The SEO implications of Bing and Yahoo search engines merger

Google vs combined Yahoo / Bing

THE ‘BING’ BANG THEORY

THE DEAL:                                      

July 2009 saw the coming together of two internet giants: Yahoo! And Microsoft in a bid to create a strong Number 2 search entity to compete with Google. This 10 year deal calls for Microsoft to provide back-end technology to power search on Yahoo. Yahoo! while maintaining its interface will now feature “Powered by BingTM” branding.

THE ‘BING’ BANG:

Has Bing made a ripple in the Search Engine world following this monumental deal? The numbers definitely say it has! In a 4 week survey conducted by ExperianTM, HitwiseTM in January 2011, Google bagged 69.67% of the market share in the US while Bing’s combined searches were 25.77% divided between Yahoo! searches at 15.17% and Bing.com searches at 10.60% 1. The April 2012 survey by the same site shows Google market share down by almost 5% to 64.42% while combined Bing searches are up to a whopping 30.01% of which Yahoo! searches are 15.69% and Bing.com searches account for 14.32% 2. So with an increase of around 5% at the expense of Google the competition with Google is definitely on! Also the survey found out that Bing powered searches have a higher “success rate”- that is- more users of Bing click on the resulting clicks.

WHAT MAKES BING SPECIAL?

Bing, with a view to making the search engine even more user friendly has a plethora of attractions like the daily changing informative background image, video thumbnail that starts playing videos on hovering the cursor above it, and the most interesting of all: Instant answers. Typing the company name in the search box will yield stock details as will typing a mathematical equation yield answers and conversions as well.

But what makes it more attractive is the social aspect of the search. Connected to social networking sites, it enhances your search result by showing you what your friends may know about the search as well as gives you results in your area. For example if you type in ‘italian restaurants’ it will not only give you the usual know how but also tell you which friends have been to Italian restaurants recently and also a list of Italian restaurants in your vicinity. Handy, ain’t it?

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE SEO WORLD?

Everything else aside, what does the Yahoo! and Microsoft Bing merger mean for SEO clients and prospects? If you had decent rankings in Bing and not so good in Yahoo!, then this is good news for you as your overall rankings will get bumped up. If it is the other way round, it might take some while to catch up with your rankings on Bing. However with its new found market share and improved search algorithm and interface, and the collaboration with Microsoft adCenter, Bing just might seal the deal for you. For those of you who just rely on Google Search Engine for your SEO efforts, it is time to reconsider this strategy and take the “Ya!-Bing” threat seriously. I am sure they will not displace Google easily, nor without a serious fight. But this merger does spell out their strategy to the future and will be a force to contend with. So you need to plan accordingly.

FINALLY!

In the end, what the issue boils down to is that, the new improved Yahoo! search “Powered by Bing” is certainly a thing to watch out for. After all it is not every day that the 2nd and 3rd best search engines join force.

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