Yahoo|Bing and SEO

Yahoo|Bing and search engine optimisation

Photo by Tattooed JJ via Creative Commons

The massive part of the web has changed recently with the Yahoo and Microsoft deal. Two massive web entities are now cooperating as one to take on the goliath of the web, Google. The proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” can therefore be directly applied here, but before we see how this deal affects us in the search engine optimisation industry, let’s have a look at some of the details surrounding the detail.

Yahoo-Microsoft Salient Details:

• The term of the agreement is 10 years
• Essentially Yahoo will license its core search technology to Microsoft and Microsoft can use this technology in its existing web platforms (Bing, Hotmail etc)
• Microsoft’s Bing will be the exclusive search engine and paid search display vehicle for Yahoo web properties
• Each company will retain their own separate display business units and sales teams
• Microsoft will reimburse Yahoo through a revenue sharing deal on traffic generated on Yahoo’s network.

Impact of the Yahoo-Microsoft deal on SEO:

Well the most immediate change is that we in the search engine optimisation industry will only have to track our clients’ performance on two search engines as opposed to three, awesome :). Yahoo has said that full integration of its technology into the Microsoft empire could take up to 2 years and that’s still only after regulatory approval has been granted ! So no need to panic about changing your SEO thinking just yet.
What it does mean for all those search engine optimisation practitioners out there who spent 90% of their time and resources trying to optimise for Google and the other 10% snoozing, erm I mean optimising for Live search and Yahoo, is that they may want to rethink their strategies. Bing will now have a 25 % (approximate) market share worldwide and that’s a lot of searches, it’s time to dedicate time on Bing-specific SEO. Of much more concern to me and other people in my field is the possible disappearance of the Yahoo linking data. Google and Microsoft did away with any accurate linking information some time ago and if this happens with Yahoo we will lose one of the most important and independent sources of competitive linking information out there.
Search strategists will also have to start embracing the Bing webmaster tools and familiarising themselves with the system and its nuances. Microsoft is also going to be able to target more accurately its PPC program with the wealth of demographic and behavioural information that Yahoo will bring to the table. There are also other challenges that face us when trying to optimise for Bing, for example: What is the best way to optimise the pop-up that opens when you have your mouse on a blended result?
Personally I think this deal will negatively affect the current search engine dynamic. As separate entities both Yahoo and Microsoft were battling to overthrow Google as the king of search engines and this adversity drove innovation. Yahoo creating BOSS and Search Monkey while Microsoft designed an entirely new decision (search) engine in Bing are great examples of this innovation. Big corporate entities are known for their cumbersome nature and bureaucracy and with the new Yahoo/Microsoft enterprise I can only see it as a slower moving force with more red tape than they were when they were separate. What will be interesting is Google’s response to the move. I guess time will tell on all fronts, watch this space.
P.S You can download some Webmaster/SEO guidelines for Bing here

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