Gauging Reactions To MSN Search

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Last Thursday, MSN announced the official beta launch of their search engine. Although a preview had been available on their sandbox site, the launch marked the official unveiling of the company’s proprietary search technology to the general public. Reaction to what many view as Microsoft’s challenge to Google’s throne was swift.

MSN Search Response
The Crowd Reacts To MSN Search

What are your feelings about MSN’s new search engine? Are you impressed, or are you disappointed? Discuss at WebProWorld.

From major publications like The New York Times, NPR, and thousands of blogs, it seemed everyone had a comment concerning MSN Search’s launch. As with most releases of this size and coverage, responses varied. However, a quick browse of some of the SEO forums finds the opinion on MSN Search generally positive.

The search engine audience’s response to MSN Search was also quick. On WebProWorld, a thread discussing the launch was filled with positives. Longtime poster Greeneagle said, “I am impressed! – They seem to have worked out some serious bugs (referring to the sandbox version)!”; while BStone shared this experience, “They are very responsive to feedback. I sent feedback about my site not being listed and a few hours later the bot deep scanned my site and it was listed the next day. Very impressive.”

On the WebmasterWorld forum, their MSN Search thread was spilt in two with 29 pages of responses. These reactions slid up and down the barometer with comments like “MSN’s results are junk” to others defending the relevancy of MSN Search’s results. One such defense came from a poster name Dvduval, who said, “I am very pleased with the results on the new search engine. One nice thing I have observed is there is a good assortment of both newer sites and older sites in the SERPS, while Google seems to be too weighted toward older sites.”

However, as observed by Ownerrim there may be a potential issue with some aspects of MSN: “The Microsoft SE is not particularly adept at excluding link schemes. In one niche area, I saw one fellow’s sites, on the same subject matter; appear on the first four pages of the SERPs. And the content on nearly every one of these sites is nearly identical. If this is the best that MS can do, Google doesn’t have to worry. MS can run as many butterfly commercials as they want–hype doesn’t replace results.”

Owner’s comment about the repetitive site’s content may have been explained by Nacho Hernandez on the SearchEngineWatch forum’s thread concerning MSN’s launch. In responding to a post made about content being king in MSN’s eyes, Nacho said, “Words of wisdom. It seems that MSN Search (beta) is exactly what it loves the most, because the pages you pointed out (along with other examples I have tested) demonstrate that.” (That would also explain why this writer made MSN Search’s first page, something not true with Google+Search”>Google.)

One of the more humorous “reactions” actually came from chief MSN competitor Google. On the day of MSN Search’s launch, Google announced the newly increased size of their search index. Google’s boast of over 8 billion pages eclipsed MSN’s expected 5 billion strong index (which would’ve beaten Google’s previous 4 billion plus).

One area of concern among some users was the appearance of MSN’s search results page. To some, the ads were a bit distracting. This was noticeable in Pleeker’s post at WMW, who commented on differentiating between results and ads, “Note to MSN Search Team: those are not “web results,” and they’re not the first listings your algorithm found in the index. Those are paid ads. The opaque “SPONSORED SITES” off to the far right isn’t noticeable enough, and it’s disingenuous to list those under the “Web Results” heading.” While poster Skipfactor is a little more direct; “…ditch the Yahoo ad scheme of ads nauseum: top, right, and bottom is just too cluttered. Do what the leader does when you’re behind in the race.” This is referring to the method in which Google displays their ads.

A great deal of reaction in all forums had to do with where a person was ranked compared to their ranking on another search engines; those that had high rankings generally like MSN’s results, while those that did not rank well didn’t seem too impressed. However, most seem to welcome another, highly visible, search engine, if only because it will increase competition. This feeling is echoed by WMW poster PhraSEOlogy, who says, “I just think that we are at an exciting point in search engine history; MSN making inroads and Google being the dominant force (at present) It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the long run. I for one, think that this is a great time for SEO’s to explore and experiment.”

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.

Gauging Reactions To MSN Search
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