Oftentimes, marketers focus heavily on Google when vying for traffic.
For instance, I'm willing to bet your SEO meetings revolve largely around the topic of Google, with questions like, "How's our organic search?" "How can we capture page one on Google?" "How can we write the winning featured snippet?"
During these discussions, I assume none of your coworkers say, "Okay, let's pivot now. How can we capture Bing traffic?"
Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine, with over 70% of the search market share. But that popularity makes it the most challenging search engine on which to rank highly. You might be missing critical opportunities for traffic if you neglect the other search engines.
Here, we're going to explore the top six search engines of 2018, so you can discuss some other potential traffic sources in your next SEO meeting.
Note: To compile our list, we took a look at worldwide market share of search engines on desktop, from January 2018 to August 2018.
Top search engines
With over 70% of the search market share, Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine. Additionally, Google captures almost 85% of mobile traffic. The large traffic potential makes Google a viable option when aiming to capture organic or paid search -- the downside, of course, is almost everyone is competing for the same traffic.
Plus, recent changes to Google's algorithm, like featured snippets, aim to fulfill users needs directly on Google, so they don't need to click any links. These changes, and Google's popularity, might make it hard for you to capture the website traffic you want.
Bing, Google's biggest contender, rakes in 33% of U.S. searches and also powers Yahoo, the U.S.'s third biggest search engine. Bing's search pages look remarkably similar to Google's, with the same categories and a similar white background, with blue links and green URLs. However, Bing additionally offers "Rewards", a program that gives you points when you search or shop on the engine, and then allows you to redeem those points for gift cards, nonprofit donations, and more.
Baidu is China's largest search engine, capturing over 75% of China's search market. The search engine looks similar to Google (besides being in Mandarin), with a white background, blue links, and green URLs. Like Google, Baidu aims to incorporate more rich features in the SERPs.
If you have an interest in appealing to the Asian market, Baidu is a good option to consider. However, the search engine censors certain images and blocks pro-democracy websites, so if you're comparing search results, you'll find a more comprehensive results list on Google.
Admittedly not the sleekest search engine interface, Yahoo still manages to capture fourth place in our list, with a little over 3% of the worldwide market share. Yahoo is powered by Bing, so search results are incredibly similar between the two search engines. However, it's still an important search engine in its own right, with over 600 million monthly users on mobile and one billion total users.
With .35 of search traffic, Ask.com is certainly a more modest option compared to the likes of Bing and Yahoo!. Nonetheless, Ask.com, formerly Ask Jeeves, is unique due to its question and answer format.
While most of Ask.com's sponsored search results are powered by Google, Ask has an original algorithm that favors expertise on a topic over popularity. Additionally, Ask.com provides some unique features, like "smart answers", which use natural language to answer someone's search query.
If you're uneasy about targeted ads or don't want your search data stored, you might want to try DuckDuckGo, which touts itself as "The search engine that doesn't track you". It doesn't track, collect, or store any information, so you're safe to search for shoes without feeling bombarded by subsequent Macy's Shoes ads. It's worth noting there are still ads on DuckDuckGo -- just not personalized ones.
Additionally, DuckDuckGo has a clean interface and only one search page, making it easier to navigate than other search engines. With an average 26,754,932 daily direct searches as of September 2018, it's slowly gaining steam in the search market.
Ultimately, it's important to consider alternative traffic opportunities besides Google when creating an SEO strategy. By diversifying your sources, you're more likely to capture first-page on SERPs, and you're in a better position to find a truly ideal target audience.
Originally published Sep 25, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated March 23 2022