Oftentimes, marketers focus heavily on Google when vying for traffic.
It makes sense considering Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine, with over 80% 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 worldwide, so you can discuss some other potential traffic sources in your next SEO meeting.
Note: To compile our list, we looked at the worldwide market share of search engines on desktop and mobile from August 2021 to August 2022.
With over 80% of the search market share, Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine. Additionally, Google captures almost 95% 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.
Also keep in mind Google's algorithm, like featured snippets, aims to fulfill users' needs directly on Google, so they don't need to click any links. These features , and Google's popularity, might make it hard for you to capture the website traffic you want.
Bing, Google's biggest contender, rakes in 15% 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.
Admittedly not the sleekest search engine interface, Yahoo! still manages to capture third place in our list, with just under 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 total monthly users.
Russian search engine Yandex has roughly 2% of worldwide market share. However, it is the most widely used search engine in its home country, with Google holding the number two spot. If you do business globally and are looking to reach Russian customers, there are a few things to keep in mind.
For example, Yandex has a number of quality indicators or badges it can display alongside search results. One of the most prominent is the site quality index or SQI which indicates how useful your site is to users.
Like Google, Yandex also takes into consideration whether or not a user’s query has local intent and will display regional dependent results. To account for this, you’ll need to go into Yandex’s webmaster tools and set a site region.
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 of 94,758,414 daily direct searches as of September 2022, it's slowly gaining steam in the search market.
Baidu is China's largest search engine, capturing over 63% 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.
Emerging Search Engine Trends
The top search engines may have another competitor vying for user business in the near future as Ahrefs has announced they are working on a search engine of their own. Currently in beta, Yep, is unique from other platforms as it shares 90% of its ad revenue with content creators. With this model, Yep aims to encourage more people to share their knowledge and high-quality content.
Google is also working to prioritize good content with their 2022 Helpful Content Update. HubSpot’s Head of SEO Content Aja Frost says the update has huge implications for the industry.
“First, Google is sending a strong signal that content written by humans is preferable to content by computers. (Ironic, given virtually all of the SERPs are algorithmized.)”
Frost also points out that this update should encourage SEOs to take a more comprehensive approach to site performance.
“This update is also reinforcing the idea that your domain is one entity, and content on one part of your website will impact the performance of another part of your website,” Frost explains. “With this in mind, SEOs should be looking at their site as a whole—not isolated sets of pages.”
Think Beyond Google
Ultimately, it's essential to consider alternative traffic opportunities besides Google when creating an SEO strategy. By diversifying your sources, you're more likely to capture the first page on SERPs, and you're in a better position to find a truly ideal target audience.
This article was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.