One day late last week, my day started like any other day with checking E-mail and my Tweets. Barry Schwartz aka @Rustybrick tweeted a Search Engine Round Table article about a situation that I was already aware of, but the idea of it finally hit home. Yahoo is essentially going away this year for search engine marketers and the count down to its irrelevance has begun.
It’s far from a done deal, and there are more than a few potential obstacles in the deal actually getting approved, but sometime this year Yahoo as we know it will likely be gone (I’m betting much later in the year).
So the question has to be asked is all this work I’m doing to make Yahoo PPC accounts perform all for nothing? Yes at some point all the work you have done to make your Yahoo PPC a well-oiled conversion machine will be lost forever. Bing will take over the PPC interface for Yahoo and your settings on Bing will determine your success or failure for clicks deriving from Yahoo.com and its properties.
Can I just set it and forget it? At this point no, there are still a lot of regulatory hoops for this deal to be finished. We absolutely recommend watching it like a hawk in the mean time and taking steps to improve it’s performance. Take advantage of the new Network Distribution feature and eliminate the garbage traffic coming mostly from Parked Domains in the Yahoo Search Network.
Just remember it’s days are numbered and huge investments of time and money to make it better will only yield temporary results. If you are advertising on Yahoo right now and aren’t already advertising on Microsoft Bing you should go ahead and establish a MSN Adcenter account. Go ahead and start small, this won’t be a problem it’s hard to spend a lot of money given the lack of traffic. Reinvest the money you are saving from eliminating bogus Yahoo Search Network traffic and put it into Bing.com ads.
If you are already advertising on Bing you also need to realize that all of your bids, budgets and settings at there current levels will all have to be dramatically adjusted once the switch is flipped and Yahoo traffic is incorporated into the Bing mix.
What about SEO for Yahoo? Honestly, we don’t advocate a strategy to just improve rankings on Yahoo.com or just improve rankings on Bing.com. We recommend a holistic SEO strategy that gets results on all three (soon to be 2) major search engines. Links from a variety of sources paired with keyword specific content and best practices for site design and architecture improve search engine rankings on all the major search engines and that will not stop once Bing takes over Yahoo search results.
What you do have to worry about is that for the most part Bing is only showing the top 5 natural search results on page one and is categorizing what it “thinks” you could be looking for instead of what you actually searched for on the rest of the page. In my mind Bing produces fewer relevant natural search results and forces more people to click on PPC ads as a result.
Either way, a lot of old work is essentially going to be erased on Yahoo PPC and a lot of new work on Bing PPC is going to have to be done at some point to adjust for the changes in traffic.