You may have heard of Firefox. Firefox is a browser. What might be preventing en-US content about Firefox on www.mozilla.org from appearing in en-US search for "browser"?


Results for that search include...

  • Dozens of pages for things that aren't browsers but just happen to use the word "browser" in their URL or content
  • Pages for any number of web browsers, including almost every web browser you can imagine except Firefox

But no matter how many result pages you click through, you are extremely unlikely to ever find a link to content on www.mozilla.org. The current position of www.mozilla.org for "browser" searches is somewhere above infinity.

The attached image shows what "browser" searches that produced en-US results on www.mozilla.org look like in webmaster tools. There are dots where the site appears in the top 20 (which is probably its appropriate ranking) and then it immediately disappears. There are short lines where a new page on the site starts to rank for "browser" (as in the case of Firefox Focus), and then those disappear too.

When it ranks, it ranks well. But mostly it does not rank.

Some points to consider:

  • Mozilla's website is quite authoritative (Ahrefs rank ~30) and gets a lot of traffic, including lots of traffic from people intending to download a browser, Firefox.
  • If you force results in other languages, Firefox shows up (e.g. it was #7 in Danish SERP when I typed this): https://www.google.com/search?q=browser&pws=0&lr=lang_da
  • If you do a site-specific search for "browser", plenty of Firefox pages on www.mozilla.org appear: https://www.google.com/search?lr=lang_en&pws=0&q=browser+site%3Amozilla.org
  • The en-US site continues to rank well for all sorts of other keywords that include the word "browser" -- it's usually in the top 5 for "private browser" and "fast browser".
  • www.mozilla.org is usually first or second for "browser" on Bing.
  • Firefox pages on www.mozilla.org are at least as well optimized for the keyword "browser" as, say, a random GitHub project on the 14th page of "browser" results.
  • Firefox pages on www.mozilla.org are less optimized for "browser" than the competitors whose sites appear in top 10 (according to various SEO tools e.g. Moz).
  • This has been going on for several months. It's not new; it does not appear to be temporary.

Is the en-US Firefox site being penalized for some reason on this keyword (and if so, why aren't the hyper-optimized competitors who occupy top slots)? Does anyone see some obvious misconfiguration causing it to fall out of rankings?


  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about a website you control. This type of question is better suited for Webmasters Chat. – John Conde Aug 25 '17 at 18:36
  • @JohnConde Au contraire, I lead the SEO program at Mozilla. That's how I come by a screenshot from webmaster tools for www.mozilla.org. Ref: mozillians.org/en-US/u/hoosteeno – hoosteeno Aug 25 '17 at 21:28
  • The way the question is written suggests to many that you're asking questions about a general web browser, not about a website that you manage. – Mike Aug 26 '17 at 1:07
  • I don't see anything that shows you are actually an admin for mozilla.org. The screenshot doesn't indicate what site it is actually for. Not to mention, your profile indicates you represent a different company/website. Additionally, companies like Mozilla typically have a direct relationship with Google and can ask these sort of questions directly. Case in point, Stack Overflow has done so in the past. So, as it stands, this question remains off topic. – John Conde Aug 26 '17 at 2:11
  • I didn't realize proving site ownership was a prerequisite for posting. At Mozilla we have lots of folks who contribute to lots of websites -- volunteers and staff alike -- and I would hope that any of them could ask a question here intended to improve our site without having to show their credentials first. That said, I'm a product engineer working for Mozilla and I do SEO on www.mozilla.org right now. Perhaps one of these links is adequate proof? * 2017 bugs: mzl.la/2w62g06 * My SO CV: stackoverflow.com/cv/hoosteeno * All my Hacks Posts: mzl.la/2vxaj28 – hoosteeno Aug 26 '17 at 3:33