Well, it’s really gonna happen. According to a press release yesterday, “Microsoft and Yahoo announced today that they have received clearance for their search agreement, without restrictions, from both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission, and will now turn their attention to beginning the process of implementing the deal.”
So What Is The Microsoft-Yahoo Search Deal, Exactly?
In a nutshell, the deal means that Yahoo search results and sponsored listings will be powered by Microsoft/Bing. Yahoo will still control the user interface and extra features (i.e. Shopping and news results) but the main search results and the PPC ads will be powered by Bing.
What Does This Mean For Bloggers?
There will be many changes due to this deal, but the 3 biggest that we’re aware of right now are:
1: You Need To Start Paying More Attention To SEO For Bing
Since Yahoo Search and Bing will be powered by the same algorithm, sites should perform about the same on both. In other words, if your blog is top ranked on Bing, you’ll be top ranked on Yahoo. (The press release implies that you’ll rank exactly the same on both search engines, but we’ll probably have to wait and see.) Together, Yahoo and Bing control 25% of the US search market. While that is less than Google’s 66%, it’s still a substantial market that you’ll certainly want to target.
Fortunately, Bing seems to want to make it easy for webmasters and SEO’s. They now offer a robust set of webmaster tools, with documentation, guides, and even forums where Bing team members will sometimes reply directly to questions at Bing Webmaster Center!
2: MSN AdCenter Will Have A Much Larger Reach
MSN AdCenter will have a greatly expanded reach, since sponsored results on Bing and Yahoo search will both be pulled from MSN AdCenter. If you have advertised on Google Adwords, but not on MSN or Yahoo due to the smaller search volume, you may want to change your tactic. While it won’t match Google’s market share, MSN Adcenter will have a greatly expanded reach that will be well worth your effort to utilize. Unfortunately, bid prices will probably also go up when more advertisers start using AdCenter.
3: Some Yahoo Tools Might Change Or Disappear
Several Yahoo tools used by marketers and webmasters, most notably Yahoo BOSS and Site Explorer, may be in danger. Only time will tell, as the Yahoo team keeps hinting that they may be able to keep these tools.
When Will This Happen?
According to the official press release, the deal is expected to be implemented in the US before the 2010 holidays. I’m just guessing, but I would imagine that means by October at the very latest. The release also said that they might delay implementation until 2011 “if they determine that the transition will be more effective after the holiday season.”
What We Don’t Know
There are many finer details we don’t know yet, such as how identical Bing and Yahoo results will be, whether certain tools will still exist, or if Bing/Adcenter will experience growing pains during this transition. But the bottom line is that Bing/Adcenter will now control a much larger market share – bloggers, SEO’s and advertisers should pay attention.