Search engines are the gateway to online information, products, and services, and Google’s dominance in this realm is undeniable. Google is so prominent that the term “googling” has nowadays become synonymous with searching the internet! But what about all the other search engines out there?
In a landscape where diversity and innovation thrive, marketers and business owners need to recognise that there’s more to search than Google. Exploring different search engines can unlock new avenues for reaching audiences, tailoring marketing strategies, and achieving business objectives.
Should marketers and business owners really pay attention to other search engines?
Marketers and business owners should definitely pay attention to other search engines. And in a way, they already do… YouTube and Amazon, for example, are bonafide marketing battlegrounds in SEO, with professionals struggling to find the latest non-competitive keywords and make their videos and products rank as highly as possible.
But what about generalist search engines, just like Google? Are you truly making the effort to have an impact on these websites? Or are you simply overlooking opportunity?
Before exploring the best search engines beyond Google, here are 3 reasons why it’s important to explore these alternative channels:
- Even though Google has the highest market share for desktop devices (95%), other search engines are still used by millions of people. Did you know, for example, that—according to the same study—Google’s market share for mobile devices is much lower (85%)?
- Google is not the number-one search engine in all countries. In huge markets such as Russia and especially China, competitors such as Baidu and Yandex are actually more popular than Google (or at least as popular). In Australia, Google is the top choice, but Bing and Yahoo! are actually used, respectively, by 17% and 16% of Internet users.
- Google is disfavoured by some niche audiences that can only be reached via alternative search engines. Imagine, for example, that you’re trying to promote a blog post on internet privacy and trackers; to reach a conscious audience on the subject, it may be wiser to promote the post on DuckDuckGo (a privacy-first search engine) than on Google.
Beyond Google: diversifying your search engine strategy
While Google’s influence is substantial, it’s crucial to recognise that there are numerous other search engines with unique features and audiences. Exploring these alternatives can enhance marketing strategies in several ways.
Why is Bing different?
Because it integrates videos and images into search results.
Bing is the default search engine for Microsoft’s Edge browser and powers Yahoo’s search as well. While Bing is chronically deemed to be an “inferior” search engine (to the point of being the punchline of many anti-Microsoft jokes), the fact that it’s the preset search engine for virtually all Microsoft devices makes it extremely important.
Bing is also distinctive in the way it integrates rich media results directly into search results (mostly videos and images). Marketers and business owners can leverage this feature to showcase visual content and engage users differently than they might on Google.
Why is Yahoo different?
Because it includes a dedicated homepage with lots of original content.
Once upon a time, Yahoo was Google—or at least, the world’s most important Internet company! If you were around in the early days of the internet, you surely remember this search engine. Needless to say, Yahoo’s current popularity is far from those days, but this website is still visited by roughly 700 million people a month!
Sure: many of these 700 million monthly visitors are just visiting Yahoo to check on the weather and read the latest news. But even if only a portion of these visitors ends up using Yahoo’s featured search engine, isn’t it strange for marketers and business owners to simply ignore them? A complete marketing strategy should focus on including channels such as Yahoo!, even if they’re not as popular as Google.
Why is DuckDuckGo different?
Because of its focus on privacy.
In an era where privacy concerns are paramount, DuckDuckGo has gained traction. It emphasises user privacy by not tracking users’ search history or personal information. This search engine resonates with individuals seeking an alternative to Google’s (often abusive) data collection practices.
As referred to above, you can tap into this privacy-conscious audience by promoting products or services that prioritise data security and anonymity. DuckDuckGo is the search engine for people who care about their online privacy, which means it’s vital for marketers and business owners trying to sell everything from technology books to VPN subscriptions.
Baidu and Yandex
Why are Baidu and Yandex different?
Because they’re more/as popular as Google in, respectively, China and Russia.
China has a population of 1.4 billion people. In Russia, there are more than 143 million people—the majority of which have access to the internet. This fact alone should illustrate the power and importance of Baidu (China’s top search engine) and Yandex (Google’s fierce competitor in Russia), two web services that cannot continue to be ignored.
Sure: if you don’t plan on targeting the Chinese and Russian markets, there’s no reason to spend time and resources producing marketing strategies for Baidu and Yandex. But if you do, please don’t neglect these two major players.
How can you adapt to different search engines?
Each search engine comes with its nuances, algorithms, and user behaviours. Tailoring marketing strategies to fit these differences can yield better results. How?
By formatting content
Different search engines prioritise content differently. While Google prefers long-form, informative content, platforms like Bing and DuckDuckGo might favour more visually engaging material due to their media-rich integration. Marketers and business owners should adapt their content formats accordingly.
By exploring different keywords
Keyword research must be adapted to each search engine’s unique algorithms. While some keywords may perform well on Google, they might not yield the same results on other platforms. Understanding these nuances is crucial for effective SEO and SEM across diverse engines.
By targeting local audiences
Baidu’s dominance in China and Yandex’s market share in Russia demonstrate the importance of targeting specific geographic regions. Tailoring content to local languages, cultures, and preferences is essential for international success. Marketers and business owners cannot tap into the Chinese web market without Baidu in the same way they cannot market to Australian Internet users without Google.
The point is that it would be foolish to admit all markets are Google-centric, even if the vast majority—including the Australian online market—happen to be.
By taking privacy and security into account
As privacy concerns grow (research shows that Australians are increasingly concerned about online privacy), marketing strategies should emphasise data protection and confidentiality, especially when targeting privacy-focused search engines like DuckDuckGo.
While Google undoubtedly remains a search giant, exploring alternatives is a strategic imperative for modern marketers and business owners. Marketing for alternative search engines with their diverse features, audiences, and methodologies in mind opens up new opportunities. These can be effectively used for tailoring marketing strategies, reaching specific demographics, and achieving distinct business goals.
Embracing this diversity ensures that marketing efforts resonate across various platforms, yielding a more holistic and impactful online presence.