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One Bing Now Rules Them All in US and Canada

Microsoft today announced that it has completed integrating its Bing search engine technology into Yahoo's U.S. and Canadian Web portals.

The power of Bing now holds sway over Yahoo searches conducted in those regions. Those who may have favored Yahoo's search engine in the past have no choice. They will get the same Yahoo user interface on Yahoo sites, but underneath the page, Microsoft's search engine technology will grind out the query results.

Resistance is futile. A Microsoft advertising blog last month cited comScore stats to illustrate the magnitude of the transition.

"Once this organic transition is complete, Bing will power 5.2 billion monthly searches... that's 31.6 percent of the search market share in the U.S. (290 million monthly searches and 8.6 percent share in Canada)."

In essence, Bing is king. However, Bing still has a ways to go to catch up with Google, the No. 1 lord of search.

Google held 61.6 percent of the U.S. core search market in July, according to figures from comScore. That same comScore report found that Yahoo had 20.1 percent of the U.S. search market, while Microsoft's trailed behind with 12.6 percent of that market.

That picture of the search market has all changed now that Microsoft has completed the integration with Yahoo, although Bing currently just powers English searches in the United States and Canada. Microsoft plans to make the search engine change to Bing for other languages in the months ahead, according to Satya Nadella, senior vice president of Microsoft's Online Services Division, in a blog post.

Nadella added that Microsoft and Yahoo are still working on transitioning Yahoo's sites to use Microsoft adCenter, which is Microsoft's pay-per-click ad delivery platform. Microsoft aims to complete that move before the upcoming holiday season. However, the adCenter transition could be deferred until next year, according to the Microsoft Transition Center Web page.

Microsoft describes the search-engine swap as a change in Yahoo's "organic search" or "algorithmic search." Webmasters now only have to worry about optimizing their Web sites for the one Bing Web crawler, Nadella explained. They can use Microsoft's Bing Webmaster tools, which were updated last month, to check search results from Yahoo and Microsoft search portals.

"In particular, now is a good time for you to review your crawl policies in your robots.txt and ensure that you have identical polices for the msnbot/Bingbot and Yahoo's bots," Nadella stated back in July.

A Microsoft video explains that Webmasters can use the IIS Search Engine Optimization Toolkit, which will show users how Bing searches their sites. It works generally, so it also shows what other search engines see, according to the video.

Microsoft and Yahoo received regulatory approvals for their search-advertising business deal in February. Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer argued in July of last year that the Microsoft-Yahoo deal would provide more competition to Google. However, advertisers actually now have one less search-ad platform to choose from with the consummation of the Microsoft-Yahoo deal.

Under that deal, Yahoo handles all of the advertising business arrangements while Microsoft adds its search technology to Yahoo's sites. The technology integration will cost Microsoft about $100 million to $200 million in the first year, Microsoft estimated.

Prior to striking the deal with Yahoo, Microsoft had absorbed key Yahoo search-advertising technical personnel. One such is Dr. Qi Lu, who now runs Microsoft's Online Services Group, responsible for Bing. Lu previously served as the head of Yahoo's Engineering and Advertising Technology Group.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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