Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings album cover

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No, not that Bing--Microsoft's Bing search engine. And no, I haven't been living under a rock. (Who does that, anyway?) I know Bing has been out for months. That's not what you need to be ready for. You need to be ready for approval of the Yahoo! deal with Bing, because once that happens, everything you've been doing with Yahoo! will change. And if you haven't been doing anything with Yahoo!, you might want to change that, too.

The latest guess is that a regulatory decision will come in the first quarter of 2010, but the government follows no timetable, so it could come sooner or later than that. If approved, and many think it will be, Yahoo! will start dismantling its organic and paid search platforms and substituting Bing, country-by-country, probably starting in the U.S.

What will that mean to the search business? It means that Bing, which holds around a 10% share of U.S. searches today, will suddenly get close to 30%. You might have easily ignored Microsoft before, but it's hard to turn your back on a 30% market share. Those people buy stuff, too.

What will that mean to the search marketer? It depends on what you are doing with Yahoo! and with Bing today:

  • You don't use paid search. If you currently rank well in Bing organic search, but not in Yahoo!'s, it's a happy day, because now your rankings improve. Of course, if you are in the reverse situation, problems for our heroes. You might want to experiment to bring up your Bing rankings before it becomes critical.
  • You use Yahoo!'s paid search but not Bing's. Time to crank up that Bing account. It won't happen immediately, but Yahoo! will eventually send their ads packing and it makes sense for you to get familiar with Microsoft adCenter and start dialing up your campaign now.
  • You use Bing paid search but not Yahoo!'s. Get ready for an influx of traffic but also a hit to your budget. Your paid search costs will likely triple, if you haven't capped them. That might not be an issue if you are happy to get more profitable traffic, but you ought to be prepared.
  • You use both Yahoo! and Bing paid search already. How this affects you depends on how well you are doing with each search engine. Over the next few months, you ought to spend way more time optimizing your Bing paid search results.

Most of the companies that I work with tell me that they are using Google AdWords but are not working with any other paid search program. For you, nothing will change on the paid side if the deal goes through, but you might want to re-examine that stance. Perhaps it made sense to forego all the extra work of managing two vendors to try to get that 30% share, but should you make the same decision when it is half the work?

It's unclear whether Microsoft's latest search strategy will make any dramatic inroads on Google (I'm betting that it won't), but 30% of the market is nothing to sneeze at. (I'm not sure why sneezing is an issue, but just stick with me here.) If you've been looking for a low-effort way to improve your paid search results, doing some experimenting with Microsoft adCenter over the next few months might be a good use of time. If the deal is approved, you'll have already learned what works and you'll be reaping the benefits at a time when your competitors are just noticing that the world has changed.

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November 17, 2009





Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.






Comments(10)

It is a good time to invest on that Bing webmaster tools (much like Google's). And another thing to note, most users of Internet Explorer browser has their default search to Bing.

This is a very good point and as a marketer, we are all THANKFUL that Yahoo and Bing are merging. Ever since Yahoo bought Overture, they've been trying to duplicate AdWords' success. It hasn't worked (obviously). MSN's AdCenter is painfully slow, but much easier to use. Managing just 2 major PPC programs is going to be so much easier. Now if we can just improve our organic rankings on MSN.....

"And another thing to note, most users of Internet Explorer browser has their default search to Bing."

Fireofx has already taken over 20% of the browser market, just a coupel years ago MOST of us thought was NOT possible. Here will be another reason to jump to FF and catipult FF to 50% market share. PLUS, many are now predicting because soemof the BEST plugins are beign developed for FF, Microsoft and IE may be getting a taste of their own medicine, to extinction. I am oneof the slowest to adapt to change , but realized I had not much choice but to switch to FF as most application are now being written for FF and do NOT work well with IE.

movie posters

In regards to your comment, "If you currently rank well in Bing organic search, but not in Yahoo!'s, it's a happy day, because now your rankings improve. Of course, if you are in the reverse situation, problems for our heroes. You might want to experiment to bring up your Bing rankings before it becomes critical."

This could appear to be a problem for me since on Yahoo today, for a search term relating to retirement two of my websites come in the Number 1 and Number 2 positions:

But I don't do as well in Bing.

The problem is if I start messing around, I could screw up the results on Google, where I do well with with search term sometimes having 4 of the 10. Of course, Google still has the majority searches.

Ernie Zelinski
Author of "How to Retire Happy, Wild, amd Free"
Retirment Wisdom You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor

I have had a very frustrating time using MSN AdCenter recently. It's algorithms for displaying ads seems very wonky to say the least.

If this merger goes ahead, it would certainly be worth spending time getting to know the vagaries of the MSN Adcenter system now. It seems much more strict than Google Adwords, but I have to say I like their Labs tools, and the Adcenter Intelligence plugin for Excel.

http://adlab.msn.com/alltools.aspx

Regards,

Jeremy.

We all take for granted the simplicity of Google AdWords and Analytics. It is only when we use Microsoft AdCenter or Yahoo Search that we realize how crummy and outdated their interface seems. That being said, I do not like having the search market dominated by one giant. Here's hoping Bing/Yahoo succeeds and gains market share.

it would certainly be worth spending time getting to know the vagaries of the MSN Adcenter system now.

I hope bing makes it to the top..they have cool wallpapers..:D

Yes..I am ready and I am kind of excited for the battle between this and google's

Stunning blog post about google. I'm honestly amazed that this has not been stated earlier.

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