MSN Showing Less Organic Listings

Until recently I’ve not followed MSN Search very closely. For that matter, I take the general philosophy that one should spend the bulk of their time focusing on their own site, rather than the engines… but that’s another post. Anyhow, I was doing a product search and noticed something quite interesting. I then went to confirm this with another non-commercial search (which had no paid ads listed) and the phenomenon did not repeat. I then tried a search for “search engine optimization” and voila, back again. Unless I’ve been under a rock this is something fairly new:

MSN appears to no longer be displaying 10 results per page for searches that have ads bidding on those search phrases. Rather, they show roughly 10 results for the first couple of pages, and then scale back on the number of organic listings. Why? My guess is b/c they wish to increase the ratio of paid ads to organic ads on those pages without significantly messing with the bulk of the traffic (first couple SERPs aka results pages).

Here’s some data I found on my search for search engine optimization:

SERPS Page # of Organic Listings
1 10
2 10
3 9
4 8
5 6
6 10
7 9
8 5
9 8
10 10
11 6
12 9
13 7
14 9
15 5
16 8
17 6
18 5
19 5
20 7

After 20 pages I got tired of looking 🙂 There doesn’t even seem to be a real set logic to the pattern – at least not in the first 20 pages or so. I’d imagine it eventually fits some sort of pattern or levels out… Anyone else notice this before? I realize I still have comments closed – but feel free to email me if you like. Eventually I’ll get a decent comment spam filter installed!

Great Article – Hiring is Obsolete

Paul Graham wrote a great article I came across several weeks back that discusses hiring, particularly hiring recent college grads and “entry-level” employees.

This was of a great bit of interest to me, since I’m only a couple years removed from college myself. Within a few months of graduation I realized that there simply weren’t any jobs that I saw as desireable. I wanted to work in internet marketing, which had been the subject of my education as well as my two internships and also a great deal of independent study, but the dot-com bust combined with a lack of general “experience” made it difficult finding a job that I thought I’d like, much less one that paid well and enabled me to take on some higher-level strategic roles. Thus, I started my own firm and have been doing pretty well. My clients are happy, I’m happy, so far so good 🙂 I’ve even parlayed it into a solid position with a fairly large corporation where I now work part-time (and focus the other “part” of my time on my private business).

Owning my own business enabled me to learn and gain valuable skills and experience in just a couple years that would have taken much longer to acquire had I gone the typical “entry-level” path for recent college graduates. It really helped me bypass the early-career phase, which keeps things alot more interesting for me.

Great article Paul!

Msnbetter Thangoogle Polish SEO Contest

Apparently another SEO contest has sprung up. It seems to be within the Polish community, and this time the search phrase is “msnbetter thangoogle”. I would argue that statement in many cases (though not all), but oh well…

Some people have got alot of time on their hands, to be creating sites for imaginery search phrases 🙂 How is anyone searching on msnbetter thangoogle going to convert into meaningful traffic or sales/leads/conversions for anyone?

Then again I suppose something like flying purple camel saddles or coolest guy on the planet might not really be much better than msnbetter thangoogle either… 🙂