Is the Potential Microsoft/Yahoo Marriage on Your Small Business Owner Radar?

It should be.

Microsoft offered $44.6 billion to acquire Yahoo. Although former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel did not heed much attention to Microsoft in past years, the two companies are currently in talks as to how and are evaluating how this merger could benefit both parties. Expedience is an issue, as Microsoft is eager to beat Google to both the Chinese and mobile markets.

This is all very fascinating stuff if you are a tech savvy investor, but the potential of Microsoft swallowing Yahoo will also affect every small business owner choosing to sell or advertise on the web. Here are some of the issues that will come into play:

Search Engine Optimization:
Google currently has a 77.1% market share of the search engine market. Yahoo has 12.23%, a decrease of last year’s figures, and MSN has a paltry 3.43% of the market. MSN has often been regarded as a backyard for SEO spammers. Would Microsoft adopt Yahoo’s technology which is regarded as superior to their own and make it the default search engine when you initially open an Explorer window? Would Google still continue to gain market share as it has continued to do through the years? Considering Google and Yahoo use different algorithms, knowing what search engine your potential customers are using and how to adjust can be important in gaining exposure.

Search Engine Marketing:
Microsoft offered $240 million in order to sell ads on Facebook. It is obviously interested in selling ads online. By purchasing Yahoo, it will have access to sell ads on all of Yahoo’s websites, including popular sites like Yahoo News, My Yahoo! and the world’s most popular website, www.yahoo.com. Look for online advertising to get more complicated if Microsoft puts more money into its content networks to compete with Google.

Services:
Do you want Bill Gates and Microsoft shareholders to build your online store, host your photos and email, help you find employees, or list your products in comparative shopping sites? Yahoo owns a considerable amount of online services, and Microsoft does not have much of a track record of creating successful services on the web. Although the Microsoft culture is regarded as more open than the culture at Yahoo, it is up in the air on how this purchase will affect all of Yahoo’s interests.

Look for Google and the EU to continue to challenge this move as monopolistic, with any delay only helping Google.

2 Responses to “Is the Potential Microsoft/Yahoo Marriage on Your Small Business Owner Radar?”

  1. blogadmin

    Since MSN’s algorithm lags behind that of Google’s, tricks like cloaking, keyword spamming, etc. tended to work better with MSN’s search engine. They haven’t even made an official stance on paid links, which Google specifically punished in October of 2006. MSN’s number of indexable pages is also lower, and I’ve heard it weighs the age of a page less than Google’s algorithm does. This would make it easier to spam a site to the top much faster.

    Windows Live is a different product and is similar to Google. If any sort of merger goes through, it’s not certain what Microsoft would do with this product.

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  2. Andy

    MSN is a “backyard for SEO spammers”? You can buy your way into the SERPs on Yahoo using their submission service. Take an overview of any industry, and you’ll find that MSN search results are really similar to that of Google, while Yahoo’s are entirely distinct.

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