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While everyone else is concentrating on Google and Yahoo optimization, I decided to write an elaborate article about MSN optimization. This article will be published in 4 parts for easier reading.

MSN is the third search engine now and has emphasis on using on page optimization techniques, instead Google and Yahoo pay close attention to your incoming link anchor text, so MSN indexes more pages than other search engines, and in result you can rank your pages higher and faster in MSN search engine. MSN is definitely one of the leading search engines on the net today. What separates it from other search engine giants? Well, MSN place great importance in using page optimization techniques, whereas Google and Yahoo concentrates on incoming link anchor text alone.

MSN Search Engine Beta Optimization Techniques

MSN’s Search Engine Beta, called Live Search, algorithm many things in common with Google’s and Yahoo!’s proprietary algorithms, but also includes some subtle yet significant, and somtimes overlooked, differences.

Around June, this year, Microsoft launched MSN Search Engine in beta version. With this launch, soon came site owners’ questions on how to achieve high search engine rankings. These rankings have some similarities to the techniques already used in Google and Yahoo. But, the MSN algorithm has a few twists and turns. We’ll dive into them pretty soon, so keep reading.

As with the other major search engines, MSN Search requires good relevant content, and quality incoming links featuring keyword rich link anchor text. Yes, we already knew that, you’ll say. There are however some differences and similarities. After all, all search engine algorithms, while similar in many basic ways, are unique in their advanced requirements in other areas of optimization.

Let’s start. The most important aspect of the MSN Search Beta is the need for good, keyword-rich content. Relevance of theme and topic appears to be very important to MSN. So, a well-defined web site, with on-subject topics will rank higher than an average broader-themed web site. Oppositely, MSN strongly dislikes keyword stuffing, and will drop a site’s ranking accordingly. So, you’ve stuffed your web site with keywords, and Google is happy. Well, but if you decide to approach MSN, you’ll have to lose some of the less important keywords and keep only the most relevant.

Links are important to MSN, appearing as natural as possible for the MSN crawler, and in varied contexts. Clean code is a must with MSN Search, as its spider has a strong preference for well written and valid code. If the code is poorly written or non-valid, MSN Search downgrades the site’s search rankings.

MSN places more importance on META tags than Google and Yahoo. So TITLE and DESCRIPTION should be there, relevant and keyword-rich, no matter what.

Content Appreciation

MSN Search places heavy emphasis on content. Accordingly, MSN Search is a content oriented search engine. Content not only provides direct and immediate value in the search engine results pages (SERPs), but also indirectly over the longer term, in the form of incoming natural links. Also, it’s important to attract as many organic links as possible. One sure way to gain incoming links is to provide interesting and useful content. Not only does content add links, but it also provides the important keyword phrases if presented in many search engine friendly forms.

Page URLs should be static html or php, preferably containing a keyword, or even two keywords separated by a dash (-) or an underscore (_). Dynamic URLs are less likely to be indexed in MSN, so they are best avoided.

Keep the on-page themes and topics consistent and relevant as I said above, and make certain that all of the pages are linked together in some way. A clean navigation structure is preferred, or a second textual menu at the bottom of every page. Again, a clean sitemap, more or less visually enhanced, JavaScript free, should be provided as a link in the main navigation menu. Don’t make the directories too deep since there is some evidence that MSN’s spider does not dive as deeply as the Google spider. Probably three levels down is the maximum depth for a complete crawl by the MSN bot, although after coming out of beta, things might change.

Internal site links are important to MSN. Be sure to link extensively within the site, using strong link anchor text thematically related to the content of the receiving page, and not only the overused “click here”. While Google might only give full link credit to one internal link, with the others receiving much less, MSN appears to be much more generous in that regard. Links from external web sites should be from theme relevant sites, since MSN is working with context weighted calculation. In effect, sticking to sites that offer a related theme and similar topics will pay strong results later. Make sure that the link text has some degree of variation to appear as naturally occurring as possible, either by naming your pages or articles with intuitive and theme-sticking titles, or by directly contacting the web site owner. When using a blog, the link back text varies and even (with some blogging platforms) adds a small excerpt from the original article.

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One thought on “MSN Search Engine Optimization Tips and Tricks (Part 1)

  1. Hi,

    thanks for info, since I was focusing on google results and now I found out that in msn concurency websites are higher than me. And I really need something to do with that.
    Thanks, once again.

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