How does one optimize pages for MSN, given that they use a machine-based ranking system for ranking search results and returning results to visitors?
Some new research from Microsoft and some recently released patent applications might provide some ideas.
Before I dive into this, I want to point out Search Engines and Algorithms: Optimizing for MSN’s RankNet Technology by Jennifer Sullivan Cassidy, which takes a look at Microsoft’s Ranknet Technology. It’s a good introduction to some of the research that Microsoft has been doing lately.
Query independent ranking
Ranknet is discussed more in a paper to be presented in May at the WWW2006, titled Beyond PageRank: Machine Learning for Static Ranking. It provides a detailed look at how human ranked pages can be used to identify other high-quality pages, without relying upon the link structure of the web.