SEO for Non-Google Search Engines: Is It Worth it?

By Rhonda Bradley / 9 January 2019

Find out if alternative search engines such as Bing, Duck Duck Go, and Amazon are worthy Google competitors for small businesses. Should you invest in non-Google SEO?

How come you rarely see headlines about how to rank in the alternative search engines? In most cases, it’s because Google owns so much of the market share that it’s not worth your effort to focus on the smaller search engines.

However, recent changes in the popularity of certain search engines make it worth your effort to understand more about how they work and whether you should pay attention to them.

For example, Amazon recently surpassed Google to become the #1 product search engine. 

Also, while internet giants like Google and Facebook continue to make news headlines for privacy violations, one small search engine has solved the privacy issue altogether - and is growing at a rapid pace. 

In this article, we’ll help you understand alternative search engines so you decide whether to optimize your content for Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Amazon.

Are Alternative Search Engines Worth Your Effort?

When it comes to organic search marketing, there are many alternatives to Google, including:

  • Yahoo
  • Bing
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Amazon

Yet, Google still reigns supreme. According to a recent report from Sparktoro, Google dominates the search engine competition, claiming 90% of all web searches. 

Still, other search engines offer impressive numbers that may be tempting to smaller businesses that are just getting started.

For example, DuckDuckGo recently achieved a milestone of 30 million searches.

DuckDuckGo tweet

Also, Amazon surpassed Google this year in the number of product searches conducted on its own search engine. It now owns nearly half of all online product-related searches, compared to the 34% of internet users who turn to Google first when conducting product searches.

While the numbers may sound impressive, a bit more research provides a fuller picture of search engine marketing. It’s crucial that brands understand a few basic statistics before investing time and energy into ranking on non-Google sites.

For starters, while Amazon’s rise to product-search dominance touts impressive accomplishments, its strong reach is limited to product-only searches.

For all other search types, Google dominates search traffic by incomparable numbers. 

Google search alone owns almost 70% of the market share.  However, when you factor in Google-owned properties such as YouTube, Google Images, and Google Maps, you discover that nearly all internet searches (over 90%) begin on Google.

In the chart below, Rand Fishkin shows how the search engine market share is broken up across 11 different platforms.

U.S. search market share graph
Source

As we move forward with tips on how to rank in alternative search engines, do keep in mind that Google should always be a brand’s 1st priority for search engine marketing.

Moz’s Rand Fishkin Offers Perspective on Non-Google Search

We asked SEO expert Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro and previously of Moz, for his opinion on whether businesses should invest time attempting to rank on alternative search engines.

In a LinkedIn group discussion surrounding his article 2018 Search Market Share, we asked Rand for his thoughts on the value of small businesses targeting non-Google searches. Does Google domination mean that “all the rest” might offer some untapped potential for small businesses and solopreneurs?

“Certainly I think there's a lot of opportunity on small platforms for all kinds of folks,” Fishkin explained. “Many businesses I know build a presence on little-known forums or discussion boards, subreddits, communities on Twitter or groups on Facebook, and have loads of success with it.”

Notice that Rand’s answer politely steers away from alternative search engines, instead suggesting that small businesses focus on social media and other communities where unknown businesses have a history of succeeding.

How to Rank on Alternative Search Engines

After careful consideration, perhaps you’ve decided that it’s worth the investment to try optimizing your SEO for non-Google search engines. Below we offer some tips for ranking on Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and Amazon.

Bing and Yahoo Search Engines

According to SEO blogger Matthew Woodward, Bing offers many advantages over Google, including:

  • Lower bounce rates
  • More page visits
  • Higher website engagement rates, including time on site and subscription signups

To rank in its SERPS, take the time to familiarize yourself with Bing’s webmaster guidelines and learn about its webmaster tools for businesses. There are SEO toolkits and software that can help you test, analyze, and improve your results over time.

Bing powers Yahoo, so the two search engines are often factored together. When you submit your website to Bing, it’s automatically submitted to Yahoo as well.

DuckDuckGo Search Engine

DuckDuckGo is worthy of your attention because, when it comes to privacy, it’s the opposite of Google. 

Should Google’s privacy issues ever become so invasive that people actively look for a different search engine, DuckDuckGo (DDG) is the likely choice. 

Although its market share is low, the search engine’s growth is rapid, perhaps due to its direct “David v. Goliath” confrontation of Google tactics.

DDG boasts no tracking and no ad targeting for users of its platform.

DuckDuckGo billboard

How small is small? SEO news source Search Engine Journal explained in one article that, according to the company itself, DuckDuckGo processed 6 billion searches on its site in 2017

Compared to Google’s 3.5 billion searches per day, DDG’s share seems tiny. However, for very small businesses, DuckDuckGo’s audience may be large enough to create a tempting alternative to Google.

SEO for DuckDuckGo requires quality backlinks and a good sense for what searchers are looking for. Using the same tools you use to rank on Bing can also help you optimize for DDG SEO.

To learn more about ranking on DDG, visit Search Engine Journal’s article “DuckDuckGo SEO: What You Should Know” for detailed step-by-step instructions.

Amazon Search Engine

Ranking your product on Amazon is a challenge that, for many, seems tougher than ranking in Google. Due to its popularity, the competition is high. Special Amazon rules and regulations also apply.

If you’re interested in optimizing your products for Amazon search, you can start with a resource such as The Definitive Guide to Selling on Amazon. From there, you’ll approach SEO optimization in much the same way you do with Google: follow Amazon SEO blogs, take courses, and network with other marketers.

Learn how to use internal linking to boost your SEO.

Alternative Search Engines May Not Be Worth Your Effort

Pursuing search engine rankings outside of Google are very likely not worth the amount of time and energy it takes to learn how to capture that very small share of the market.

The exception to this rule applies to brands whose main purpose is to sell products on Amazon. In this case, it’s worth your time to learn how to rank your products in Amazon’s popular search engine.

Sites like Bing and DuckDuckGo may be worth revisiting on occasion to observe how their numbers grow over time.

While there’s no guarantee that Google will take the lead forever, chances are that it will continue to dominate search engine queries for many years to come. Fortunately, what helps you rank on Google is common sense for any other search engines you might try for.

Quality content that caters to your specific audience and encourages engagement will help you win not only in the SERPS, but in all your other marketing channels as well. 

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