Yahoo's Site Explorer, the webmaster tool for those looking to optimize for Yahoo, is destined for a shutdown later this year. After all Yahoo sites have migrated to Bing-powered search results, Yahoo site explorer will shut down in favor of Microsoft Webmaster Tools.
Those who paid close attention to the Microsoft-Yahoo deal will recall that Yahoo specifically stated that Site Explorer would continue even after Bing was powering the back-end. However, they have since concluded that "having two webmaster portals for a single source for organic results does not add enough value," as stated on the Yahoo Search Blog.
The exact date of shutdown isn't specific, but it won't be immediate, nor will it take long.
"Once organic results are transitioned to Bing in all the markets, we plan to shut down Yahoo! Site Explorer," stated Hemant Minocha, Product Manager of Yahoo Site Explorer. He further stated that, "Microsoft’s Webmaster Tools will be the source for Bing and Yahoo! webmaster site and analytics data."
Presumably, Yahoo means "transitioned to Bing" in all the markets where it will actually change. Select regions may not be receiving Bing-powered results, including Yahoo Japan, where Google will be powering the SERP.
Yahoo has promised to keep users up-to-date on the exact date of transition via the Yahoo search blog. Additionally, Yahoo's Site Explorer API and BOSS Site Explorer API are both being shut down later this year.
Yahoo representatives have encouraged webmasters to begin using the Bing Webmaster Central tools, which have become especially relevant thanks to both their reflection of Yahoo organic results and the presence of numerous updated tools. However, users are also being encouraged to continue using Site Explorer until the transition is complete. "
In a large part of the world, "we have not yet transitioned to Microsoft search platform. Hence, it is important that Yahoo! continues to receive your site/sitemap submissions so that search results from Yahoo! are fresh and relevant for markets that have not switched over," stated a response to an FAQ on the Site Explorer shutdown
Does this mean anything for webmasters, beyond the obvious? For those still clinging to a separate Bing and Yahoo optimization, this is a major signal flare to start optimizing around just Bing results.
"Any optimization that you do on Bing Webmaster Center tool will be reflected in Yahoo! organic search results," stated Hemant Minocha, although he clarifies that some areas of the world are still on the pending list for transfer to a Microsoft-powered back end.