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The latest figures from comScore are in and Microsoft is picking up speed.

While long standing search leader Google continues to dominate by a large margin, comScore reports Google losing some ground in June, while MSN saw a noticeable increase.

Latest figures for Google show a drop to 49.5%, down 1.2% from May. Yahoo also saw a decline of a little over a percentage point down 1.3 to 25.1%. Meanwhile Microsoft had a significant gain, up from its low 10.3 to a higher low of 13.2%. Ask remains unchanged at 5%.

In June Americans performed 8.0 billion online searches, which are up 6 percent from May, and up 26 percent from June 2006.

Interestingly enough, while both Google and Yahoo both saw a decrease in their percentage share for the month of June both search engines actually saw an increase in the actual number of searches conducted. With Microsoft’s nearly 3% jump, along with an increase in American searches, Microsoft experienced a spike in search volume up 36% over May, a substantial increase by any means.

Microsoft’s increase is partially credited to the introduction of the Live Search Club launched in late May, a program created to reward users of Live Search. Using their Windows Live ID and logging in to play games, and completing puzzles that involve searches users earn tickets which can then be redeemed for rewards.

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Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

How Safe is Your Search?

Roughly 4 percent of all search results display links to potentially dangerous websites, according to a report published by McAfee’s SiteAdvisor, on Monday. The report notes that Yahoo results are the riskiest with AOL leading the pack as having the safest results.

Over the past year, both organic and sponsored links have seen an increase in safety, however, the biggest change is seen within sponsored listings. On average the number of risky links declined from 8.5% in May 2006, to 6.9% in May of this year. Organic results saw a drop from 3.1% down to 2.9%. Read more…

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Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Microsoft Pre-Fills Search Box

There have been reports at search engine land and Search Engine Roundtable that MSN UK has been pre-filling their search box with “The Apprentice BBC”. I went to uk.msn.com to see for myself and sure enough, there it was:

I am not sure how I feel about this form of advertising, or how large of an impact it would have on searches. And what happens if the BBC Apprentice site slips from the number one ranking spot? Is their top ranking also being influenced by this?

I do not see this technique catching on as it would likely just irritate searchers forcing MSN to pull the idea. I for one do not want search engines telling me what to search for, but I am curious to know what the BBC has paid for this.

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Friday, February 16th, 2007

MSN Launches soapbox

If you are looking for an alternative to YouTube, MSN has officially launched the public beta version of soapbox. For several months now it has been available on an invitation basis, but now the general public can go see what’s been happening.

The beta launch was announced with a very brief blog post yesterday by the “soap box team“.

With all the copyright issues and controversy surrounding Google and YouTube one must wonder if the same issues are possible with soapbox, and what MSN has done, or what they will do, to help avoid copyright issues.

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Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Google, Yahoo and MSN Market Share

Danny Sullivan recently posted the latest search engine market share stats in the SearchEngineWatch Blog . The order of the big three, has without much surprise, remained the same with Google the clear leader followed by Yahoo, then MSN.

Google
Yahoo
MSN

Google
Since this time last year Google has seen a noticeable increase in their
overall market share as they continue to grow in popularity. Its a slow
and steady climb with no apparent end in sight. With the launch of new
tools and features and the recent acquisition of YouTube, its ever increasing
online presence is likely a leading contributor to this consistent rise
in market share.

Yahoo

Yahoo remains in the middle. Having had some dips over the past 12 months
they have risen slightly according to NetRatings and dropped slightly
with comScore; however, overall, they have remained fairly static. This
is not necessarily a bad thing as it does show stability over the long
term and retention of return users. It will be interesting to see if by
this time in 2007 they remain flat or if an increase in market share will
be seen.

MSN

Since this time last year Microsoft has seen dips across the board and
is now at its lowest point in the last 12 months. Currently hovering around
the 10% mark it falls in third place and while 10% may sound low when
considering the vastly increasing number of people performing searches,
that figure still represents a significant piece of the pie. Certainly
MSN would like to be higher, and with the launch of the new Windows Live,
probably expected an increased share, but many people are afraid of change,
and they just may have scared off some of their loyal users. That said,
I would personally expect Windows Live, as it is further refined, to help
MSN over the next 12 months.

What does all this mean for website owners? What it really comes down
to is, yes you will get the most traffic by ranking #1 in Google, but
you should not discount Yahoo and MSN, as they can still deliver a substantial
number of visitors to your site. General optimization and responsible
link building campaigns will help out with all three engines. Stay away
from anything that looks fishy, continue to build quality content and
incoming links, and keep your pages well optimized and you will stand
the best chance of success.

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Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

Future Evolution of Search

The search engine world never rests. As online marketing professionals discover new ways to obtain top rankings the algorithms evolve right along side. There are two primary reasons behind the updating of ranking algorithms. To increase the quality and relevancy of the results, and to decrease the many page of online spam. Read more…

This is a heads up for my readers and clientele that MSN search applied an update that has significantly affected rankings. The client results we have reviewed so far have all done well by this update but we are continuing to review. So far it appears that MSN is still following the basic principles of good SEO but I have noticed the following elements appear important: Read more…

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Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Live Search Officially Launched

Microsoft officially launched its “Live” search Last Monday. Live Search, Live.com, and Live Local Search were officially released from Beta. Live Search will also be the new power behind MSN Search.

Live.com has been released in 47 worldwide markets. Throughout its Beta period users have sent in suggestions and complaints which have been used to refine the software in preparation for its prime time debut.

Live.com uses a very clean, easy to use, uncluttered design which is sure to attract those looking to simply perform a search. Live can be used to search for web, images, news, rss feeds, blogs and video according to the

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Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Search Engine SPAM Strikes Again

We were recently contacted by a client who had found a number of occurrences of search engine SPAM. What made this SPAM a problem is that they were targeting the clients business name and coming up in some of the top 10 rankings! The pages were littered with the company name, and appeared to have been created by a bot (which the majority of SPAM pages are).

The question we were presented with was: “These sites keep popping up, they are blatantly using our company name as an SEO landing page, do i have any recourse?” Read more…

I know this was happened while back (2005 in fact) but a friend of mine (thanks Quentin!) showed me this link to Microsoft’s job post board and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

In 2005 MSN’s search results were infamous for their less than optimal relevance. Well, as a result, Microsoft posted a job for fast typers to help them create Hand Crafted Results when “ranking algorithms do not pass the confidence threshold”. Read more…