Yahoo Adds Firefox: Google's Future Uncertain

Yahoo Adds Firefox: Google's Future Uncertain

Google vs Yahoo 250.152 | Blueprint

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.

Google Downgraded

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 [2015],” says Post. “And we see risk that Apple switches default search providers given Android phone competition.”

Yahoo Adds Firefox To Browser | Blueprint

Justin Post Says Google Is Down

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.

Safari vs. Other Internet Browsers | Blueprint

Browser Battle

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.

By: Erik
  • Joshua Bains

    To be sure, you don’t have to switch from Google Chrome to Yahoo! when you’re using the Firefox browser. They give you an option to stick with Google.

  • Rebekah Faucette

    These changes are even more interesting once you consider the changes in house for Yahoo!. After years of mismanagement and bad business decisions at Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer was made the CEO – and was swiped directly from Google’s hands. With almost 13 years working for Google as the first female engineer ever hired, it seems she’s gunning for the hand that fed her for so long. Even with the conflicting reports on how she is as a boss, the results speak for themselves and are starting to show that when it comes to taking on the Google Gods, Mayer isn’t messing around.

  • Samantha Torres

    Yahoo! is definitely making some smart and interesting moves. Just this morning I heard that they’ve partnered with LiveNation to offer a free streaming concert EVERY night for a year! While not 100% dedicated to the search space, moves like this could start disrupting Google’s position as numero uno. Very interesting to see what happens next for SEO. Glad we’re already in practice of optimizing for more than just Google!

  • Adam Baxter

    Its neat to see this moves Yahoo! is making. I wonder if they’ll start diving into the same creative space as Google or if they’ll stick strictly to the search engine competition.

  • Chuniq Inpower

    Oh, the competition is getting fierce! However, is it really fair to say that you have tapped into market share based off the fact that most users are too disengaged (or lazy) to simply change their browser back to what they want? If Yahoo! suddenly made completely awesome features and provided better results than Google, I would be more inclined to switch for my personal use. I was an avid Yahoo! fan once before.

    As SEO is concerned, it will be interesting to observe these developments and how they will effect optimizing sites. As the search engine marketplace is now includes Bing and Yahoo! as major players, will their respective algorithms collaborate or clash with current SEO practices based primarily around Google algorithms?

    • Great thoughts Chuniq. I really think continuing to take an approach of providing robust and engaging content (through video, unique photography and well written articles) really “future proofs” you from algorithm updates and user choices in search engines 🙂

  • John

    This is really interesting. It will be neat to see what happens over time.

  • Naima

    It is very interesting that people have an option to change the default browsers, knowing that most users will not take advantage of this feature. Yahoo! might be Google’s first competitor!