Yahoo Adds Firefox: Google's Future Uncertain
In two weeks, Yahoo’s search share has skyrocketed from 9.6% to 29.4%. The reason? Firefox changed its default search engine from Google Chrome to Yahoo!.
This growth points to the continued significance of default search engines. It also brings new hope to other companies that feel shackled by Google’s dominance, which may be nearing the brink. But what a future of demoted Google search means to SEO practitioners may not be so rosy.
Here is the fallout for Google. Yesterday the leading search company’s rank was downgraded by Justin Post of Bank of America Merrill Lynch from “buy” to “neutral,” according to Benzinga.
One reason is because of the uncertainty regarding renewal of its search contracts.
“Apple and Google’s search agreement may expire in ,” says Post. “And we see risk that Apple switches default search providers given Android phone competition.”
Google is now 5% below Street, and this morning its stocks were nicked down 1.41% in premarket trading.
That’s not even the worst.
Justin Post says, “Google’s US market share may have peaked: Competition is increasing with Facebook investing in better search capabilities for its 20 percent Internet time usage share, and its Atlas ad serving platform.”
Default Search Could Wreck Google’s Monopoly
While Google commands a majority of the search share in the U.S., that monopoly could be undone by changing the default search of a browser to Bing or Yahoo.
Google is surely aware of this empire-ending possibility (and claimed to be when questioned about in an Antitrust Probe), and this growth of Yahoo’s search engine is leading companies to ask if the can also get a bigger piece of the search engine pie.
One of these is Apple.
There is a lot of bad blood between Google and Apple, stemming primarily from lawsuits with Android OEMs as well as from the fracturing of the WebKit framework.
Apple commands a strong portal to the web through Safari, with a 12.86% of browser usage.This is a dangerous statistic for Google, as the Google-Safari deal is expiring in 2015 and will remove Google from being the default search for Mac, iPad and iPhone users.
While the desktop equivalent doesn’t command a strong presence, Safari shows its strength through the iOS mobile operating system and could destroy Google’s search dominance if Apple decides to align with Yahoo!.
Why would that be damaging? People can just set their default search engines back to Google, right?
Default Browsers Win
While it’s true that people can change the default, most never do.
There has been a plethora of research done on this subject. One study shows that 95% keep the same default settings in programs they use.
With odds like that, if Safari shifts from Google to Yahoo, it could have a profound impact on more than just Google’s business.
SEO Fallout to a Change in Status
Local businesses and e-commerce sites, such as e-Bay, can be rocked by only minor updates to the Google Search Algorithm.
But their digital marketing efforts could be for naught if they haven’t dedicated any time to their standings in Yahoo! or Bing.
This change can even impact marketing companies that have sold the promise of a high search ranking to their clients, but only dedicated their time to optimizing on Google as the primary marketing platform.
Should this shift in power continue, these SEO companies could be forced to scramble to catch up on other search providers, causing their results to plummet.
With the title for first in Search in flux, there is only one thing we know for certain – the Internet is an ever-changing entity that is impossible to predict.