When you think of search engines, the first thing that comes to mind is likely Google. However, there are many other search engines that you should consider as you put in your SEO efforts.
Although questions like “How do I rank higher on Google SERPs?” and “How can I create a killer featured snippet?” will often take over your SEO strategy meetings, you may benefit from considering these other search engines.
Why? Because although Google is the most popular and most used search engine, it’s also the hardest to rank highly for. Therefore, if you’re only focusing on Google, you may be putting all your eggs in one basket, which can leave you missing out on other opportunities.
Today, we’ll look at various search engines across the internet and everything else you need to know when it comes to search engines.
Let’s dive in.
Top Search Engines
The search engine Google is without a doubt the most popular search engine on the planet. It’s likely that when Sergy Brin and Larry Page created it as a research project in 1996, they didn’t expect it to gain as much attention as it obviously did.
Thanks to their brilliance, we now have access to lots of information and an easier and better way to reach and talk to our customers. A fun fact about Google is that it comes from the mathematic term “googol,” which means 1 with 100 zeros following it.
Today, Google is practically taking over the world with YouTube, a line of devices, and even self-driving cars. But, just as it did in 1996, Google continues to be ahead of the curve and is a must-have when considering SEO.
If you’ve come across the search engine, Ask, you’ll be happy to know that it’s powered by Google. Talk about world domination. Therefore, even as you put in your SEO efforts into Google, you may benefit from spreading the love to Ask as well.
The biggest advantage that DuckDuckGo has over other search engines is that it protects the privacy of its users. Therefore, if you’re worried about cybersecurity and your online safety, you can check out this private search engine.
This best search engine is open about who they’ve partnered with to bring you the search results.
Some of these partners include Bing, Yummy, and Yahoo. If privacy is a great concern for you, as it is for many other internet users, you have Gabriel Weinberg to thank. Gabriel formed DuckDuckGo in 2008 in California.
The fact that DuckDuckGo doesn’t track its users means that you also won’t be bombarded with ads every now and then. This is because your search data isn’t stored. But, if you want to use this alternative search engine to promote your business, this very fact can be a hindrance in reaching your target market.
Another advantage that DuckDuckGo has is that it uses a clean interface. This means that you can easily navigate through it because it only uses one search page. With this knowledge, you can now easily tailor your content to suit DuckDuckGo so that you can tap into this market too.
Microsoft Bing is a search engine that comes after Google in terms of market share. This search engine has its origins in previous search engines, including Windows Live Search and MSN Search.
Just like the popular search engine, Google, Bing filters its search results into various tabs such as maps, news, images, and videos. Some say that Microsoft Bing was Microsoft’s way to challenge Google.
Although Bing has certainly tried to take over the world, it hasn’t yet managed to convince many users that it’s as reliable as Google.
Although not many people have heard of Baidu, it’s actually the third-largest search engine in the world. With a global market share of approximately 7.3%, Baidu is actually China’s largest search engine.
If you’ve ever been to China, you know that Baidu is the default search engine of the nation. This cool search engine has a market share of 74% in China and was founded in 2000.
Although being the best search engine in most parts of the world, Google only has a market share of 2% in China.
Given that it’s mostly dominant in China, it’s no surprise that Baidu’s headquarters are in Beijing, China. The main thing about Baidu is that it has huge investments in AI. However, outside the Chinese borders, Baidu has very little influence.
You’ll be interested to know that this default search engine of China powers over 3.3 billion searches daily.
One thing to note if you want to use Baidu for your SEO efforts is that it uses a different system. For example, the verbiage, customs, and visuals, are extremely different than what you’ll find in Google.
Even if you decide to use Google Translate, you won’t get very far. The best thing to do is get someone who speaks the language and understands the culture. This will allow you to go into the Chinese market in the right way.
Nevertheless, you’ll be happy to know that the organic algorithms in this search engine are much more simplistic compared to Google.
You are absolutely familiar with this search engine if you are a baby boomer. Handling a global market share of 3.39%, Yahoo! still continues to thrive in these modern times.
Yahoo! was founded in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo. You might be intrigued to learn that the word Yahoo! stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Organized Oracle.” Quite the mouthful, huh?
Well, it’s not as long as “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” which was the original name. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft Bing powers Yahoo!’s search engine. This is why you’ll notice that most of the search results from both search engines are quite similar.
Just like Baidu, Yandex is most popular in Russia. For example, this search engine makes up 55% of the Russian search traffic. This is closely followed by Google.
Yandex takes up 1.53% of the market share on the global market. Other countries in which this search engine is popular include Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
Some of the services you can enjoy when using Yandex include Yandex Disk and 70 others. Yandex Disk is a cloud-based storage service that’s similar to Google Drove.
Did you know that Yandex stands for “Yet Another iNDexer?” Now you know.
If you want to learn Russian or understand the culture, you can use this search engine for a better experience. This is because this search engine understands Russian inflections in the search queries.
Why is this important? Because Russian words often take on various endings to indicate their specific relationship to one another. This can make search extremely difficult.
Therefore, by using this search engine, you’ll have an easier time searching in Russian.
We mentioned Ask when we were talking about Google. This search engine is 100 times smaller than Google. However, it’s only 10 times smaller than Bing. Therefore, this gives you a good idea of how big it is.
Ask has a search engine market share of 0.72% and was originally called “Ask Jeeves.” The major difference between this search engine and Google is that Ask is more of a question-answer service.
This is more of a virtual concierge type of thing. This is actually where the name “Ask Jeeves” comes from. It is referenced to the P.G. Wodehouse’s character, Jeeves the butler.
Naver has a global search market share of about 0.13% but powers 75% of the South Korean market share. This search engine began in 1999 and has been growing ever since.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The Google of South Korea.” This search engine is what they were referring to.
Some of the services that this search engine provides include a news web portal, email client, children’s search engine, and an encyclopedia.
The list of alternative search engines would not be complete without AOL. Although this search engine only currently holds a search engine market share of 0.06%, it was once an internet trailblazer.
AOL stands for “America Online.” This search engine was founded in 1985 and was among the early pioneers of the internet in the mid-1990s. When it was first founded, this search engine provided instant messaging, dial-up service, web portal, and email.
Dial-up internet required the users to dial-in using a phone line to connect to the internet. So, how did AOL lose its dominance over the internet?
Well, in 2000, AOL bought Time Warner for $165 billion. This is around the time that it had NetFind, its own branded search engine. NetFind was later rebranded AOL Search back in 1999.
However, when new competitors such as Google joined the market, AOL decided to focus on acquiring major online media companies. Some of these include TechCrunch in 2010 for $25 million, The Huffington Post in 2011 for $315 million, and many others.
And then, back in 2015, AOL was acquired by Verizon Communications for a whopping $4.4 billion. Although the search engine AOL still exists, it’s only a small portion of AOL and Verizon’s businesses.
Seznam was founded by Ivo Lukačovič in Prague in 1996. Although it began as a simple search engine and online directory, Seznam had developed news, weather forecasts, TV programs, maps, directories, and more services by 2001.
Currently, this search engine runs over 15 internet services and associated brands.
It’s interesting to note that this search engine is very popular in the Czech Republic. Before Google came into the picture, it was the leading and default search engine in that country.
The next search engine on our list is YouTube which was founded by veterans of PayPal back in 2005. It was bought by Google over a year later, and it’s been taking the internet by storm ever since.
A staggering statistic is that YouTube feeds its users over 1 billion hours of video daily. Therefore, if you’ve been considering producing video content as a form of SEO, you know that it’s effective.
However, the con with using YouTube to drive traffic is that it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. After all, over 500 hours of video are uploaded to the platform every minute.
This also means that when it comes to running ads, it can prove to be expensive compared to other less popular search engines such as Bing.
Nonetheless, if you choose to go down the YouTube route, you can be sure that your efforts will bear fruits if you correctly target your demographic.
Amazon is arguably one of the coolest and largest online marketplaces and has completely revolutionized what e-commerce means. Launched in 1995, Amazon is the largest company that allows you to sell goods online.
In 1999, the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, won Times’s Person of the Year for his achievement in making online shopping accessible and popular. If that was 1999, you can imagine the impact that Amazon has on the online shopping world now.
Just like with Google, if you decide to use Amazon for your business, you will have the advantage of scale. With over 100 million subscribers, you will have access to a lot of potential buyers on one platform.
Knowing how to rank on Amazon will allow you to take advantage of this large scale of buyers at your fingertips.
However, the downside of this large scale is competition. Just like with Google, you’ll have to consider various factors to ensure that your products are ranked highly on the Amazon results page.
Now that we’re done looking at arguably the best search engines in the world, let’s get more information on how search engines work.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Understanding how search engines work will allow you to properly optimize your site for SEO success. We’ve looked at Google and other search engines and details about how they were founded and what they focus on.
Now, let’s look at how these search engines work so that you can know what you need to do to your site for the best results.
Search engines perform three major functions. These include
- Crawling: Search engines scour the internet looking for content to offer their users. They look over the code and content of every URL they come across.
- Indexing: After they find the content, search engines organize and store this content. Once your page is in the search engine’s index, it’s in the running to be displayed when search queries are made.
- Ranking: This is when the search engines provide relevant content to answer a searcher’s query. This content is often displayed by relevancy.
Now that we have an idea of what these search engines do, let’s look at these processes in a bit more detail.
- Search Engine Crawling
Search engine crawling is the process of discovering new content by search engines. The search engines use robots known as spiders or crawlers to scour the web for relevant content.
The crawlers often follow links to discover new content. For example, they usually start by fetching web pages and then follow any links within those web pages to find new URLs.
These search engine spiders often pay close attention to new sites and changes in existing sites. If you have any dead links on your site, they’ll be found too.
The software often decides which sites to start crawling, how often to do so, and how many pages or URLs to fetch from each site.
- Search Engine Indexing
Once the search engine crawling is complete, it’s time to organize the data. So, how does this work?
When the search engine finds a web page, it renders the content of that page, taking note of key signals such as keywords and the website’s freshness. All of this information is stored in the Search Index.
You can think of this index as the index at the back of a book. This index has an entry for each word seen on every webpage the search engine indexes.
Therefore, once the search engine indexes a webpage, it adds it to the entries for all of the words the webpage contains.
- Search Engine Ranking
This is now the good part and the section that concerns you in your SEO efforts. When someone does a search, like a Google search, the search engine goes through their index to find relevant content to serve up to the user.
The search engine does this in hopes of solving the user’s query. Because the search engine wants to answer the query in the best way possible, it offers up the “answers” in order of relevance.
This is where ranking comes in. If your site is ranked highly for a specific query on search engines, it means that the system believes that the content you have is relevant to that search query.
This is why the use of keywords and good web design is important.
Can Search Engines Find Your Web Pages?
This is a very important question.
We’ve looked at how search engines work by crawling, indexing, and ranking your pages. However, if the search engines can’t find your web pages, they won’t be indexed and, therefore, not ranked.
If this happens, no matter how good and relevant your content is, you won’t be able to rank on SERPs, and all your SEO efforts will be for naught.
Therefore, if you have a website and want to rank for certain keywords or keyword phrases, the first step is to first ensure that search engines have indexed your pages.
So, how can you know how many pages the search engine has indexed?
We’ll take Google as an example, in this case, to show you how to go about this process.
So, start by going over to Google and typing “site:yourdomain.com” into the Google search bar. The results you get are from the Google index and will tell you how many of your pages have been indexed.
However, note that this is an estimation. So, check the search results part that says, for example, “About 153 results (0.37 seconds)” to get an idea of how many of your web pages are in the Google index files.
If you want a deeper answer, you’ll need to head over to your Google Search Console account for this information. Once you’re in the Google console, use the Index Coverage report to get the information.
Once you submit the sitemaps to your site, you’ll be able to monitor how many web pages have been added to Google’s index. You will also have access to lots more information.
What are the reasons for web pages not showing up in search results?
If you find that some of your web pages are not showing up on the search results, you can troubleshoot the problem with this information. Here are some reasons why you’re not showing up on search results.
- Your website is not linked to any external websites
- Your site has been penalized by Google
- Your site is new and has yet to be crawled
- Your website’s navigation makes it difficult for the search engine spiders to crawl it properly
- Your website contains crawler directives that block search engines from crawling
You can implement some optimizations to ensure that search engines index your web pages. These activities will direct the Googlebot on the best way to crawl your site based on your preferences.
The good thing about telling the best search engines how to crawl your site is that you’ll have control of what ends up in the search engine’s index.
The truth is not all pages are worth ending up in the index. For example, old URLs, staging or test pages, special promo code pages, and others.
Now that we know how most search engines work and how your pages end up on the search results, let’s look at how you can optimize your site to rank better on search engines.
How Can You Optimize Your Site for Search Engines?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been around for some time now and continues to be a major part of marketing and content creation.
As long as you want your content and site to be featured highly on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you’ll need to optimize your content properly.
Here are some ways to do that.
- Create Relevant and Authoritative Content
We talked about relevance when we were looking at the ways in which search engines rank pages on the search results section. The reason for this is that the search engines want to give the user the best answer to their question.
The kind of pages that the search engine brings up will determine its worth and ability to deliver. Therefore, you can be sure that the search engines will not be ranking content that isn’t relevant and high-quality.
Therefore, keep this in mind as you create content to ensure that you’re working hand in hand with the search engines. Only relevant, high-quality, and authoritative content will be ranked highly on the search engines’ results pages.
Ensure that you’re producing quality content that suits your audience if you want to increase site traffic. The more you produce better content, the more your site’s relevance and authority will rise. This will also likely increase the chances of your content being shown in the results pages of the best search engines.
So, how can you ensure that your content is authoritative? By using relevant keywords.
Let’s look at keywords.
- Apply Keyword Optimization
There is no SEO without keyword optimization. After all, how are the search engine bots supposed to know what your content is about?
The best way to go about keyword optimization is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. How do you think they will search for your content? What type of questions will they ask? What words and phrases will they use?
By doing this, you’ll be able to come up with the right keywords for your content. You will be able to work hand in hand with your own search engine for the best results.
These are the relevant keywords that will help you rise to the top of your best search engines results pages.
For example, if your site is about hair care, here are some of the search terms to consider:
- how to care for my hair
- what is my hair type?
- what shampoo should I use?
- what is my hair type?
- should I straighten my hair?
- tips on keeping frizzy hair away
As you can see, these are some of the search phrases that your audience will type into the search engine. Therefore, these are what you should focus on in your content for the search engine.
So, now you have your keywords in hand. How do you go about placing them in your content?
Some of the places you can put the main keywords or keyword phrases you want to rank for on the search engines include the following:
- In the page URL
- Within the page title, headings, and subheadings
- In the first paragraph
- In the alt text of images
- Within the content
However, ensure that you’re not forcing the keywords and keyword phrases into the content. Doing this can have your site penalized by the search engine for keyword stuffing.
Ensure that it is natural and appropriate wherever you use the keywords and keywords phrases.
Some of the places you can place your keywords include the opening paragraph, within the various sections of the content, and within the meta description. Again, ensure that you are authoritative and strategic with your work.
However, don’t forget that you’re writing for humans and not the search engine. Therefore, you must make certain that your work is readable, makes sense, and will add value to your reader.
Multiple Keyword Phrases
When dealing with multiple keywords phrases, you need to know that it’s hard to rank for several at once. The best way to go about ranking for multiple keyword phrases is to use separate web pages for each keyword.
This will help build authority and allow the search engine to offer your content as an answer because it is specific.
- Use Alt Tags
Alt tags are not only crucial for SEO but also for the reader. They describe the image and video media by offering a broad description.
This is relevant, especially when the media hasn’t loaded and the reader wants to know what it’s about.
The alt tags also allow the search engine to locate your page on the internet. Therefore, incorporating alt tags will boost your ranking on Google and alternative search engines and also improve the user experience.
- Update Content Regularly
Updated content boosts relevancy. An article on SEO published in 2014 and one published in 2022 does not hold the same weight on Google or alternative search engines.
Keeping your content fresh will indicate that your content is relevant to the search engine. You can choose to set a schedule that dictates when you’ll be updating your content to keep up with the search engine.
You can make as many updates as you want to ensure that you’re offering the best value and keeping up with the rankings on the search engine.
Blog posts are a great way to produce fresh and relevant content that will show the search engines that your site is relevant.
- Maintain A Link-Worthy Site
We mentioned that one of the reasons your site may not appear in the results pages of the search engine is because it doesn’t have links to external pages.
This applies to inbound links and outbound links. If other websites link to your work, the search engine will see this to mean that your content is high-quality and relevant.
The search engine will then move to put your pages higher on the list, which will improve your rankings. Therefore, the more you create content that is high-quality, relevant, shareable and adds value, the more other sites will want to link to you.
When it comes to outbound links, ensure that you are using a relevant anchor text.
An anchor text is a text that you hyperlink. So, for example, if you’re linking to a site that has the best shampoo for hair loss, don’t use the anchor text “click here.”
Instead, use the anchor text “best shampoo for hair loss.” This is both relevant for the search engine and the reader. The latter is especially true for readers who are using screen readers.
Using a relevant anchor text will also add search engine value to the attached URL.
- Optimize Metadata
We mentioned this when we were talking about keyword optimization, but we felt it needed another mention. But, what is metadata?
Metadata is a description of what your web page is about. It gives the reader an idea of what to expect should they click your link from the results page of the search engine.
Therefore, you want to make the metadata as optimized as possible and alluring enough to warrant a click by the right audience.
There are various aspects to the metadata. Let’s look at them.
a). Meta Title
The meta title is said to be the most important part of the metadata. It shows your reader and the search engine what your content is about. The title metadata is responsible for the page title displayed at the top of your browser window.
The title metadata is also the headline that your reader sees on the search results page of the search engine.
Ensure that your meta title has the keyword phrase that you want to rank for on the search engine.
b). Meta Description
The meta description is the short paragraph beneath the meta title on the results pages of a search engine. This applies to Google and alternative search engines. Think of the meta description as the window display of your site.
Therefore, you need to make it enticing enough for a passer-by to want to click the link in the search engine and find out more.
Just like with the meta title, ensure that you use the keyword phrase that you want to rank for. Two full sentences should be sufficient for your meta description. Ensure that you include a call to action within the meta description.
This will prompt the reader to click the link. Although not all of the alternative search engines will have this description, it’s still good to include it.
- Use Visuals
Endless plain text can be exhausting to read, whether it’s on Google or other alternative search engines. Therefore, to break the monotony of prose, consider adding visuals such as images, infographics, and even videos.
In addition to offering a better user experience, you also get to optimize your site for the search engine. For example, Google often values the use of visuals over certain keywords. You can find that the video you’ve used in your blog post is featured at the top as a featured snippet.
However, even as you choose the best visuals to use on your site, ensure that you use the alt texts that briefly describe what your media is about.
- Focus on User Experience
Although you want to focus on ranking well on SERPs, remember that it’s people who are going to read your work. Therefore, ensure that your site is fully optimized for a wonderful user experience.
The more people like to stay on your site, the more Google and the other search engines will rank your site higher on the results pages. This is because it shows Google and the alternative search engines that your site offers quality and relevant content.
Factors like fast loading speed, readability, skimmability, and more will greatly improve your search engine optimization efforts.
If you’re unsure of what other factors to include to enhance the user experience, you can always check out your competitors’ pages on these best search engines.
Take note of what you admire and like and what you think needs improving and use that information to improve your site.
Frequently Asked Questions About Search Engines
- Which search engine is better than Google?
Some alternative search engines include DuckDuckGo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, and several others we’ve discussed above.
The most notable search engine that continues to give Google a run for its money is DuckDuckGo. This alternative search engine was founded in 2008 and is known for its focus on your privacy.
Therefore, if you want to protect your privacy as much as you can on the internet, DuckDuckGo is arguably the best search engine to consider.
Thanks to its reliability and concern for data privacy, DuckDuckGo has been gaining momentum. In 2021, this alternative search engine passed the 100 million daily search queries mark.
- What made Google the most popular search engine?
The quality of its search results is arguably what made Google extremely popular. Thanks to its sophisticated algorithms that are constantly being updated, you can trust that you’re getting the most accurate results for you.
Up to date, Google’s ranking algorithm, allows users to get the best search result. This creates trust and reliability. In addition, you also get some cool features by using Google such as access to a reverse image search engine, and so much more.
- What are search engines?
Search engines are similar to answer machines. You give them search queries and they find the best answer for you.
Their main job is to discover, understand, and neatly organize content across the internet. Therefore, when you do a Google search, for example, the search engine goes through its catalog to find the best answer for you.
Therefore, you need to create your content so that it will be found by search engines to be provided to the user.
- Are all search engines equal?
No. This is in terms of the return on investment on your SEO efforts. Although there are over 30 major search engines, some of which we’ve looked at above, not all of them require your SEO efforts.
The reason why many people and businesses focus their efforts on Google is that it has the largest search engine market share. Therefore, since it has the majority of people who are on the internet, it pays to focus your attention there.