Is Yahoo Testing Mobile Search Without Bing?
Jonathan Hunt has been with PMG since 2013 and is a senior leader on the SEO team, guiding automation and technology strategy for organic search. His 17 years of experience in SEO has included leading programs for ecommerce, technology, entertainment, and b2b brands. Jonathan was recently named a finalist for AAF Austin’s 2023 Big Wigs Awards for Best Data Analyst.
In the SEO realm, we’ve often come to think of Yahoo and Bing as a single entity. They’ve been linked together for the last 6 years (an eternity in the SEO space), and only together has their presence really made an impact on our big picture SEO strategies. It’s gotten to the point that if we close our eyes and picture the Yahoo logo, it is never without the “*powered by Bing” qualifier.
It now looks like Yahoo may be testing the waters of life after Bing, and they’re doing it on mobile search. Starting in April, we noticed that many mobile searches on Yahoo no longer included the “*powered by Bing for mobile.” This has continued to date, and we believe that these Yahoo mobile searches and desktop are now using completely separate algorithms for the same search term.
For example, being the huge basketball fans that we are, we performed multiple searches for “NBA Finals” on both mobile and desktop. Everytime, on desktop, we received this same set of organic results:
Results are quite different from mobile. For one, they’re relevant.
All our desktop searches have still surfaced the “Powered by Bing” messaging.
On mobile devices, we received a completely different set of organic results, now without the “Bing for mobile” messaging. On a side note, the below search was conducted today (June 8th, 2015), the day after Lebron James’ monster 39-point, 16-rebound, 11-assist takeover to even the series at 1-1 against the Golden State Warriors. Given that information, the fact that the number one organic search result is still “Spurs vs Heat | 2013 NBA Finals” does not provide us a swell of confidence in the relevancy portion of Yahoo’s new algo.
“Heat vs Spurs”? Really, Yahoo? — Note: It’s also a page from the 2013 Finals, not 2014.
Note: There is no reference to “Bing for mobile”
As a gut-check for our mobile results, we also conducted a mobile search on Yahoo around one of our favorite Bing-related questions, “What is the past tense of Bing?”
Binged? Banged? Bonged? Bung? Is there really a good option here?
Most mobile searches for us are still showing the “Bing for mobile” messaging.
Here, we get an expected set of responses, but these results do show “Bing for mobile” branding at the bottom of the page.
When Yahoo first partnered with Bing to have the Microsoft engine power their search results, mobile search was still a fringe behavior, accounting for less than ten percent of all web searches. It appears that Yahoo’s obligation to serve Bing results does not extend to mobile. Taking that in combination with their recent updates to Yahoo Gemini (their new native + mobile ad platform) makes the mobile space a perfect testing ground for Yahoo re-entering the search index game — something that’s been hinted at quite frequently since Marissa Mayer’s ascension to CEO in 2012.
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Featured Image from Wikimedia Commons, Copyright Sebastian Bergmann, Licensed through Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.