Internet Marketing Professional

MSN Search – Terms and Conditions

Posted on: July 19, 2007

After ages trying to find a page on MSN with their terms and conditions for a article I’m writing I eventually found them. They’re at http://help.live.com/help.aspx?project=wl_webmasters&mkt=en-gb. You then have to click on the ‘How can I make sure my website is correctly indexed?‘ link in the left navigation and then the main links in the window.

Have copied and paster the entire t&c below, would have linked to it but can’t:

Guidelines for successful indexing

Following are recommendations that may help MSNBot and other web crawlers effectively index and rank your site. We’ve also provided a list of techniques to avoid if you want to make sure your site is indexed.
Technical recommendations for your website

* 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. If your site contains broken links, MSNBot may not be able to index your site effectively, thus preventing people from reaching all of your pages.
* If you move a page, set up the page’s original URL to direct people to the new page. Indicate whether the move is permanent or temporary. For more information, see What to do when your site moves.
* Make sure MSNBot is allowed to crawl your site and isn’t on your list of web crawlers that are prohibited from indexing your site. For more information, see Control which pages of your website are indexed.
* Use a robots.txt file or meta tags to control how MSNBot and other web crawlers index your site. You can use the robots.txt file to prevent web crawlers from crawling specific files and folders. For more information about the robots.txt file and the Robots Exclusion standard, see the Web Robots Pages. This site may be available in English only.
* Keep your URLs simple and static. URLs that are complicated or that change frequently are difficult to use as link destinations. For example, the URL http://www.example.com/mypage is easier for MSNBot to crawl and for people to type than a long URL with multiple extensions. Also, a URL that doesn’t change is easier for people to remember. That makes it a more likely link destination from other sites.

Content guidelines for your website

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. The following guidelines can help you design a more efficient and popular page:

* In the visible page text, include words users might choose as search query terms to find the information on your site.
* Limit all pages to a reasonable size. We recommend one topic per page. An HTML page with no pictures should be under 150 KB.
* 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. For example, if you want your company name or address to be indexed, make sure it is not displayed inside a company logo.
* Add a site map. A site map helps MSNBot to find all of your pages. Links that are embedded in menus, list boxes, and similar elements are not accessible to web crawlers unless they appear in your site map.
* Keep your site hierarchy fairly flat. That is, each page should only be from one to three clicks away from the home page.

Techniques that may prevent your site from appearing in Live Search results

The following techniques aren’t appropriate uses of the Live Search index. Use of these techniques may affect how your site is ranked within Live Search, and may cause your site to be removed from the index.

* Attempting to increase a page’s keyword density by add lots of irrelevant words. This includes stuffing ALT tags that users are unlikely to view.
* Using hidden text or links. Only use text and links that are visible to users.
* Using techniques, such as link farms, to artificially increase the number of links to your page.

If you have a new website or web page that you want indexed, you can submit the URL directly to us. For more information, see Submit your website to Live Search.

In the visible page text, include words users might choose as search query terms to find the information on your site.” – yep great if you want your site found but why do MSN then put this information inside JavaScript pages that cant be indexed.

Make sure that each page is accessible by at least one static text link” – yep great but if you have the content hidden in JavaScript windows no one can link to it!

So yep MSN do have terms and conditions and advice on how to use their site but no one can find it and no one can access it. It looks like it aint accessible with a screen reader and may be illegal under UK disability discrimination (thats an opinion not a fact before I get a litigous email).

Oh and my favourite quote from this JavaScript generated inaccessible Hell Hole:

MSNBot is crawling your site, but your site isn’t in the index

There are many design and technical issues that can prevent MSNBot from indexing your site. If you’ve followed our guidelines and still don’t see your site, you may want to contact a search engine optimization company or submission service. These companies may provide tools that will help you improve your site so that we can list it.

To find site optimization companies on the Web, try searching on search engine optimization company.

Hmm may we suggest that MSN get straight on the phone having done a search and follow their own advice…

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