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March 4, 2010

Microsoft + Yahoo: What’s It All Mean?

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Moderator: Jeffrey K. Rohrs, Vice President, Marketing, ExactTarget

Speakers:

Sean Carlos, CEO, Antezeta Web Marketing
Justin Merickel, VP, Marketing and New Product Development, Efficient Frontier

Sean Carlos Justin Merickel Jeffrey Rohrs

A little late to this session because the breaks between sessions are a little tighter today so that the conference will be over a bit earlier. It was a lot faster for me to snap a pic of the first two slides as I set up the computer. Oh, and Justin‘s at the podium first.

Microsoft + Yahoo: What’s It All Mean? slide 1

Microsoft + Yahoo: What’s It All Mean? slide 2

Key benefits:

Yahoo!

  • Guaranteed monetization
  • Staff and infrastructure savings
  • Maintain client relationships
  • Retain user experience

Microsoft

  • Market share and relevancy
  • Advertiser depth
  • Monetization
  • Data for innovation

Risk: can Yahoo! stay relevant in search?

CPC variance between MSFT & YHOO

(CPC % Variance, Feb. 2010)

Finance: 15% Yahoo

Travel: 6% Microsoft

Autos: 22% Microsoft

Retail: 25% Microsoft

(I can’t tell you what on earth that means.)

About 40 percent of Yahoo!’s traffic is coming through a partner network, from their research. There are two mechanisms for adjusting bids. Big the partner network separately or together with the core search asset.

Benefits

  • Relevant volume in adCenter
  • Single platform
  • Single point of contact
  • Stronger innovation in core algo search and ad platform
  • Ends “Match Driver” at Yahoo enabling simpler buying

Risks

  • Must adapt bids to value change (note: Yahoo typically lowest CPC)
  • Disruptive transition with volatility as networks integrated
  • Lack of advertiser control in bidding on distribution partners

Sean is next. He says that there has been an international roll out of adCenter this week by Microsoft, trying to get into all the markets Yahoo! has been. He’s going to look at the deal from an SEO-focused and tool-focused point of view.

Three tools he’ll cover:

Yahoo Site Explorer: source of free link data

Yahoo Search Marketing: keyword data from reliable sources

Yahoo Web Analytics: an alternative the Google Analytics

 Microsoft + Yahoo: What’s It All Mean? slide 3

What will happen? This is conjecture, but here are three possible outcomes:

  • Yahoo keeps it to demonstrate continued commitment to user search. However, if not keeping self-service ad platform, it’s unlikely it will stick around
  • Bing takes over site explorer. It might happen because it would engender goodwill from search pros. However it might not happen because Bing removed support for link operators in March 2007.
  • Site Explorer shuts down.

If Site Explorer shuts down, what are the competitive link data alternatives?

Who’s Crawling the Web?

  • Task is immense and few are up to it. There are more than 300 billion Web pages to crawl.
  • Crawling dimensions
    • Breadth (number of domains, geographies)
    • Depth (percent pages/domain)
    • Freshness
    • History: what did the link profile look like today, six months ago, last year
  • Tool quality is conditional of data source
  • Yahoo Site Explorer is most generous source of link data.
  • Bing and Google offer data for our sites.
  • Google offers link: operator. It shows a subset of links Google knows and that can mislead people who aren’t in the know.
  • Ask does not offer backlink data
  • Other major engines are crawling the Web, but he doesn’t think they provide map link data

In 2008, MajesticSEO released link data. They have a database with:

  • 170 billion unique crawled pages
  • 1,474 billion unique URLs in pages crawled
  • 6.5 trillion mapping relationships
  • Fresh: “most of index crawled in the last year”
  • Free basic data and reports for our domains

Linkscape was also launched in 2008. The database has:

  • 43+ billion pages
  • 440+ billion links
  • Data source and reliability not clear. When pressed they listed about ten third-party sources the data might be coming from
  • Open site explorer is limited free interface
  • Free API with restrictions

Alexa, an Amazon.com division, offers various internet data and stats.

Q&A

Microsoft has a desktop, on-site SEO toolkit. Think it will stay around?

Sean says that the problem with desktop tools is that they only work on Windows. It looks like Google is trying to move advertisers to the web interface from the stand alone. He thinks tools are going to have to be offered in a browser interface, or else a truly cross platform solution.

Will Microsoft tie some of their adCenter labs tools into Yahoo? *Note: speculation

Sean recommends visiting the Microsoft adCenter site. He fears that there will be delivery stuff using Silverlight, which may not work on Linux. There are conflicts between what they’re trying to push.

Will ad costs go up because of this deal?

Justin sees this being a possibility. More volume should mean greater depth of advertising which means higher CPCs.

Sean says that outside the U.S., where Google has 90 percent of the market, regardless of Microsoft Yahoo making a less competitive landscape, unless something happens Google will still be dominant.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/bruceclay/4407113188/” title=”Microsoft + Yahoo: What’s It All Mean? slide 1 by Bruce Clay, Inc, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4003/4407113188_bd32d0d613.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”Microsoft + Yahoo: What’s It All Mean? slide 1″ /></a>
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