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New MSN Algo Having Problems



12:25 am on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Like many, 80% of my pages went from top 10 on MSN to page 3.
Like many I scrambled to see WHAT I WAS DOING WRONG.

Until I stopped looking for my pages and really started looking at the results I was getting for my keywords...NOT EVEN CLOSE. Little to No relevance.
Looking for blue widgets in North Shores Florida...getting used car lots in North Chicago, or pet grooming in North Carolina.

So, if you've lost pages or placement...relax (it's probably not your site) and wait for the bugs to get worked out.

Surely MSN is working on this...

If you are experiencing the same or have comments, please post.
I'd like to know it's not just me... :-) Fish


12:21 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Oh Liane,

Do a search now on msn and tell me they have quality serps. Tosh!

They are so far away currently they are a write off.

Yes, the three points you make about spam being autogenerated pages, the blogger look etc etc are fair enough, kind of boarders on my point about "Junk" rather than "Spam" but msn ARE NOT ahead of the game.

In a few select search requests you may strike lucky but unless the keyword is in the domain name they cant tell what the page is. And less is more is a REAL problem.

You tell me why a three page site with little content "My-blue-widgets.com" should rank top of the serps for "blue wigdets" over a site packed with content with a dedicated section of pages about "Blue widgets" simply because, less is more!. This is what we currently see in msn.co.uk and now we know why!

The UK msn serps are utter plain garbage and if anyone wants to sticky me examples of Uk serps in msn where you think they have got it right then i set you the challenge -

Anyone that has done a Uk search on msn and rates what it returns please sticky me - im yet to see ANY search produce anything even 20% on target, thats how poor i am finding msn currently!


12:33 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


You will forgive me for pointing this out I hope ... but at no time did I say MSN was "ahead of the game". I said they are headed in the right direction.

They are not there YET ... but things are looking up in my opinion. MSN only launched their own search engine a year and a half ago. Only recently have they begun to make (serious) efforts to improve their search quality. Give them some time to work out the kinks!


12:50 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

Anyone that has done a Uk search on msn and rates what it returns please sticky me - im yet to see ANY search produce anything even 20% on target, thats how poor i am finding msn currently!

Well, I'm searching MSN US, not UK but frankly I'm finding relevant results, just a different mix of sites being shuffled around. More relevant and less relevant is a different story though.


2:03 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'd still love to know why blogspot subdomains that redirect to spammer fake search sites keep getting high rankings. One of my sites got kicked off page one by one of those sites just today.


2:14 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I would be MORE than happy to give MSN time to work out the kinks...

BUT according to MSNDude, the last Friday update caused minimal harm...so they have no intention to undo it. That's not good news...

As for me, I find the search results more than lacking in revelance compared to Y & G.
Looking for blue widgets in North Carolina and you end up with North Chicago used car lots.

Hopefully, MSNDude will take another look at the last update.


2:38 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just a couple of quick points; first, as I've said before, this is a long process. No single update will fix every problem. It's not reasonable to argue that a change was no good just because it didn't fix all the problems at once.

Second, redirection spam is a serious, serious issue and we're working hard on it. Unfortunately, it is not an easy problem -- otherwise we'd have fixed it by now.

Third, when I say "less is more," I'm talking about "on a single page." The reason I'm talking about single pages here is that, although the algorithm looks at lots of other features, all of the examples I've seen of non-spam that it called spam could be fixed purely by cleaning up one or two single pages.

Finally, despite what anyone might believe :-) this really is an automated process. It's a neural net trained from hand-labeled examples -- not a team of humans doing manual labeling.

(By the way, I'm flying back to Seattle from SES today -- or trying to. Wish me luck.)


4:34 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Have a safe flight MSNDude!

I am curious to see how this algo update pans out.

I have also had problems with this update. Top five results to page three. My site has been around for six years and is not spammy.


5:13 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

>>I think of spam this way - "if you have to ask what spam is, then you're probably doing it."

Jimville - what I'm saying to webmasters is this - if you're creating the site, you probably have a pretty good idea if you're spamming a search engine. Of course we all use keyphrases, but my guide is this - if the average Joe were to read the page would they feel I was repeating a phrase needlessly? Natural writing style, natural linking - when you cross from the line, then you're probably spamming to some degree.

As far as spotting spam, that is much harder to do because you need to consider both on-page and off-page factors. Some are quite obvious through simple visual inspection of a page, others quite sophisticated.

I sent MSNDude an example of what I thought was spam about a month ago. This involved multiple web sites pointing back to a single website. This particular webmaster owned 8 of the top 10 positions for this phrase. By looking at each site, you might not notice the problem, but it was their association (the fact they were all owned by one entitiy) that made them spam.


5:51 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


when you say "single page"

are you saying that if a single page is "spammy" then it can affect an entire site? or that the antispam part of the algo only affects individual pages.



6:55 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Now I'm trying to think about what sort of single-page issues might be throwing entire sites off...

obvious affiliate link on otherwise clean sites? [eh, maybe]
too dense KW usage on one page? [not that I can tell]
ton of incoming, over-optimized anchor text? [nope]

MSNDude, would you be able to elaborate a bit more about what types of small issues to avoid for those single page fixes? For the most part, I think we might just be overlooking them without knowing we're doing something undesired (even sites built for users in mind: navigation, information, purchasing assistance, etc). I'd like to think that a little knowledge for us partners might help make it easier to track down obvious spam, with tell collateral damage.

I hope you didn't try to smuggle any dihydrogen oxide on the plane; that's a no no today.



7:13 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

MSNdude -

Nice to see you at the Google Party and really enjoyed being in on your conversation with ... GoogleGuy! Hope to see more of you at November's Las Vegas WebmasterWorld if the neural network let's you out of the box.


7:20 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

We lost our entire site in the Serps, I sure hope
someone takes a look at it and helps us identify the problem.

ps: hope u caught your flight ok


1:02 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Re: JoeSinkWitz Post
Ditto...need some help please. Fish


11:34 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have a same problem as Fish.

On search.msn.co.uk we can see results before update.
I tryed to compare them with results from search.msn.com.
Looks like it something about outbound links on a page.

Most penalyzed pages contain several links to other domains.
Probably removing those links could help.


1:22 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

In its current format imo the algo will hit all sites and filter away more and more quaility as it continues because it has taken the wrong path and learning to do more of the same thing wrong.

It will take a few more months yet imo, but the search will become less and less relevent as it favours more and more low content pages and junk that it thinks are OK

You can at least rank for at least one term "blue Widgets" as long as your domain name includes the term or you have it as a sub domain with a few blog links to it.

Due to the serps being less and less relevent with every update i have to say my confidence in msn getting this right now and being a real challenge to google is at an all time low. I just feel they are going in totally the wrong direction but cant see that they are!


3:14 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Stupid One...
My site suffers from loss of page placement, not complete removal of pages. Not all pages lost their placement. The ones that hold fast have a lower Keyword density in both Meta Tag Description and Body.

After much research within my site, I find the pages that are holding placement have the Meta Tag Description Keywords inserted no more than 2 times, with lesser Keywords 1 time.

Also, INDIVIDUAL Body Keywords are 3% with lesser keywords 2% and 1%...
and get this, overall body keyword density is "0"
As MSNDude says...Less is More.

I've not tested this on my affected pages, but will do so today and post results.
Suggest you do the same and keep us posted.

Fish Texas...


3:32 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I agree with RichTC here.

The UK results are especially bad. Unfortunately I relied on MSN and Yahoo for traffic and they have both undergone substantial algo changes in the UK where relevancy has been pushed to one side.


4:34 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

MSNDude, is there a way I can check if my site is being penalized?

I have gone down about 25 results down to page 3. This appears to be sitewide.


4:50 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Stupid One...
You might also consider a little change your title.
Reference last RichTC post.


4:56 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"I have gone down about 25 results down to page 3."

Same here. Home page fell from top position to page 3. Other internal pages now rank higher than home page. This only happens on msn.com, not on msn.co.uk, msn.be, msn.nl, ...

Page 3 seems to be a special page!

[edited by: FromBelgium at 5:03 pm (utc) on Aug. 11, 2006]


6:11 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

That's where some of my pages are...Page 3 #25.
I believe we are being penalized for otherwise normal KW (Y & G)usage.
I think you can throw the industry standard Optz book out the window with this Algo.
See my earlier post regarding KW usage.
Sure hope I'm right... :-) Fish Texas


6:40 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah, I am good on live.com and msn.co.uk too!

I am real curious about this since my site is not spammy.


6:45 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I was disappointed when the update at the end of may hit my sites pretty hard; but instead of bitching about it, just analyse the sites ranking in the top five or ten and see what the commonalities are. Then apply what you think is relevant to your own sites. I did that and my sites rank pretty well. But its not like before when some links and lots of keyword stuffing put you on top easily.


6:49 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I should add that I only optimize for MSN. I agree that what works for yahoo for instance, no longer is probably that great for MSN.

My previous post was just meant if your primary concern is optimising for MSN.


6:55 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sorry Praxus, but webmasters should not have to play this guessing game that is not verifiable.


7:03 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

But what's the alternative? I don't think its realistic to expect the search engine peeps to tell us exactly what they're looking for. There's enough people trying to game the system already.

They won't give out specifics; because they just want us to build 'informative, user-friendly sites' that will get ranked naturally since they are so informative and user-friendly!

So we gotta figure it out for ourselves :)


7:23 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thing is you can build 'informative, user-friendly sites'
and still get penalized because no one knows what is triggering the penalties. So then you Mickey Mouse your site over and over trying to get rid of the penalty and guess what...You end up with a more user unfriendly, black hat site than ever before.


7:28 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Trust us, if we KNEW for certain what was causing our penalties WE would change them ASAP, as I am 100% certain other honest webmasters would immediately do as well, but this cryptic guessing game...

or am I wrong webmasters? would you just leave your site
suffer it's penalties if you knew for certain what was
triggerring them, or would you make a serious effort to correct them.


8:50 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I changed all my sites for optimization last month and moved to the first page, in msn.
msn is easy if you were on the first page before and was hit in the last update.

Yahoo also moved up changing the onsite optimization.

Its all about links, title, domain name, content has been downgraded, kw density under 4%
The less optimized the better. age of links, not exact matches on blinks.

I know all the seos will knock this, but proof is in the puddy.....


11:33 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

twebdonny: We'd love to give you a tool to estimate how "user-friendly" our classifer thought your site was, but we'd need to be sure this would really result in better sites. The fear is that the tool would mainly get used by spammers who would quickly find holes to exploit and that the end result would be worse pages, not better ones. We're still thinking about this, but nothing is on offer today.

Failing that, let me just repeat that the best thing any webmaster can do is update his/her site to benefit the end-user. That adds value that you get to keep no matter what changes happen in any of the search engines.

This 121 message thread spans 5 pages: 121

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