Google Swipes MSN’s Pagerank

October 21, 2005

Google’s recent algorithm updates have thrown a new batch of work at optimizers. They’ve also publicly trashed MSN, which used to hold a PageRank of 9. Now, across all IPs, is a PR 2 site. It seems odd that a reputable site like MSN would go from a hot spot to a bad neighborhood. Sure, MSN Search pulls up some spam, but come on. It looks like either PageRank is flawed or Google is doing something fishy?

For the sake of trying to explain it, let’s take a look at MSN’s linkbacks. According to Google’s “,” the site has a massive total of 8 linkbacks, all coming from the same foreign site. Does this mean only one site on the entire internet is linking to MSN? Let’s see. Yahoo! returns about 5.5 million sites with a “” query. MSN Search finds 1.5 million sites on “” So, Google is trying to tell us that only one site out of these millions is worth indexing.

After checking the domains, you may also notice that has a PageRank of 8. Google shows that this slightly different address has 949 non-repetitive backlinks, so it’s no wonder it gets the PageRank. But wait. MSN has created a 302 redirect from to So, the redirect site’s PageRank fell slightly and the actual site has taken a PR-nosedive down the toilet.

Google practically has a tradition of screwing up 302 redirects. Earlier this year, published scams showed how to easily use 302s to a site you don’t own, hijack its PR, then redirect everyone but Googlebot to a site of your liking. Maybe the redirect caused MSN’s drop, but that would mean Google broke things instead of fixing them. Hey G, maybe with your next update you could stop reading robots.txt files.

Then again, it could be because MSN’s backlinks are all but nonexistent on Google. Many are spam, but some aren’t. It seems funny that there are no shortages of links, but Google is wearing a blindfold.

This change probably won’t show a bit of difference for MSN traffic. A lot of Google browsers probably aren’t looking for MSN’s home page, and still ranks well enough. However, SEOs have obviously seen the stab at MSN, and all bets say MSN has too. It sounds like Google is announcing that Microsoft is search engine stupid


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