Optimization for MSN
MSN is now powered by Microsoft Live, and although you can go to the MSN.com web page and
still access MSN search capabilities, the underlying technology has been rebranded as Microsoft
Live. But it’s still one of the top three search engines, and it’s definitely not one that you should
ignore. Studies have shown that searchers who enter your site from MSN searches may be fewer in
number than those from other search engines, but they routinely have higher conversion rates.
As with other search engines, the basic optimization techniques that you’ve learned are the best
way to get listed with MSN search. MSN also does not allow paid ranking, so your organic efforts
will be the deciding factor for your rankings.
The one difference with MSN is that this search engine puts more emphasis on the freshness of con-
tent than other search engines. Specifically, sites that update high-quality, relative content on a regular
basis have a better chance of ranking high with MSN. So if you have not yet implemented a content
strategy, and if you want to rank well with MSN, you should plan and implement that strategy.
MSN, like Google, indexes pages according to a proprietary algorithm. And like Google, MSN
(or more accurately, Microsoft Live) has a set of guidelines that you should follow if you would
like your site to rank well. Those guidelines can be found by going to MSN or Microsoft Live
and using the search string: Site Owner Help. The guidelines that you’re seeking should return
as the top search result.
MSN also looks at your meta description tags, and the title tags on your pages. So pay close atten-
tion to creating the most useful and relevant tags you can. Also include keywords and important
information as near the top of each of your pages as possible.
Over time it’s certain that the MSN brand will be folded into and eventually replaced by Microsoft
Live Search. Branding is likely to be the only thing that changes when this happens. MSN had long
used Microsoft technology (MSN, after all, does stand for Microsoft Network). This means that your
SEO efforts will remain viable even as the MSN/Microsoft Live rebranding takes place.
Optimization for Yahoo!
Every search engine differs a little bit from the others, and Yahoo! is no exception. Where Google
focuses on elements like relevance of content and links, and MSN focuses on freshness of content
and the tags on your site, Yahoo! is more focused on keyword density and keywords in the URL and
So if you’ve used basic SEO techniques, you’ll likely be listed with Yahoo! in a matter of time. Your
rank on Yahoo! will depend on competition, of course. So you’ll need to focus carefully on the key-
words that you select if your industry is a highly competitive one. Just be careful, because using a
higher density of keywords so you’ll rank well in Yahoo! could cause you problems with MSN and
Google. It could look to those search engines as if you’re stuffing your site with keywords.
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