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Climbing the Beanstalk
November 16, 2004

Welcome to the November 16, 2004 edition of "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly newsletter on search engines and search engine positioning from Beanstalk. In this edition we will explore the MSN search engine launch, recent published articles by Beanstalk staff, and discuss the Google update currently underway (at the time of this writing).

If you have any questions regarding any of the areas covered in this newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us.

The Microsoft Way

While global domination may be nothing more than a fanciful dream to the executive at Microsoft, it seems to be built into everything they do. From the integration of the browser and multimedia into their operating systems to offering Internet access, their business model seems determined to monopolize computer systems and everything you might do with them. And now, to further this virtual monopoly over all things electronic, Microsoft last week announced the official launch of the MSN search engine.

Until last week MSN results were served by Yahoo!/Overture. It has long been known that the folks over at MSN were hard at work developing their own search engine. Last week that engine was unveiled. While many were surprised that it wasn't launched right in the live MSN results, SEO's worldwide have been searching http://beta.search.msn.com. It appears that Microsoft has decided to first launch this engine in beta, seeking feedback on both the interface and the results.

This is not the first time we've seen this from Microsoft in regards to this engine. Two brief "tech previews" predated the beta launch. The engine is reportedly being put to the live MSN.com site sometime before January 2005.

It's ironic that they have put their search engine out in beta. The reason I say this is because of their history of mistakes. Traditionally they put out their product, let us all test it for them, and then patch up the errors (does anyone remember Windows ME ... I'm betting they wish we didn't). It's ironic because this is one of the better products I've seen from Microsoft.

The results from this search engine address many of the problems with Google. The results are relatively spam-free, and it has the same clean interface that Google does (but will it when it goes live?)

Does Microsoft want to rule the world? Not really. They just want to control everything you have on your computer and everything that travels across the Internet. With this one they just might do it. It's a good engine and the folks over at Microsoft know what they've got. Expect this new search engine to be integrated into your next operating system. It may be monopolistic but if they keep the quality of their results up ... who will care?

Recent Search Engine Positioning Articles
Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization has recently had two of it's articles picked up by WebProNews, ISEDB, and an assortment of other SEO resource sites. These are recommended reading for anyone interested in attaining high rankings.

Website Optimization
This is perhaps the single most important aspect of ranking your website highly on the search engines. While all of the factors covered in this series will help get your website into the top positions, it is your content that will sell your product or service and it is your content that ... <more>

Site Structure
Developing the structure of your website is a very important step in its overall optimization. The site structure will dictate how the spiders read your site, what information they gather, what content holds the most weight ... <more>

Protecting Your Corporate Identity On The Search Engines
Companies go to great lengths to establish their corporate identity through marketing, advertisements, promotions, search engine positioning, and other means. As with any success, it may well happen that criticism follows. Any company is likely to do something that someone somewhere won't like ... <more>

The Google Shuffle

Starting on November 15, 2004, Google began it's most recent update. Easily predictable, this update falls on the one year anniversary of the Florida Update. For those who don't recall the Florida Update, on November of last year Google decided to introduce an entirely new algorithm that sent websites jumping with SEO's almost ready to do the same.

The results were jam-packed full of spam and came just when online businesses were prepped for the holiday rush. Those sites that deserved to do well dropped pages in the rankings while those who broke the rules rose to the top.

This last update did not hold the same fate (thank goodness). In fact, there was very little to report. From what we have seen, Google just got a little bit better. They increased their index to 8 billion pages (coincidentally on the same day that MSN launched it's beta engine ;) Other than that there is very little difference.

If anything links have dropped slightly in their importance and the overall weight given to a site that focuses on one theme seems to have gone up. Basically this means that massive link building holds a bit less weight (though still a dominating factor) and sites that are about a single subject or that focus on a basic set of phrases will tend to do better than those that focus on many topics and/or a variety of phrases.

All-in-all the past two weeks have seen good results in the search engine world with 2 of the 3 major players improving their positions. The official launch of the MSN engine promises to be a very interesting one indeed with Google working hard to introduce improvements equally as fast.

And when you want to know what's going on ... look for your Beanstalk newsletter. We'll be watching this very closely and will let you know what comes of it all.

Thank You

Thank you very much for subscribing to "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly search engine positioning newsletter. If you have any questions about the areas covered or if there are any areas of search engine positioning that you would like to see covered in future articles/newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us. We want to write what you want to know.

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