Site 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 content 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 attention 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.

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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.

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