As you know, Microsoft and Yahoo were recently granted regulatory approval on their search and advertising deal, and we've discussed what this might mean for search engine optimization. WebProNews stopped by the Yahoo Headquarters in Sunnyvale before heading to SMX West in Santa Clara this week, and talked with Shashi Seth, Sr. VP of Yahoo Search Products about the deal, how it will be integrated, and timing, among other things.
Seth says that the integration of Bing results into Yahoo Search will take somewhere in the range of 18 to 24 months for it to happen worldwide, and they'll start with the U.S. first. He says the core thing users will find is a compelling set of experiences that go on top of just the algorithmic and paid results that come from Microsoft. In other words, Yahoo users will still find the Yahoo experience.
Shashi says he feels like Yahoo can surface a lot of things better on its own, simply because of the content its properties provides (local, sports, finance, etc.). That stuff won't be going away, and it will be weaved into the experience.
One thing that Shashi stressed was that the integration of Bing frees up a lot of Yahoo's own resources, so they can improve on other aspects of the user experience. Comments from Yahoo's Director of Search Marketing David Roth at the State of the Search Union keynote suggested that some amount of those resources will be moved over to work with Microsoft as well, with others staying at Yahoo:
WebProNews actually spoke with Roth himself after the event as well. He thinks he has something of a unique viewpoint about the integration, as he comes from search marketing himself. He will also likely be one of the first to be able to use the integration, given his position within the company. You can hear more of what he has to say in this interview:
Reactions from marketers are still mixed about how this integration is going to play out. This point was made clear in the keynote. Misty Locke of iProspect said a lot of her clients are excited about it, while former Googler Vanessa Fox is reserving judgment, hoping Yahoo doesn't lose "all the Yahooness." From the way Yahoo has described the coming integration, particularly Shahi Seth, it doesn't sound like it will be losing much Yahooness at all, but the extent of integration of things like Yahoo's BOSS and SearchMonkey features is still largely unknown.