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Just looked at MSN for the first time in a while

Looks pretty bad!



1:54 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Have just checked the SERPs for a few keywords in MSN. Haven't bothered looking there for about 6 months. I'm sorry, but the results were at best bizarre. You would expect at least some correlation between MSN results and Google/Yahoo! however, what I'm seeing is some very dominant websites not appearing on the first 5 pages.

Does anybody actually use MSN by choice? or are all their users just forwarded via MSN and Windows.

From what I have seen there really isn't much point in taking these guys seriously yet!


3:49 am on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

I think they where on a good way 2-3 month ago, but then suddently they made changes and it became worse and when you need good results you have to look on MSN asien version thats better.

Im not sure why they had to make such a change, but ok not my problem.


3:23 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've never really poked around msn, but it looks like they have a "Virtual Earth" program now? or have they always. Never really paid any attention to MSN to be honest, and I never heard of them having a program like this. see it here:


10:31 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

"From what I have seen there really isn't much point in taking these guys seriously yet!"

sums it up.

The uk serps have been truely amazing for some time, with each update the quality gets worse, you couldnt make it up. They have a less is more policy and very thin content sites and junk sites clean up whilst the quality authority sites either dont rank or only get a fraction of their pages indexed.

I think because the search bot technology is next to useless the harsh truth of it is that they cant get the data from sites that they would need to build a half respectable set of serps from. I also think they are keeping vey quiet on this issue as im yet to see ANY site on the net get fully indexed by msn search bot - i just dont think they can deep crawl a site and this is the problem.

The results for one or two string keywords are at best a joke and when you move to four or five keyword strings you can forget it altogether. They dont have the data available to deliver good serps.

Currently, I cant see any point to msn search at all in its current format either. The only thing im currently amazed at is that the staff at msn cant see how bad the results are - that i just dont get at all.

In all i agree with the o/p. Currently you cant take msn seriously for quaility serps but how long it will take them gawd knows. They need to scrap the algo they currently have, improve the depth of crawl technology and start again. imo the sooner they wake up to that the sooner they can advance with search

In the meantime, perhaps look in again in another six months?


8:47 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

RichTC, I think you have nailed the issue.

Looking at our logs, MSNbot has a very shallow harvest and seems not to even see our sitemaps page - this would at least give it something easy to work on.

While we have dynamic sites, we only have 1-2 parameters and have 0 problems with any other Bot. MSN seems to barf on just about anything.


2:58 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I agree with RichTC. The UK results are especially bad. Sites with almost no content getting the top positions and there's lots of low quality sites and spam in the serps.

One of my sites was doing OK for it's keywords up until June / July, then something changed in the UK algo and all these spammy low content sites have taken the top 50 all summer.

I don't think they handle 301 redirects very well either.


4:44 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Have to agree with the other posters.

It is truly incredible that the MSN Team, with all the talent that they have, cannot come up with anything better than these results.

As was said by other posters, the UK results are bizarre.


5:21 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

Yea, I just looked again for the first time in a few weeks, and I'm truly appalled. I'm *still* seeing massive .info spam on with tens of thousands of pages, only now instead of seeing them down in the #50 to #100 positions, I'm seeing it in 1-20. Most of my client's sites, while actually RISING in the Google and Yahoo SERPS of late, have almost completely dropped out of MSN. For one domain, the highest ranking page now is the contact page. Because of this, most of my clients have decided to forego MSN adCenter PPC for now, because they don't think the MSN search is going to be of any value to them - compared to Google and Yahoo. And I'm having a real hard time justifying any other opinion, with these results.

Credit where credit is due - they do seem to pick up new pages faster in the index. But what good does it do when they don't show up for ANY conceivable search, and these garbage sites do?


6:09 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If they're not using adcenter, its their loss. But please keep em out instead of bidding up my campaigns :)


10:56 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I gave msndude a two string example of a popular UK search where the user needs UK results.

Currently the serps for this search term return not one authority site in the top 20 and are absolutely dire. I stress this is a popular two string search term. Results were:-

result 1 = www.keywordsdomain.com
result 2 = sub-domain spam
result 3+4 a USA non relevent site
result 5 = sub-domain australian site
result 6 = non relevent Australian .gov site
result 7 = Thin content Junk site
result 8 = sub-domain non relevent
result 9 = sub-domain non relevent (not even close)
result 10 = sub-domain non relevent
result 11 = WOW 1st result thats on topic/relevent Amazing! but it is the subdomain of the main site thats relevent!
result 12 = Repeat of 3+4 only different sub domain page
result 13 = weak affiliate site with some content 2/10 but is a little relevent to the search string and more relevent that 1-10 are.
result 14 = spam junk mirror site sub-domain of 2
result 15 = ok site, on topic not authority but at least on topic
result 16+17 = ok site, weak content but you could call it a match
result 18+19 = Not bad, a leading well known site.
reslt 20 = junk

So on a two string they are about 5% relevent for this term. Try a three/four or five string in this sector and the results are utter cr@p. Unless the keyword is in the domain you can forget it. Google meanwhile are about 80% spot on for this as a UK search.

msn are a standing joke in our office everyone i talk to has virtualy written them off as just playing at search and no one is even likely to change from using google search due to the results being so bad. If i ask a member of staff if they have used msn search recently they laugh!, im not joking!

As for cleaning up spam and junk from its index i can knock a spammy site together with my team and have it rank 1 in msn for almost any search term!. If i can do it so can millions of others hence why the rsults are so bad and frankly the spam hasnt started to hit them yet fully due to the fact that their reach is so poor that most spamming teams dont have msn on the radar yet.

If msn increase their reach some how thats when the fun will start, but if they cant get search right at this stage they are going struggle like hell in the future imo.

Best policy i think is to check again in another six months


3:23 pm on Sep 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There were some changes in the serps for my main keyword and judging by the results I'm almost ashamed to say my site moved up. The previous results were the worst I've ever seen from one of the big 3 SEs and these new results are even worse than before.

It's the usual suspects, blog spam, keyword.com domains, huge affiliates, one page about keyword on otherwise unrelated sites, and even a one page site that just says click here to get to our other site that is actually open; it's listed on page 1 and page 2.


10:04 pm on Sep 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


"one page about keyword on otherwise unrelated sites"

I see that problem a lot in the msn serps - but remember "less is more"!

Joking apart, on a search test i did about three weeks back i was trying to work out why a page on a specific subject matter website ie dedicated to "brown Widgets" had a page about something totally alien and this page was ranking top 5 serp position in a the msn serps for this subject well ahead of authority and detailed sites about that subject yet all this site offered was a single page of limited information that was of no use to the end user.

They have serious quality and data gathering issues and this wont be fixed overnight.


11:44 pm on Sep 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


[edited by: Mbwto at 11:46 pm (utc) on Sep. 20, 2006]


12:43 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


In regards to less is more, the site I mentioned that redirects to another site has nothing as the content. The site has a graphic that says basically, "If you are looking for "keyword" please try our other site (link to other site) for all your keyword needs". It's a PR2 page with 17 google backlinks, zero SE readable content and ranks 6th AND 19th for the main two word phrase for a market that does millions of dollars a month in online sales. MSN lists it as URL only(since there's nothing else to list)but they've listed it as URL only for months now and it continues to rank.


3:20 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Any idea how it's ranking so well?


10:50 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

"As was said by other posters, the UK results are bizarre"

The Belgian results are a joke. For certain keywords I have to go through up to 4 pages with spam before I find the first "real" website.


6:42 pm on Sep 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Okay how about this for less is more? A couple days ago my server had some issues and my main site was actually down for a couple hours. Anyone trying to access the site got a brief error message. Well it seems MSNbot hit the site while it was down and cached the error message page as our home page. Our rankings jumped from page 6 to page 3 for our main search term with the error message cached instead of actual content. This is what I'm suppose to try and optimize for? A SE that sees an error message as more on target for my search term than content about the term? Hey, if I changed all my pages to error messages and get rid of all my content I might be back on page 1!

[edited by: WebPixie at 6:43 pm (utc) on Sep. 27, 2006]


12:30 am on Sep 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You were probably rewarded for fresh content :)


1:01 am on Sep 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I gave up on MSN a loooong time ago, they've lost the plot, their results are a joke.


1:32 am on Sep 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just think how all the MSN people feel. They havn't gotten even the tinyest credit and MSNdude and the other we interface with get to do nothing but apologize for everything.

I'm not siding with MSN -- can't stand the SEARCH or PPC, but I do find it interesting just how much abuse the people must have to take over there.

Any idea what the turnover rate is?


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