HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK, MSN SEARCH ENGINE TRAFFIC
How search engines work, MSN search engine traffic, advice on getting the best out of MSN, gaining top rankings and pay per click advertising.
Although relatively new to the online search business, MSN recognised that they could not stand by and allow their competitors to continue to dominate the search engine traffic that went through the internet. Having used LookSmart, Inktomi and Yahoo to power their search engines at vary times, they started testing their own search tool in July 2004, officially launching in 2005.
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MSN SEARCH ENGINE
When it comes to generating traffic, compared to Google, MSN is small beans but internet users are fickle so don't ignore MSN as a search engine; they have the money and know how to turn things around.
In my experience, MSN pays too much attention to the content of individual web pages as opposed to the overall content of a website or authoritative links. Internal pages can therefore gain good rankings by heavily focused content aimed at a specific search term.
New sites that are not very authoritative but carry spammy pages can often get high rankings very quickly on MSN. However, this will not work on Google, in fact it will have the opposite effect.
Because MSN has a short search history, they appear to be poor at determining if links are simply reciprocal links that have been exchanged to fool the search engines into believing a site is important or if they are genuine contact/content links. So exchanging reciprocal links with other sites is likely to benefit your website on the MSN search and get you penalised by Google.
CONTENT VS LINKS
I believe that content is king when it comes to winning search engine traffic and it is necessary to build cluster web pages that may never get much natural traffic but are a requirement to ensure visitors to your main feeder pages that link to the main content. This is not the case with MSN at the moment and their poor link and content relevancy algorithm currently promote poor content websites that provide little information.
They also seem poor at crawling web pages that have a lot of links and as a result I find they have difficulty in finding and indexing pages that are deep or more than three or four pages deep within the larger websites, which is often where the more detailed content lies. Yahoo, in my opinion have go this nailed. It is my experience that Yahoo will often have three times as many pages as Google indexed for a website and thirty times as many as MSN.
Because of their lack of ability to deep crawl or recognise spam links, MSN tends to favour commercial websites that have been optimised using spam techniques. However, they appear better than Yahoo at understanding long string search terms and translating them into meaningful results.
The internet is polluted with poor content quality websites that have been set up purely to generate income through pay per click advertising. These sites use spammy link exchanges and content often lifted from other sites. Whilst they bomb on Google who are excellent at recognising link cheats and duplicate content, they appear to do far better on MSN. This is due, I believe to MSN's lack of search history and why new sites can get ranked quickly in their natural listings.
Until MSN sorts this problem out and starts to drop pointless websites that offer nothing but a PPC advert through to another site, surfers will opt to use their competition. Whilst I like the idea of newcomers to the internet being ranked quickly, they should be ranked based on content and not bought or exchanged links and MSN needs to work out how to recognise these cheats.
PAY PER CLICK ADVERTISING
In my opinion, MSN's pay per click advertising system is the best on the market. Similar to Google it is based on click through rates and maximum bid price but it also allows you to place flexible bids based on demographics. However, compared to Google, their traffic levels are low and the need to get their free search algorithms sorted out to attract the better quality surfers.
SEO FOR MSN
In my opinion, accurate search engine optimisation and linking strategies should see any new website highly ranked on MSN within two months. However, bear in mind that highly competitive search terns on MSN are full of spam sites and you will often be competing against millions of websites.
Like Google, MSN are constantly changing their algorithms to improve their results, so what will work today, will not work tomorrow and website owners often ask us why their website has suddenly disappeared out of the rankings on both search engines. The solution is always, not to try and cheat, not to steal content, not to buy in or exchange links with non authoritative websites and wait until MSN gets it right.
There will be times when your website appears highly ranked when it shouldn't and not appear anywhere when it should. There is little you can do about this as you cannot control the search engines. You can only negate this problem by building quality content that is likely to be picked up for different search terms.
Do not dismiss MSN as a search engine. They have enormous resources and the dominant share of the PC user market. With most searchers using Internet Explorer to access the internet, you can be assured that Microsoft will use this to increase their overall market share, especially amongst the less experienced user.
Like Yahoo, MSN have been busy buying up companies and forging partnerships with the like of Amazon. It will be interesting to see how the launch of their next internet browser is used to pick up more users.
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