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When I was working part-time at a Mexican restaurant in high school (to save up for that b-e-a-utiful prom dress I saw at the mall), there were a few behaviors from diners that I was forced to ignore – the customer always being right, and all. In addition to a couple sitting on the same side of the booth (don’t you two need any elbow room!?), it always intrigued me when a husband or boyfriend ordered both meals at the table, without consulting his date. Questions – did he actually know what she wanted to eat?; what if she didn’t want the usual?; and how did he know if she liked the specials or not? – floated in my mind as I was trying to remember if I brought the lady at table 34 her extra flour tortillas.
Although restaurant hospitality is not my expertise now, these memories flooded back in the recent success of https://duckduckgo.com/, an alternative search engine that protects the privacy of its users.
Now, Hannah, how does this yummy anecdote relate to search engine optimization? Search dominators, like Google, store thousands of tidbits of information based on a user’s previous search history and cookies. When that user searches something again on Google, the search engine knows “that’s what you always ‘order.’”
Google is the spouse that knows and sticks to what you have always liked in the past. DuckDuckGo is the new fling that doesn’t have access to know you had a bad experience with Thai food once.
What Is DuckDuckGo?
Earlier in June, DuckDuckGo announced its first day with two million searches. Although it has been around since 2008, the search engine set its own search quantity record for four straight days. Since the Internet doesn’t sleep and was intrigued by all the quack of privacy-protecting search engines, DuckDuckGo passed three million daily searches the next week. This site and similar site StartPage, also surpassing three million daily searches for the first time, have been having a good summer in their search numbers, thanks to public awareness and concern over data and privacy issues.
In the wake of NSA/PRISM cooperation from tech giants (like Google), consumers are choosing these alternative, more secure, search engines to maintain some of their privacy. Instead of relying on Google results pages, DuckDuckGo compiles both information from crowd-sourced websites (think Wikipedia) and other, more private, search engine results (like Bing). The site does not record user information, and, because the users are then not profiled, there are no “filters” that bias search results.
On DuckDuckGo, there are no news, blogs, books, or image search options for advanced or customized searches. Searchers are shown just the same exact 10 search results that every other user with the same search query would be shown – regardless of their recent Amazon purchases, previous prefered news source, or where they are located. As a tactic to increase the search engine plugin on browsers and better explain how search history is used by Google, DuckDuckGo created a humorous approach to why users should private alternative search engines at donttrack.us.
Optimizing for Alternative Search Engines
DuckDuckGo’s help forum provides exactly 48 words on how to rank within the site. Less than half of those formulate its rankings standpoint: “the best way to get good rankings (in pretty much all search engines) is to get links from high quality sites like Wikipedia.”
What we do know is that DuckDuckGo’s results are a compilation of “about 50” sources including Wikipiedia, Bing, and its own web crawling DuckDuckBot. What that means for you is that your site is dependent on these search engines’ crawlers to index individual web pages for its rankings system. Other search engines have hinted that getting links from high quality sites is an important ranking factor, but none rely on Wikipedia so much.
At Blue Corona, one thing we have noticed is that title tags seem to have great influence on the ranking order of the privatized searches. (Do you have optimized title tags in order to even rank on these alternative search engines? We can help you out with both preliminary and advanced SEO tactics!)
It’s also important to know that traditional SEO tactics to rank on secondary sites, like Bing and Yahoo, will have an impact on DuckDuckGo’s rankings, since indexing and results are in part pulled from their results.
Should You Still Optimize for Google?
In a basic number crunch, Google receives roughly 91 million searches per day, compared to DuckDuckGo and StartPage’s respective daily highs of three million. Any preschooler that can count up to 91 will tell you that numbers wise, Google is clearly a big Kahuna in search traffic (which can lead to more traffic and leads on your website). So, yeah, you should still optimize for Google.
One piece to note is that it’s potentially less competitive to rank first in the alternative search engines. Since more industry blogs and information are posted about ranking for Google (they clearly monopolize search traffic), it will be more important to keep up to date with alternative search engine ranking factors. This way, you are can earn more online real estate across the board of search engines.
If users continued to be turned-off by Google’s storing of search history and private information, they can utilize methods to continue to use Google search with privacy measure in place. Private browsing mode, deactivating cookies, and using session cookies all service these concerns.
Don’t have time to keep up with these SEO trends and algorithm updates? Our experts at Blue Corona specialize in helping your business’s website continually optimize for these changes. Contact Blue Corona today. We love helping our clients get more traffic from search engine results almost as much as we love punny titles on our blog posts.
About The Author: Hannah is the SEO Team Lead at Blue Corona. If she's not busy daydreaming about the training session for her team, you can find her improving client conversion rates and planning her next trip.
View more blogs by Hannah Nelson