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Yahoo! Marries Bing: Just Googly Eyes, or Will Google Still Take First Prize?

Yahoo! and Microsoft Search AllianceUnless you’ve been hibernating during the past several months, you know that Yahoo!® and Bing™ are joining forces for search. What you may not realize, however, is that this change affects both sponsored results and natural, or organic, rankings.

Ultimately, Bing will be feeding all of the search results to Bing.com as well as to Yahoo.com. Yahoo!, however, will have control over how the search results appear and what is and is not filtered. You won’t be able to designate results to be shown on one engine or the other; results will automatically feed to both.

Testing is already in progress for both paid and organic search results. The organic search transition began in mid-August and is expected to be complete by the end of September. The paid search transition has been under way since mid-July and is expected to be complete by the end of October.

The combined search audience will account for approximately 30% of the search market share, or approximately 561 million worldwide users.*

The following links are official resources for the partnership:

The following lists outline important things to know about the transition in terms of sponsored ads and organic rankings. For full details, be sure to visit the links above.

Sponsored Ads (Pay-Per-Click, or PPC)

  • All accounts will be served on the Microsoft adCenter platform. All Yahoo! Search Marketing accounts will be decommissioned. If you don’t already have a Microsoft adCenter account, you’ll need one.
  • Your account history will not transfer from Yahoo! Search Marketing to Microsoft adCenter, but your conversion tracking should.
  • The adCenter system offers three keyword match types, which are similar to Google (broad, phrase, and exact), but unlike Yahoo! (standard and advanced).
  • When you’re pausing match types on the adCenter, you can’t pause just one match type; if you pause one, you pause them all.
  • The adCenter system will allow thousands of excluded (or negative) keywords, which is hundreds more than Yahoo! did.
  • Ads on the adCenter system have a title character limit of 25 and a description character limit of 70, so you may need to make some adjustments to your ads. (Yahoo!’s title character limit is 40.)
  • Budgets for the adCenter can be daily or monthly; the latter can be set to spend until depleted or to spend across the entire month.
  • If you’re managing your PPC account on your own, you’ll soon be able to utilize a transition tool within the Yahoo! Search Marketing interface to migrate your account.
  • If you’re working with Web.com or any of its brands (such as Solid Cactus, LEADS.com, and Web.com Search Agency), your PPC team will handle all of the transition activities for you.

Organic (or Natural) Rankings

  • Site owners should utilize Bing Webmaster Tools and optimize accordingly.
  • Yahoo! Site Explorer will be decommissioned during the partnership.
  • With respect to indexing, there shouldn’t be a significant change in organic rankings.

Will the joint effort be an everlasting honeymoon? Time will tell . . . so I’d hold off buying that engraved picture frame right now.

*Source: comScore Media Metrix, March 2010.


Related article:
Get Ready for Bing Results on Yahoo!

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    1. Bing is drawing its search percentage from Yahoo, and the rest are going to Google. Yahoo has the third-worst filtering system in existence, and the hotmail filtering from Microsoft is the second worst. You just convinced me not to bother with Bing.

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    2. John—thanks for reading and for your comment. I completely understand your concerns and hesitation. However, I wouldn’t rule out Bing altogether; remember, each engine has unique demographic characteristics. Bing tends to be more of a senior population and is the default engine for Internet Explorer users, so some people don’t bother to change it; Yahoo tends to be more female-oriented. So depending upon what you are marketing, either or both audiences may be of value.

      Regardless of what you choose to do, be cautious, especially during the very sensitive holiday season. Good luck!

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    3. Well, it’s official! The organic transition is complete: Yahoo! Transitions Organic Search Back-End to Microsoft Platform.

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