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How to react to MSN Search's latest algorithm change

Maybe you have read about the latest ranking algorithm changes on MSN Search in online forums.

It seems that on-page factors are now more important and that MSN Search prefers web pages that are listed higher in the web site directory structure ( is preferred over a web page that lie deeper in the directory struture:

It also seems that MSN Search likes static pages better than dynamically generated web pages.

How should you react to ranking algorithm changes?

Whether it's MSN Search, Google, Yahoo or any other search engine that changes its ranking algorithm. There is one basic rule: don't panic!

Many ranking algorithm changes that are discussed in online forums are just yakety-yak. Only the search engines know which algorithms they use and they don't publish that information.

Before you change something on your web site, you should be sure what really works for your web site and what doesn't.

How to find out which ranking tips are really true

Don't follow the tips and tricks in online forums blindly. Better do your own research. For example, if you want to be ranked highly for the search term "blue widget" on then take a look at the web pages that currently have a top 10 ranking for that search term on

These web sites are obviously compliant to Google's ranking algorithm and they have done something right. Otherwise, they wouldn't be listed on the first result page.

Analyze these pages to find out what they have done to get the top 10 listing. Where do they use the search term in the web page title? How often does the search term appear on the web page? Where exactly on the web page does the search term appear? How many web sites link to the web page? There are dozens of web page factors that can influence your search engine rankings.

Find out how the top ranked pages use the search term and then adjust your web pages so that they are similar. That way you can be sure that your web pages are compliant to Google's ranking algorithm. Of course, this also works with Yahoo, MSN Search and other search engines.

If you want to save time, use IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to analyze the top ranked pages. IBP's Top 10 Optimizer does the nitty-gritty work for you and it presents the results in an easy to understand report.

The key to high rankings on Google, Yahoo, MSN Search and others

If you know how to make your web pages search engine ready, high search engine rankings are no mystery. Don't rely on rumors you hear in online forums when it comes to search engine optimization but focus on the facts. Details can be found in our free SEO ebook.

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July 2005 search engine articles