Having waited months for the final OK, Yahoo’s search platform is now officially powered by Bing. Testing of the integration was ongoing for the last several months and search users saw results very similar to Bing’s. Some search results still vary on Yahoo because they still add their own little touches to the search listings but for the most part, users will be seeing the same results.
For Bing, however, there are some changes to the way search results are listed depending on the term being searched. For instance, doing a search for “safes” on Bing will yield a page consisting of several “sections” of search result listings where users can find relevant information on more specific information related to safes. There is a news section, a buyers guide section, and a fireproof safes section.
So, what does this mean for search going forward?
First, when users perform a search on Google, Yahoo and Bing, they’re going to see two sets of results primarily. There is less variety for top 10 listings to see and users will have to click on the next button for more. It was good while it lasted to see different results and see how each ranked sites in their index. This creates a more competitive environment where the big 3 would do their own thing to bring innovation to the search marketplace. Now, we have less competition and I believe ultimately, less innovation going forward.
Second, the Bing-Yahoo deal sets up a showdown between Google and Bing for search market share. Google is by far ahead of Bing and Yahoo but things can change if Microsoft makes the right moves. With the growing use of mobile search, Microsoft could take advantage of it by negotiating its search engine use on mobile phones with cell phone providers and major handset manufacturers such as Apple’s iPhone. If the default search engine was switched from Google (as is the case in many of the handsets now) to Bing, we could see more Bing converts in time to come if Microsoft manages to pull it off. At the present moment, Bing is added as one of the 3 major search engines offered. According to Chitika, that amounts to about 50% of mobile search.
Why is this significant? While mobile search is small at the moment, mobile search is gaining rapidly and is set to dominate in 5 years according to a research report by investment firm Morgan Stanley:
…we’re “now in the early innings” of mobile Internet development, which is growing faster than previous tech cycles, including the evolution of the desktop PC.
Third, for search engine optimization experts, the fewer the search engines, the less variety of major factors we have to focus on in order to rank well. That doesn’t make the job any easier since there is a smaller margin for any error especially on guaranteed SEO programs which we offer to select clients. Some of our clients have in fact experienced an increased level of web traffic because of better overall rankings on Bing as compared to Yahoo previously. Since our SEO strategies are diverse in nature and intended to deliver balanced top 10 rankings across the 3 major search engines, this switch worked out really well for our clients with many of them dominating Google, Yahoo and Bing at present for their industry related keyword phrases. In a later installment, I’ll offer some juicy details on what it takes to rank well for Google and Bing search so stay tuned.