Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top 10 Things the Microsoft/Yahoo! Deal Changes for SEO

Posted by randfish on July 29th, 2009

The search landscape is changing significantly this morning, and SEOs of all stripes need to pay close attention. I'm going to do my best to summarize the impact of these changes based on what we already know and interpret what's going to change for the field of search engine optimization and what we, as representatives of our clients and our companies, need to know and do.

Background on the Deal

First off, a few background snippets from several of the sources on this topic - SearchEngineLand's Live Blogging Coverage; TechCrunch; ReadWriteWeb; and the new MS/Yahoo! website Choice, Value, Innovation.

  • The term of the agreement is 10 years
  • Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!'s core search technologies, and Microsoft will have the ability to integrate Yahoo! search technologies into its existing web search platforms
  • Yahoo! will continue to syndicate its existing search affiliate partnerships.
  • Microsoft's Bing will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo! sites. Yahoo! will continue to use its technology and data in other areas of its business such as enhancing display advertising technology.
  • Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force.
  • Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies' premium search advertisers. Self-serve advertising for both companies will be fulfilled by Microsoft's AdCenter platform, and prices for all search ads will continue to be set by AdCenter's automated auction process.

In case that wasn't quite clear, the big takeaway is that Bing will now power search on Yahoo! and Yahoo!'s salesforce will sell the premium (non-self service) search advertising for Yahoo!/Bing. Bing also gets access to Yahoo!'s core search technology and can, at its option, leverage that to help create more relevant results.

  • Google has 78% of market share of paid search (direct quote on SELand from Microsoft)
  • Bartz: Yes there are many Yahoo search employees who will be asked to take jobs at Microsoft. There will also be search employees who we look to help us on the display side. And then unfortunately there will be some redundancy in Yahoo. (Just a quick note; if you work in Yahoo! search, please email me - - we're hiring on the engineering team!)
  • Bartz: Notes that when it comes to paid search, Panama is the provider in most international marketplaces for Microsoft already.
  • Danny Sullivan: What happens to other things search like at Yahoo? What powered Yahoo News? What happens to the Yahoo Directory? Is Delicious search? And what happens to Yahoo paid inclusion?
    Bartz: We have full flexibility on what to do within our own sites. Paid inclusion, we’ll decide on that later.

  • AdAge reports that ComScore shows Bing will now have a 28% market share when combined with Yahoo! search, though.
  • ReadWriteWeb worried about this large list of services from Yahoo! that are under "search services." Yahoo! PR called them to say that "this is a consumer facing list of search-related services, like News Search and Map Search, but most of those are not or are no longer formally part of the Search Department." So, probably at least some of them are safe.

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