We know Google attempted to get Yahoo paid search to use its program, but dropped the idea when the Justice Department thought they should investigate. Now Microsoft has gotten its hands on Yahoo search and the speculation begins again.
What impact will it really have? OK, Microsoft's market share will be the combined number of the two companies. Add this to the slight rise Bing has received through the new branding and advertising, and Microsoft may be able to start grabbing a little more of the market from Google.
But will there be any real difference? Articles have been written about the impact on various API developments, such as BOSS, but many of them will continue, just under a new brand.
In highly competitive industries, there's very little difference in the search results. Looking at the results on the three engines for the keyword "forex," it's almost as if they're using the same algorithm mix.
Google has sitelinks and the "more results" link, as do the other two engines. Even the sitelinks look very similar. Interestingly, Bing and Google grab details from meta tags, while in this case Yahoo is pulling from their directory.
Interestingly, Yahoo drops in info about the currency fund above the first results, which is the same site as the other two.
The Bing result is very close, but is closer to the Google result. It calls the top listing the "best match" and has the search box similar to Google's earlier rendition for searching other site pages.
If the quality and the actual links in Bing and Google are the same, then popularity and branding will be the big influences on market share.
I also looked at "pizza" -- big market with some big names. Here the results were different.
Google has Dominos at the top spot -- they're also the big advertiser there. Meanwhile, Bing has two Wikipedia listings in the top five -- regular at one and Chicago at four -- and Pizza Hut and the generic pizza.com come before Dominos. Yahoo puts their local map listings at the top and then has Pizza Hut at one followed by Dominos and Papa Johns before Wikipedia and pizza.com.
Essentially the results are the same. So what's the big difference? Yahoo and Bing -- at least in my experience -- converts better than Google.
The PPC conversion for both of them has always been less expensive than Google. Now that they're combined, advertisers will only have to deal with one interface that has an aggregated number of more successfully converting traffic. This could be a big deal in the coming months.
If the conversion numbers continue to be better, then Google may see some competition now that there's only one place to get access. Seems I've always heard people say they use AdWords because it's simpler and the numbers are there.
Yahoo and Bing users seem to be like AOL users -- they're more shoppers than searchers of straight information. Now once AOL is separated out of Time Warner, maybe it would be a great addition to the search group Bing is creating.
Join us for Search Engine Strategies San Jose, August 10-14, 2009, at the McEnery Convention Center.