Alternative SEO Besides Google
Posted by Charlie Recksieck
Some Great Search Engines Aren't Search Engines
In the meantime, everybody wants to get more bang from their buck by being as high as possible on search engines to help drive traffic. These days that increasingly just means Google. But let's take some time here to consider alternative search engines - or places you can be found that aren't necessarily classic "search engines."
What’s a Search Engine
Definition from Wikipedia (ironically, almost a search engine itself): "A software system that is designed to carry out web search (Internet search), which means to search the World Wide Web in a systematic way for particular information specified in a textual web search query."
In 2019, Google had 88% of the global search market - of true "search engines" (meaning they crawl the web). Next closest was Bing with 5.27% (source)
Here’s another good take, from techbeon.com
Top 10 Search Engines
You would think that finding stats on top search engines would be pretty definitive and easy; it’s surprisingly elusive, especially when the term "search engine" gets interpreted differently.
The following list is a compilation from a few different sources we found.
1) Google - 5.5 billion per day
Below is another chart of top search locations (from SparkToro) which includes Google Images as a separate search engine, placing it at a strong #2:
Tell me if you don’t look at that and wonder why you would waste time on SEO for anything other than Google. (Stick a pin in that one for now.)
Where Internet Traffic Is Focused
Here’s another way of thinking about search. We can look at where most internet traffic is. As long as each of these has a search box (and they do), then these are search engines. Right?
As of 2017, over 30% (32.34%) of all US online traffic is controlled by five websites
Google - 16.41%
Facebook - 6.56%
YouTube - 4.91%
Yahoo - 2.55%
Amazon - 1.91%
Wikipedia (Was Top 5 as of 2019)
"SEO" Tips On These Alternative Spots
These may seem out of the box, but they do get searched. We’ve included some links with tips and ideas for ways to take advantage of these non-Google searches.
- Archive.org ... aka the "Internet Archive". It’s a constant snapshot of everything that’s been on the internet. There’s no natural way to "game the system" here, but if your content does change frequently, it all lives on here.
- YouTube ... Ignore YouTube at your peril. Here’s two different great articles of advice: 1) From from Hootsuite and 2) from Search Engine Journal
- Facebook ... Lots of sites cover Facebook posting SEO well; here’s a good one
- Wikipedia ... Don’t think you can post your own Wikipedia article on yourself? Think again. Here’s some good Wikipedia strategies ... and here’s how to get backlinks from Wikipedia
- Alexa ... Voice search section below, but here’s a great education on Alexa searches
- Siri ... Let’s not leave out Siri; well-written advice for Alexa, Siri and Cortana
- Twitter ... You might not think that your tweets need to be SEO-friendly but at least take a cursory read of this
It’s forgivable to not think of voice search (like Siri or smart home devices) when you think "search engine." But these services really are indeed search engines. How voice search is changing SEO
Something to keep in mind, well-phrased by alphametric.com: "If you're using a Google Home, or an Alexa echo, you're only going to get one search result read back to you. There's no ranking 2nd, 3rd or 4th. You must be the BEST result for that user's command."
By 2020, 50% of all searches across the internet will be voice-based. Also, by 2020, 30% of all searches will be done using a device without a screen. It sure seems like we are undervaluing voice search vs. traditional search engines; we should all be getting a leg up on the competition by leveraging this.
Here’s some good voice search statistics; and while you’re in the reading mood, some more from Serpwatch.
Is It Worth Spending Time On Non-Google SEO?
The big question is "Should you spend time on SEO outside of Google?" My short answer is a qualified "no". That's not just my opinion; these experts and consultants also say mostly the same thing.
But there are some solid arguments for not putting all of your organic search efforts into the one Google basket. For one, a Google-centric approach puts you entirely at the mercy of Google rules & policies; their algorithm can change in a way where your previous Google SEO results are back to square one overnight.
Also, the competition is naturally fiercest at Google. But should you do a great job at organic search on YouTube, or smartly game the Alexa results, then you can own that space.
Here are some cases from Search Engine Journal for spending some time on alternative SEO and going beyond Google.
You likely have very finite resources for time spent at your company on SEO and marketing efforts.
We can't tell you definitively if you should or shouldn't spend much energy developing SEO outside of Google. Your business dictates that decision. If you have good video content, then you should go for it on YouTube. If you have a novel business idea, leverage Wikipedia as a place for people to find you. If you have reason for a smart home voice app, use Amazon Echo to make a name for yourself.
But don't try to spread yourself too thin. Good SEO practices that help you with Google WILL help you with Bing & DuckDuckGo as well. Our common sense approach might be to regularly audit your Google search ranking (and your SEO practices through free online evaluating tools) and then go hard for just ONE other unconventional search engine (even if it's not technically a "search engine") and see how it goes.
Lastly, what never goes out of style is seeing what’s already working and doubling-down on it. Check your stats/analytics to see where people are finding you. Whatever you seem to be doing right - do more of it.
Let us know what you've found! (Send comments to info @ plannedscape . net)