This is a guest post by Resource Nation‘s David Liu.
Yahoo has announced that it will end its paid inclusion program, formally called Search Submit Pro, by the end of 2009. The move comes after complaints against the search engine that claimed that having paid advertisements included in organic search results generated biased results for online marketing campaigns.
Search Submit Pro (SSP) allowed users to pay for page inclusion but not page rank, which allowed Yahoo to both guarantee page results but steer clear of offering a higher ranking. Having guaranteed page inclusion does, however, still allow web designers to optimize their pages for better search results.
The result allowed Yahoo to monopolize their search engine results, which turned key searches into full page ads for Yahoo SSP clients. Key searches for words like “refinance” on Yahoo came up with an entire page of SSP results, making it impossible for non-clients to show up on Yahoo’s top 10 results. Also, of the first 100 results for “refinance,” 80% were Yahoo SSP clients as well.
An additional search for “home mortgage” yielded 80% of SSP clients on the first page, allowing only 20% of Yahoo’s organic results to be listed. Complaints against paid inclusion had mainly focused on Yahoo’s SSP results taking over traditional SEO practices like pay-per-click ads and keyword manipulation.
Yahoo’s decision to end the use of paid inclusion had nothing to do with PR, however, and instead focused on their merger with software behemoth Microsoft. At their July press conference, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz had originally declared that they would “decide on that later.”
Of all the search engines interested in the new merger, the smaller web developers are probably the happiest to see the demise of paid inclusion. While most of these search engine developers were in Yahoo’s corner in 2003 when SSP was first introduced, the Yahoo’s monopoly quickly showed that Google would still be king.
Many people in the search engine field have declared that getting rid of SSP can most likely bring back some life to smaller SEO practices. Yahoo knows this better than anyone, having said that their official SSP stop date of December 2009 was chosen to to allow their advertisers time to adjust.
While the merger between Yahoo and Microsoft seems to be on the verge of revolutionizing some factors in the search industry (BingHoo, perhaps?) many talking heads still claim that Google won’t see any competition for the next two years.
Resource Nation provides free tools, tips, and purchasing advice for business owners and entrepreneurs in over 100 business categories ranging from phone systems to credit card processing. Whether it’s connecting businesses with local and national pre-screened vendors, or offering easy service comparisons on a VoIP service, Resource Nation empowers business decision makers by providing the information they need to make smart choices.
David Liu is a writer and comedian based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for Resource Nation and VoIP service, an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.