September 24, 2010, 3:06 PM

Don’t just wait around for Bing and adCenter

To get the most out of the Microsoft-Yahoo search alliance, marketers should first do their homework.

Lead Photo

A Bing search for "flights to lax" produces a listing embedded with windows for choosing a flight to Los Angeles.

Like any hotly awaited opportunity in technology and business, the Microsoft-Yahoo search alliance has many online marketers on the edge of their seats. They’re looking forward to the chance to run search campaigns for a big block of search volume—in this case, a respectable second place after Google, as Bing will account for close to 30% of the U.S. search market as it takes over as the search engine on Yahoo sites.

And as we report in our forthcoming October issue of Internet Retailer, Microsoft and Yahoo are coming out with a bevy of new tools and features for better managing paid search campaigns and optimizing sites for natural search. Marketers will have improved tools for tracking revenue gained as well as expended through paid search campaigns, for example, and to ensure their web pages are getting properly indexed by Bing’s Bingbot web crawler.

Getting the most out of these new tools and features, however, requires some homework. Marketers who have focused primarily on Google and Yahoo should sign up for and get familiar with adCenter if they haven’t already. And they should regularly monitor Microsoft’s and Yahoo’s blogs for updates on search marketing features. This can provide valuable insight into how paid search opportunities compare on Bing versus Google, and help marketers plan how much time and resources to devote to each.

Some marketers say they’d still like to see more improvements from Microsoft in the ability to more quickly manage multiple campaigns and ad groups, as well as new ad formats that match Google paid search results that include product images. But as Didit search marketing firm chairman Kevin Lee notes, now that Microsoft and Yahoo are finally implementing their alliance, which was announced in July 2009,marketers can expect Microsoft to come out with more innovative types of search results. As an example, take a look at the adjacent screen grab from a search for flights to Los Angeles, or its airport code LAX, which features an embedded window for finding a particular flight without having to first click to a travel site.

No doubt Google will have more of its own innovations to come. It will pay to keep up with the latest as Microsoft-Yahoo and Google step up their competition.

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