Google is far and away the most successful search engine, but that other search engines are looking to encroach on that dominance.

Despite its best efforts, Yahoo has not been able to dethrone Google, the undisputed search leader. The latest comScore figures show it is stuck third place, capturing only 10.3 percent of the search industry in February 2014, compared to Google’s 67.5 percent and Bing’s 18.4 percent. However, the once-dominant company has plans to gain back some market share in an interesting way that also sheds light on Google’s successful run.

Paying for search privilege

According to data compiled by Quartz, Google isn’t just the top search dog because it offers the best product, although that may be true. Part of the reason it’s been dominant for the past few years is a contract it signed with Apple. Google paid the hardware giant $3.23 billion in 2014 to be the default search engine on iOS devices, which includes iPhones, iPads and Apple desktop computers. The rise of mobile search, coupled with the general popularity of Apple products, makes this a significant factor in much of Google’s continued search market dominance.

It seems Yahoo is eyeing this relationship and, according to information published by re/code, believes it can insert itself into the search conversation by capturing the lucrative Apple contract. This is crucial information for content marketing professionals, because while Yahoo has appeared down for the past few years, it’s certainly too early to count it out.

Information availability drives SEO

When web marketers think about search engine optimization, they’re almost always considering Google and its algorithms as guidelines for how to conduct their campaigns. While that’s certainly the case for now, it’s helpful to market as if the search industry could be shook up at a moment’s notice. In fact, Google probably wouldn’t disagree. High-quality content, visible branding, schema markup and semantic answers aren’t just pieces that fit into the Google puzzle – they would be useful SEO markers no matter which search engine was looking.

So as Yahoo gears up to reenter the search game, brands should pay more attention to overall web visibility than refining every element of their web properties for Google. It may turn out that, five years from now, Yahoo is ascendant and Google is figuring out how to reclaim the top of the hill. Marketing in the current web landscape isn’t mutually exclusive to this plan, so long as producing useful, actionable content is most businesses’ primary tactic.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.