In about a year, Microsoft will fulfill a planned integration to power Yahoo’s search results with the snappy new Bing. The move shall effectively consolidate 28% of the US search market, giving both companies a platform – albeit a modest one – upon which to seriously battle Google.
While it might be ten months to a year before Bing results start showing up on Yahoo, what hasn’t escaped many in the industry is that once it occurs; Bing will effectively have 28% market share.
Its potential to split the market in twain may draw marketers back to the early days of search, when separate optimized pages were created for Google australia, Yahoo, Lycos and AltaVista.
"You’d effectively have two pages, one for Google and one for Bing," explained editor Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand.com (via AdAge).
Currently, most site owners focus on Google as the fractured share of Yahoo and Bing isn’t really worth chasing; particularly if it would interfere with Google rankings. However, 28% makes it a whole new ball game under certain circumstances.
I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and optimize for Bing now, particularly if it may endanger Google rankings. In fact, that may be somewhat a waste of time given that Bing’s algorithm seems to be undergoing some heavy tweaking – but it’s just something to keep in mind as the months go by.
But Bing is a wholly different animal from rival Google and ex-rival Yahoo. Its algorithm, which remains a mystery to the casual searcher, both ranks pages and presents results in its own unique way. For example, it often shows just five organic results on its first page – after which other results are categorized.
For the rest of us, I think the idea is just continue working with Google best practices and keep an ear to the ground. From what I’ve researched so far, the basics of search engine optimizationshould continue to work well once Bing settles. Sure, some will find tricks and loopholes to rank higher in Bing, but as with Google, “tricks” that tend to be a little closer to black hat strategies than white often get stomped on after a while – and it’s a very long road back from Google hell.
Marketers should also consider the potential that both sites will eventually incorporate real-time search, such as relevant Twitter or Facebook updates.
Needless to say, however, marketers that manage to walk the Bing/Google line with success will enjoy the first time in years that optimizing for two engines lends them almost 100% of the search market.