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Anyone else think MSN is passing Google.

At least in terms of relevance?



5:10 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We're doing research for local search across the three big players. MSN is beating Google and Yahoo both pretty handily. I don't think this is related to Strider, I think they're up to something else. We just posted a sample on our site and it's pretty compelling. Wish I could post a link but you can check it yourself with any widget + City name.


7:49 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

They are going to become good competition in my opinion. Google is good, and will likely stay good, and MSN is also working very hard. MSN and Google seem to have similar business philosophies that set them apart from Yahoo; they are willing to work with us to make their searches better. Through listening to us, taking reports, spot checking search queries, etc, they have definitely improved their algorithm and the search relevance.

I am very impressed with the improvements in MSN search quality in the past 2 months.


8:14 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

my widget + city name pages have constantly appeared 1,2 or 3 behind sponsored links for the last several years, just checked some common ones and note that the pages still have the same positions. did note that in general pages for individual companies are coming in first over the directories. for me that' a good thing ... happier clients!


8:24 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I like how MSN doesn't penalize new sites nearly as badly as google.
Who ever came up with the idea that a site's not worth ranking unless its at least a year old? BS. There's lots of old stale sites lying around.


9:43 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As far as I am concerned anything is better then Google with all its old useless sites.
these are thye best below
yahoo canada
msn latin america


10:19 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Lets keep it real guys - whilst Google is not perfect by a long chalk and gawd knows i would love msn to take its market share frankly the msn serps are still absolutely dire and google with all its faults is far, far more relevent in EVERY way than msns search is!.

OK msn are working on it and we can only hope they can get it right in the end but msn is not relevent and you can do almost any search request on its engine and you wont get relevent serps, they are miles off!

I just wont use the msn search now its so bad, i only look in on it to see if its been fixed yet!


10:50 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I use Msn an Google side by side everyday, for stuff ranging from

very techie programming stuff to legal matters, cos i wear two hats

Techie an auditor/accts

and I must tell you that its rare for either search engine to let me down, in both cases, relevance is remarkabley high, basically i'm tell you i do real work using both, not just doing widget searches

Google & Msn both have superb algorithims

Google has a natural advantage in depth of files, plus I suspect a lotta folk naturally submit to google an simply ignore other search engines


12:52 am on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

[Google & Msn both have superb algorithims]

That's actually the bottom line. Google doesn't have a whole lot of spam at the top of competitive SERPs. It's just directories rank better because of IBLs. When you think about it, it's pretty amazing to pull a relevant result from billions of pages in a matter of seconds.


6:01 pm on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yup, msn apears to be way more up-to-date than google. For most searches of recent things (big or small) MSN gives me constantly more results.

It's not just recent stuff either. Just one example, I had a problem with gentoo portage a few days a go. Stuck the error message into google...zero results. Tried msn and around a dozen good results (a few from about 2 years ago). If I hadn't tried msn and stopped at google I would have still have a slightly borked server but thanks to msn it's all fixed.

Google's failure to list (and removal of) good pages from its index is making it continually worse, whreas msn's quick spiderng and fast indexing is taking it leaps ahead.


10:30 am on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think they were doing good but honestly lately I see google and even yahoo getting better and msn getting worse.


8:16 pm on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Today it's the first time that I did not find what I was looking for in Google. I found it in MSN!

MSN is really doing a god job!


1:36 am on Aug 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

MSN has made some great improvements this summer. However, I will be happy to see some drastic improvements in crawl frequency. Some pages have 3 week old cache; I am sure there are some that are much older.


3:09 pm on Aug 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's true about the crawling. Seems to be less frequent lately.

[edited by: Tomseys at 3:09 pm (utc) on Aug. 21, 2006]


4:16 am on Aug 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

IMO, and certainly for my industry, MSN is way way behind google in relevancy. My industry is typically very stable in the serps. No one spamming big time, if at all. Lots of 4-7 year old authority sites that have been solid for years. MSN has them all over the place. One of the biggest most authoritive sites with tons of relevant content in our industry thats been around 8 years and owns pos 1 or 2 for most SE for the most important keywords is on page 5?


5:30 am on Aug 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i agree
yahoo getting better, msn getting worse
i dont use msn at all to search for anything to tell you the truth - i always find too much junk


8:55 pm on Aug 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've been using Windows Live for a while, and have found it is just about as good as G for common queries, but somewhat worse for more esoteric queries.


4:34 am on Aug 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think MSN search is evolving very nicely and will become a major threat to Google and Yahoo. I just wish (as both a user and web publisher) that it would do really deep crawls on sites and do them more frequently to make a more thorough and fresh index. If MSN Search could become a serious threat to Yahoo and Google, we would start to see some serious improvements in those search engines.


3:57 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah, I take back what I said. MSN is really trying to get it right. And at least here you can communicate and find out what's going on.


8:45 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i just did a few more searches on MSN and i'll have to stick to my guns. there's no reason in this day and age that i should have to sift through results that are not relevant on the first page of results. I had to go to page 2 to find what i wanted.

thats why i prefer google because i know i can find it there faster.


2:22 pm on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Since MSN bans results from servers hosted outside the USA, I see no way it could be considered relevant at all. Even if the content targets US customers ...



11:52 pm on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Since MSN bans results from servers hosted outside the USA, I see no way it could be considered relevant at all. Even if the content targets US customers ...

Where did you get this information? I don't believe it is true.


12:40 am on Aug 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Now that you mention it, I don't believe it either. :-)

I think he means that we give too strong a preference to geolocal information. We've also heard a lot of dissatisfaction from people here on Webmaster World about this, so we realize it doesn't always work perfectly. Like anything else, if we take it out, other things get worse, so it stays in, but we are working on improving the precision of it.


1:16 am on Aug 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think msn is probably already at least as "relevant" as google. Where they lag is in the area of scoring sites appropriately. I am hoping they come up with a good way to combine both fresh results and trusted sites and are able to continue agressive indexing of new sites. The extreme bias toowards all the old in google is starting to hurt them in many, many areas. Perhaps this is a place msn might someday excel.

Time will tell, but relevancy is one small part of search, albeit an important one that google overlooks at times. MSn needs to get better at scoring pages.


8:39 am on Aug 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am using MSN more and more. Not because I can't find what I am looking for on Google, I usually can.

The reason I use MSN is I *know* there are so many sites missing/bannned/etc from Google that I often go to MSN now just to see a wider more complete selection of what is available.

In fact the results often seem very similar.

I still don't like the local targetting but at least that does seem to have improved over the summer.

Keep at it MSN! I installed the MSN search bar last week and discovered this MSN live thing. I don't like that much though. It is slow and I see inferior results there.

Give me MSN.com any day.

So just who will be fed these Live results and why?


4:55 pm on Aug 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Try "Study Abroad" in MSN and compare to Google and Yahoo. MSN's results are not even close for a very well differentiated field. Study abroad in Hawaii #2? Sure it would be fun, but totally irrelevant relative to the real primary resources.

Try "adventure travel" again. Not even close in terms of importance and relevance. I have no idea what MSN is doing or looking for, and I programmed with many Microsoft products for 20 years and continue to... Many of their programming tools are great, but the search engine algorithm of late just seems off.

And I really like to see competition.


7:12 pm on Aug 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Looks like a fresh update today. Results for the last few days I thought quite good, but “today”, congratulations are not in order.


8:50 pm on Aug 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Cleanup: Remember that live.com is still in beta. When the results on live.com differ from the results on search.msn.com it generally means that something is wrong on live.com. I'm looking at them right now, and I'm not seeing any differences.


7:40 am on Aug 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Msndude; live vs msn.com

"I'm looking at them right now, and I'm not seeing any differences"

I am in Europe (Madrid) and the results are definately different.

For a travel search I monitor about half the first page are different sites to MSN.com's first page and those that are the same are in a different order.

Does not seem to be geo-targetting either.


9:20 am on Aug 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I agree with swa66: "The Internet is global, geotargeting will only result in breaking that globality"

I have a very successful website, with thousands of visitors per day.
Most of the visitors are Americans and most of the content is written by American professionals. The website has many top positions for important keywords on other search engines (not doing too well on msn lately, except during the recent update which has been rolled back).
I live in Belgium, but this website is hosted in the States.
If it would have been hosted in Belgium and with geotargeting, American surfers would not find the way to this information which however is very useful for them.

My opinion is that geotargeting is wrong because of the globality of the Internet. What if an American website owner purchases hosting in for instance Holland because he can get a good deal there?
I think targeting based on languages is ok, based on location of the server is wrong.


8:45 pm on Aug 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

swa66: I'm sorry if you felt ridiculed; that wasn't my intention. To make it up to you, I'll give a little deeper explanation of how the system works.

As Microsoft has often stated, we using "Machine Learning" to generate our algorithm. This means that we don't actually write the algorithm directly; we write a program that "learns" from examples, and then that program writes the algorithm (which we call a "net"), trying to get the best result it can for the training examples. We test the new net on a separate set of examples (so it can't just memorize the answers), and if we like the performance, we ship it.

When we write the training program, we give it as much information as we can think to. For example, it knows how many links are on a page. It knows how many words are on a page. It knows what language we think the page is written in. etc. Each of these tidbits of information is called a "feature." (In the sense that a face has features, not the way a new product has features.) Our system considers many hundreds of features.

One of those hundreds of features is the country we think the site is hosted in.

Based on the training data, the program is free to decide how important a given feature is. As you surmise, it thinks language is really, really important. As you also know, it thinks location is pretty important too. As we have improved the system in other ways, it has come to rely less on this, but at present, it still gives location a lot of weight. (Note, though, that it does not "ban" a site; all it does is give a bonus or penalty.)

We do not try to adjust these weights manually. Among other things, since a net actually uses combinations of features, it's not humanly possible to do that, but even if we could, any naive change would make the measured result worse. That is, a change that fixed the results for one site would likely break them for dozens (or hundreds) of others.

As a result, when someone reports a problem (such as you have), we cannot simply go fix it. Instead, we have to try to figure out why the net isn't "seeing" the right answer. We can add new features (or improve old ones), and we can add training examples that show right and wrong results, but we can't just change a few lines of code and fix a specific result.

When it works, this technique (machine learning) has tremendous power. The computer literally learns from its own mistakes, and it learns rules that no human being would ever have found. When it doesn't work, though, it can be very frustrating -- for all parties involved.

That said, we actually do have some ideas for improving this particular problem (geolocal preference). I realize it's hard to be patient and trust that we're working on it, but that's what we have to ask you to do.

Sorry again if you thought I was making fun of you.

This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37

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