Experiments By "Microsoft Live Search": 'Best Match' And 'Categorized Listings'

Mar 2, 2009 | 2,035 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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The current hot topic related with SEO industry seems to have a very deep relationship with Google’s algorithm changes that favors big brands, but it looks that Microsoft Live Search (another search engine) has some other plans in mind. The later one is in the favor of “Best Match” along with other features to improvise on its search results and give a better browsing experience to its users.

Vanessa Fox of Search Engine Land talks about some interesting “Live Search changes” in her latest post! Let us have a look at them:

“Today, I came across some interesting Live Search changes that I can only reproduce on one computer running XP and only on Internet Explorer when I search from live.com (rather than the toolbar).”

Best match: understanding searcher intent

Microsoft Live Search appears to be flighting a new instant answer called “Best Match” that highlights what presumably Microsoft finds to be ideal result for the query. This new feature isn’t triggered for all queries and seems to appear using similar criteria as Google’s sitelinks. The query has to be unambiguous and navigational. It’s less “we’re very confident this result is the best” and more “we’re very confident that we know exactly what you are searching for”.

Why does this new feature favor brands? Search engines can be more confident of a searcher’s intent with a branded search than with most other types of queries. Someone searching for [woodland park zoo] likely is looking for their site specifically. Someone searching for [zoo] could be looking for lots of different things.

1 Experiments By Microsoft Live Search: Best Match And Categorized Listings

More than just brands

However, this new instant answer isn’t being triggered for brand searches only. For instance, a search for [fug] brings up the Go Fug Yourself site (unfortunately, it brings up their old site that’s now redirecting).

2 Experiments By Microsoft Live Search: Best Match And Categorized Listings

Changes from regular listings

It appears as though this new featured result replaces the URL’s normal first position in the search results. Site owners should be pleased that this new placement with bold, larger font will draw even more of the searcher’s attention. Unless, of course, searchers skip right over it, thinking it’s an ad.

There are differences beyond simply being highlighted as the best match. The URL shows up above the snippet rather than below it. The cache link is gone. And the “show more results from” link is no longer.

iPod query before

3 Experiments By Microsoft Live Search: Best Match And Categorized Listings

iPod query after

4 Experiments By Microsoft Live Search: Best Match And Categorized Listings

Read more @ Search Engine Land

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Experiments By Microsoft Live Search: Best Match And Categorized Listings
4.thumbnail Experiments By Microsoft Live Search: Best Match And Categorized Listings