Under the deal inked last year, Microsoft provides the back-end functions such as crawling and ranking search listings for Web, video and image results generated from queries. Yahoo remains responsible for how the content looks on the pages.
Shashi Seth, Yahoo Search strategy and product development lead, says it means creating a series of APIs in the Microsoft back-end infrastructure that allows Yahoo to process a search query and serve up results that meets criteria for relevance, click-through rates, clicks on ads, abandonment rates. "The process has a lot of minutia that includes the information we need to pass to Microsoft such as the IP address and user intent," he says. "In return we might get back questions on the correct spelling, different ways the query can be expressed, and should the results get filtered based on language. And all that happens, along with serving up results, in less than one second."
The organic search transition should take several weeks, estimates Betty Stooksberry, senior director of the search alliance at Yahoo.
Although Microsoft will power search for Yahoo pages, Webmasters that need to report problems or highlight new sites within Yahoo need to use Yahoo's Site Explorer for Yahoo pages, and Microsoft's Bing Webmaster Central for Bing pages. The process needs to occur because of the fragmented rollout. First the U.S. and Canada, followed by Europe.
Yahoo also will begin testing with a small set of advertiser accounts moving in and serving up paid search ads through adCenter. When an advertisers signs into their Yahoo Search account they will see a tab that points them to step-by-step instructions to transition their account. Less than 100 companies are participating in the test, but if all testing progresses as planned, all advertisers will have the ability to transition their accounts in the coming weeks.
Aside from organic and paid search results, Yahoo provided updates on a few development tools such as BOSS (build your own search service), and SearchMonkey.
In the next 30 days, Yahoo plans to announce specific details about how BOSS will change. The company is exploring potential fee-based and ad-revenue models that will enable BOSS developers to monetize their offerings. When Yahoo rolls out these changes, BOSS, Yahoo will begin charging developers to use the service, which had been free.
The SearchMonkey developer tool, gallery and app preferences will be discontinued on Oct. 1. However, Yahoo will continue to leverage and support structured data Web publishers and developers send by marketing up Web pages appropriately. The tools will stop working, but they can use the markup languages to provide Yahoo the data.