5 Reasons Microsoft Search Still Sucks

All the talk about Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google reminded me that I hadn’t checked to see if Microsoft has made any improvement to their search results in quite a while…

I know one term doesn’t make a rule, but I’ve found the term [Seattle Real Estate Blog] to be great for testing out the search engines over the years. Over the past three years, Google has always delivered relevant results for the term, while it used to be full of spam for both Yahoo and Microsoft. It’s interesting to note that Yahoo has made great strides over the past few years, while Microsoft is still lost in the dark.

Here’s the top five results by search engine:

Google [Seattle Real Estate Blog]:

  1. Rain City Guide
  2. Seattle RE Prof
  3. Seattle Bubble
  4. Ardell’s Seattle RE blog
  5. Guide to Seattle RE

All of these are great blogs and worthy of being in the top five.

Yahoo [Seattle Real Estate Blog]:

  1. Seattle RE Prof
  2. Redfin Corporate Blog
  3. Rain City Guide
  4. Redfin Sweet Digs
  5. Ardell’s Seattle RE blog

Again, all of these are great blogs worthy of being in the top five for the search results.

MSN Live [Seattle Real Estate Blog]:

  1. “Seattle Real Estate Blog”
    • Spam site that’s been around for years… A few years ago the webmaster got very pissy with me when I told him he had to stop republishing EVERY Rain City Guide article in full on his site. There’s nothing original on the site as it is all republished articles from Seattle blogs and news sources.
  2. seattle-real-estate-blog.com
    • Parked domain with no content
  3. “Real Estate Blogs”
    • Landing page with links to actual blogs. This is the best of the top five results, but still not a Seattle real estate blog.
  4. “Seattle Real Estate and Puget Sound Real Estate – A blog”
    • Account suspended by BlueHost. This normally happens when someone is posting spam.
  5. “Real Estate Blog”
    • Takes you to a landing page that says “This blog currently has no posts.”

There results are horrible. Two spam sites, two sites with no content, and one page with a few links. There are some great real estate blogs in Seattle, but Microsoft can’t seem to find them as their search algorithms are still so easily gamed by spammers.

Scoble thinks Microsoft should buy up Facebook and keep it closed to all but their search engine. Personally, I think they’d find a way to screw that up.

UPDATE: NYTs says Microsoft is getting ready to PAY people to use their search. How sad.

12 responses

  1. What we’re seeing with the state of microsoft search is the result of a 5 year plus project costing billions and the product still doesn’t work, period.l…. hence the microsoft / yahoo deal that has been up and down as of late…. microsoft has yahoo pretty much pinned at this point so it is likely they will be working something out…. we will see soon….

  2. You think that’s bad? Check the search results for “atlanta reale state” —>


    The 50 (read fifty!) pages are subdomains of the same website. That is 500 search results from the same domain for the most trafficked term for Atlanta real estate”

  3. Ryan: Wow! There’s almost something comical about that!

  4. Ryan, I see your website at the top of the list and a bunch of other websites all on different domains. Not really sure I understand what you mean?

  5. I think Microsoft finally realized this and doggedly pursued Yahoo.

    Though I still have my doubts on how they are going to pull it off and do some real competing against google.

  6. …although if you add quotes around the search term,(“Seattle Real Estate Blogs”) I think you’ll see that you get different results on all three. Hmm…

  7. Brian,

    Must be a datacenter issue. I posted about this a few months ago on my blog with a screenshot and had people check all over the country. Most people will see subdomain.atlantarealestate.net for the first 498 results!

    But hey! If you see me I must be doing something right 🙂 somewhere….

    BTW Brian, where do you see me? I’m like 700 here in Atlanta. Thank God for Google…

  8. For real estate blog searches, Live Search is certainly worse than Google currently is. However, for other topics, it’s usually much better. Oddly enough, a few months ago I ran a search on “how do CDNs work” in which MSN & Yahoo gave me relevant results on Content Delivery Networks and Google’s results were so wrong (Canadian Viagra anyone?), I laughed for 15 minutes. No search engine gets it right 100% of the time, even Google. (Frankly, Yahoo has been giving me better results than Microsoft or Google lately).

    For real estate searches, I think Live Search weighs the domain name too heavily in rankings and generates poor results. For searches on technical topics (networking / software) and product / review information (bluray players / mattresses), I’ve been seeing Google’s relevancy lead over Yahoo & Microsoft shrink during the past few months.

    Still, I don’t see Microsoft beating Google any time soon. However, I don’t think Microsoft needs to beat Google, they just need to be a competitive #2 and
    force Google to play defense.

  9. Ryan, it could be that I am located in South America. I know results vary depending on IP addresses. After I posted I thought that could be it. Anyways, I believe u. I was just confused when I checked the results.

  10. I did a search on the term “short sale” and google carried the blog post I did last March on the first page. It doesn’t show up on the first page of either yahoo or MSN, and the yahoo and msn results looked very similar.

    I like how blog posts are given some love on google.

  11. Robbie: I was hoping you’d come around these parts! 😉 I’ll just have to believe you that it does better in some areas, because it definitely misses the boat on real estate related content.

    And Jillayne: That Short Sale article you wrote is still one of the highest traffic articles on RCG on any given month. It’s huge and so much fun that Google loves it!

  12. Sad but true… Microsoft just doesn’t seem to understand that they need to make the results better (and faster) than Google’s if they want to compete. Giving people money is just a short sighted way to spend their hoards of cash. At this point, they can’t even get their own staff to use their search engine consistently from what I hear.

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