What Will Microsoft Yahoo Merger Mean for SEO?

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This morning, Microsoft announced their open plans to acquire Yahoo, offering $45 Billion for the Internet communications, publishing and search company. Yahoo responded, saying that their Board of Directors (minus Terry Semel) would review the proposal from Microsoft.

The acquisition of Yahoo by Microsoft is something the tech community has been anticipating for months now, and for a price very close to Microsoft’s offer. Microsoft is a very large and powerful tech company with only one part of its invested interests targeted towards online entertainment and search.

It makes sense to acquire a very proven and successful company in Yahoo, despite Yahoo’s recent problems. By acquiring a stripped down version of Yahoo now under Jerry Yang, Microsoft is acquiring a more efficient company.

What’s most important out of this announcement to us is the arm of Yahoo that we call Yahoo Search. What will this mean to search marketing?

Yahoo Search Will Replace Live Search : Entirely

If there is any given out of the plans of Microsoft to acquire Yahoo, it is that Yahoo Search Technology is a much better and branded solution than Microsoft Live Search. Here’s why :

  • Microsoft cannibalized its search efforts when it decided to brand two search engines on two separate fronts; Live Search & MSN Search.
  • By splitting the engine into two brands, it killed its market share and confused the hell out of Microsoft users with its split search personality.
  • Furthermore, as Yahoo, Ask.com and Google have improved their search engines, Microsoft Search has worsened with irrelevant results and has become a harem for spammers.
  • If anyone is going to lose in a Yahoo Microsoft merger, it willl be the blackhatters & spammers who do quite well ranking with Microsoft Search.
  • Yahoo has also done a very fine job of monetizing organic search with paid inclusion. Using Yahoo Search to power the MSN, Live.com, and Internet Explorer networks will expand the Yahoo Search paid inclusion market substantially.
  • Yahoo Search and its Research & Development team are quite impressive, and second to only Ask.com in innovation, a lot which is probably being held back by the corporate red tape which Ask.com can bypass being a minor player. Microsoft will be getting a gem in Yahoo Search.

So, how will this effect SEO and the SEO market?

  • For starters, Microsoft Search seems to give very high value to directory links : especially low powered directories and link trading houses.
  • Secondly, there will probably be a small hit to affiliate marketers who have reaped the rewards of Microsoft’s poor rankings, and will not have that search market share to bring in business.
  • Third, with two major search choices in Google & MicroHoo!, I see Ask.com and IAC stepping up with promoting their search engine, and possibly gain some marketshare via the merger, as an alternative to Big Net.

If Microsoft does acquire Yahoo and replace their search technology with Yahoo Search, how will that change the SEO landscape and your SEO efforts?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • http://mobie.wordpress.com/ Mobie

    Its a big deal for yahoo to earn more money, in seo point many sites will get gain & some sites will affect. If it combines live search is more competitive to google..

  • http://www.chowrangi.com Kashif

    I think this is going to benefit web publishers in long run as Google will become more competitive in its offering.

  • http://www.seminc.com Adam Maywald

    For real SEO professionals who know the SEO/M landscape for Yahoo! and MSN, this won’t change anything. Everyone knows its extremely easy to rank in MSN, so if they go that route, well – it’s open season. Yahoo! is farely easy to rank as well, so if they completely burn the MSN search, I don’t see us personally changing our SEO habits for ranking client and internal sites.

  • https://www.searchenginejournal.com Loren Baker, Editor

    Good point Adam and thanks. I do think a very large change will be the expansion of Y! paid inclusion across the Y! M$ Search Property, whichever route they go with this anticipated search merger.

  • http://www.InternetTechnologyService.net/SEO/ Evans Craig

    Yahoo, MSN & Google have been our main search tools for so long, that combining efforts & opening another spot for another search engine, such as ask.com seems fitting and appropriate. I will be looking forward to adding new search results & new content to my sites also.

  • http://www.uwinrichting.nl Robbert Inrichting

    I hope this really works out, and that MS and Yahoo combined come out with a nice Adsense alternative in the Netherlands.

    Unfortunately Goolge’s advertising program is way to dominant here!

  • http://searchenginewatch.com Kevin Heisler

    Bill sphunn this and you got my vote on this hot topic, Loren. Excellent analysis.

    (though blackhat or “unsanctioned” SEO techniques may always be a game of cat & mouse as SEO tactics evolve)

  • http://www.seochris.com Chris Estes

    I don’t have a revolutionary statement. I think that it would simplify SEO.

  • http://www.mahesh.com BG Mahesh

    Good analysis (rather rightful bashing) of live.com.

    There is be no effect on SEO in my opinion because SEO is being done for Google and Yahoo alone. Nobody really cares about live.com

    Down the road Yahoo search may change few things (algorithm etc), which anyway Google and Yahoo will periodically do and SEOs will have work.

    If MSFT messes with Yahoo, then Google will only be very happy with the end result. Monopoly.

  • http://psychoticape.uni.cc psychotic Ape

    Microsoft will probably get rid of Yahoo’s paid directory inclusion system – a lot of seo’s use that to get a better page rank on Google. So that for one will be out of the question, Microsoft will run Yahoo probably as a different company – keeping a distance yet branding msn live with a yahoo powered search.

    They’ll keep Yahoo Mail alive as a separate entity from Hotmail. They literally stand to take majority share share of e-mail with this acquisition – alot of people sitll hold a yahoo account thought to be independent of Hotmail.

    Also Microsoft would then hold something close to 50% of the search engine market share – with Live being something like 25% now and Yahoo at 36%. That’s pretty significant. Live will probably be dissolved, it was too faulty and the results were just horrible at least for me.

  • http://www.ezbusinessneeds.com SEO Web Design

    This merge is meant to slow down Google’s domination of the search advertising market. I believe many webmasters out there are sick and tired of Google’s rules and regulations that are constantly changing against paid links and advertisements. At least in the future there will be another platform that will curb Google’s ego and ease webmasters’ frustration with Google

  • http://www.netage.co.za Goran Giertz – Website Marketing

    Competition in every industry is important in order for the consumers to benefit. Our clients the consumers is why we are in business and anything that will benefit them will benefit us.

    It will be interesting to see what Microsoft would do with Yahoo. If they are investing $45 billion dollars they need to make that money work for them. Looking forward to it….

  • http://www.gsmsimlockverwijderen.nl Anthony

    I think Microsoft wants to beat Google. Because Google has in every country the most value and the best search indexes. Microsoft wants to end that.

  • http://www.websight.org WebSite Design Orange County

    While I think it would take the power of a Microsoft & Yahoo merger to dethrone Google, I’m not too sure I want Microsoft to control Yahoo. These days Microsoft has become more of a follower than a leader. And being put into the position of leadership in the search world – I highly doubt they have the forward thinking capacity to be innovative enough to knock Google off the throne.

  • http://www.anilkumarsingh.com Anil Kumar Singh

    No major effect in SEO industry.

  • http://www.devbasu.com Dev Basu – Toronto SEO Consultant

    I’m pretty sure that Microhoo won’t be competing with Google purely on a search play, as that would simply be too time consuming. By combining Y!’s and M$’s content network + directory based information structure, the merger would heavily focus on a demographic that is used to finding information through category searches.

    From a search perspective, I don’t see SEO strategies changing by much, although I will be primed to act on any news that indicated otherwise.

  • http://www.garrywillmott.com/ Garry

    Microsoft is not good in integrate things together. They still cannot compete with google.

  • http://www.islamonline.net Mohamed Abdel Kareem

    I think this will increase Google power and increase the competition between Google and MSN. site owners will win from this.

  • http://ysdata.com/bloglog Yvette

    I to hope this will increase competition between the big search engines and give insight to the new engines coming.

  • http://www.xianhong.net Xianhong

    I agree with that, Google need do better at the searching field.

  • http://yedda.com/questions/Birthday_present_boyfriend_love_sex_6270912881693 Tomche

    If the merger happens, it will certainly be a tough competition for google. That thing’s for sure..

  • http://www.bestlaptopz.com Ruddy

    “Microsoft is not good in integrate things together. They still cannot compete with google”

    I agree with this statement. Completely true. Microsoft made some terrible movements and they are not strong anymore since Bill Gates retired. In hardware, they are not as dominant as ever. Personally, I even never use Vista anymore since I know how sux this OS is compared to other popular OS.

    In internet? Wow, you tell me. MSN algorithm is sux, I also think Yahoo algorithm (and people who reviewed it manually) are sux as well. MSN and Yahoo, if they merger, won’t be successful UNLESS they can create something better than Google. Sadly, they never did anything better from Google in search engine industry. Well, Google will be still the most popular SE if Microsoft is still sux like always.

  • http://www.webforwedding.com/ba/free-wedding-advertising.cfm Ken Teegardin

    I will mourn the loss of Live since it was the easiest to get a new site into. This merger will just make it more difficult to get new sites up and making profit. Many smaller sites could survive on MSN and/or Yahoo until the get into Google (requires tons of links). This merger will hurt the small-time web developers but hopefully will steal some market back from Google. Competition is good in any market.

  • billse

    I think Loren’s comments on ASK are on point. ASK would likely slip into 3rd place, and maybe they could afford to reevaluate/reformulte their ‘fringe’ methodology and become a better engine.

    If MSN and Yahoo can combine their knowledge and experience, there’s a stronger chance for a much improved SE, and that’s what I’m looking forward to. I give their engineers credit.

  • jh

    Would the merger mean that Microft will scrap the current LIVE and MSN Search Engines? Or will these emulate the Yahoo! search methods? If they do that MSN and LIVE will become redundant and with Microsoft running the show it would be fairly easier to rank well in Yahoo! or might be the other way. I think Yahoo should not be sold.

  • http://www.seotips.org seo tips

    I am more concerned about my Microsoft AdCenter and Yahoo Search Marketing PPC accounts then how my SEO efforts will be affected.

  • http://blogs.johnasimpson.com/ John Simpson

    Just might thoughts exactly, but you came up with some ideas that I did not include in my blog post. I wouldn’t mind seeing Microsoft spend some of it’s money…especially if it’s for nothing.

  • Multimedia Mogul

    I think in summary, Yahoo and MSN tend to give more value to lots of new links, whereas Google values age and quality of links more. There is a good summary of some of the SEO consequences of a Yahoo/MSN merger here –


  • Claudio

    hello, I’m looking for an answer to the question: how would change the market for search engines if microsoft buy yahoo!.
    who can tell a site where I can find an answer?
    thank you

  • Francesca R