Recently posted in the Wall Street Journal, Market researcher Statcounter says Google’s share of U.S. search traffic, excluding mobile devices, declined to 75.3% in December from 77.5% in November, after the maker of the Firefox browser made Yahoo the default search engine. Yahoo YHOO -1.05%’s share of search traffic excluding mobile devices grew to 10%, from 8%.
That’s a significant shift, given that Firefox accounted for roughly 14% of U.S. browsers in December, Statcounter says.
Google faces potentially larger losses on mobile devices amid reports that Apple is considering dropping Google as the default search provider on its Safari browser, which is standard on the iPhone and iPad. With that advantage, Statcounter estimates that 54% of U.S. mobile traffic came from Safari in December, compared with 41% from Google browsers including Chrome.
The Apple deal is “an even bigger opportunity” for Yahoo or Microsoft to take share from Google, says Statcounter’s Aodhan Cullen.
Apple may be inclined to drop Google as the default search for Safari, as the companies’ rivalry intensifies. Google’s Android operating system powered 84% of smartphones shipped in the third quarter according to Strategy Analytics, compared with 12% for Apple’s iOS.
So what does this mean for you? Not much at this point. Google is clearly still the dominant leader in search and it is unlikely that will change any time soon. Personally, I would prefer to see Google lose a little more market share so they have less grip on the search market. All these penalties Google is releasing has left a sour taste for google in the mouths of many website owners and search marketers. Still,with 75% search market share, we will have to optimize our sites for Google first, and continue to focus on adwords as the primary source of PPC.