Yahoo issued an update today indicating that its "Search Alliance" with Microsoft will get underway in Europe as soon as August 3rd. That goes for Yahoo UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
It won't be a full-on transition to the way it is here in the states, at least at first. Yahoo will switch to Bing results for organic search results only. Yahoo says advertisers should continue to manage their Yahoo Search Marketing accounts as usual, and that it will provide ample notice before the paid search transition in each respective market.
"Search ad inventory from Yahoo!, Microsoft, and their respective partners will be combined into a new, unified search marketplace, giving advertisers of all sizes access to a combined audience of 607 million unique searchers worldwide," the Search Alliance explains on its UK site. "In the UK and France, Yahoo! and Microsoft will combine their existing marketplaces. In other markets throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America, this transition will be seamless as Microsoft is already an existing Yahoo! partner, drawing from the Yahoo! marketplace."
"We have adjusted the planned timing of the paid search transition for the UK, France, and Ireland," it says. "Yahoo! advertisers with accounts in the UK and France will not transition to adCenter in 2011. Advertisers should continue to manage and optimise their campaigns on Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft Advertising adCenter separately. We will provide advertisers with updated timing information well in advance of when transition activities begin, with further details to help them plan and prepare."
For the time being, Yahoo is advising businesses to compare organic search rankings on Yahoo Search and Bing for keywords to help determine the potential impact on traffic and sales, and then to decide if they'd like to modify their paid campaigns. They're also telling businesses to review the Bing webmaster tools and optimize for the Bing crawler.