Unless you have been under a rock, you will by now know that Yahoo and Microsoft have joined forces in the search engine arena.

Although some of the commentary in the blogosphere is mere speculation, with many answers being unknown until the deal goes through (which could take quite some time), it is worth considering what the deal means for SEOs.

Even though Bing is quite a new player on the market, this deal means it is time to take it seriously. Estimates show it may hold around 15% market share following this deal, and that, compared to say AOL with around 2%, means optimising for Bing has just moved up the priority list. Time to experiment with its algorithm, folks – you may have a couple of years though so you don’t need to clear your desk right this minute! In the meantime, you really need to get to know Bing’s webmaster tools, especially as these will help you compare how Google and Bing may view your site(s) differently.

Losing link info – Rand Fish is postulating that link data might become scarcer. For those in the coding business and SEO, it might be time to look at ways to replace what could well go missing when Yahoo fully adopts Bing.

Loyalty – there are many who are struggling to decide where their loyalties now lie, as users, and Microsoft’s involvement with Yahoo could affect this, pushing some (possibly a miniscule number of) users to Google permanently.  However, it is likely that for the many who seem to manage to get through life without disliking Microsoft, Bing’s potentially better search features will be the pull, giving Bing an increasing market share.

There will now only be two major players in the PPC arena, which may simplify matters for SEOs, but it will undoubtedly mean that days of cheapie listings on MS AdCenter and Yahoo! Search may be over, depending on how things pan out.

In some ways, it is good to have simplicity, but as in all things, with more competition comes more innovation, and it is to be wondered whether we are now prisoners to these two monoliths’s plans, or whether new entrants may attempt to take them on in the future.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.