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How is it searching for MSDN content on Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc...? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hey everyone!

    My team is responsible for the Search Engine Optimization strategy for MSDN, Technet and other MS developer focussed sites.

    We would love to hear your feedback and what you would like to see improved.  My team is focussed on the search experience on external search engines (a different team deals with the on-site search functions).

    What type of things do you search for the most on Bing, Google or any other search engine you use? 

    How are the search results? 

    What would you like to see improved?

    We are interested in hearing any feedback you have, whether it's about English/other languages, Microsoft or other technologies, MSDN/Technet or other websites, Bing, Google, Yahoo!, Yandex, Baidu, Seznam, Naver, or any other place you search for information. 

     

    Saturday, November 19, 2011 1:36 PM

All replies

  •  

    When searching for API documentation, I now only see results from the new "Dev Center -> Learn -> Library" interface, instead of the god old "MSDN Library" interface, which is still available. This is a Royal PITA, because the new "Dev Center -> Learn -> Library" interface is... I don't even want to go there, lets just say "not very user friendly"

    So it would be very nice, if you could exclude the pages from the new "Dev Center -> Learn -> Library" interface, and include the good old "MSDN Library" interface article links instead.

    Thursday, November 24, 2011 9:50 AM
  • Hi Christoph, this is not directly related to search, but I will feed this back to our site experience team for you.

    Friday, November 25, 2011 10:46 AM
  • Hi Chris,

    I thought it had to do with search experience, because some of the pages (Dev Center) are included in Google/Bing but others (MSDN Library) not. So I thought you may have excluded the pages using robot.txt or similar.

    So my search experience is not satisfying, as I do not get the results I need.

    So basically I would like it the other way around: exclude Dev Center and include Library. Or at least still include Library.


    Friday, November 25, 2011 10:56 AM
  • Sorry for the delayed response!

    Ah ok, so if I understand your scenario correctly - we are already doing work to resolve this.  We will soon be fixing the canonical tags which are on dev center version of URLs, which should not be dev centers.  For example, this page...

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/ms680061

    ...was never designed to be shown under a dev center, but it has been linked to that way at some point.  In future, we will make it clear to search engines that they should index only the library version of the URL.  This change will be rolled out next Month, so you should start to see a difference in search engines from January onwards.

    There is however another scenario where we deliberately expose a 'scoped library' view of a page, in which it sits within a section of the site scoped to a particular product.  For the moment, that will remain the destination for search engines (for appropriate content), however we will review feedback on those pages in future and determine whether further changes to the logic are required.  An example of a scoped library page would be...

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms763722(v=vs.85).aspx

     

     

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011 3:43 PM
  • Sorry for the delayed response!

    Ah ok, so if I understand your scenario correctly - we are already doing work to resolve this.  We will soon be fixing the canonical tags which are on dev center version of URLs, which should not be dev centers.  For example, this page...

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/ms680061


    If you mean by this, that the above URL will not go to the "Dev Center -> Learn -> Library ->..." page, but rather will result in

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms680061%28VS.85%29.aspx

    Then that would be lovely!

    ---

    Please also check this out:

    If you use the "Search MSDN with Bing" searchbox on MSDN, and enter "OleRegEnumVerbs" as the search term, then non of the results wil take you to the library.

    More confusing, the first result is "http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms682271(v=vs.85).aspx" which includes "/en-us/library" which would suggest that you would get the library view, but in fact you end up in "Dev Center - Desktop -> Learn -> Reference -> ..."

    (this might be the "canonical URL" problem you wrote about)

    That URL should (in my mind) map to the content at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms680061%28VS.85%29.aspx

    ---

    BTW, thank you for taking this seriously.

    Best regards,

    Christoph

     

     

     

     

     

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011 8:04 AM
  • Hey,

    So yes, for the first URL (ms680061) will no longer appear in search results, but instead you will see the library page. The change will go live shortly, but I would expect a few weeks before the search engines pick up all of the canonicals (we have a LOT of content for them to crawl).

    The second example is a different scenario...

    What you are seeing here is an example of the 'scoped library' view, which was launched a few months ago. The idea here is to have all of the content for a particular product in one place, without 'noise' from other sections of the library. We are intentionally making the scoped library version of a page the canonical version - so the one which search engines will land on.

    Analysis of the scoped library views is ongoing, so I don't ancipate any changes in the short term there. I will however be happy to pass on any feedback you may have about that section of the site.

    Chris

    Thursday, December 1, 2011 12:10 PM
  • What you are seeing here is an example of the 'scoped library' view, which was launched a few months ago. The idea here is to have all of the content for a particular product in one place, without 'noise' from other sections of the library. We are intentionally making the scoped library version of a page the canonical version - so the one which search engines will land on.

    Well, I do not agree with the decision, as I personally would prefer it the other way around. But I can see that it might make sense for some people and products.

    It would also be ok for me, if you could do some cookie magic, so that I could select my preferred destination:

    • "If I arrive from search result, give me the default page"
    • "If I arrive from search result, I prefer the full Library"
    • "If I arrive from search result, I prefer the a scoped library"

     

    Analysis of the scoped library views is ongoing, so I don't ancipate any changes in the short term there. I will however be happy to pass on any feedback you may have about that section of the site.

    Well, most of the "where does the search take me" does really only matter, because working with the MSDN online library is so agonizing.

    If the interface would be more like the old MSDN Library (DVD/offline) viewer, including a good library search option, I would not be so dependend on Google/Bing/....(in the old MSDN library viewer, you could actually select the scope as you liked it "Filtered by")
    But that is off-topic and I already touch that in another post (please feel free to forward that post)

    /christoph

    Thursday, December 1, 2011 1:39 PM
  • Thanks again Christoph, will pass on your feedback
    Sunday, December 4, 2011 6:33 PM