Microsoft-Yahoo Search Alliance Moves Forward

We heard about it last year and now we’re finally seeing it action – partly, anyway.  As Amanda pointed out last week, up to 25% of  Yahoo’s organic search results in the U.S. are being powered by Bing and up to 3.5% may see paid listings from Microsoft adCenter.  The difference won’t be noticeable unless you’re one of the lucky searchers to see the “Powered by Bing” badge on the bottom of a results page (they’re currently testing this badge on just some of the results, but once it’s fully rolled out, it will be on the bottom of all the results pages).  I went to Yahoo to see if I could get a glimpse of a Bing-branded results page by performing a million (read: ten) searches but it was not to be.  Seriously, after 10 searches on Yahoo, I had to leave; I felt like a foreigner in a strange land (I’m a Googler).

When will it ALL be Bing?

Microsoft and Yahoo are currently doing tests for organic and paid results and if all goes well, the US and Canada will see all Bing-powered results in desktop and mobile searches as early as August (August/September is the current time frame).  The paid search platform transition to Microsoft adCenter will be undergoing a bit more testing, but is expected to be fully live by October.

Obviously, this is a pretty big transition, especially for those folks who currently use Yahoo Search Marketing for their PPC campaigns.  Yahoo is trying to make this as smooth of a transition as possible, and has a bunch of information regarding the change.  Not only do they have a complete site called the “Yahoo Transition Center” dedicated to it, there are also helpful posts on the Yahoo Search Marketing blog.

What about the rest of the world?

I haven’t read anything yet about when they plan to integrate the Bing-powered organic results internationally, but for PPC, international advertisers should see the move to Microsoft adCenter in early 2012.  Again, this will all be dependent on a successful roll out in the United States and Canada.

On the tail of this news, Yahoo Japan just announced that it plans to use Google’s search engine technology for their organic and paid search instead of Bing.  Although this may be a bit of a blow to Microsoft, Yahoo only holds a minority stake in Yahoo Japan and cannot stop them from using Google as an alternative.  This proves to be an interesting move, considering that comScore’s figures show that Japan has the third largest number of searches conducted as of December 2009 (behind the US and China).  A good portion of Japan’s searches could be Google-powered if everything goes as planned.

Are you excited about this change?  Are you mad because I dissed Yahoo?  Let me know!