Over two years ago Microsoft and Yahoo! signed a deal to become partners instead of competitors in their shared domain of search. They formed the new Search Alliance. One part of the deal was that Microsoft’s Bing would become the search engine behind Yahoo!. The transition started in August 2010 in USA and Canada, but Europe has been waiting patiently in anticipation. Until today! Yahoo! is officially starting the transition merging their organic results with Microsoft (Bing) for the European properties including; UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Yahoo has the following to say on the matter:
“For Yahoo! this is an important step toward our goal of improving the overall relevance of Yahoo! organic search results and attracting a larger audience to Yahoo! Search. This transition will also enable both companies to continue to innovate on their respective consumer search experience, whilst relying on a common algorithm used by a combined user base.
So, within the next few months we can safely say that the Yahoo! organic algorithm is no more. To get a primer of how to optimise for Bing’s organic listings check out the Bing Webmaster Tools (or any SEO forum from 1999… just kidding). Bing has historically had a lot of criticism for their organic algorithm putting too much emphasis on keyword in domain, and it’s way too lenient when it comes to old school keywords stuffing. In fact, Bing is the only engine that puts any emphasis on the meta keyword tag. But Microsoft has spent considerable money improving their organic algorithm, so hopefully this will improve search results. It will be quite interesting to see what impact the organic merger will have on traffic. I suspect very little, especially in the UK where Google owns 92% of the market share (Hitwise June 2011) whilst Yahoo & Bing combined only account for 5.84% of all searches. In the US Bing and Yahoo have a combined market share of 29.7% and Google only “owns” 65.4%, which makes this merger all the more interesting. Other countries in Europe are also heavily dominated by Google (see below table) so time will tell whether this merger will impact market share within Europe.
|Country||Yahoo! market Share||Bing market share|
Source: StatCounter Thanks to Jeroen van Eck for contributing to this post (basically we both wrote pretty much the same post without the other knowing; great minds think alike).