Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance, Tips for Optimising

In mid-July Yahoo! started testing both organic and paid search results powered by Microsoft’s Bing technology. “The primary change for these tests is that the listings are coming from 

Microsoft,” said Kartik Ramakrishnan, Yahoo’s VP of Search Product Operations. “However, the overall page should look the same as the Yahoo! Search you’re used to – with rich content and unique tools and features from Yahoo!. If you happen to fall into our tests, you might also notice some differences in how we’re displaying select search results due to a variety of product configurations we are testing.

Both Yahoo! and Microsoft had previously given details about some of the paid search changes, but now the both companies have brought to light even more facts about organic and paid search.

As far as organic search is concerned, the Yahoo Search marketing team provides the following tips:

-          “Compare your organic search rankings on Yahoo! Search and Bing for the keywords that work best for you.

-          Decide if you’d like to modify your paid search campaigns to compensate for any changes in organic referrals that you anticipate.

-          Review the Bing webmaster tools and optimise your website for the Microsoft platform crawler, as Bing listings will be displayed for approximately 30% of search queries after this change, according to comScore.”

Microsoft’s senior vice president, Satya Nadella also adds that “now is a good time for you to review your crawl policies in your robots.txt and ensure that you have identical polices for the msnbot/Bingbot and Yahoo’s bots. Just to note, you should not see an increase in bingbot traffic as a result of the transition.”

The current Bingbot is designed to crawl non-optimised sites more easily. The new Bingbot is going to replace the existing MsnBot in October.

Also note that the Bing Webmaster Tools have been completely redone with a bunch of new features. According to Bing Webmaster Tools Product Manager, Anthony M. Garcia, the redesigned Bing Webmaster Tools will provide you a “simplified, more intuitive experience focused on three key areas: crawl, index and traffic. New features, such as Index Explorer and Submit URLs, provide a more comprehensive view as well as better control over how Bing crawls and indexes your sites. Other new features include: Crawl Issues to view details on redirects, malware, and exclusions encountered while crawling sites; and Block URLs to prevent specific URLs from appearing in Bing search engine results pages. In addition, the new tools take advantage of Microsoft Silverlight 4 to deliver rich charting functionality that will help you quickly analyze up to six months of crawling, indexing, and traffic data. That means more transparency and more control to help you make decisions, which optimize your sites for Bing.”

Yahoo! is already integrating Microsoft’s mobile organic and paid listings in the US and Canada. The Alliance anticipates that U.S. and Canada organic listings in both the desktop and mobile versions of its search will be fully powered by Microsoft as early as August or September.

So how will all this affect SEO? Well, anyone who has good rankings in Yahoo!’s organic results will see a drop if they are not equally ranked in Bing. So the Alliance is clearly suggesting that you start focusing on your Bing strategy more seriously, if you’re not already doing so.

Leave a Comment