Get it while you can because the days of Search Submit Pro appear to be over.
It looks like Microsoft won the battle with Yahoo! over the Paid Inclusion of results. Yahoo is currently letting partners know that their Paid Inclusion program (aka Search Submit Pro or SSP) is coming to an end. Danny Sullivan has received confirmation from a Yahoo! representative that the program will cease operation at the end of Q4.
As discussed in my article from July, BingHoo is Coming – Is the Bell Tolling for SSP?, the inclusion of paid results in the Bing results wouldn’t have been a good move. Yahoo results have lost the trust of users and their market share went along with it. Microsoft has been working extremely hard to match and try to exceed the quality of Google results. The last thing that Microsoft wants is for the quality and credibility of Bing results to be damaged or diminished due to the inclusion of Paid results.
The remaining question was basically a fiscal one. Projected revenue from market share stabilization (and hopefully increase) versus revenue generated by the SSP program balanced against the technology and development cost to try to blend SSP listings with the Bing results. It looks like the decision has been made.
Paid inclusion had become more of a crutch for Yahoo’s ailing algorithm. Here is an example of how extreme it got. At one point, 9 out of the Top 10 listings for ‘refinance’ were Paid Inclusion results. The only reason why 10 out of the Top 10 weren’t Paid Inclusion was because finance.yahoo.com was number one. So, that meant that it was impossible to rank Top 10 organically in Yahoo for ‘refinance’. Out of the Top 100 for ‘refinance’, 85% of the Top 100 were SSP results. For the term ‘home mortgage’, it was not as bad for the Top 10. Eight of the Top 10 were Paid Inclusion. However, those two organic results were the only 2 in the Top 100. 98% of the Top 100 results for ‘home mortgage’ were SSP listings. Obviously the SSP penetration varies by keyword, time of day, date proximity to the end of a fiscal reporting quarter, etc… These are just some extreme examples.
With the Paid Inclusion SSP program discontinued, dual engine search engine optimization will have a renewed focus. Optimizing for Bing means optimizing for Yahoo as well. For the companies that have been relying on Search Submit Pro for their traffic listings in Yahoo, they better get their SEO efforts in high gear. If they are not ranking in Bing, they won’t be ranking in Yahoo and their traffic will dry up at the end of Q4.
SSP – RIP