Yahoo, the longest running search related business still running on the web has admitted defeat in the organic search sector, noting that Google remains the most popular in terms of market share. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Yahoo’s chief financial officer, Susan Decker said, “It’s not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We don’t think it’s reasonable to assume we’re going to gain a lot of share from Google. We would be very happy to maintain our market share.”
Yahoo has been the number-two search engine to Google for almost five years, at one point even displaying organic results generated by Google. When Yahoo introduced its own algorithmic search spider almost two years however, Google and Yahoo have competed for organic popularity.
“It kind of makes you wonder about how serious they are about search”, said Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan in an interview with Bloomberg, “It really ought to be their goal whether it’s realistic or not.”
Yahoo is far from giving up the number two spot in the global search market. Many are speculating that Yahoo made this announcement in an attempt to lower expectations they might surpass Google sometime in the near future. Their engineers continue to try to introduce better organic search algorithms. In a weather report to readers of WebmasterWorld, Yahoo announced an update of its organic search results, one many webmasters appear to be applauding.
As of today, however, observers should watch for Yahoo to direct our attention to the Yahoo Publishers Network (YPN), an arm whose muscles will be flexed by Yahoo at every opportunity in the near future. Loren Baker, editor of the Search Engine Journal notes comments by Yahoo CEO Terry Semel from Yahoo’s Q4 earnings report in an article titled, “Yahoo’s Goals Beyond Search“.
I would like to briefly give you an overview of our key priorities for 2006. Our #1 priority is building and expanding the suite of tools services and solutions for Internet marketers and publishers.
In search marketing, our monetization efforts can be grouped into 3 categories.
First, we are expanding our content match services through the Yahoo Publishers Network to take advantage of the growing number of small publishers on the web. We plan to add new features to beta over the coming quarters including search and enhanced ad targeting. We believe the service will ultimately position Yahoo as one of the preferred advertising partners for small and medium-sized publishers.
Second, we are focused on improving RPS to better matching in relevance algorithms. While our matching initiatives will largely benefit coverage, we’re also focused on improving tools to drive higher relevance and click through.
And third, we are increasing the number of easy-to-use tools for advertisers and publishers, so they can buy more keywords, touch more creative and add more listings faster.
The Yahoo Publishers Network is a self-publishing initiative offering individual micro-publishers unique tools, content and paid-advertising support from Yahoo Search Marketing. Yahoo is betting a large part of its image and reputation on facilitating the growth of content creation and distribution by its users.
Unlike Google, Yahoo has never focused solely on search. Yahoo is seen as a shopping portal, news aggregator and entertainment source as well as being known for its search powers.
Yahoo’s CFO might have taken a bit of the heat away from Sunnyvale CA but she inadvertantly refocused it several hundred miles up the coastal highway to Redmond WA, home of Microsoft. If Yahoo can’t beat Google, what exactly does that say for the search engine Bill’s team built?