Do Upcoming Layoffs Spell the Death of Yahoo Search?
Yahoo has been struggling lately, losing approximately 2.3% of overall search engine market share over the past year. Google and Bing, meanwhile, continue to surge. The latest bad news for Yahoo, as reported by AllThingsD, is a bit more significant than an incremental drop in search engine market share.
If the report is true, Yahoo could layoff thousands of their employees as early as this week, and announce a complete restructuring of the company as early as next week. The new expected direction for the company will supposedly include "media" and "advertising."
However, it's currently unclear how the massive restructuring will affect search. Although the rumors have yet to receive confirmation, AllThingsD said their info came from "multiple sources."
Google or Microsoft to Buy Yahoo Search?
According to the AllThingsD report, Scott Thompson (CEO of Yahoo) is still trying to determine how to "dispense" of certain properties, such as ad technology and possibly even search. The report goes on to say that Thompson has been in talks with both Google and Yahoo regarding the matter, though "other possibilities" are still up for consideration. In the meantime, this leaves 2,500 Yahoo employees (of over 14,000 total) wondering where (or if) they'll be working in a couple weeks.
Of course, those with a knowledge of search engine history will say that Yahoo already effectively exited the core search industry in 2010 when it outsourced search processing to Microsoft's Bing. Until at least 2020, Bing will continue to provide search results for queries made through Yahoo. The deal even affected Yahoo's advertising structure, though Yahoo still services "premium" advertisers directly.
What's Next for Yahoo?
Sources currently believe that Yahoo will become a "global media division," with one branch focused on communications and (possibly) search, and other branches for both regional and global sales. A much smaller team, perhaps comprising 50 employees, will focus on future innovation.
For SEOs, the message should be pretty clear. When you're optimizing your site or blog, most of your efforts should be spent on achieving a high ranking in Google, though Bing optimization is becoming increasingly important too. Yahoo, or at least its search branch, appears to be going the way of the dinosaur.