Microsoft Search – Now Live and Direct
February 1, 2005
Microsoft officially launches their new search engine — how are your results? Thus far, I’m seeing about 30% more traffic from Microsoft Search than from Google.
This has been getting a lot of press coverage yesterday and today – Microsoft officially enters search engine fray is typical of most of the articles..
Microsoft has declared war on Google, Yahoo and other search engines with MSN Search, which is being officially launched tonight at midnight, Feb. 1.
So just how significant is this? Remember that every copy of Internet Explorer defaults to having “MSN” as the home page. The search feature on that page runs directly through Microsoft’s new search engine. Despite inroads made by FireFox, that represents a lot of users.
I hear some of you saying “Wait a minute — that search feature has always been there. What’s different now?”
The difference is that it’s always produced lame results before. Most people who’ve tried it have probably thrown their hands up and went on to Google. Since “google” has become synonymous with “search” for many people, even relatively new users figure out how to find it quite fast.
Today, however (and increasingly, for the past few weeks, as they’ve sent more and more traffic through the beta test of their engine), Microsoft Search is returning some pretty great results. It’s clean, it’s usable, and it has relevant results. If you haven’t tried it, it’s worth using — at least as a backup when you can’t find what you’re looking for on Google.
What needs to happen now is for it to capture back some mindshare, and the mighty Microsoft PR engine is working hard on making that happen.
“The ad campaign aims to reach 90 percent of U.S. households 40 times in the next eight weeks, said Chris Cocks, MSN’s director of global campaigns. ”This will be our biggest campaign since the introduction of the MSN Butterfly in 2000,“ Cocks said. The initiative will hit 25 markets in 10 languages concurrently.”
So what does this mean to you? Quite a bit, potentially. Previously, Microsoft was sending my sites a trickle of the amount of traffic that Google sent. Over the past few weeks, this trickle has been turning into a flood on most of my sites. Today, so far, I’m seeing around 30% more search engine traffic from Microsoft than I am from Google.
This hasn’t replaced Google traffic, it’s supplemented it. That means I’m seeing over double the volume of search engine traffic that I normally see. Will this grow as the PR blitz for MSN Search continues? Or will it start eating into Google results and not increase the overall volume much more? Only time will tell.
One of the reasons I’m seeing a lot of Microsoft Search traffic is because it appears to rely more on on-page optimization factors and somewhat less on link popularity and relevance than Google does. Google is also widely thought to penalize new sites (the “sandbox” effect), while MSN Search doesn’t appear to.
As a result, I’m ranked much higher on many of my targeted keywords and phrases on MSN than I am on Google, and the traffic reflects this.
Like most things in the search engine world, this is likely to change as time goes by. People who pay attention to the shifting battleground of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will modify their pages to get better MSN Search traffic, and MSN will modify their results algorithms to prevent people from artificially manipulating the results, and the game will go on.
For the moment, however, the “getting is good.” If you’ve not taken a look at basic on-page optimization for your site, there is now more reason than ever to do so.
Don’t wait — there is business out there looking to find you!