Now that Microsoft will power Yahoo! Search for at least the next ten years, many SEOs (and people who love backlink data in general) are wondering aloud whether the current incarnation of Yahoo! Site Explorer, which shows more backlink data than any available tool, will die right along with Yahoo’s search technology.
If Yahoo is going to farm out all of their search technology–and lay off many engineers in the process—it is logical to assume that Yahoo! Site Explorer will also evaporate. I can’t imagine why anyone, expect Microsoft, would take pleasure in this. But what Microsoft needs to understand is that this doesn’t have to happen. Microsoft can surprise everyone by stepping up to the plate and showing more Bing backlink data. If they did, they would win many fans not only in the SEO community but in every community that values the freedom of information. Ultimately, Microsoft should want their search technology to be loved by all people, not hated by SEOs who will blame them for the destruction of Yahoo’s backlink information.
Thankfully, Bing won’t be fully integrated into Yahoo! search for 24 months. Microsoft has a lot to think about over those months. Do they want to embrace openness as Yahoo has for many years by showing hordes of information about the links going to the sites in their index? Do they want to reap the benefits of lifting the veil of secrecy on the backlink information they’ve gathered? Or do they want to be more like Google and show precious little information about the sites in their index?
Microsoft’s search market share will only jump to about 28 percent in the U.S. after their Yahoo integration is complete. If I was them, I would want to please as many people as possible, not enrage them by completely dismantling a superior product.
We’ll see what Microsoft decides in the next 24 months. What direction do you think they’ll go in? Is the slow, inglorious death of the Yahoo! Site Explorer tool inevitable?