On December 1st Mozilla began rolling out Firefox 34 and the very first change highlighted on their new feature list was a doozy…
Yes, you read that right. In a bold move, Firefox dropped Google as the default search engine after striking a 5 year deal with Yahoo! to become the default search engine in the North American market.
Now Firefox is far from the biggest browser but its marketshare is nothing to sneeze at…
Also keep in mind, the above graph only represents desktop browsers and although Firefox is pushing into the mobile marketplace with an iOS version on the near horizon, its mobile presence is negligible.
In fact, if you included mobile, Firefox’s marketshare drops to a relatively distant 4th place…
So Who’s The Real Winner In This Deal?
The real winner in this deal? Bing.
A few years ago, Yahoo! gave up on trying to build a search engine to compete with Google and signed a partnership with Microsoft that now has Bing providing the search results for Yahoo!.
So really, this deal has given Bing’s marketshare in North America a massive boost literally overnight:
As you can see from the graph above, after Mozilla began rolling out Firefox 34 on December 1st, Yahoo’s share of the search market in North America jumped 19.76% while Google saw an immediate decrease of 18.68% and since Bing powers Yahoo’s search engine, it is safe to say Bing is the real winner here.
What Does This Mean For Your Website?
To put it bluntly: Bing actually matters now.
As of November, with Google owning over 80% of the search market, Bing was really an afterthought when it came to search engine marketing… but not anymore.
With Yahoo! and Bing’s share of the search market jumping from a combined 16.18% to 35.21% overnight, this should double the potential traffic they could send your website.
So if all of your search engine marketing efforts have been focused on Google it’s probably time to start paying a little more attention to Bing.
In saying that though, I would like to include a few disclaimers:
First disclaimer: It’s still early days and as Firefox continues to roll out version 34 its marketshare could continue to grow OR this may be a temporary blip and the marketshare could just as easily drop back down as Firefox users manually switch the default browser back to Google.
In another 60-90 days we will have a much better idea of what the final numbers are going to look like but I think it’s safe to say that Bing & Yahoo’s share of the North American search market will end up well above where it was before December 1st, 2014.
Second disclaimer: This only affects the North American search market at this point. So if your target market is outside of North America this will not have much of an impact on you. That said I would expect to see Firefox roll out their improved search bar with Yahoo! as the default search engine in additional English speaking markets over the coming year.
In summary, I see this as a positive change.
Competition is healthy and Google has controlled too much of the search market for too long. I just hope this sudden marketshare reallocation is sustainable in the long run.
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below…
To your success…