When most people think of a search engine, they think of Google. If pressed to name others, they will probably say Yahoo and Bing. After all, those are the three biggest search engines today. However, Yahoo’s search results haven’t been Yahoo’s for a while now.
In 2009, Yahoo and Microsoft joined forces to take on Google. This wasn’t the first time Yahoo partnered with a seemingly rival company for search results. From 2000 to 2004, Yahoo’s results were powered by Google. In 2004, Yahoo decided to go its own way with its search engine technology. A few years later, in 2008, Yahoo started looking to Google for help again, but the deal never went through because the US Department of Justice threatened to file an anti-trust suit if the parties involved pursued the deal. This left Yahoo to pursue a deal with Microsoft, which is called the Yahoo-Microsoft Search Alliance.
The Yahoo-Microsoft Search Alliance was supposed to last 10 years. During that time, Microsoft would provide Yahoo with search results and ads. While the deal is officially still in place, Yahoo severely weakened Microsoft’s influence in 2015. When the new agreement was implemented, Yahoo retained the rights to all mobile traffic, which was part of the original agreement. However, Yahoo also decided that Bing was no longer going to be responsible for all its search and ad results, only the majority. The new contract stated that Yahoo can sell the remaining 49 percent to whoever it pleased. Yes, even Google.
Yahoo did just that. Once the Microsoft agreement was loosened, Yahoo signed an agreement with Google to provide search engine results and mobile ads. The Google agreement also gives Yahoo plenty of latitude because the company gets to choose which search results to send to Google. Yahoo’s reasoning for this is to provide users the best results possible through a combination of Google and Bing.
What Does This Mean for You?
This means that there are actually only two big players in the search engine world: Google and Bing. Obviously, one of these is much bigger than the other. (Hint: No one seriously uses Bing as a verb.) With Yahoo’s reliance on Google and Bing, the company has, for all intents and purposes, taken itself out of the search engine game.
Considering Google consistently maintains over a 75 percent market share, which rebounds quickly when it dips below, it’s safe to focus most of your SEO efforts on ranking well on Google. Just make sure to keep a watchful eye on Bing in case something drastic happens.