Firefox recently replaced Google as the default engine in its browser in favor of Yahoo. What does that mean for SEO and marketers? Learn on our blog.

Five Questions Every Marketer Must Ask About Firefox Dropping Google

Thu Apr 5, 2018

Effective December 2014 Firefox has dropped Google as the default search engine in favor of Yahoo (which uses BING’s algorithm) in a limited set of countries including the U.S. With Yahoo holding 16% of worldwide market share we were curious what impact the change would have on marketer’s SEO strategies

Alicia Hale, VP of Digital Marketing Services at eMagine, an SEO services expert, was kind enough to share her perspective. And we learned a lot!

#1  Why do you think Firefox made this decision?

From what we can tell Yahoo and Google were offering Firefox roughly the same amount of money to use their search engine as the default. So what drew them to select Yahoo over Google? Alicia shares her perspective, “It’s an interesting change. Firefox has always been a little bit of the non-conformist search engine. Selecting Yahoo jives with their position in the market and takes advantage of Yahoo’s growing momentum.” 

#2 How does the change impact a marketer’s long-term search strategy?

If you were to look at most marketers’ search plans they revolve around Google. We couldn’t help but wonder how the Firefox decision may change long term search planning. Good news. You can let out that deep breath you were holding.

“Marketers have long known we have search options—Yahoo, Bing, Safari, Duck Duck Go. But as it relates to SEO, Google is still such a behemoth—and many other search engines utilize algorithms similar to Google’s. So if you’re optimizing for Google, you’re doing good things for the other search engines as well.” Alicia confirms, “the long term impact should be minimal.”

#3 What three things should a marketer do immediately to capitalize on the change?

But just because our long-term strategy is not impacted significantly, it doesn’t mean we can’t take some tactical actions to capitalize on the change. Alicia recommends these three actions:

  • Make sure you read up on Yahoo (and Bing)’s algorithm. It’s tempting to disregard them in favor of an "all in" Google strategy but this move reinforces Yahoo is a player.
  • One of those very important goals. Continue to do your due diligence before publishing.
  • Make sure you have a BING Webmaster Tools account. Yahoo doesn’t have their own Webmaster Tools option, but checking on BING will ensure your site is being indexed by Yahoo properly, as well as identify any errors that could be hurting your Yahoo ranking. 

#4 How should the Firefox change impact your paid strategy?

Organic search is the holy grail of search marketing, but paid search is still a viable strategy for helping a target audience find your great content.

Alicia recommends you adjust your paid strategy. “I might start putting more investment into BING/Yahoo Ad center now that Yahoo is the default search engine within Firefox. You can often get a lot more bang for your buck with smaller search engines like Yahoo than you can in Google because fewer people are competing for the same terms.”

And in case you were wondering, I was, Alicia shared that Yahoo, BING, and Google search users are not easy to categorize. It’s not like all people of a specific demographic, job function or even personality use one or the other.

Bottom line if you want to reach 100 percent of your potential audience, you should probably be optimizing content across all search engines.

#5 Who’s adjusting their strategy and seeing results?

“I have heard people ask about BING and Yahoo more in last two months than all my past years combined. The buzz around Yahoo is real but it takes a while for buzz to translate into market share.”

Better ask yourself: do you want to wait until Yahoo has reached optimum market penetration, or would you rather dabble while prices are likely to be lower? I know what I’d want to do.


Samantha Stone
Samantha Stone
Marketing Advisory Network

Samantha is a fast growth, B2B marketing junkie, mother of four high energy boys and wannabe gourmet chef. Throughout her career she has launched go-to-market initiatives and lead marketing strategies for award-winning, high growth technology companies including Netezza, SAP, Ascential Software and Powersoft. In 2012 she founded The Marketing Advisory Network to help enterprises unleash the possible within their organizations. You can read more about her marketing philosophy and get practical advice by visiting her blog.