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MSN receives its sponsored listings from Overture, primary search results from LookSmart and secondary search results from Inktomi.

How to increase your visability in MSN:

  1. Submit a change form with LookSmart to place your keyword phrase(s) in your site’s description.
  2. Concentrate on keyword phrases of three or more words, as MSN will do a “swap out” with Overture listings if the Overture bid is more that fifteen cents for the position. Consult Overture to ensure your keyword selection.
  3. The keyword(s) you are targeting must be in the Title in order for you to have a shot at a good listing. However, the title must also be well-written as the MSN editor can chop and re-write as they wish.
  4. Open multiple campaigns through LookSmart, each targeting a segment or product of your site. You will be able to achieve complete coverage.
  5. Attempt to have your site reviewd by an MSN editor for inclusion as a Featured / Reviewed site.
  6. Purchase an ad through MSN (Featured listing at the top of the page).
  7. Submit and have your site accepted by Zeal.
  8. Purchase keywords through Overture.
  9. Increase Link Popularity.

Featured Sites
“Featured Sites” are sites that the MSN staff have reviewed and feel are editorially relevant to a particular search, or they can be sites that have purchased ads with MSN ($1,500 minimum). Sites that have been submitted through Zeal can also appear here as well.

Tips from MSN:

  • Go through the URL submission process correctly and completely at LookSmart.
  • Be a “guru” with your subject matter. An MSN editor can recognize great content when they see it. When they do, you are more likely to be put at the top of one of MSN’s editoral selected areas.
  • Use the right keywords that are both accurate and relevant descriptions of your site’s content.
  • Target an industry where there is room for more competition. If you are new to the Internet, stay out of saturated markets.

We also recommend taking an active approach. After your LookSmart listing is approved, pick up the phone or send an email and contact the editorial department. Explain to them the high quality of your site, and compare it to the competitors currently coming up at the top of their listings currently.

Note: You MUST do your homework in order to show them, beyond a doubt, that your site is superior in all phases: design, layout, navigation, and most importantly, content.

Once you are ready to contact MSN, take advantage of services like WordTracker to find reasonably popular keywords where MSN does not currently list four or five featured sites already. You can then state that many people are searching on “Keyword X” but they do not currently have any featured sites listed there. You could then discuss how your site is a perfect match for that search. Ideally, you should list some things that make your site unique and different from your competitors. Being demanding or having “an attitude” will get you no where fast. Be polite, state your case professionally, and you should be heard.

MSN has stated: “Our absolute bar is editorial relevance. Any paid relationship comes secondary.” To be featured, it is not necessary to pay to be there – have a quality site, and you could be there.

MSN Web Sites (Looksmart)
Listed after any featured and sponsored (Overture) sites, MSN will display results from the Looksmart directory. These results may match the rankings on Looksmart, but MSN has indicated they often tweak the ranking algorithm to the formula that they believe works best.

MSN Web Pages (Inktomi)
For search terms that don’t find enough matches in the other results areas, MSN will pull pages from the Inktomi database. Inktomi is used on a number of major engines such as HotBot, Iwon, and others.

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This Web Marketing article was written by Jerry West on 3/21/2005

Jerry West is the Director of Marketing for WebMarketingNow. Visit Web Marketing Now for the latest in marketing tips that are tested and proven.