Everyone who follows online search is familiar with the competitive nature of the industry. The big three, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, compete heavily to deliver the most accurate search results on a given query. That is why Microsoft made the half assed attempt to takeover Yahoo. As it sits, Google controls search, period, and that translates into many eyes balls using search as their online starting place.
With Microsoft the failure has not been due to their Live Search strategy but with the results search queries render. It was actually showed me through a routine search using Live Search. During game play on LOTRO, I tabbed out to a browser for a quick search and instead of using the Google search bar I used the Live Search on MSN’s homepage.
The search term was “lotro maps” (minus quotes) and I fully expected to see query to render highly similar to those found on Google. Quite the opposite actually. Using Google, a listing is generated for a site pointing to a webpage that is hosting dynamic map of LOTRO worlds. The page is everything pertinent for the search term and gives users the best results for the query. On the other hand, Live Search rendered a site that is setup as a gold spam site which focuses on keyword stacking to emphasize authority for the search term.
– Live Search
The top listings display two totally different results. Live Search seems to put to much emphasis on the number of times the keyword are placed on the page. Google on the other hand displays a result that is highly relevant to the query and that result that has minimal keyword density, if any, on the page. I am no rocket scientist but the Live results seem to have no relevance to the query.
Another area to analyze is Microsoft’s correlation between search term and website’s url (also can be viewed in the previous example). This example looks at the search term “click here” (minus quotes).
– Live Search
Google still basis a lot of importance on the number of incoming links coming to a website and as a result Adobe ranks #1 for “click here”. Adobe has so many links to its website with the anchor text “click here” because so many sites link to their download page as a precaution if their users do not have Adobe Acrobat. Microsoft seems to feel the domain name clickhere.com is more important. But like in the first example, more emphasis is being put on the domain name that relevant incoming links.
The last reason why Live Search is not working for Microsoft is that they are over diversified and not focused on solely on search. Windows and Office have been the work horses for Microsoft for many years and the foundation in which it has created its massive empire. But search has never been Microsoft’s primary focus like other tech companies have made it. This over diversification does not allow Microsoft to isolate and focus on the variables that comprise a useable search.
That is why Live Search is failing Microsoft. They cannot get their algorithm right to display the most accurate results for a specific query. The domination of search, or the quest to dominate search, will not end anytime soon and providing more relevant searches is going to be harder for Microsoft if they can not get it together soon.