The world of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is going wild today with the news that Yahoo! and Microsoft announcing a 10 year partnership. Search Engine Land has been doing a great job covering this news, complete with liveblogging the press conference and getting inside interviews.
However, a lot of coverage out there is starting to speculate into what the SEM industry needs to do and how this changes things, particularly this post from SEOmoz speculating the Top 10 Things the Microsoft/Yahoo Deal Changes for SEO. I think we all need to take a few deep breaths and not get ahead of ourselves here. Here’s the fine print from the Search Engine Land article that is all to easy to overlook:
…At full implementation (expected to occur within 24 months following regulatory approval)..
That’s 2 years AFTER the Federal Government approves the deal. And don’t forget the shareholders need to approve too. Given the size of Yahoo and Microsoft, as well as the Government’s Anti-Trust folks and the DOJ’s interest in maintaining competitiveness in the industry, which is already in an oligopoly if not monopoly state already, neither the shareholder nor the Government approval of this deal is likely to come quickly (or possibly at all). The Washington Post has a great article explaining some of the legal hurdles and is already commenting on the scrutiny Microsoft and Yahoo will face. If it will take 2 years after this approval, we’re talking light years in the tech world.
Think about 2+ years ago. Twitter was practically unheard of. MySpace still dominated Facebook. The iPhone hadn’t been released yet. 2 years is HUGE!
As part of the professional SEO community, I think it’s important we keep this all in perspective. This deal could be ground-breaking, but not any time soon. It’s important to think about what all this could mean, but remember that right now all that has happened is Carol Bartz and Steve Ballmer shook hands with each other. We should educate our clients on the details of the agreement, but let them know its nothing to start worrying about yet. Even in a few years, when everything is “fully integrated,” at the current figures Bing will only have a miserable 15% of the market compared to Google’s 78%, making its market share less than 1/5th of Google’s.
So my message to you is this: stay calm, keep current on the deal (because the agreement is going to change, especially once the legal issues start being scrutinized), and continue go about your business focusing on the search engine that ridiculously dominates the other one or two out there, even when you combine #2 and #3’s market share. In all seriousness, Twitter could overcome Bing/Yahoo in two years in terms of number of searches, traffic, hits, revenue and more, as their new home page certainly shows a redoubled interest in search: