Google isn’t always the answer to every online advertiser’s goals and objectives, especially those in small, niche markets. Surprise. What small and local businesses need is a search engine and ad platform that can be the second major component in their company’s SEO, PPC and online advertising efforts; making their online marketing mixes more powerful and effective. The introduction of the Yahoo-Bing search collaboration could be just what businesses have been waiting for. Two heads are always better than one, right?
So, what will this search engine fusion mean for small and local businesses? The outlook is positive. By combining two of the search world’s top players (let’s not forget that Yahoo was once at the forefront of search, until Google came along and stole their thunder) the outcome should be a more powerful, relevant organic search and an adCenter that rivals Google AdWords. It should become a real, competitive alternative to Google paid and organic search. Small, local and niche businesses will no longer be forced to struggle against the mass of Google search, but will be able to get effective and comparable results from Yahoo-Bing. Perhaps Yahoo-Bing local search will also evolve to be more powerful for local companies. Certainly the resources are there to make it happen.
While Micro-Hoo is definitely not going to replace Google, nor is it likely that it will come close to un-seating Google from their throne or become the “second Google”; the merge will help bring the scale to Bing that was lacking from their original 8.4% market share. Bing is the superior search engine with a better and more efficient adCenter, while Yahoo owns a larger share of paid advertisers, but has a cumbersome ad platform (as well as lacking an offline Editor which is tedious for search engine marketers who manage paid campaigns on Yahoo). By gaining Yahoo’s search traffic, search data, online inventory, combining industry strengths and joining them with the search power of Bing, it should bring credibility to the Yahoo-Bing hybrid and make it more appealing to searchers and advertisers. Hypothetically, Bing-Hoo should be able to use this wealth of data to refine their search algorithms and improve results relevancy to become a viable competitor in the market for the first time.
While the question remains, can Microsoft and Yahoo combine forces to keep up with Google’s constant innovations and new technology to benefit searchers and advertisers? Their shot together is definitely better than it was apart, as they will face Google with a more robust market share, resources and creative and engineering minds. Or, will this new challenge just propel Google to innovate better and faster? Whatever happens (for the better or for worse of searchers, advertisers and businesses) changes in the search world are inevitable, and this move was the only one left to respond to Google’s continual rise to power. If Microsoft and Yahoo are true competitors, they have what they need to be able to “Bing” it on in 2010.