Remember back to when the internet was just starting to become “a thing”. You had Homestar Runner, MSN Messenger, MySpace, AskJeeves, and a whole bunch of other now defunct websites that took up people’s time after school and after work. Today you have the giant tech companies that seem to take over platform after platform to form these giant mega corporations. Like Facebook that has Instagram, WhatsApp, and more. You have Microsoft. You have of course Amazon and Google with all of their subsidiaries. The internet is no longer the wild west. You need to fit in with a a host of websites that make up a majority of internet traffic.
In recent months, we’ve talked about how to rank on other search engines like Amazon. Yes, Amazon is a search engine, exclusively for products. You can consider Youtube a search engine, even though it’s a part of Google. And there’s different SEO Strategies that go with each individual platform.
Microsoft’s Bing has taken a good stab at Google and trying to provide a new search experience. Same with DuckDuckGo and their promise of privacy ensured searching. 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?
Well, yes and no. There’s some element of truth to both of those questions. Google still owns a majority share of search traffic on the internet today. In fact, as of April 2020, Statista says Google has 86.02% share of all search traffic. So, while you might need to think about the other search engines, it’s still important to remember where a majority of search traffic goes.
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 only has a few big core 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.
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. For the sake of this post, let’s ignore the importance of good video content that will bring in users and just talk about how to optimize for both YouTube and Google.
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, and 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.
Amazon plays a unique role in the world of search engines. Essentially in the rise of e-commerce that has jumped five times into the future in 2020, Amazon has become a focal point. 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. But Amazon is its own unique animal.
Amazon’s algorithm focuses on increasing sales. And also unique to this list, you can’t optimize your own website for Amazon. But if you are apart of the seller marketplace, you need to know how to optimize your products. And if you use e-commerce for your business, it’s a good idea to set up your profile and optimize it for 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 or BSR. It’s assigned by the Amazon algorithm and gets updated several times daily based on sales volume and past sales data.
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.
This is a newer player in the search engine game. And they’re doing pretty well because of 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. And for that reason, it could continue to grow in the coming years.
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.
DuckDuckGo ignores 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 and rank the highest in the SERPs.
While this is a new site, you don’t need to specifically cater your SEO strategy to DuckDuckGo. But, this is a case of know your audience and your ultimate goal. 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.
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 ok if you’re showing up as number one on Google, but number 4 on a different site like Bing. They both have a slightly different way to determine the SERPs. Best SEO practices, a focus on good keywords and good content can bring you success across all search engines.
But if you’re looking for more help to guide your strategy, learn more about our small business SEO services! In the meantime, get a free SEO analysis to see what you can start working on now yourself.