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The Firefox Update That Alters Your SEO Strategy

by: Kathy DalPra

firefox yahoo update impacts seoLast week Firefox 34 was launched and a small change in its search toolbar could have massive fallout for your website traffic. After closing up a 10 year agreement with Google, Firefox penned a deal with Yahoo, making it the default search engine for Firefox users utilizing the search field in the toolbar that comes standard with the product.

What's Changed

Anytime a user installs Firefox for the first time or updates their existing Firefox browser to the newest version, the search field in the default toolbar will switch to using Yahoo as its standard engine. Which means, any Firefox customer utilizing the search field will be seeing Yahoo search engines results, not Google, Bing or other search engine results.

Most users probably won't even notice the change. And, if they do, chances are good they won't realize they can change it, won't have time to change it or won't care.

To modify the default search engine, users will need to click on the magnifying glass icon, click "Change Search Settings" and specify their preferred engine.

How It Affects You

So you're ranking in searching engines...er...Google. But are you ranking in Yahoo? Just because your website is teetering at the top of Google's results doesn't mean it's doing the same in Bing or Yahoo. Google's algorithm is vastly different than its competitors and rankings in one engine don't always result in ranking in the others.

This means that if your SEO strategy has been primarily centered around Google, you may want to alter your focus and include Yahoo too.

This means that if your SEO strategy has been primarily centered around Google, you may want to alter your focus and include Yahoo too. couples using Firefox may no longer see you as an option when searching for your services because they are now using Yahoo as the search engine, not Google.

How Much It Impacts You

If your website isn't equally dominant in Yahoo as it is in Google, then this update could mean reductions of up to 16% of your existing search engine website traffic.

According to W3Counter and several others, Firefox is hovering around 16% market share right now, which means that's roughly the percentage of engaged couples that will be affected by this change.

What To Do About It

We can't control whether Firefox users change their search settings to Google. The only thing we do have control over is our rankings for each search engine. Given this recent change, we need to start paying closer attention to our visibility in Yahoo. Here are some steps you can work through with help from your SEO provider, if need be:

  1. Check your rankings in Yahoo for all the terms you're currently ranking for in Google and make a list of your rank in Google versus Yahoo for each term.
  2. Examine why you might not be ranking in Yahoo yet by analyzing the competition and your own content. The reasons may be different for every single search phrase.
  3. Finally, start working through optimization and website marketing techniques to improve your position in Yahoo over time for each term you value.