When digital marketers talk about search engine optimisation (SEO) they often use the words Google and search engines interchangeably, not unlike the millions of internet users who also see Google as the de facto king of search engines.
While we are aware of other search engine brands like Bing or Yahoo, they are dismissed right from the start because of the fact Google has in some ways functionally monopolised the search engine landscape. However, Google’s supreme dominance is being challenged by competitors who are seeking a slice of the search engine cake.
For SEO practitioners alternative search engines to Google are becoming a viable channel in which to focus SEO efforts. Despite this, Google will remain the big dog where most of the effort is focused and this is unlikely to change unless Google’s market share drops significantly.
Let’s take a look at some other search engines and how they’re useful for SEO.
Bing is probably the second most well-known search engine simply because of how hard Microsoft pushed it as an alternative to Google. While Bing failed to knock Google out of the picture, Microsoft packaged it as the default search engine that was integrated with its newer editions of Windows.
This effectively forced many people into begrudgingly using Bing either because they couldn’t figure out how to change the default search engine in their browser or that they just didn’t care. This resulted in a respectable pool of people beginning to use Bing as habitually as they had used Google.
Starting out as MSN, Bing was re-branded in 2009 to give it a fresh coat of paint. Since then it has gathered around 400 million monthly hits with that number steadily growing.
Bing is considered to have a superior indexing algorithm for multimedia content like pictures and videos than Google does. Bing’s video search tool and autocomplete functions are also considered superior to Google’s.
Yahoo, despite its buyout and merging with AOL, is still maintaining business as usual, with nearly 490 million people using it monthly. Yahoo boasts a more interactive search experience many options backed into its search portal that are easy to access for people who aren’t very computer literate.
Ask.com is a unconventional choice as it handles internet searches in the form of questions and answers. This Q&A format is a unique user experience that is still worthwhile even though the same answers could probably be found in Google.
With nearly 300 million monthly users as of 2017, Ask.com is ripe with opportunity for practitioners who can do something clever with its search format.
While these search engines don’t garner anywhere near the traffic that Google does, they are legitimate channels that you would not be wasting your time in focusing your efforts on. A highly niche SEO campaign that also targeted Bing could be more successful than one that focused on Google exclusively.