Yahoo Site Explorer Merging with MWT

Say good-bye to Yahoo Site Explorer. The essential tool for webmasters looking to optimize for the Yahoo search engine seems to have become redundant. Both Microsoft and Yahoo stated that YSE will be shut down later this year, and encouraged switching to Microsoft Webmaster Tools.

In a post on Yahoo’s search blog, Herman Minocha, the product manager for Yahoo Site Explorer, acknowledged that a year ago his company said that they would continue to support and extend the service, even after completing the transition to Microsoft-powered searches. However, after input from users and the team from Bing Webmaster Central, the companies realized that “Having two webmaster portals for a single source for organic results does not add enough value,” Minocha noted.

So when, exactly, will this shutdown take place? Minocha says that it will happen “once all markets are transitioned” to the the Microsoft Search platform. He gives no more specific date than “later this year,” but notes that the search blog will continue to update readers on the status of the transition.

In the meantime, Minocha says that webmasters should start using Bing Webmaster Center, but they don’t need to stop using Yahoo Site Explorer just yet. “In a large part of the world, we have not yet transitioned” to the Microsoft search platform, Minocha explained, so “to continue to receive relevant organic traffic from Yahoo! Search results, we encourage you to continue using Site Explorer as you have in the past until we fully switch over.”

If you didn’t see the writing on the wall for the Yahoo search engine, this is the clearest indication yet that it will cease to have a separate existence. In fact, Minocha explicitly states that webmasters will not need to optimize separately for the Yahoo and Bing search engines in the future. That will happen as soon as this year, when Yahoo’s organic results are completely powered by Bing in all parts of the world.

While this event will simplify search engine optimization for many people, it’s hard to see Yahoo fade away without mixed feelings. Much older than Bing, and several years older than Google, Yahoo stayed relevant as a search site much longer than earlier entries to the field, such as Excite, Lycos, and even Ask. Once the transition to Bing-powered results is complete, will the combined Microsoft-Yahoo search engine become a stronger competitor to Google, or will the combination simply fall victim to the search behemoth’s competitive strength as so many others have before? There’s no telling, but even if it does, Yahoo will probably continue to exist as a source of news and various information, as its associated sites and services still see a huge amount of traffic.

If you’re using the Site Explorer APIs, your extensions are running out. Yahoo had intended to shut those down at the end of last year, but extended the deadline. Those will now be closed on September 15, 2011. The old BOSS Site Explorer APIs shut down yesterday, but there’s good news, according to a recent Yahoo blog post; apparently, there’s a new BOSS in town, BOSS V2, which you can explore here.  

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