Earlier this year there was a lot of talk about a possible Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo. As we very well know the deal did not push through. This time we can be sure that Microsoft is a lot happier having finally inked an important deal with Yahoo.
Microsoft and Yahoo have signed a 10-year agreement stating that Yahoo will be using Microsoft’s Bing as its search engine. In turn Yahoo will be the one taking care of the search advertisements appearing next to the Bing results both for Microsoft and Yahoo.
This is big news indeed because Yahoo Search will no longer be as we know it. The partnership is obviously strategically advantageous to both since they still lag behind the search giant Google. Microsoft did see an increase in market share when they rolled out Bing but ended up making a dent not on Google’s market share but on Yahoo’s. With Yahoo Search’s users migrating to Microsoft it is clear why Yahoo would want to use Bing to power their own engine. As for Microsoft this is a good sign that , as Nick Wingfield of Wall Street Journal put it, the tide is finally turning and “that things may be finally starting to look up for Microsoft.”
Google of course be on its toes with this news but since they have never been one to rest on their laurels it won’t be a challenge they will really be too afraid of. Add to this fact that search users, being deeply ingrained in their habits, will likely not be migrating to Bing in droves despite the new deal. I believe that it would take something more revolutionary than Bing for people to feel that the effort of shedding their old habits (however little that effort may be) is worth the reward of using a search engine (or whatever it maybe be called in the future) they are not familiar nor comfortable with.
In the meantime what is great for SEOs about this news is that with Microsoft and Yahoo using just one engine we now have one less engine to keep track of. At the same time this also means that we’ll have to ramp up our efforts in learning more about Bing and what makes it tick. We cannot discount its combined market share.