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The Rise Of Alternative Search Engines

Alternative search engines

It s no secret that Google's search algorithm has taken on a life of its own; the idea of crawling millions of web pages and creating an index attributed to search queries was no new idea. Google had the idea to make it better, with a ranking and sorting feature never seen before. The service took off like wildfire, and while not monetisable in the early years, it's now one of the biggest if not the most influential advertising medium on the planet today.

For a few dollars, you too can grab a piece of this premium real estate and filter potential customers to your website. Google still has a firm grip on the search market with 92% of the pie, according to statista.

That 92% of searches, only a fraction of them serve ads, and from those ads, Google can generate 181.69 billion U.S. Dollars as of 2020. Now that's a great business model; Google naturally expanded its internet real estate and, as a result, advertising space with Android, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Discover, Google Adsense, Double click, Admob and more.

These acquisitions have made Google the dominant internet marketing tool for anyone looking to extract traffic from the web.

Competition for search

Bing would be, without a doubt, Google's largest competitor, the search engine handles about 6% of search traffic, and while it still has its issues in terms of results, it has come a long way.

Many people still use Bing today to either avoid over-reliance on Google or because of device preferences. While 6% doesn't sound like much, Microsoft has built a profitable business in Bing, and with those profits will come improved search data and more.

Bing has started to provide marketers with rich data from being a minor data source via their webmaster tools and Bing ads which cannot be understated. As Bing continues to grow, it will provide search marketers with more data and value to bring some of the effort SEO"s and PPC marketers put into websites over to their platform.

The trade war with China has also seen a new general competitor hit the market in Petal search. The Huawei backed search engine like Google has its algorithm and webmaster services for SEO's, and they've openly stated that they will be releasing a paid search service.

Petal search has the backing of the Huawei physical network of devices like Smartphones, Laptops and Tablets, giving it a sizeable userbase to service.

Localised search

Google pretty much rules as the number one search engine in most countries around the world except for Russia and China. Yandex and Baidu, while tiny in a global sense, with under 3% of search makes up a large proportion of searches locally. Google has made strides to provide more localised data, but doing it algorithmically has its limitations.

Its AI's continue to improve, but there is a need for more local and geolocation-based search engines that cater to the nuances, language preferences and search biases found in local regions. Baidu does get considerable help from the ban of Google in China, but other countries could follow this path in the future.

We've already seen Google and Facebook at loggerheads with the Australian government. As these tech sites extract more capital out of different economies with their advertising products, I foresee future battles resulting in opportunities for localised search engines.

Privacy based search

Privacy has become a growing concern among a subset of the population who have seen the effects of targetted advertising drive specific discourse. In contrast, others are not interested in having their data monetised.

DuckDuckGo has been the premier privacy based search engine and has grown in popularity as the privacy narrative continues to spread as a more significant public concern. We've also seen the privacy-based web browser known as Brave acquire search engine TailCat and are in the process of launching their own privacy based search engine.

Blockchain-based search

Blockchain technology is the new buzzword when it comes to technology, and it's begun to infiltrate more of the internet with the promise of a "web3 interface", where digital value exchange and ownership are the default. While Google focuses on traditional domains registered with ICANN, blockchain domains built with Ethereum are new ways to host your website.

These blockchain domains allow you to control your domain instead of renting it from a hosting provider. Since Google doesn't seem interested in indexing these new websites, search engines like Blockscan and Bitsearch have seized the opportunity to be the first adopters in this search niche.

Disrupting Google

Breaking the network effects, Google has, the branding it has, the set user behaviour and entrenchment in devices are not going to be easy, but we are starting to see chinks in Google's armour. As they continue to focus their attentions on other products and try to "over monetise" their search traffic, they will continue to see the product in decline.

As an SEO, I welcome the competition of alternative search engines; it will allow us to access more data from different tools. Google has been notoriously stingy with search data, and the sampling becomes stricter as each year, many SEO's need to rely on 3rd party tools to try and access search trend data and these search tools come at a steep price.

This forces sites to either spend on SEO or see themselves fall further down the ranks, and as these tools increase prices, the barrier to entry increases. In a world of health search competition, you would see access to that data become more affordable, opening up more competition for organic placements and better search results for users.

It will enable us to capture real estate on other platforms instead of all competiting for page 1 on Google.

Tell us your SEO story

Have you been frustrated with SEO for your business? How did you or the company overcome it? Have you moved over to a new search engine? Share it with us in the comments.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on SEO and search updates.

Tags: SEO, Search Engine Optimisation

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