I’d like to take this opportunity to thank and welcome Nicolas Prudhon, who will be sharing with us, his personal insights on SEO beyond Google. Nicolas gives great advice on SEO and is one of my personal favorites.
Nicolas, over to you!
With Google ever changing algorithms; the SEO game sounds incredibly difficult for new comers. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be so. Certainly Google is the dominant search engine out there, but one should not totally ignore the smallest of the top 3 search engines, namely MSN.
Despite the fact that MSN carries the smallest market share, it is by far the easiest search engine to rank well for in terms of SEO. Another reason why MSN is an excellent training ground for beginners is the fact that whatever you do right will benefit you, and whatever you do wrong will hardly penalize you!
Globally speaking, due to its young age, MSN has a much more limited crawling history and network than Google or Yahoo, this translate into several benefits for us when applying SEO for MSN.
Because MSN doesn’t have an old crawling history, it is unable to take aging factor in account. To the benefit of fresh new site, it is then possible to rank quickly because authority through aging is almost irrelevant on MSN and a new site as then almost the same chances to rank high as an old one.
Almost No Filters
If Google is famous for its filters like Singapore is known to be a “fine” city, MSN is characterized by its lack of filters. Again, lacking sufficient crawling data, MSN is unable to provide filters sufficiently accurate, and therefore doesn’t. As a SEO novice this is certainly very attractive as it would mean that your mistakes will hardly ever get you penalized.
Almost all Links are Relevant
No crawling history and limited ability to interlace content by MSN crawler makes it again a heaven for link building campaigns for the sole reasons that MSN will pretty much take everything that you give to him, from the irrelevant link exchange from your directory link page, to the one you got from an absolutely unrelated site. In fact pretty much all the practices that get you no points or could get you penalized on Google, will be welcomed on MSN.
The major difficulty to rank well in Google now lies in its algorithms capable to study concepts over words. Another problem you won’t have with MSN, in fact, this probably where you’ll get the bigger discrepancy with Google.
Having and repeating heavily the same keyword in your title, tags, and content to a density that would get you banned in Google, has a tendency to help you rank very well in MSN.
No Adsense Please
One tip here, if you plan to rank well on MSN, I would highly recommend you to remove any trace of Google Adsense on your site because MSN doesn’t like that. Not having Google Adsense on your site will therefore help you rank higher and faster on MSN.
If you are new to the SEO game and don’t feel ready to tackle Google or wait a few months to see any benefit based on a change you just made, or simply if your objective is to attract your visitors by applying SEO from the old books rather than by your content quality and reputation, then MSN is the way to go for you.
Please note that I address MSN mainly as a training ground for you, should you have more experience and global SEO understanding, getting a ranking in Google should still be your long term objective.