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Has MSN seen the light

Discussion in 'ODP / DMOZ' started by dvduval, May 23, 2006.

  1. #1
    I think this will be popular for some webmasters:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/archive/2006/05/22/603917.aspx
    SEMrush
     
    dvduval, May 23, 2006 IP
    SEMrush
  2. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #2
    This should send a few DP'ers scurrying for the their html editors

    MSNBot: Opting Out of Open Directory Listings for Webmasters

     
    sarahk, May 23, 2006 IP
    Smyrl likes this.
  3. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #3
    Yeah I saw that over in the off again, on again DMOZ thread earlier today. I think it was "CReed" who first broke the news.

    I guess I have a few different takes on this. One - is MSN saying that the ODP is crap or Two - is MSN snubbing ODP because of Google vested interst in it, in light of the recent Gates will Crush Google comments?

    A third take could be that MSN realizes that DMOZ listings, organization, and over all freshness is nill as of late (if ever) and is offering up webmasters a chance to give life to their sites by keeping out of date descriptions, etc., out of an SE.
     
    Mia, May 23, 2006 IP
  4. minstrel

    minstrel Illustrious Member

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    #4
    Yes. Or more accurately, MSN is saying that webmasters are complaining that ODP is crap and they can see the point so they are giving webmasters a way to opt out of the ODP trap.

    I have already added both the options to my webpages:

    <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOODP">
    <META NAME="msnbot" CONTENT="NOODP">

    The first is generic in case other SEs follow MSNs lead (which they should). The second is msnbot specific.

    Edit: There's another thread about this two - we need some merging:

    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=87888
    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=37083&page=18
     
    minstrel, May 23, 2006 IP
  5. minstrel

    minstrel Illustrious Member

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  6. nebuchadrezzar

    nebuchadrezzar Peon

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    #6
    I agree totally, If webmasters can't get dmoz to include a spammy description then they can opt-out of the description supplied by dmoz and try and supply their own description to MSN. You will note that this change does not change the use of dmoz in determining relevancy in SERP.

    I also think that that dmoz should welcome this change, MSN is still mainly using their descriptions and the PITA webmasters will stop pestering them for listing updates so they can influence the Search engines.
     
    nebuchadrezzar, May 24, 2006 IP
  7. Genie

    Genie Peon

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    #7
    But where is the evidence of dmoz determining relevancy in SERPs? The use of dmoz descriptions in SERPs got a lot of webmasters worried because they thought this had some effect on ranking. But there is no proof of that at all. On the contrary.

    All the major SEs use a variety of options in selecting a description to use in SERPs. In August 2005 at the Search Engine Strategies conference, Tim Mayer revealed the priorities at Yahoo: (1) Feed titles and descriptions, (2) Yahoo! Directory descriptions, (3) Best match to query between contextual abstracts (on page) and meta title and meta description (on page), (4) failing that use the ODP or anchor text for the title.

    Rahul Lahiri from Ask Jeeves explained that if the page has a title, they use that one. If it does not, that is when they look elsewhere. They look at ODP, then they create a title from the text in the page (query words and content). The description, they look at ODP description and if the query term is in there, they will use the ODP description. If not, they will use the content of the page to build a description.

    So in short the search terms that someone uses may sometimes affect which source is used for the description. But that does not mean that the source (whether it is a meta tag or Yahoo! description or whatever) has affected the actual ranking. The algo determines ranking. The description is a purely presentational matter.
     
    Genie, May 24, 2006 IP
  8. nebuchadrezzar

    nebuchadrezzar Peon

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    #8
    In the past yahoo has stated that they "leverage the Open Directory Project (ODP)", whatever that means, but since DMOZ does not encourage key words in such a way to be usefull in searches such use is at best limited.
     
    nebuchadrezzar, May 24, 2006 IP
  9. Genie

    Genie Peon

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    #9
    For the most part directory descriptions are reasonably concise, accurate and informative and so better for the searcher than a snippet from the page. Hence the use of them by all the major SEs. [I notice that Matt Cutts is unconcerned about Google using the ODP description for his blog. He hasn't bothered to create a meta description.]

    But they can become outdated. They can also contain typos or other errors which can be deeply irritating to the webmaster - out of all proportion really to the actual effect any error might have. It would irritate the life out of me if there were a spelling error in any description of my site.

    So I do have a lot of sympathy with those who want such errors corrected. I was delighted when the ODP made a change to the software that makes update requests more prominent internally. I have personally dealt with a lot of them.

    But I'm afraid that we are increasingly seeing requests that spring from the conviction that a description stuffed with keywords will affect ranking. It won't. It will simply make it more likely that the ODP description appears in SERPs instead of the meta description.
     
    Genie, May 24, 2006 IP
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  10. Genie

    Genie Peon

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    #10
    That simply means that they use ODP descriptions in SERPs, failing other sources, as I mentioned in post 7. Nothing to do with ranking.
     
    Genie, May 24, 2006 IP
  11. mdvaldosta

    mdvaldosta Peon

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    #11
    MSN isn't saying DMOZ is crap, or it's the beginning of the end, or they can see the point of webmasters thinking DMOZ is crap. To me, what this is saying is MSN will continue to use the DMOZ but to keep some people happy they will give people an opportunity to opt-out of the DMOZ descriptions. If anything, this is another positive vote for the directory. Their basically saying "We've thought about it, still want to keep it, but will give some of you a way out".
     
    mdvaldosta, May 24, 2006 IP
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  12. minstrel

    minstrel Illustrious Member

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    #12
    That part is true. However, page title IS an important factor in ranking and in another thread here at DP we saw an example of Google drawing not only the description but the title from DMOZ. That is reason enough to do whatever you can to prevent the use of DMOZ. Additionally, the DMOZ descriptions in some cases are so lame that no webmaster wants them in the SE listings because they don't provide a very description of the site content to searchers.

    LMAO! :D

    If it makes you feel better to believe that... :D
     
    minstrel, May 24, 2006 IP
    1 person likes this.
  13. Genie

    Genie Peon

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    #13
    Page title certainly is an important factor in ranking. So is anchor text. But let's not get the two mixed up.

    Page title = the title actually on the page in the head section between tags <title> and </title>.

    Anchor text = the text used by page A to link to page B i.e. the text in between the <a href="">and</a> tags.

    Now when Google or some other SE is assigning weight to the page title, that is based on the content of the title tag. Nothing else. It doesn't matter what text someone else uses to link to the site. But as we all know, anchor text is another factor in ranking. (Look what happened to George Bush!) Naturally webmasters would love total control over it therefore. But that is not going to happen.
     
    Genie, May 24, 2006 IP