Internet portal Yahoo announced yesterday that it would phase out its own Shopping Web Services API in favor of online shopping site PriceGrabber as of March 11 of this year.

Search engine optimization (SEO) for ecommerce sites could be simplified with the change, since it will eliminate the need to target results on Yahoo’s shopping service. Experts point out that this is much the same move that the company made in regard to its general search site, handing off primary responsibility for web searches to Microsoft’s Bing.

Greg Stirling, writing at Search Engine Land, says that the move could be a sign of what he calls a "virtual outsourcing" strategy, which could move to other verticals like cars, real estate, or even local search. Stirling also speculates that Yahoo’s failure to include new partner Microsoft in the shopping service could indicate an unwillingness to climb too far into bed with the software giant.

Search engine optimization (SEO) experts say that Yahoo’s outsourcing is a further indication that it is restructuring as a recognition of its slackening market share.