…and is absolutely right.
If you are looking for MSN’s German search engine search.msn.de on their own site (screenshot) you will see MSN rank 2nd below a simple blogpost of mine.
What I’ve tried to prove some days ago is that the MSN Search alogrithm is so out of date that one could even rank for their own PR6 search engine subdomain.
There are 3 things you have to know about MSN when asking yourself how such absurd things might have happened.
- If you look for a domain name at google.com, Google will know what’s a domain name and what’s not and deliver special results for domains. So anyone will find the domain he desired to find. For MSN a domain name is a search string like any other.
- MSN doesn’t get anything about trust, popularity or relevance of domains. The reason might be, that MSN hasn’t been in the search business for so long and might suffer from the lack of historical data. So MSN has a very strong on-page-bias.
- But when it comes to comparing a search string with their document database, you will see MSN is the most accurate search engine one could ever think of. They will search your html-document for the exact search string in title, headers, description, copy text and (maybe) inbound links and will rank the
most relevant best matching sites on top.
MSN is so narrow-minded when matching search strings with documents that you can easily reach top positions in SERPs just by doing A+ text book SEO as it ruled the late 90s. And since MSN does not see any difference between domain names and standard search strings they even allow you to rank for a query on their own domain.
One could say that all this is well known and 1. nobody will look for „search.msn.de“ and 2. nobody will use MSN Search. BUT: Have you ever thought about all those WWW-noobs opening their IE, seeing msn.com as their start page and perceiving the search applet as the line, where they have to enter the domain name they are looking for? Having a look at my statistics, I can tell you, there are hundreds and thousands of them. It took me 4 days, a blog full of personal bullshit and a few freebie backlinks to rank for search.msn.de. What will it take to rank for ebay.com or amazon.com? Of course most of the MSN users will do this query. I guess you could make some bucks fishing for those users.
Call me a coward, cause I did not try this with real competition, but I didn’t know it would be too easy and it shouldn’t look like me making money out of it. I also used search.msn.de because it’s a good symbol for their cluelessness. I’ve thought about using www.msn.de, but they seem to be kind of aware of the problem and the SERPs for www.msn.de seem very hand-crafted to me. They list a bunch of 301 redirected domains on top. I don’t see how that could be part of any ranking algorithm and used search.msn.de instead.
I really wonder when MSN’s going to deliver something looking like a search engine for their users. And I don’t wanna know how many results they have to “review” for getting the majority of things look fine.
Digg this story to give MSN a BUZZ!.
Update: Look at Google Blogoscoped trying to rank for www.google.com.
2nd Update: Looks like MSN fixed the issue by replacing the GERMAN Name MSN Suche with MSN Search. (OMG! Compare the screenshot and the new SERP)