MSN Live Penalizing Heavily for Back-Linking

Jan 30, 2007 • 12:31 pm | comments (9) by twitter | Filed Under Bing Search

Link building is one of the most important deliverables of any ongoing search engine optimization plan. All three major engines are known to assign some value to a page based on the links pointing to it, and many SEOs research high ranking competitor backlinks to find the ones that they feel may be helping those pages rank well for desired terms. The problem is, even though search engines advise site owners to get relevant links to their pages, they also frown on linking schemes designed to gain links at a rapid pace.

So the "game," for SEOs, is to build links to a page without arousing suspicion on the part of the engines. Unfortunately, there are many so-called SEOs out there that build links with no regards to relevancy or to the link-host's probable reputation, and end up causing their clients or their own websites to fall in the rankings. The easiest ones for search engines to detect include obvious link schemes such as "free-for-all" link directories or buying links from highly visible networks. However, some people claim that some links are built to their content without their permission, bringing to mind the old argument of whether or not one can be penalized by someone else’s actions.

MSN has recently taken the forefront, carrying the standard for the other engines when it comes to banning or penalizing sites for linking practices, and being very specific about the reason in their communications with affected webmasters. This has caused a rush of posts at WebmasterWorld with members complaining of being penalized or banned due to what MSN terms as unacceptable linking practices- and claiming innocence. Is MSN throwing proverbial babies out with the bathwater?

On January 15, one webmaster claimed:

I was banned from MSN very unfairly , i am not into illegitimate affiliate network or link exchanges...
A thread started 3 days later purports that:
It seems that if one site on a shared IP gets banned, then ALL SITES GETS BANNED!
This was followed by another thread 3 days after that started with the assertion that:
In December, if I read my log files right, MSN changed their way of handling links, the quality of incoming links and if they are natural or not. Sites that have been in an "illegitimate link exchange" were banned from MSN, and if you have more than one site on the same IP and/or own more than one site ALL sites were banned.
So is MSN handling this problem a little too heavy-handedly? Share your thoughts, experiences or opinions at any of the three WebmasterWorld forums threads linked above.

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David Eaves

01/30/2007 06:59 pm

This site has been banned I am pretty sure it was because the owner took part in a link exchange programme, he was linking to online poker sites and allsorts, I told the owner to clean up his links page and he has but MSN still hasn't forgiven him. I have tried resubmiting him, is there anyway to send a reinclusion request to MSN like you can with Google?

Chris Boggs

01/30/2007 07:46 pm

Hi David:

David Eaves

01/30/2007 07:57 pm

Cheers Chris, I will fire it over to the owner.

Chris Beasley

01/30/2007 10:41 pm

On the Google side of things, they have repeatedly said they will not ban or penalize you for who links to you. Who you link to though, that is a different matter entirely.

Steven Bradley

01/30/2007 11:08 pm

First is there any real proof that MSN is banning sites. More often than not when someone in a forum claims their site has been banned they simply mean they aren't getting traffic from that search engine. I'm not saying that's the case here, but there isn't exactly proof in any of those threads to say MSN is indeed banning the sites. If they are then yes it is overreacting. Shared IP addresses aren't going anywhere and it's not all that difficult to accidentally link into a bad neighborhood. And it's very easy for a bad neighborhood to link to you. Simply discounting the links would seem the much better solution.


01/31/2007 02:58 am

I would say that MSN is trying to fight the blog spam via their algo and will adjust it as they test it out on their index. MSN seems to have been struggling with the blog spam this year. MSN also tweaks their algo and usually MSNDUDE over at webmaster world lets people know and asks for feedback and examples of where good sites were hit. They are a bit more open to critism than google seems to be.


01/31/2007 11:21 am

It might be link exchanges, it might be something else. If people are linking to a load of dodgy sites what other iffy techniques are they using.

SearcH EngineS WeB

01/31/2007 12:21 pm

MSN does not bring in that much traffic - however, away around this ban is to have a seperate domain or Site JUST for MSN submission - it should be a keyword loaded URL - and possibly from a different domain name provider than the main one if one is using Cname. Three way linking can also be helpful for promoting a seperate domain to MSN Do a search for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION - the top 30 results usually reveal what SEO tactics are working ...


02/01/2007 07:04 pm

I have a small group of sites on a resellers plan, so all sites share the ip address, if that's what everyone is meaning, and they all link to each other from every single page. The site I used for this post has been #1 for the phrase "free people searches" at MSN for more than 2 months straight(3-4 sites landed top 10 over last year), plus all the sites pick up odd searches, like "somewhere, usa public records", etc... All I'm really trying to get accross from all that is, I don't think they penalize as long as the content is solid. I'm just now getting to the point of realizing the importance of spreading myself to other search engines, and they don't treat the sites half as well as MSN has.

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