Going beyond Google: SEO on other search engines

When the vast majority of digital marketers discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they typically refer to Google. This is the case so much so that SEO almost implicitly means Google optimization specifically, across articles, research, and more. This understandable reality stems from Google’s unquestionable dominance in the search engine market – a reality that won’t likely change soon. Still, this scope often misses the benefits of practicing SEO on other search engines, or even the reasons to. As a digital marketing agency New York trusts, today we would like to explore this overlooked matter in some depth.

Why going beyond Google matters

First, let us begin with the latter, and explore the reasons why going beyond Google matters at all. Indeed, SEO will typically center on Google’s search ranking criteria and algorithms because of its gigantic market share. As of November 2021, Statcounter quantifies it at 91.4%, leaving less than 9% to its five competitors:

A Statcounter graph on the global search engine market share.

However, there are ample reasons to both monitor this fairly consistent market share and diversify one’s marketing around it. For text economy, the 3 primary ones are the following.

#1 Privacy concerns

The initial factor that may affect search behaviors and search engine preferences will likely lie in privacy concerns. Google does remain Chrome’s default search engine, which is a huge boon when Chrome’s popularity still soars. However, both Google and Chrome specifically have often faced privacy concerns from users in such forms as:

#2 The emerging Chinese market

A second reason to entertain SEO on other search engines lies in emerging markets and local market shares. SEO services NYC businesses seek do seem to reflect this trend, as increased digitization pushes marketers to international audiences.

The most notable example of both comes with China’s market, where Baidu boasts a staggering 86.82% market share:

A Statcounter graph on China's search engine market share.

Even more notably, Baidu holds a gigantic 96.29% mobile search engine market share. In combination, those two leave few alternatives for marketers seeking to penetrate China’s emerging market.

Finally, it is also notable that Bing considerably surpasses Google, holding a 3.94% market share compared to Google’s modest 2.22%. We may partly attribute this to Microsoft devices, alongside other factors, but this too warrants attention.

#3 Local market shares, audience focus, and conversions

An equally notable market share distribution may be found in Russia, as we will cover next. However, the above factors should likely raise the question; do these matter?

Neil Patel argues that they do, for a host of reasons. The research he cites finds that the other search engines may still offer substantial benefits depending on local market shares and audience preferences. However, he most notably finds that Bing, Yahoo!, and DuckDuckGo all boast higher conversion rates than Google:

A graph on different search engines' conversion rates.

SEO on other search engines

With the above context in mind, we may now begin exploring Google’s competitors as regards SEO.

#1 Bing

Starting with Google’s primary US competitor for desktop traffic, Bing thankfully overlaps with Google in principle quite significantly. It too focuses on the user experience and delivering value, so it too values such qualities as:

  • Page loading speeds
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Content relevance and authority
  • Content readability
  • User engagement

However, it also comes with a plethora of notable differences. SearchEngineJournal identifies the primary ones as:

  • Keywords. Where Google relies on search intent, Bing explicitly advises for exact match keywords. This does present an oddity for seasoned Google-first SEOs.
  • Meta keywords. Google has pretty much pushed meta keywords into irrelevance, but Bing still makes use of them.
  • Social signals. Finally, while social signals are but a pervasive myth for Google SEO, Bing values them and factors them into search. In fact, it explicitly says so in its Webmaster Guidelines.

We can personally attest to the latter, as social media marketing New York businesses opt for increasingly take Bing’s approach to it into account.

#2 Yahoo!

Thankfully, Yahoo! is much easier to explore, as it very closely aligns with Bing. In fact, Yahoo! uses Bing to power its search results, along with a few of its own assets. These include its “Slurp” web crawler, but do not present functional differences for SEOs who attune their practices to Bing’s standards.

Yahoo!’s similarities with Bing, according to its own guidelines, span across:

  • Exact match keywords
  • Image optimizations
  • Cross-links and backlinks
  • URL readability
  • Metadata

There are some subtle differences, however, the value of which individual marketers may gauge differently. Should you want to delve into those, you may refer to Yahoo!’s aforelinked guidelines.

#3 DuckDuckGo

The similarities of SEO on other search engines continue with DuckDuckGo, as it too draws from Bing:

A screenshot of DuckDuckGo's search help page.

Thus, SEOs who cater to Bing’s criteria will also find some initial success with DuckDuckGo. However, it also comes with some notable differences, with the 3 primary ones being:

  • Backlink quality. DuckDuckGo stresses authoritative backlinks more than Bing or Yahoo! do, so it likely warrants diligent skyscraper link-building.
  • Geo-targeted search. DuckDuckGo cannot directly track its users’ location, so keywords and geo-specifiers will need to cater to this unique factor.
  • Local SEO. For that matter, DuckDuckGo also operates outside the Google app ecosystem. Thus, local SEO efforts need to focus on Apple Maps over Google Maps and Google My Business.

#4 Baidu

Reliance on Bing ends with the following two search engines, however. What’s more, both hinge on locality factors, so they will present considerably unique challenges.

Starting with Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, we may pinpoint the 3 main ones as:

  • Meta descriptions. The only similarity with Bing, Baidu also treats meta descriptions as a ranking factor.
  • Property favoritism. However, Baidu also favors its own properties quite strongly. Chinese-registered websites will vastly outperform their competitors.
  • Language. Finally, to rank in Baidu, content must be written in Simplified Chinese. This likely expected challenge does deserve note.

 

#5 Yandex

Finally, our exploration of SEO on other search engines may conclude with Yandex, another notable search engine. Marketers seeking to penetrate the Russian market will undoubtedly need to rank in it; Yandex holds a massive market share. While not as impressive as Baidu’s in China, its massive 42.11% share is only second to Google’s 55.29%.

Yandex also presents its own differences to both Google and Bing, with the most notable ones including:

  • Keywords in URLs. Yandex favors keywords in URLs, much more so than Google does.
  • Cross-links. Unlike both Google and Bing, Yandex does not particularly care for internal links.
  • Crawling. Finally, Yandex crawls pages more slowly than Google, and sometimes slower than Bing too. Webmasters may address this via Yandex.Webmaster in a similar fashion to Google Search Console.

Conclusion

To summarize, SEO on other search engines definitely warrants marketers’ attention. Google may not face a considerable risk of deposition in the near future, but other search engines are improving. Each has its dedicated audiences that some businesses may value, and all of them boast better conversion rates than Google. Finally, regional search engines such as Baidu and Yandex offer excellent reach, and a means to penetrate these markets.

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