At the moment, you have a handful of search engines now that do what dozens did when the internet first rose to power. Google still holds a majority of all search traffic. But Amazon and Youtube are now considered search engines in their own right, catering just to video or products. Microsoft’s Bing has taken a good stab at Google trying to provide a new search experience. And DuckDuckGo is also dramatically growing in popularity with their promise of privacy ensured searching. And there’s different SEO Strategies that go with each individual platform.
So this begs the question of if you need to employ a different strategy on your website to optimize it for each individual search engine? Or can you just optimize your site as best you can and hope it works for them all? Let’s get into it.
Is SEO the Same for All Search Engines?
Yes and no. Some search engines emphasize some factors over another. But overall, improving your website to rank well for one search engine, like Google, will likely help it increase in rankings on other sites. Enhancing your site to improve the user experience will always be a good thing. That means good content, good internal linking, clear messaging and keywords, strong meta titles and alt tags that help people understand what’s on a page, and so much more.
Google still controls a majority of search traffic. But other search engines are gaining popularity. DuckDuckGo recently passed 100 million queries posted on their site. So that means you need to think about how each of them crawl and view your site. Further down, we’ll explain what each search engine emphasizes and why you might need to worry about that particular algorithm for your business website and customer audience.
What’s the Difference Between Search Engines?
Every search platform has its own algorithm that brings up search results. None of them release their algorithm secrets and extensive guidelines for ranking. But there is always some information about them that users figure out through experience. Amazon uses an algorithm called A9 that focuses on sales. Google’s algorithm gets constantly updated, but generally has a few large scale updates each year. DuckDuckGo focuses on privacy and YouTube is looking at what would make advertisers happy.
Bottomline, what is good for your website when optimizing for Google is generally what is good for other search engines as well. Search engine optimization best practices can help your website rank high across all SERPs. But consider the purpose of your website AND the purpose of the environment.
- Are you trying to bring in more leads/customers?
- Does your website try to sell something?
- Are you trying to inform?
That ultimate question of your website’s endgame determines how you need to optimize and what search engine you might need to pay more attention to.
Google is the undisputed king of search. It has been for over 20 years. And I don’t think anyone will come in and dramatically shake up the search landscape in the near future. Many have taken chunks of the market. Google doesn’t open the door to let us know exactly HOW the algorithm works. But SEOs and some inside looks from Google have given us a good idea of what they focus on when it comes to SERPs.
While Google constantly works on its algorithm, we get a few dozen large scale updates every year. And not all will impact the traffic of every website, there’s a handful of updates that dramatically change up the SERPs and how we do SEO as a result. The Page Experience Update of 2021 is a notable one, plus other link spam and product review updates have changed up searches recently. But that’s one of hundreds that come every single year.
Google emphasizes User Experience and wants to make sure the sites that rank high for search queries offer the best information possible. That means they care a great deal about Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness or E-A-T. Google has listed E-A-T in its Quality Rater Guidelines. Essentially this all means that Google wants you to prove you know what you’re talking about with good content. They want to see that people link to your website and you have a strong link portfolio that shows others trust your site. Expertise means strong author bios on your blog and guest posts that bring reliable information to your site. Authority means you have a strong reputation on a subject matter and that others rely on you for information. Do people reference (link to) your site? Strong expertise helps you build authority. And Trustworthiness comes from having good online reviews and a strong reputation. Google wants to make sure your website is reliable with information and that your business is reputable.
While YouTube is owned by Google, it has its own very unique way of ranking videos to show up first. It’s hands down the biggest video platform in existence. In fact, it’s the second biggest search engine in the world today behind Google. Billions and billions of users constantly upload new content all around the world.
Both platforms tend to reinforce one another. So if you optimize for one, it is also optimized for the other. And like any SEO campaign, it involves a lot of keyword research. You need to figure out what people are searching for. Include those keywords in your descriptions. Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends is a good resource here to see what people are looking for regarding a certain topic.
You need to keep basic SEO best practices in mind when optimizing for YouTube. Google has put increased emphasis on good content, relevance, and usefulness. Content that rises in the SERPs best addresses consumer needs, interests, and questions. Keep your descriptions short, but descriptive. People come for the good video content, not to read about it. You need to capture attention early and quickly with your description to get the click through. You also need a good thumbnail to bring attention and a catchy title.
The problem with the YouTube and Google relationship, even the most popular videos on YouTube might not show up in the Google results. Because their description doesn’t really optimize for what the video is about. Use relevant keywords in the title. But you can also add closed captions and subtitles to help tell Google what the video is about. Also make sure to tag your video with relevant tags that people search for! This can help the YouTube algorithm to group your post with similar content.
Forgive the comparison, but Bing seems to be the little brother who always wants to tag along and do things better. And to their credit, Microsoft has built a great platform with an easy to navigate search experience. They just came in after Google’s market penetration. The term “let me Google that” has already entered our vocabulary regardless of what search engine we use.
Bing uses a similar algorithm to Google. But they are distinctively different. But because Bing has a smaller share, with less focus, it’s possible to get more of a market share with a Bing search than you could get anywhere else.
Similar to Google, in order to rank high on Bing, you need to write high quality content for your website. Beyond just good keywords inserted into your content, Bing considers three things regarding good content:
- sufficiently detailed content offering useful information
- easy to find content that is well presented
- trustworthy content that shows your knowledge of a subject
Bing also puts a lot of emphasis on citing sources. You need to use links, but also state who is the author of your article. Many companies like to keep author posts generic. But Bing will knock your ranking for that practice. Bing also ranks websites higher that clearly differentiate between native and sponsored posts.
Finally, a key point for Bing, is that your website is easy to understand, navigate, and follow. Similar to Google, Bing likes websites that are easy for the end-user to use. More than Google, Bing will rank a site higher for flash content and good aesthetics.
The thing that sets DuckDuckGo apart from other search engines is that they offer the option for those who fear the big tech companies holding data about basically everyone. DuckDuckGo has a unique and dedicated set of users that will only use that platform. While it is smaller than Google, it has grown to be a popular search engine for users to use and recently passed 100 billion searches!
DuckDuckGo SERPS come from a compilation of “over 400” sources. Some of those sources include Yahoo! Search BOSS, Wolfram, Alpha, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckBot, and so many more. There’s 400! DuckDuckGo emphasizes privacy throughout the entire process of bots and site crawling. Their focus on privacy has even prompted Apple and Google to block third-party cookies from tracking across the internet.
DuckDuckGo chooses to ignore websites the creator marks as spammy or from places known as content mills. He says sites like this are “low-quality content designed specifically to rank highly in Google search index.” So for this site, high-quality content or good links from quality sources are considered the most important factor and rank the highest in SERP rankings.
When it comes to the SEO direction you should have in mind, knowing your audience and your ultimate goal are important factors to consider for DuckDuckGo. If you cater to people where privacy is a key selling point, it could be worth your time to spend more time optimizing for DuckDuckGo. But good content on your site will do you well for both Google and DuckDuckGo.
Amazon plays a unique role in the world of search engines. It’s the original marketplace that set the standard that Walmart, Wayfair, and other sites have tried to model and follow. There’s other sites like Overstock and Jet that do a good job of keeping up when it comes to selling products. However, Amazon is its own unique animal.
Amazon’s algorithm focuses on increasing sales for selling products. And also unique to this list, you can’t optimize your own website for Amazon. But if you are a part of the seller marketplace, you need to know how to optimize your products. If you use e-commerce for your business, it’s a good idea to set up your profile and optimize it for the Amazon algorithm.
Amazon’s algorithm focuses on things like keywords, product title and description, number of reviews, ratings, and images. To rank your product high on Amazon, you also need to consider Best Sellers Rank (BSR). It’s assigned by the Amazon algorithm and gets updated several times daily based on sales volume and past sales data.
At the beginning of 2022, Google announced a new ‘Shops’ section which shows three to ten products (related to your search) with the best organic search rankings. With this new feature in mind, it becomes more important to optimize business products and listings. Digital ecommerce is on the rise and the buildout of these new features helps your product succeed.
When listing your product on Amazon, you need to keep in mind that the entire goal is sales. People are searching with high intent to buy. So include high-intent keywords, good product descriptions, and good imagery that gives searches a good idea of your product.
There’s a handful of other search engines we could talk about here. Even a few years ago, Yahoo was a much bigger player in the search engine realm. While not irrelevant, it doesn’t hold nearly as big of a market share as it once did. There’s also international search engines, like Yandex and Baidu, that rank in other countries. But they still scan all the websites in existence and rank depending on the language on the site.
Bottomline, it’s okay if you’re showing up as number one on Google, but number 4 on a different site like Bing. They both have slightly different ways of determining the SERPs and their rankings. Best SEO practices, a focus on good keywords and good content can bring you success across all search engines.
Learning to Rank Online
SEO has multiple strategies and techniques that require time and effort to successfully rank in search engines. Here at Boostability, we optimize websites with ranking factors and Google algorithms in mind. Usually what is good for Google optimization reflects across other search engines. There are countless opportunities and options for your website to succeed to its fullest potential on different search engines.
If you’re having trouble knowing where to start, let Boostability be the SEO partner your business needs to succeed! While you focus on what’s best for your business, consider Boostability as your next white label SEO provider! Get started today on learning more about SEO and how to get ranking.