With its unparalleled ability to instantly serve up accurate results, it’s no wonder that Google has enjoyed a massive share of the global search engine market for more than a decade.
When marketing experts talk or write about improving your organic rankings, they’re generally referring to your Google rankings – but this doesn’t mean that SEO begins and ends with the world’s most popular search engine.
- ISPs and tech brands can align themselves with alternative search engines, like Microsoft’s partnership with Bing and Yahoo
- Some audience segments prefer devices that don’t default to Google – or are locked into a non-Google browser at work by their IT department
- There’s rising public concern over search data privacy (and a lack of trust in Google)
- Your customers might just truly dislike Google, and appreciate the values of other search engines
All of this means that many businesses stand to gain a lot from diversifying their SEO efforts.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of alternative search engines, and share the best strategies you can use to optimize your site for non-Google search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.
Is Alternative Search Engine SEO Worth Your Time?
Before going any further, it’s important to determine whether investing in non-Google SEO is actually worth your time and resources.
The modern search market certainly isn’t a monolith, and there are a number of alternatives to Google such as Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia that many people prefer using for various reasons.
Having said that, the combined market share of these alternatives doesn’t come close to Google’s, which stood at around 84% as of July 2022.
For a lot of businesses, especially SMBs, marketing resources are spread thin enough that there’s no tangible motivation to worry about SEO for any search engine other than Google. However, the alternatives shouldn’t be waved off completely for two key reasons: your audience’s preferences, and untapped website traffic.
Your Audience Might Prefer an Alternative Search Engine
Like any area of digital marketing, your approach to alternative search engine SEO should be driven by the behaviour of your target audience. And certain audiences might be more inclined toward alternative search engines.
For example, if one of your biggest values is the sustainability of your product or service, or your brand values centre around environmental causes, you might attract users who prefer Ecosia over Google.
If you’re marketing to a demographic who places a lot of stock in their personal data privacy, they might be more inclined to use DuckDuckGo.
If you go into your Google Analytics, and navigate to All Traffic > Channels > Organic and then look at the ‘source’ view, you’ll see the proportion of traffic you’re getting from various search engines.
While Google will probably still make up the lion’s share, you may see surprisingly large portions of your website visits (and even conversions!) coming from alternative engines.
Alternative Search Engines Still Drive Significant Traffic
While it’s true that the market share of alternative search engines is negligible compared to Google’s, the traffic that comes from these search engines isn’t insignificant.
According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 100,000 searches every second, translating to more than 8.5 billion searches a day.
The approximate daily search count for other search engines is as follows:
- Baidu: 5 billion
- Bing: 900 million
- Yahoo: 133 million
- DuckDuckGo: 99 million
Even without counting smaller search engines like Ecosia or Ask, the total traffic represented by alternative search engines can represent huge untapped potential.
It’s also quite common for traffic from non-Google search engines to be more engaged and have a higher conversion rate – fewer people are reached, but they are more likely to become a lead or make a purchase.
The bottom line is that if you have a decent volume of customers using those search engines, they are worth additional optimization efforts.
SEO Strategies for The Biggest Alternative Search Engines
SEO for alternative search engines isn’t for every business, but if your audience is using those search engines, you need to know how to approach each algorithm to maximize your rankings potential.
Here are the best strategies for three of the biggest alternative search engines: Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.
Bing, a search engine owned and operated by Microsoft, is the default search engine for PCs, and has an algorithm that’s similar to Google’s by most measures. However, there are a number of differences in user features which can make it a preferable option.
For example, Bing’s image search allows users to add filters that aren’t available on Google, like excluding images that don’t feature faces. The video UX is also different, as results are presented as a broad thumbnail grid and allow users to play videos without leaving the video search SERP.
It’s also important to note that Amazon Alexa voice searches are powered by Bing, not Google, and that Amazon Alexa holds a 70% stake in the U.S. voice search market share.
There’s currently little difference in the way you have to approach voice search and traditional SEO – it’s mostly about long-tail queries and natural language. But as the voice search market grows, Bing SEO could become much more important.
One of the quickest and easiest things you can do to improve your Bing SEO is to claim and list your brand name on Bing Places. This platform is basically Bing’s equivalent to Google Business Profiles, and like citations on other platforms, will help to boost your trust signals, raise brand awareness, and drive traffic.
Bing also has its own Webmaster Tools which you’ll be able to access once you’ve set up a Bing business account. With this in place, you’ll be able to submit your site for indexing, and employ tags and categories to make it easier for Bing’s crawlers to discover new site content.
When you’re working at improving your Bing rankings, note that its algorithm places slightly more emphasis on on-page SEO compared to what you may be used to with Google:
- Bing has a tendency to prioritize content that features exact-match keywords
- This is particularly important in titles, meta descriptions, URLs, and body content
With this in mind, you need to find the harmony in getting those exact keywords into your content, without compromising quality.
Launched in 1995, Yahoo had a short period as the world’s most popular search engine before the meteoric rise of Google.
Today it occupies only 3% of the global search market, but still enjoys a relatively high popularity with longtime Mozilla Firefox users, and general web users in Japan and Mexico.
While it used to have its own unique algorithm, Yahoo is now “powered in part by Bing,” though each search engine returns slightly different results for the same queries.
Because Yahoo doesn’t update its algorithm nearly as frequently as Google, maintains straightforward ranking guidelines, and has far less competition, it’s generally much easier to achieve a high rank on Yahoo than on Google.
Like Bing, Yahoo places less stock in user engagement signals, and much more on on-page SEO. This means that you may want to go to greater lengths to include exact-match, longtail keywords.
Having said this, Yahoo doesn’t disregard user engagement signals altogether, and you’ll still have to prioritize technical SEO work such as optimizing your page load times, keeping your sitemap well-maintained, and fixing 404s.
And while social media signals have a hazy-at-best impact on Google rankings, social media plays a much bigger role in Yahoo’s algorithm; brands with more likes, follows, and shares rank higher in their SERPs.
DuckDuckGo has grown in popularity in response to concerns about online privacy, due to the fact that this search engine never tracks or retains user data, and only targets ads based on search terms.
While this is a great thing for users who care about their privacy, it can make things trickier for marketers – the algorithm provides much less opportunity for ad targeting based on past search behaviour or interests.
This is also why one of the key differences between DuckDuckGo vs. Google is in local SEO.
While Google can usually tell where a user is located when searching, DuckDuckGo never tracks this information, making local SEO more challenging. Forget about those “near me” searches that use a person’s location data to serve results – your audience will need to search regional, city-specific, or even neighbourhood-specific queries.
That’s why it’s important to keep your NAP (name, address, phone) up-to-date on your contact page and footer menu, and to use highly localized keywords in your content. This will help align your on-page SEO with the exact terms that DuckDuckGo users will search when they’re looking for local businesses like yours.
For the most part, though, DuckDuckGo SEO is similar to Google’s. You’ll need to create high-quality content and carry out well-targeted guest posting or blogger outreach campaigns to build up a healthy backlink profile. Your site needs to load quickly, be user-friendly, and include relevant keywords in its content and metadata.
It’s worth noting that DuckDuckGo pulls a lot of its business citations from Apple Maps, which will be served to any DuckDuckGo user who manually enables location-based searching, or searches specifically for your business. If you’re looking to optimize your site for DuckDuckGo, one of the quickest and easiest steps you can take is to claim your business listing via Apple’s Places on Maps.
Another key thing to note is that unlike Google and Bing, DuckDuckGo doesn’t provide a way for you to directly submit a sitemap for indexation. Instead, its crawler, DuckDuckBot, indexes sites by following links and by compiling data from a number of other search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
When you’re setting out to optimize your site for DuckDuckGo, submitting your sitemap to as many search engine indexes as possible will maximize your chances of DuckDuckGo indexing your site content as intended.
We hope you find this guide to alternative search engine SEO useful as you work to cover all bases in your organic search marketing.
Finding a good middle ground between Google and other search engines can be tough, but if it’s done correctly, you’ll be able to enjoy great results by aligning your site to those harder-to-reach segments of your audience.