It probably won’t be surprising if Google remains the leading player for some time to come. It is synonymous with an online search for the vast majority of web users. But this doesn’t mean, for example, that every marketing effort should be focused on Google or that other search engines should be neglected. However, it still has the potential to acquire traffic from other sources despite having more than 90% of the market share in the United Kingdom.
Although Bing is an obvious choice, there are some up-and-coming search engines that are worth keeping an eye on. One example is DuckDuckGo, and in this article, I will discuss some of the key features of this relatively new search engine, how it differs from Google and others, and how DuckDuckGo for small businesses can leverage this platform to advertise and optimize their sites.
Shares and growth of the market
According to search engine market share statistics for the UK, DuckDuckGo has a long way to go before it can catch up with its rivals.
According to Google, the UK search market is 92.1% dominated by the company, followed by Bing with 4.7% and Yahoo with 1.85%. According to DuckDuckGo, the search market is only 0.54% dominated by the company.
There is no question that this search engine is seeing plenty of growth. Four billion searches were conducted on DuckDuckGo in 2016. The number surpassed 9 billion searches last year.
DuckDuckGo may still have a small market share, but it is growing quickly, at a pace that may give it a larger market share in the near future.
The demographic data for users of DuckDuckGo is harder to find, though some sources suggest that DuckDuckGo’s users are relatively wealthy and tech-savvy when compared with other search engines.
SimilarWeb’s 2016 study found DuckDuckGo users were most attracted to tech and tech news sites, such as:
A similar study also found that DuckDuckGo users engage with their search engine of choice for long periods of time, spending an average of 9.38 minutes on DuckDuckGo versus 7.29 minutes on Bing.
How does DuckDuckGo differ?
The value proposition of the search engine, ‘the search engine that does not track you,’ sets it apart from more established competitors. Some web users can be very influenced by the press coverage about privacy issues and data leaks that have received more attention in recent years.
In order to sell itself, DuckDuckGo emphasizes the issue of privacy. The app doesn’t store personal information about users, follow them around with ads, or track them. Comparatively, Google collects masses of data from its users, who are increasingly logged in 24/7 across a range of its services, from search to email.
As a result of its focus on privacy, it is an obvious alternative for users of other search engines who are increasingly concerned about their privacy.
It is no secret that Google itself is aware of users’ concerns in this area and announced it would allow users to automatically delete search and location history after three or 18 months, though this still falls short of DuckDuckGo’s policy.
DuckDuckGo’s main features
A key argument for using Google over alternatives has been the quality and accuracy of Google’s search results. Search engines like Yahoo and MSN were able to outperform Google over the past 15 to 20 years. This is because they deliver relevant and accurate results to searchers in a much shorter timeframe.
Google’s search experience and budget cannot be matched by DuckDuckGo, but many prefer the fact that DuckDuckGo does not personalize subsequent search results, thus avoiding the filter bubble that can result from the personalized search.
It is extremely difficult to say whether the results were better or not, and it greatly depends on what you normally search for. Since I have been using it myself for a few weeks, I do not find too many obvious faults with it. Google’s use of your previous search data can provide some shortcuts that can save you time when refining search results, I tend to overlook.
It does have some useful features, however. The first is bangs, which allows you to search the content of an entire website directly from the search box.
You can use DuckDuckGo directly to search within a website by typing an exclamation mark, a keyword – usually the website name – followed by your search term. It’s convenient.
There are a few useful features that Google has taken away, such as the ability to search within specific countries. If you try to search for something like a recipe, and you want to see results with UK measurements, you can select the UK only.
Search advertising and affiliate revenue are the two main sources of revenue for DuckDuckGo.
Affiliate revenue comes from DuckDuckGo’s partnerships with eBay and Amazon, and the search engine receives a commission for every purchase made through those sites.
Pay-per-click advertisements are another way it makes money. Yahoo! syndicates these Ads based on the search term entered, and DuckDuckGo display these Ads based on the search term entered.
It is necessary to use your Bing Ads account to advertise on DuckDuckGo. You will be able to advertise on Yahoo!, Bing, and other partners, including DuckDuckGo.
You can double-check that your ad is set up to run on DuckDuckGo through Bing Ads by following these steps:
- If you’re logged into Bing Ads, click Campaigns.
- Locate the campaign you want to edit.
- Click the ad group you want to edit.
- Select the Settings tab.
- Then click the Ad distribution tab.
- Finally, click Save at the bottom to complete the process.
Following this, you’ll see the following options, which allow you to check that you have selected all search networks (including partners like DuckDuckGo).
If you wish to target DuckDuckGo for small businesses, you could be advertising on other search engines as well. This may be a good thing because your ads will reach a wider audience, but it does prevent you from targeting specific ads only to DDG users.
Ads can be restricted to DuckDuckGo only by changing this setting, but there is some effort involved. Check out this post for a walkthrough on advertising on DuckDuckGo.
It has a few drawbacks for advertisers because the click volume is likely to be low, although some products and niches may appeal to DDG users more than others. In addition, it doesn’t have the same range of targeting options that Google and others have, while there’s no Google Keyword Planner equivalent.
Advertise on DuckDuckGo for small businesses may be worthwhile, but for now, it lacks some of the more advanced tools and options that are often used by search marketers. DuckDuckGo for small businesses needs to evaluate whether the extra time and effort are currently worth it.
Optimization of DuckDuckGo searches
Optimizing for DuckDuckGo is similar to optimizing for Google or any other search engine.
- Attract high-quality links. Content that is of high quality will attract links, but PR approaches can also work to build new links.
- Perform keyword research. One approach is to apply what you know from Google to DuckDuckGo. It pays to know how your target customers search and adjust accordingly.
- Optimize for Yahoo and Bing. If your ads are appearing on Bing, Yahoo, as well as DuckDuckGo, you should also optimize them for these search engines in order to make the most of your budget.
- You can’t target DuckDuckGo users by location on Google, so you should add local keywords in ads and content. DuckDuckGo users aren’t tracked, so there’s no way to target them by location as on Google.
- You might not want to do anything different for DuckDuckGo if you rely on Google for the vast majority of your search traffic. This may negatively affect Google rankings.
What are the benefits of targeting DuckDuckGo users for small businesses?
It’s hard to argue that DuckDuckGo for small businesses should make efforts to target DuckDuckGo for small businesses users because the traffic sent by this search engine is likely to dwarf that of Google.
There may be a different story in your analytics data, so it’s worth checking how much traffic comes from DuckDuckGo, referral growth, and changing conversions and on-site behavior. For example, if you are getting traffic from DuckDuckGo that is more likely to convert, or spend more, then maybe you should increase investment.
It may also be possible to achieve greater visibility on DuckDuckGo for small businesses with a smaller PPC budget, as there is less competition for paid search. It may make more sense to have your ad at the top of a smaller search engine rather than on page two or three of Google, where it is less likely to be seen.
In most cases, however, it is a good idea for DuckDuckGo for small businesses to keep an eye on DuckDuckGo for small businesses, but with a limited budget and resources, Google makes more sense in most cases.
DuckDuckGo’s success suggests that there is a market for a search engine built around user privacy. The growing awareness of privacy issues online has led to greater skepticism about tech giants like Facebook and Google.