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MSN Windows Live Search: Indexing Guidelines
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Are you having problems getting indexed in Microsoft's main search engine, Windows Live? The easiest way to get indexed is to ensure that your important site content is well linked from your other site pages. According to MSN, one of the best ways to ensure that their spider, MSNBot, finds your website is to include valuable content that other site owners want to link to.

Here's a look at what you need to do to get your site indexed in MSN/Windows Live.
  • Use only well-formed HTML code in your pages. Make sure that all tags are closed, and that all links open the correct web page. Avoid broken links!

  • If you move a page, set up the page's original URL to direct people to the new page. The best way to do this is with a permanent 301 redirect.

  • Make sure that your haven't restricted MSNBot from crawling your site. (Check your robots.txt file)

  • Keep your URLs simple and static. According to Microsoft' s indexing guidelines, URLs that are complicated or that change frequently are difficult to use as link destinations.

  • Content is king with Live Search - The best way to attract people to your site, and keep them coming back, is to design your pages with valuable content that your target audience is interested in.

  • When creating content for your site, try to keep it to one topic per page. Focus the keyword density of this page towards this one topic.

  • Make sure that each page is accessible by at least one static text link.

  • Don't put the text that you want indexed inside images. (Why do site owners continue to do this?)

  • Make use of a site map. A site map helps MSNBot to find all of your pages.

  • Site Architecture is important - each page should only be from one to three clicks away from the home page.
Generally, if you follow the above guidelines, you don't need to submit your URL to MSN/Windows Live for MSNBot to find your site. However there is an actual submission process that you can complete.

An interesting side note is that in the Live Search Help section Microsoft states:

Outdated pages are automatically deleted when we update our index. However, if other sites that link to your site don't update their links to your site, we might find those outdated links when MSNBot crawls those sites. To resolve this problem, remember the following when you change links:

  1. Determine the websites that link to your website.
  2. Notify the website owners about your changes.

To determine who links to your site, use the following syntax in the Live Search box:

link:

For example, to search for websites that link to www.microsoft.com, type link:www.microsoft.com in the Live Search box, and then press ENTER.

This function has not worked for months as we are anticipating that Microsoft may possibly be getting ready to release a product similar to Google Webmaster Tools where users can have access to a wide variety of tools that provide indexed page data, linking information and other diagnostic stats.

Regardless following the above guidelines is the easiest way to get your site and page content indexed in Windows Live. For more on indexing issues, visit Microsoft Windows Live Help.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 07, 2007  
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