Google’s hegemony is indisputable. In the Western world, it is the most used search engine holding more than 90% of the market share. Far behind him, his most serious “competitor” is none other than Bing, the search engine made in Microsoft holding nearly 3% of the market share. Then come Yahoo, Baidoo (Russian engine) and Yandex (Chinese engines) and the others who share the crumbs… Thus, when we talk about SEO, we tend to confuse Google. It is true that the dogmas of natural referencing are enacted to meet above all the requirements of the latter. But are there other alternative search engines on which the rules of SEO also apply? Are there engines offering another type of search and SEO on which it would be wise to position yourself? To put it another way, can we take advantage of the advantages of SEO without going through Google?
The answer to all these questions is of course “YES”. We are therefore going to give an overview of alternative search engines to Google and the different types of natural referencing. Hoping that this can be beneficial to your popularity on the web!
What is a search engine?
Before getting to the heart of the matter, it is good to go back to the very definition of an internet search engine. Indeed, the term “search engine” is not necessarily associated with search results on the web. For example, on your operating system, whether Windows or macOS, you have the option of entering your searches in the latter’s menu. A search engine associated with this system will therefore start up and return a list of relevant results to you according to the query entered.
On the World Wide Web (the famous www.) search engines work on the same principle. Their goal is to display the most relevant search results for Internet users based on ranking criteria.
SEO on search engines
Take the most telling case, that of Google. In recent times, the SEO and search results ranking algorithm has been modified a lot with the aim of favoring pages rich in unique, varied and relevant content. All this so that the first search results are the most likely to respond to the entries of Internet users. It has focused a lot on the user experience, abandoning certain natural referencing criteria to fight against excesses (mass purchase of external links, keyword stuffing, hidden text in the script of HTML pages, etc.).
Each search engine has its own SEO for Recruitment Agencies algorithm. Thus, the criteria of SEO – natural referencing – vary according to the strategy of each engine. But let’s be honest, if Google is the most popular engine, it is also because it is considered by many to be the most efficient. Its competitors (like Bing, to name a few) are therefore trying to follow the same path by keeping certain specificities in an attempt to stand out.
Thus, being well referenced on Google is often synonymous with a good ranking on the majority of search engines.
Alternative search engines
Alt txt = Internet search engine
Although the Google search engine is the most popular (and the most used), you should know that it is not alone. There are other ways to access results pages based on your queries. Here is an overview of the most popular alternative search engines.
Bing has been the Windows search engine since 2009. Proud successor to MSN Search, Windows Live Search and Live Search, it is Google’s most serious competitor. Bing has a very complex natural referencing algorithm, taking into account more than 1000 signals. In particular, it is very advanced in the indexing of videos and images. Just like Google, it also offers several search options (sites, images, videos, maps, news, shopping, etc.).
On the other hand, it is commonly accepted that Bing is less good than Google at understanding the context around a query. It is therefore not as good as the latter in the relevance of its results. Bing is used more by an older audience than by Internet users born after the year 2000. It may therefore be wise to seek to reference you on it if you are targeting this audience. In addition, it offers lower advertising costs than its 4-color competitor.
Among the search engines present since the beginnings of the Internet, Yahoo! is somewhat of an exception; it is still widely used today. Indeed, the latter has existed on the web since 2005 and remains the third most used search engine in the world. This is also the search engine used by default by the Firefox browser.
As a good underdog, Yahoo! is obviously more than just a search engine and has its own ecosystem (with Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Answers). It also offers search by site, image, video or news.
Many criticize the sometimes-vague terms regarding privacy on Google. Data protection, search history and query tracking (officially to improve the user experience) are controversial today.
It is therefore to meet this growing need to regain a certain “digital intimacy” that DuckDuckGo was developed. This engine directly integrates private browsing and even has an extension to activate it on the Google Chrome browser. It does not collect the IP address or personal data of users to maintain their privacy. In other words, he advocates anonymous research.
You should also know that DuckDuckGo is what is called a “metasearch engine”. That is to say that he simultaneously solicits several search engines (including Bing, Yelp, Yahoo! or even Wikipedia) and summarizes the answers obtained for his search results. In total, more than 400 reference sites are used. The sobriety of the engine interface has also contributed to its success (but this remains at the discretion of each).
Ecosia is a search engine that is part of an eco-responsible approach. Indeed, the ecological impact of search engines – particularly with regard to data storage and the energy consumption of servers – is still little known to the general public. Nevertheless, many users are beginning to worry about their digital sobriety, and this requires the use of engines aware of environmental issues such as Ecosia.
Thus, this German ecological search engine works for the reduction of CO 2 emissions specific to research on the Net and acts in favor of reforestation. These charitable actions grow as the users are numerous… and they are! Ecosia seduces with its message focused on sustainable development, but also with its performance. Based on results from Yahoo! and Bing, it is able to respond appropriately to requests from Internet users. In this, Ecosia also places itself in the category of metasearch engines.
The most chauvinistic among you will be delighted to know that there is an alternative search engine made in France, and the latter is none other than Qwant. Concerned about the privacy of Internet users, this engine takes the side of respecting the privacy of its users while avoiding censorship of the results as much as possible (two points attributable to the giant Google). Still in an approach to protect Internet users, the Qwant Junior version, intended for 6–13-year-olds, blocks access to violent, pornographic and advertising content. It therefore offers a simple alternative to setting up parental controls.
Announced as the “French Google “by the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, we can still not say that this engine competes with the world leader in research on the Net. Qwant even had a difficult start when it was released in 2013, in particular because of the similarity of its answers to those of Bing or Wikipedia. That said, the support provided by the state and by the supporters of the project enabled him to make enormous progress on this point. In September 2019, the number of unique visitors per month was estimated at 5 million. A great success in view of the French delay in terms of internet research tools.
Other search engines
The list of alternatives to Google is still long, and it would be utopian to want to present them all in this article. However, if you are interested in this topic and want to diversify your presence on the web, you can be interested in the engines listed below:
- Start Page
These engines will also allow you to have a different approach to the SERP, sometimes with a preview of the results, which can be interesting to cross the sources of your searches. Juggling between several engines prevents you from falling into the trap of duplicate content by looking for forgotten or unreformed information on Google pages. This plurality also allows you to choose an engine advocating similar values and/or closer to your expectations.
Search engine market share
As you will have understood, alternative search engines to Google do exist. However, the latter has established itself as the undisputed leader, accumulating 92% of the world market share in 2020. The graph below will give you a better representation of this overwhelming superiority for the year 2021.
We then notice the presence of Bing, the eternal number 2, with nearly 3% of the market share and then that of Yahoo! with almost 1.5% of the shares. This is followed by the Russian and Chinese motors respectively: Baidu (1.2% market share) and Yandex (1% market share). The other engines mentioned above then share the remaining 2.2% market share.
In view of these statistics, it would be logical to think that adopting a natural referencing strategy would only be wise for positioning on Google. However, reality shows us that SEO is an effective strategy on all fronts.
Does SEO only apply to the Google search engine?
Let’s immediately put an end to received ideas, whatever search engine you use, natural referencing will be applied. Indeed, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization or “Optimization for search engines” and not “Optimization for Google”. Thus, whether on Bing, Yahoo! and consorts, it is natural referencing that will determine the primacy of one result over another (excluding advertisements). However, the criteria taken into account for the ranking, as well as their importance, may vary from one engine to another. No engine works according to the same algorithm, although all try more or less to equal the efficiency of Google.
SEO: an effective strategy on all platforms
Note that SEO is not specific to internet search engines, but also to the search engines of certain sites. For example, Amazon has its own algorithm to offer the products most likely to match users’ needs based on their queries. It works on other platforms offering multimedia content such as Vimeo, Spotify or Unsplashed. SEO also works for different tools in the Google ecosystem like the Play Store, Google Podcast, Google My Business, not to mention SEO on YouTube. You will even find it on social networks, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc.
In short, as soon as a user has a search possibility, you can expect an algorithm to sort the results to offer the most relevant. Thus, you will have more or less limited possibilities to optimize your content on relevant queries. On some platforms (egg Vinted) it will be paid ads that will benefit from a real gain in visibility. But it depends on the support and how it is financed.
So “NO” SEO is not only linked to Google, but to all search engines in the broad sense. Taking this ranking criterion into account will be the best way to capture traffic from all the platforms on which you are present. As they say, don’t put all those eggs in one basket. Betting only on organic traffic from Google to generate more leads seems very risky. This is why we also advise you to take an interest in SEA, paid referencing.
Should I be listed on an alternative search engine?
As you will have understood, referencing yourself on alternative engines is interesting. If you are already well referenced on Google, this may even become a necessity. That said, you can also take the problem the other way around. Given that the competition on Google is strong, why not capitalize on more niche engines in order to more easily take the best positions? However, this strategy must take into account the typical profile of the users of the engine targeted. If these users check all the boxes of your customer avatar, your conversion rate will be even more interesting. This qualified digital marketing strategy will compensate for the lower number of visitors compared to what you might expect on Google.
Finally, we need to talk about one last point which concerns no-click searches. Best known as “zero click search “, it is a bias of the engines to offer the answer to the queries of Internet users without them having to click on a link in the SERP. These are the famous results in position zero that we can observe on certain Google searches. But this concerns all the results presented in the Rich Snippets; rich snippets from structured data in the HTML code of web pages.
If these directly displayed results are highly appreciated by Internet users, they are a little less so by webmasters. Indeed, who says “zero clicks” says “decline in traffic” and therefore “decline in conversion rates”. Thus, being referenced on engines that do not yet use zero-click research makes it possible to compensate for the drop in visitors that these no-click searches can generate.
After reading this article, you will understand that Google is not alone. Although it is far ahead of its competitors, seeking to gain visibility on other search engines is undoubtedly more interesting than one might imagine. When done right, listing on search engines other than Google can bring in more, more qualified traffic. It is a significant component for anyone wishing to optimize their visibility on the web. You should also remember that SEO is a principle that is wrongly associated with Google. But in fact, natural referencing is used by all search engines to offer the most relevant results to users. Now that you know the alternatives available to you, all you have to do is test them to judge their relevance.