MSN Starting to Change Over

First, my apologies for going about a month without a post. Christmas, NewYear’s, etc. etc.

There has been a fair amount of talk lately in the forums regarding MSN’s new search engine, which has been in Beta testing for just about two months (see my post on MSN launching their new search engine – beta version). Apparently some posters have claimed that there is either a memo or individual within Microsoft that has labeled February 1, 2005 as the full fledge launch date. The popular thought is that for a good week or two now they’ve been slowing starting to provide some results on the regular MSN site that are powered by the new technology. After exercising a bit of caution they will supposively make the full plunge.

But here’s where I’m a bit befuddled. I’ve noticed a bit more traffic on some of my sites from MSN as of late. Particularly, these are solid content sites that, because they are relatively new, do not have a ton of links and generally don’t rank all that well yet in Google. I’ve seen the search terms used by visitors referred from MSN and then proceeded to do a quick search to identify my sites’ rankings for these terms, which are reasonably specific and thus I expected to see a top 15 or 30 ranking (MSN groups 15 per page as their default versus Google’s 10).

So I look. I don’t find. Nowhere to be found on MSN. So then I think. Maybe its possible that they were referred results from the new technology, whereas when I look I’m seeing the current/old results. Okay. So I go to the URL for the MSN beta site. Still no luck. How are these people finding my sites via MSN for certain search terms when in some cases they aren’t ranked highly in either? My hunch is that MSN is doing a good bit of readjusting along with moving their search engine to the new technology. This is likely going to be reality, I would suspect, for another couple of weeks or so, assuming that the February 1st thinking is somewhere within the general realm of reality.