MSN Search to Challenge Google and Yahoo
The new MSN Search is a full speed ahead effort for Microsoft to catch Google and Yahoo in the search engine race and are about ready to release their MSN Search Engine. Microsoft has offered a search engine since long on their MSN website but they were powered using outsourced technologies such as LookSmart, Inktomi, and Yahoo’s Overture. Only recently with Google emerging as a dominant force in the search engine market, they realized what they were missing on.
In February Microsoft’s Bill Gates commented that Google has blown away Microsoft in the realm of search, confirming that Google “kicked our butts” in a statement given at the World Economic Forum. After offering a subpar search service to their incredibly huge user base, MSN has finally gotten the ball rolling in their direction and Bill may be able to rest well without fearing the Google and Firefox teams chasing after him.
The new MSN Search Beta format can be previewed at http://beta.search.msn.com, and the search results can be previewed on the MSN Tech Preview. But it will not be until Thursday when the true preview test is released.
Mike Valentine of RealitySEO and a Search Engine Journal contributor adds “I’ve given [the MSN Tech Preview] a spin myself and must say that I’m impressed. Although they have no ads on the SERP’s of the preview site, I’m sure they will load it up with the 15 or more Overture ‘sponsored sites’ which clutter the results pages on the current search results by the time the new public beta reaches its official launch.”
More from Mike on MSN Search:
I’ve publicly complained about the lack of click-through traffic of top ranked sites from both Yahoo and MSN search. Even though most of my web sites and those of clients are very highly ranked in all three search engines, Yahoo and MSN send less than one quarter of all search traffic to any of those sites. Google sends the rest – over 75% of search traffic referred comes from searches originating on Google’s English speaking sites in the UK, Australia, Canada, etc.
Is that because nobody can see past the PPC ads (Overture Sponsor Ads) on MSN search? No, the “Sponsored Sites” aren’t THAT dominant on the SERP. Is it because only one fourth the number of people search at MSN and Yahoo? No, it can’t be explained that way either. Who knows? Maybe those who search at MSN and Yahoo simply want to search without bothering to visit those top ranked sites? Could it be that the blue color and the “Sponsored Sites” label actually dissuades people from dropping down to the organic results or those sponsored links are more clicked at MSN than at Google? I just don’t know.
Search Engine Journal’s and TechWhack’s Sushubh Mittal also gave his opinion on how MSN Search should also be focusing on their Windows PC search before putting all of their ducks into web search. “Microsoft is having big problems in the Search Engine Market. Their online search engine stands nowhere on popularity charts and now Google and Yahoo! are going after their desktop searching capabilities. ”
More from Sushubh:
Google has already released their desktop search tool, which has been hailed as exciting product to look out for by the online community. In addition, some other companies like Copernic and Filehand have similar applications ready for users to endorse.
While we wait for Microsoft to come up with their desktop search software, they are releasing an updated version of MSN Search for us on Thursday. It will be a preview release with final slated in the coming months.
Buzz started around the Microsoft MSN Search Engine MSNBot started popping up on site log files and analyzation tools last year. MSN has not released how many sites that they have indexed but MSN has published guidelines to help sites be indexed porperly by the MSNBot, and listed in the new MSN search results (also available on the MSNBot Guidelines):
Technical recommendations for your Web site
• Use only well-formed HTML code in your pages. Ensure that all tags are closed, and that all links are functioning properly. If your site contains broken links, MSNBot may not be able to index your site effectively, and users may not be able to reach all of your pages. For more information about correct HTML syntax, see the HTML 4.01 Specification.
• If you move your page, use the appropriate HTTP redirection code to indicate whether the move is permanent or temporary.
• Make sure MSNBot is allowed to crawl your site, and is not on your list of Web crawlers prohibited from indexing your site.
• Use a robots.txt file or Robots Meta tags to control how MSNBot and other Web crawlers index your site. Using a robots.txt file will tell Web crawlers which files and folders on your site it is not allowed to crawl. For more information, see the MSNBot FAQ.
• Whenever possible, use URLs that are simple and easy to read.
Content guidelines for your Web site
• Limit all pages to a reasonable size. An HTML page with no pictures should be under 150 KB.
• MSN Search recommends discussing one topic per page. Use links to take users to related topics.
• To ensure your pages are easy to link to from other sites, keep your URLs simple and static. Complicated URLs, or URLs that change often, are difficult to use as link destinations. A persistent URL is easier for users to find and remember, and makes it a more likely link destination from other sites.
Items and techniques discouraged by MSN Search
MSNBot recognizes the following items and techniques as spam, an inappropriate use of the index. Use of these items and techniques may affect how your site is ranked within MSN Search, and may result in the removal of your page or site from the MSN Search index.
• Loading pages with irrelevant words in an attempt to increase a page’s keyword density. This includes stuffing ALT tags that users are unlikely to view.
• Using hidden text or links. You should use only text and links that are visible to users.
• Using techniques to artificially increase the number of links to your page, such as link farms.