Published on July 17th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards1
Is Yahoo! about to follow in Google’s footsteps?
By Amy @BubbleJobs
I think it’s fair to say that when Yahoo! announced the identity of their new CEO yesterday, there were more than just a couple of surprised faces in the SEO world. If you didn’t already know (and really, where have you been hiding?!), Yahoo! have appointed former Google superstar Marissa Mayer as their new “President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors” - didn’t see that one coming did you?!
Well, no one did! While the focus of the new appointment was very much on their interim CEO Ross Levinsohn and current Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, Yahoo! managed to successfully blind side pretty much everyone in the online marketing space and sneak Miss Mayer in by the back door – impressive stuff!
If you’re not familiar with Miss Mayer’s long list of achievements, I’ll give you a quick run down but I’m just warning you now, prepare to be impressed! Marissa Mayer first joined Google as their 20th(!) employee and first female engineer in 1999 and has held a number of high profile roles at the company in her 13 year employment.
According to Yahoo’s slightly bragging press release, Miss Mayer “led efforts for many of Google’s most recognisable products, including the development of its flagship search product and iconic homepage for over 10 years. Mayer managed some of Google’s most successful innovations, launching more than 100 features and products including image, book and product search, toolbar, iGoogle, Google News, and Gmail — creating much of the “look and feel” of the Google user experience.”
So if Marissa Mayer’s such a superstar at Google, why’s she jumped ship then? Well, like former Google employees Tim Armstrong (AOL) and Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) before her, there are rumours that Marissa reached the top of the ladder at Google and could climb no more… hence the relocation to one of Google’s biggest rivals. Of course, there’s no way to confirm this but the fact that Google are hardly falling over themselves to replace her (according to various sources) speaks volumes, wouldn’t you agree?!
OK, so Google’s lost a star employee and Yahoo!’s gained a promising CEO – what does this actually mean for SEOs, online marketers and everyone else in between? Well, at the moment, it’s hard to say but if you look at Marissa Mayer’s background and experience, it’s a good bet that Yahoo! could be redesigned and redeveloped with a new focus on product offerings. Yep, prepare yourself for a new way to search using Yahoo! – video, local, image, maps – they’re all likely to feature in Yahoo!’s new search offering if past experience is anything to go off.
Hmm, so Yahoo! might start to imitate Google search a bit more thanks to their new signing but will this actually have any impact on search overall? Well, quite possibly! In case you hadn’t already realised, Google’s not really in SEO-ers’ good books at the moment thanks to their killer algorithm updates and, thanks to a new algorithm update which shows listing after listing from the same site (has anyone else noticed this?!), it risks losing popularity with consumers too. According to various webmaster forums, lots of SEOs are starting to take optimising for other search engines a bit more seriously so really Yahoo!’s anticipated relaunch could come at exactly the right time!
On the other hand, there are those in the industry that think that Yahoo!’s too far behind in the search stakes to ever make a real dent in the industry again so what else could Miss Mayer focus on? Well, there’s a slim chance she could use her contacts at Google to negotiate a massive deal between the two big players or she could use her contacts at Facebook to form a major alliance against her former employers. Both seem unlikely but, as Marissa’s own appointment has proven, anything’s possible in the world of search and internet marketing this year.
So, could this be a David and Goliath situation where Yahoo! comes back from the brink to slay arch-nemesis Google? We’ll have to wait and see but one thing’s for sure… it’s going to be fun watching it all play out over the next 12 months or so!