Search Starts With The Algorithm

May 26th, 2008 | Categories: content, launch, networks, search, strategy, web issues

Last week, Microsoft unveiled plans to compensate search users with cash. This weak attempt to thwart Google isn’t going to work. If Microsoft truly wants to compete against Google, their strategy has to start with the search results.

Microsoft is looking at the situation from the wrong perspective. Instead of trying to “market” the product in a conventional fashion, the company should focus on the product offering itself, then let the results do the talking. Such a scenario would evoke word-of-mouth benefits. The same can be said for Yahoo. The battle for search supremacy starts with the algorithm. Beating Google will involve a significant commitment to algorithm technology.

Obviously this is much easier said than done. I am comfortable voicing my opinion as I don’t have any financial investment on the line. But for Microsoft (and Yahoo), additional funding in R&D needs to occur. A large part of Google’s success must be attributed to its simple PageRank concept. Microsoft and Yahoo need to adopt a similar strategy, while adding additional features and algorithm tweaks of their own. It’s definitely an uphill battle, but innovation needs to start now. Google is at such a dominant point that trying to play catch-up at this point almost seems impossible.

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  1. Daniel Errante Says:

    I think this is 100% accurate. My website is starting to show up in search results at msn, but the search terms people are using are inaccurate and they don’t find what they’re looking for at my site. This makes me skeptical about keyword advertising with them and I wonder why people would choose to use msn over google. Google provides the best results because whatever is involved in their algorithm.

    I also think it’s funny that Microsoft thinks it can buy its customers without having a great product, whether it be their search engine or their operating systems.

    Great article :-)

  2. Brent Says:

    I think you also need to consider that people aren’t going to switch for a marginally better algorithm as long as Google’s algorithm continues to work.

    As a guesstimate, I’d say 1/15 of my Google searches don’t return a good result in the top 5 results.

    Google is my homepage. Its my browsers search box. I always go to google when I don’t know something or the URL of the site I’m looking for, or even sometimes when I do. Its become a habit.

    Why would I put in all the effort to break this habit and switch to MS just because they can return a lower 1/14 or even a 1/10 failure rate?

  3. Rian Says:

    I think people are missing the point a bit here. This doesn’t seem to be an attempt to grab more eyeballs as much as it is to improve the quality of clicks on I think this can and will hurt Google unless it adapts. To a lot of advertisers pay per transaction is a way more appealing than ppc.

    Also, consumers don’t need switch their home page, they just need to switch where it counts: the purchase motivated search. How many times have you searched for info on a product at Google, found exactly what you need in the organic results, decided you wanted to buy it… then went over to amazon, searched for the model number, and made the purchase. Thanks for the education Google… but I wont be needing your generic and oftentimes annoying adwords ads.

    Things all become the more clear about Microhoo now as well. Imagine if this announcement came after a merger announcement, or better yet, if Yahoo would have just come up with this on their own…

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