Bing - as seen on Yahoo
Yahoo has started handing over its natural search results pages to Bing.
In a message to advertisers, entitled Yahoo and Microsoft Search Alliance - Organic Search Transition Update, the company announced that the switch to Bing-powered results will begin on Wednesday, 3 August 2011. This will affect Yahoo's products in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
It marks the latest stage in a lengthy process. The decision to link up Microsoft and Yahoo search was made in July 2009, while the US Department of Justice and the European Commission cleared the search alliance in February 2010.
Yahoo's message has confirmed that the latest stage of the project does not affect paid results - Yahoo Search Marketing accounts will continue to operate as usual. Nevertheless, it urges advertisers to take three steps to prepare themselves for the switch:
- Compare natural search rankings for keywords on Yahoo Search and Bing
- Consider modifying paid search campaigns to reduce the impact of any changes in traffic
- Check Bing webmaster tools to ensure sites are optimised for Bing
A long way to go
Mark Baker, online marketing manager at theEword, commented: "It will be fascinating to see what happens as Bing and Yahoo natural search results merge. However, since Google owns more than 90 per cent of UK searches, they've clearly still got a long way to go if they are to mount a serious challenge to the market leader."
The integration of Bing and Yahoo Search comes at a potentially tricky time for Microsoft. It recently posted figures showing that its online services unit - which runs Bing - posted losses of $2.6 billion (£1.6 billion) - in the latest fiscal year. That prompted Reuters investment columnist Robert Cyran to call for Bing to be sold with Facebook or Apple touted as potential buyers.