Google vs. Other Search Engines: Differences for SEO
October 13, 2023
For many people, ‘Search Engine’ and ‘Google’ are the same word. In English we’ve even turned it into a verb to describe searching for something online: “Why don’t you just Google it?”
Other search engines do exist, however. And in some places and for some market segments, alternative search engines are more important than Google. So what does this mean for your SEO strategy? And do you need a separate SEO strategy for each individual search engine? Let’s dive in.
Why Should We Care About Other Search Engines?
When it comes to SEO, Google often takes center stage. It's the most widely used search engine globally, and many SEO strategies are designed with Google's algorithms in mind. However, focusing solely on Google can be a narrow approach that overlooks the potential of other search engines.
Here are three reasons why we should consider
Service Different Demographics: Different search engines have different user bases. For instance, Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, and Yandex is widely used in Russia. In these markets, Google is hardly found at all. If your target audience is located in these regions, optimizing for other search engines can be more effective.
Target Privacy-Conscious Consumers: With growing concerns about data privacy, some users are shifting away from Google to more privacy-focused search engines like DuckDuckGo and Brave Search. These search engines don't track user behavior, making them an attractive choice for privacy-conscious consumers. If this is a part of your target market, you might have better luck reaching them on alternate search engines.
Maximise Reach: People use other search engines for all sorts of reasons. Ecosia, for example, plants trees while people search. Bing integrates with a range of Microsoft products and is the default choice on the Edge browser. Even Yahoo is still around. While these users are a small part of the global search ecosystem, they might constitute a large part of your specific target market.
To understand where your customers are coming from, you can use tools like Google Analytics or similar web analytics services. These tools provide insights into your website traffic, including the geographical location of your visitors and the search engines they used to find your site.
Google SEO vs. Other Search Engines
Google's search engine algorithm is sophisticated and ever-evolving. It uses over 200 factors to rank websites, including the relevance of content, the number of inbound links, and the mobile-friendliness of websites. Google's algorithm also uses artificial intelligence to understand the context and intent behind search queries, providing more accurate and relevant search results.
Bing, owned by Microsoft, is the second most popular search engine after Google. While Bing's algorithm shares similarities with Google's, such as the importance of relevant content and inbound links, there are also key differences. For example, Bing places more emphasis on social media integration and tends to favour websites that are older and have official domain names (.gov, .edu, etc.).
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine that doesn't track user behavior. Its algorithm primarily relies on around 400 sources, including Bing, Yahoo, and its own web crawler, to generate search results. DuckDuckGo also emphasizes high-quality content and user-friendly website design.
Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, making it a crucial platform for businesses targeting the Chinese market. Baidu's algorithm values fresh and unique content, and it also considers user behavior metrics like click-through rates and time spent on a page. However, Baidu places a strong emphasis on website verification, requiring businesses to obtain a special permit to be indexed.
Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia. Its algorithm, known as Korolyov, uses machine learning to understand the intent behind search queries and deliver relevant results. Like Google, Yandex considers factors like content relevance and inbound links, but it also takes into account user behavior metrics and the location of businesses.
What does this mean for my SEO strategy?
While search engines weigh criteria differently, the similarities are greater than the differences. In many cases, optimising for one will inevitably optimise you for the others.
Still, there are some steps you can take to make sure your SEO strategy is hitting the mark on the engine most relevant to you.
Identify where your target market is. For example, Google dominates the global search market, but if your potential customers are in China, you should look at verification on Baidu.
Identify your customer’s habits. Web3 projects with privacy-focused users might generate more traffic from DuckDuckGo or Brave Search, for instance.
Check your website analytics. Free services like Google Analytics can tell you which search engine your users arrive from. This will probably be Google, but if you notice a spike in users from other browsers, consider some steps to optimise for them.
While Google remains a significant player in the SEO world, other search engines offer valuable opportunities to reach different audiences and markets. By understanding the unique algorithms and features of these search engines