Yahoo and Bing Get Ready to Challenge Google

Second and third place search engines, Yahoo and Bing, have teamed up and Yahoo searches across North America are powered by the Microsoft platform.  In July of last year, the two companies

signed a ten-year agreement in which Microsoft provides back-end support for Yahoo’s searches in an attempt to compete with top ranked Google, who owns almost two-thirds of the search engine market.  Will the change shake up Google? How will SEO or PPC be affected?

Even with the Yahoo/Bing merger, Google still outperforms at almost double the rate. Michael Kordahi, a Microsoft employee, developed a program called Blind Search to test the market’s opinion of the top search engines.  Blind Test presented the results of a particular search from Bing, Yahoo, and Google and had users choose their favorite (blindly, of course).  According to Kordahi’s research, 41 percent of the users preferred Google results; 31 percent preferred Bing, and 21 percent liked  Yahoo.  Perhaps more telling, however, is that many people said the differences were too minor to allow for a good judgment and would have chosen to vote for indifference.

The results yielded by Google and by the new Yahoo/Bing partnership may not be substantially different, but features and aesthetics sway searchers.  Interestingly enough, while Google is the dominant market share holder, they score only slightly better in the most recent study by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The effect on Google is predicted to be minimal, at least in the near future.  Google remains in an advantageous position, too, because of their expansion into smartphones and their expected foray into the social networking scene.

Concerning search engine optimisation, Yahoo has indicated that sites may want to consider revamping techniques to accommodate for the merger.  The first step is to review organic rankings on Yahoo and keywords and see how it differs from those now powered by Bing.  If there is any major differences, modifying pay-per-click campaigns is a good decision.  Site owners and SEOs can also take advantage of Bing’s webmaster tools to make sure their sites are optimised specifically for Microsoft crawlers.  Also of interest to advertisers, paid search accounts will be transitioned to adCenter in the next few weeks, and advertisers using online marketing services will switch to Microsoft by 2012, according to the Search Alliance agreement.

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