DuckDuckGo, Bing or Baidu – they’re three different distinct search engines that sit alongside Google in making up the search engine total market share, but they all work in their own way. In this post, we’ll look at the factors that you’re presented with to try and rank on search engines other than Google, of which should be used to compliment your average search engine optimisation tricks and tips. Although it’s best to carry out a one-size fit all approach to your SEO, there are many reasons you may choose to want to target a specific search engine other than Google.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that has broken through onto the scene in the past few years, offering users a search experience that doesn’t track you, nor sell your data and keeps your search history private from all external sources but yourself – by blocking sites from using ‘search leakage’ that sees both the search engine and the site that you clicked on knowing the exact keyword or phrase you used to discover such site, as well as sending data that can be used by a site to identify you directly. Putting privacy first is a first for a search engine, ensuring completely different from other major search engines on the web. Rather being a standalone search engine, DuckDuckGo works by compiling data and information from over 400 sources including Yahoo! Search BOSS API, Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, Bing as well as DuckDuckBot – its very own web crawler, and through many other sources.
Unlike the head honcho in the search engine world, Google, DuckDuckGo does not have a ‘second page of results’ as the site prefers to use infinity scroll thus removing the stigma of the ‘second page of results’. The search engine also works to provide results on what a user needs here and now, rather than utilising cookies, your location and system information to best tailor you the results that the search engine thinks you’d want to see.
So how do you rank on DuckDuckGo?
Ranking on any search engine is quite the mystery and it’s the same with DuckDuckGo, but there are a few tricks that when implemented, are sure to help you. It’s important to remember that DuckDuckGo is a hybrid search engine, thus the way in which you’d optimise results for their sources would also be worthwhile for this search engine. DuckDuckGo’s FAQ help section states, “The best way to get good rankings (in pretty much all search engines) is to get links from high-quality sites like Wikipedia” and backlinks come up again and again as being key to success, due to this search engines use of pulling in data from other sources. Optimise for DDG: search for various terms that you wish to rank for and see what sources the search engine tend to be shown back – examples may consist of the likes of Goodreads, LinkedIn, Quora, Bebee & Amazon – think, can you get links from this site?
As a best practice, it is good to submit your site to other search engines if you haven’t already and familiarise yourself with the way that Yahoo, Bing and Yandex favour other websites. Unlike other search engines, DDG doesn’t have a submission form that you can submit your site to, however, it does have a system called a ‘!Bang’ that allows you to search directly on another site from the search engine. Users can submit their own ‘!Bang’ suggestions to the search engine if they own or have an idea of a site in which they’d like to be able to search from more conveniently. It’s worth the attempt to submit your site if you own a website that has a search bar, such as an online store, a wiki or a site that has a lot of information worth searching for.
Be sure when optimising for DuckDuckGo that you create your structured data in the form of JSON-LD to help the search engine understand, as unlike Google, it isn’t as in-depth and sophisticated.
You’ve probably heard of Bing before, being Googles’ top competitor in the search engine market. With Bing, although there is a lot that is similar with Google and a continuation to align both the search engines, it does have many unique factors to be aware of. One of these is that Bing likes to give ranking preference to brands, so if you’re a branded website – you’re likely to be seen as more trusted. If you’re a small business, Bing also appreciates you and will feature you in local search enquiries more often – to ensure you take full advance of this, sites can submit themselves to Bing Places for Business.
With Bing, if your website has a long-lasting history, you’re likely to be more favoured than a new website, especially sites that use official domain names rather than more obscure ones. It is also important that your site has multiple backlinks linking to it, as this works to rank a site higher than it would on Google. Bing actively removes pages from their index if it does not have enough link authority – something you’d most definitely want to avoid!
Social signals are king with Bing, resulting in Bing putting a lot of emphasis on social posts that have a lot of shares and likes, thus higher results may have these factors going for them. Ironically, keeping up with the social side of things, Bing tends to reward sites that have pictures, videos and audio much more than Google, of which much prefers text-based content. Unlike Google, Bing is also fine with supporting flash sites.
Other snippets to keep in mind when optimising for Bing, is that if your site is huge, you must place the most important elements of your content first and within the first 100,000 of a web page to ensure it is crawled.
Have you heard of Baidu? It’s the number one search engine in China, holding a strong grip on an 80% total share of China’s search engine market. If you’re looking to crack into this area of the world, discovering what makes Baidu tick will be key. As on Google, Bing and many other search engines – the likes of metadata, canonical URLs and generic SEO modifications are still important: where it changes is the rules that you must play by.
Baidu and the Asian market as a whole are pretty mobile dominated, with mobile site optimisation being of high importance. To ensure you have a standing on the search engine, your site must be using HTTPS, as well as a fast load speed and a display that works for a whole host of devices. Using the language of the market, which is Mandarin is also key to target your designated audience: you can do this through using simplified Chinese characters, but Baidu is able to index both simplified and traditional characters. Sites that also use a CN domain will end up being quite the sweet spot to rank on Baidu, whilst being seen as more desirable by the users on the search engine.
As with many search engines, achieving links to your site is of importance. Although Baidu is behind when it comes to giving sites the credit that they deserve from the links that they have attained, links from high-authority and industry-relevant Chinese-based sites will be beneficial. A few sites in particular, however, will be even so more beneficial – these being the sites associated and directly owned by Baidu themselves. Known as Baike – Baidu’s own Wikipedia, SEO opportunities could arise from any site owner that is able to provide information to add to a topic page on this site or a link as a valid source. Another site, called Zhidao – which is Baidu’s version of Yahoo Answers is another great opportunity to link to your site if you’re able to find an avenue to do so. A third opportunity, through Tieba – Baidu’s own Reddit is a site that allows users to discuss various topics and can provide a chance to bring a link linking back to your site. As with these opportunities though, the sites are strictly anti-spam and will crack down on any attempt at aimlessly plugging your site, however hope does lie in the fact that non-hyperlinked URLs will still be efficient for your site.
Other factors to keep in mind include that all sites must be created in HTML or feature appropriate text-based content alongside a Java or Flash-based site, as the search engine is unable to understand such formats. Baidu’s crawl power is significantly lower than that of other search engines, so procedures must be put in place to ensure that this factor is in mind when optimising a site for this search engine.
So whether you’re dabbling with DuckDuckGo, Bing or Baidu – the key to remember is to never tailor your website to one specific search engine, but play it as a one-size fits all approach.