We're happy to see the feedback, but you should realize that the old net didn't get any of these either.


5:13 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have sites showing cache and update for 30th, 31st May and 1st June on msn uk.


5:19 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I see lots of pages with May 31 cache. Things are looking much better as the update progresses.


5:23 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It appears that they indeed just updated.


5:37 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think this is a very interesting thread.

For one thing, MSNDude has been actively participating, despite all the flak being sent there way. That takes some courage and I would hope other participants appreciate it as much as I do. It's human nature to avoid unpleasant situations, and reading the posts in a thread like this one can't be the most enjoyable part of his job! Though, I suspect Google Guy might be enjoying it. ;)

Another reason the thread is so interesting is that the mods have relaxed the rules just a tad, allowing a few specific examples to creep into the discussion here and there. Sometimes it is really hard to discuss nuances of "relevance" when every example being given has been converted into "widgets". Without some specifics, these discussions tend to quickly degenerate into one group of people saying “they aren't finding the “true” widget sites” while another group is saying “they're doing much better finding the “true” widget sites” -- when both claims may be true, depending on which group of “widgets” you're looking at. The same problem can occur even if all participants are thinking about the same widgets, but some are wording their search a little differently than the others (e.g. using two words instead of one).

WRT to the feedback folks are giving, I think most of the critical comments are way too broad brushed and harsh. Clearly there are some serious problems, as some of the examples demonstrate. But, then again, some of these specific examples might actually be a lot harder for a SE to get “right” than you might think.

Consider, for example, the word “webmaster.” First, I think it is interesting that webmasterworld.com doesn't appear near the top of the SERPs, since webmaster is half the domain name. Whatever MSN is doing to cause all those subdomain spammers to appear near the top of other searches, it isn't helping WebmasterWorld shoot right to the top. Perhaps that would happen if the domain included a hyphen between “webmaster” and "world”?

I don't think its odd, or necessarily "wrong" for “contact the webmaster” type pages from major sites (e.g. a US government site) to appear high in the SERPs.

This example reminds me a little of what happens if you search for a common word like “site” or “the.” Millions of sites include the word “webmaster” on one of their pages, and many of them include this word as part of the page title and URL of at least one of their pages, and in their internal links.

Interestingly, I don't think WebmasterWorld includes the word “webmaster” (by itself -- not crunched together with “world”) in any of its URLs, or in any of its page titles. For that matter, I don't think Brett uses "webmaster" as alt text for the internal links that take users to the home page. So, how many clues has he really given MSN to let it know that this is a site for webmasters?

While there may be good explanations for why MSN is struggling with this one, it is clearly a problem – especially because WebmasterWorld also doesn't appear near the top of the two word search "webmaster forum" (but without quotes) -- someone searching for a site like WebmasterWorld really should be able to find WebmasterWorld if they use a search that is that descriptive/specific.


5:39 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

msndude..a question. search.msn.com is only returning 25 pages of results, the 25th page is repeated for every page link after that. Is the limit on results an 'update' or a bug?


6:56 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

"We're happy to see the feedback, but you should realize that the old net didn't get any of these either."

When I searched for the name of my website (unique trademarked name and also the domain name)on the old net I got the index page as first result. The result I get now is no longer the index page but another small page with as good as no content. Actually it looks like MSN simply "lost" the index page and many other pages. Only 785 of the 5190 pages seem to be indexed.

The funny thing is that the 3rd url in the search result is images.google.de/imgres and on arabia.msn this url is the first result and my website is nowhere to be found. What elements is the algo using to put that Google page there?


7:38 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah, I am seeing the same thing with one of my sites. It seems that index page was lost for one of my top keyword searches where my index page use to show up. Now only my site's blog and low-content interior page show up, but in the 4th page of results.


8:37 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


my post was answered below :(


[edited by: xspace at 9:05 pm (utc) on June 2, 2006]


1:54 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

Continued [webmasterworld.com...]
This 240 message thread spans 8 pages: 240

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