Incase you haven't heard, Microsoft and Yahoo have finally come to an agreement which will see them pair up in a move aimed at overthrowing Google from the head of the Search market. Whilst talks have been 'on and off' for some time now, the partnership always seemed to be on the cards, and with the potential held by Microsoft's Decision Engine, 'Bing', coupled with the advertising power of Yahoo, we may very well witness significant changes to the Search environment over the next 10 years.
Whilst Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talks of 'innovation in search' being the principle product of the partnership, we thought it may be a good idea to take some time out and address exactly what is required - and essentially, what is needed in order to make up ground on the Big G.
As ever, we're keen to hear your thoughts on the matter, so feel free to comment!
There's simply no getting away from this. Real Time Search is the future. People want access to all the information they can get hold of, as quickly as possible. This means as soon as the news breaks. With this in mind, it is easy to see why Twitter has become so popular and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to delivering instant news - something which Google, Yahoo nor Bing, have yet been able to provide.
With the launch of Twitters newly structured homepage, which emphasizes the Real Time Search facility it offers, breaking into this section of the market will become more of a challenge, but nonetheless essential for the Microsoft-Yahoo partnership, especially if the rumours of Google buying Twitter are anything to go by.
There's no doubt, 2 heads are better than 1 when it comes to problem solving. The worst possible thing that the guys at Microsoft could do at this stage is to ignore their Yahoo counterparts, and continue providing a Search facility which is very much their own work. At the end of the day, MSN has been criticised in the past for returning irrelevant SERPs, and whilst Bing seems to have improved a little, there is always work to be done. Even Google continually modifies and tweaks its algorithm, and as the current market leader, it just shows how far Microsoft and Yahoo have yet to go.
Google has unbelievable brand recognition within the Search environment, even to the extent that people just 'Google it' whenever they want to find out some information. The only way Microsoft and Yahoo are going to be able to overcome this unfortunate disadvantage is to earn it through respect for their Search results. This means they must provide highly accurate results, far superior to those Google provides, in order to encourage the migration of Googlers over to the Bing powered Search Engines.
The agreement is only set to last 10-years, but it is essential for both parties to look past this period and develop products and services for the long term. In all seriousness, if either party fails to make an impact on the other and the partnership fails apart after 10 years, you can pretty much rest assured that it'll be the end of the road for Yahoo. Having effectively handed over the blueprints to its Search framework, Yahoo no-longer has any algorithmic secrets which would distinguish its Search Engine from that of Microsoft's Bing. In 10 years time, if the relationship turns soar, there would be no reason for anyone to make use of the Yahoo Search facility - particularly if they can be guaranteed a superior set of SERPs from the Bing Search Engine.
Google not only provides a Search facility on it's own domains, but also, through a number of partnerships it has established throughout the web world, including YouTube and the millions of sites which provide a search facility 'Powered By Google' within their pages. Google undoubtedly receives significant usage via these sites, so they are not simply relying on people navigating to the Google domains. Perhaps Microsoft and Yahoo should take note?
All in all, there's still such a long way to go, but a 10-year relationship offers plenty of time and opportunity for 'Microhoo' to investigate and explore the possibilities of Search, which is sure to result in significant changes for the SEO community to adapt to.
Author - Tom