Have you downloaded my FREE SEM Software Buyer’s Guide Whitepaper yet? If not, I highly recommend it. Why? I continue to get questions from friends within our industry each and every day about buying the right SEM automation solution. It’s a really hot topic right now! My free whitepaper communicates my six years worth of hands on experience buying SEM solutions and will save you countless hours of work, while helping you make the best possible decision.
Today, however, I’d like to switch gears. I’m going to move on from my recent discussion of PPC automation and domain names (such as dot co) and talk about the upcoming Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance! I’m basically going from one hot topic to another. There’s no doubt about it: The Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance is upon us and it’s time to start preparing. Today, I’ll give you a few tactical tips about how you can prepare your SEM operations for the Search Alliance.
What Is The Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance?
Let’s start out with a little background for those of you new to the Search Alliance. What is this Alliance everyone is talking about? Easy! Yahoo’s Panama platform (the platform powering Yahoo Search Marketing) is going away and both Yahoo and Microsoft will be powered by Microsoft’s adCenter platform. In other words, you will be able to log into your Microsoft adCenter account to manage your PPC campaigns across both Yahoo and Microsoft, all in one place! Moreover, Yahoo’s organic results will also be powered by Microsoft as well.
Tip 1: Spend A Lot of Time With Your Yahoo Reps
As mentioned above, Yahoo’s account management team will be your point of contact regarding SEM campaigns on the new Search Alliance platform. Even though the platform extends to both Yahoo and Microsoft, Yahoo’s team will be your only point of contact. As such, it’s time to really build a great relationship with your Yahoo team. There’s likely to be a lot of questions, initiatives, and even confusion in the next few months. Build that great relationship now so Yahoo gives you premium service.
Tip 2: Build Out Your Microsoft adCenter Account Now
When the Search Alliance happens, you’ll have two main options. Your first option will be migrating your Yahoo Search Marketing campaign structure over to Microsoft’s adCenter. This is actually very similar to the Panama transition for those of you who have been around a long time! Just one challenge: Your 40 character Yahoo titles will get truncated to 25 character Microsoft titles. Another challenge: The match types between the two engines are completely different (standard/advanced on Yahoo versus exact, phrase, and broad on Microsoft). Your second option will be leveraging your existing Microsoft adCenter account to power both platforms. (There might even be a third option where you can perhaps combine the first two.)
I’m a huge fan of the second option, leveraging you existing adCenter account to power both search engines. It makes perfect sense! Transitions are problematic. They take time and can be buggy. Transition all you can now by building out your adCenter account. That way, when the Alliance happens, you won’t have to worry about porting campaigns over. All the campaigns you need will already be created and you’ll be free to focus on other stuff such as bidding.
Tip 3: Set (Low) Profitability Expectations Now
When you launch a new campaign, do you make money from day one? Or, do you lose money, optimize a bit, lose more money, optimize more, finally break even, optimize even more, and then start turning a profit? For me (and most search engine marketers I know), situation two is very familiar. In my opinion, the Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance transition is just like launching a new campaign. Everything is getting flipped upside down. As such, now is the time to start setting expectations with your executive team. It’s very likely that your profitability will go downhill during the first few weeks of the Search Alliance. It will take time to figure out the new system and optimize towards profitability. Without warning, your organization may be in for a real shock!
Tip 4: Get Yourself and Your Team Hyped Up
I absolutely love the search engine marketing career path! Why? Everything is constantly changing. The Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance is just one example why we’ll never be out of work (SEM is a recession proof career in my opinion). While it’s going to be a ton of work, the Alliance is pure excitement and one of the biggest shifts our industry has ever seen. It’s going to be great!
Image of Alliance Partnership © iStockPhoto – lisegagne