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September 24, 2014

How the DuckDuckGo Search Engine Could Change SEO

DuckDuckGo - Places
DuckDuckGo - Places

The vast majority of Internet users have never heard of DuckDuckGo. And yet it could soon become an essential element of search engine optimization.

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that’s a little different from Google, Bing or Yahoo. It aims to cut through the clutter of the usual search results, delivering better answers to the questions being asked. And it also promises greater privacy than other search engines can give, a commodity at a time when so many Internet users have privacy concerns.

Obscure though DuckDuckGo may appear, it’s about to get a huge boost. Apple’s most recent operating system, iOS 8, is allowing users to pick DuckDuckGo as their preferred search engine, alongside much better-known options such as the aforementioned Google, Bing and Yahoo.

This represents a huge opportunity for the startup company. With opt-in inclusion in Apple products, DuckDuckGo will be exposed to millions of potential users, spreading the word about the search engine organically, without having to pay for advertising.

But the rise of DuckDuckGo also raises some questions for SEOs. Will this change affect how marketers who optimize primarily for Google operate? Should they be optimizing for DuckDuckGo?

Here’s a more in-depth look at what this development means.

The History of DuckDuckGo

First, a short history lesson. DuckDuckGo was founded in 2008, and it’s named, as you might have guessed, for the kids’ game “Duck, Duck, Goose.” It prides itself on not presenting the most information on a topic but presenting the best information. Its goal is to answer questions relevantly and cut out the excess results that other search engines pile up.

The site has grown quickly over the past three years. By 2011, it was averaging 1.5 million visits per day and had several employees. Here’s what really sets it apart: DuckDuckGo refuses to trade on the information it gathers from users to make money. It insists on keeping searches and information private, and it pledges not to pass along those things to increase advertising.

Among techies, the site, which was redesigned in 2014, has developed a following, and the privacy activists much prefer it over Google, for obvious reasons. Still, less than 10 percent of online users actually know about the site, giving it a relatively small audience, especially when compared to major players like Google.

Optimizing for DuckDuckGo

Given the limited reach of DuckDuckGo, most SEOs have not bothered to try to optimize for the search engine, instead focusing efforts on Google and, to a lesser degree, Bing. It may be premature to start targeting the young search engine for optimization, even with the inclusion in iOS. But it never hurts to be prepared, especially in SEO, where staying a step ahead of online habits is part of the challenge of the job.

Here are a few tips on how to optimize for DuckDuckGo. Some of these hints will be helpful no matter what search engine you are targeting, but a few of them are clearly meant to increase your chance of a hit on this “smarter” web searcher:

  • Value quality above all else. DuckDuckGo prides itself on its high standards in delivering search results. It won’t offer users a site that it considers subpar, and so the cleaner and more targeted your content, the greater chance you’ll get a hit.
  • Link to Wikipedia. DuckDuckGo highly values crowdsourced sites such as Wikipedia. Linking to them on your pages will get you better results.
  • Don’t block the DuckDuckGo bot. Yeah, seems like obvious advice, but it has to be said.
  • Use geotargeted keywords. The search engine will match you with local search results if you qualify as a local business, averaging under 10,000 visitors per month. But you still need to use smart keywords to show up in results.
  • Optimize your site for mobile. Chances are if someone new finds DuckDuckGo by using iOS 8, they’ll be doing it on a mobile device, either an iPad or an iPhone. Make sure, then, that those mobile surfers can access your site by making it mobile-friendly.

How Will DuckDuckGo Impact Google Targeting?

The answer, at least in the short term: Not much. Right now on the average day Google processes more than two times the number of searches done on DuckDuckGo in a year. That gap will probably shrink with the iOS love, but there’s very little chance that DuckDuckGo will truly infringe on Google’s traffic anytime soon.

And that means that, for now, SEOs shouldn’t be changing their current Google optimization strategy. Instead they should be enhancing it with the tips mentioned above for optimizing search results on DuckDuckGo.

There are many things SEOs can do for Google that will also pay off for DuckDuckGo. For example, putting up better-quality content and using geo-targeted keywords will pay dividends on both search engines.

But in the long run, there is one advantage DuckDuckGo holds over Google, and that’s the lack of privacy concerns. Google holds on to search data long after you’ve typed in your keyword, and that’s disturbing to a great many online users. They would prefer to have an anonymous footprint, and so eventually, with more publicity about DuckDuckGo and more outcry over Google’s complete lack of regard for privacy, there could be a backlash against the dominant search engine. That’s when SEOs need to really start tweaking their targeting.

The Bottom Line

DuckDuckGo is very promising and could be a big deal sometime in the future. That future will come a little sooner with the inclusion in iOS 8. But it’s still way too early for SEOs to be ripping up their search strategies in favor of the startup. Google’s still king, while DuckDuckGo waits in the wing.


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Adrienne Erin writes twice weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses like Blanchard Machinery succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to see more of her work or get in touch.

23 Responses to “How the DuckDuckGo Search Engine Could Change SEO

    avatar Ferry says:

    The new hearing will turn out the term search engine duckduckgo names of this sort.

    So better understand the above explanation and also has been in detail explain about things related to search engine optimization search engines other than Google

    Duck Duck Go isn’t the only privacy respecting search engine available (as can be seen in this list of search engines).

    avatar GIGA says:

    i Never thought that duck duck go has such a power
    thanks a lot for this article :-)

    Thanks for this article. It provides us with a diffierent angle to think about. DuckDuckGo is also the default browser on linux’s chromium so perhaps if more people switch to that it’s popularity could really soar!

    Nice post. Google is the giant search engine

    avatar Peer Y says:

    DuckDuckGo is a known search engine. It’s been in Firefox by default for ages.

    avatar Mindlogics says:

    Before this post i was no idea about DuckDuckGo.i have an private restaurant i will try to list it on this website. i hope will get some amazing results…

    avatar Allen says:

    Is Google really banned DuckDuckGo in China?

    avatar Sawaram says:

    Mr. Allen, Google don’t have any authority to ban sites. Chinese authority has blocked DuckDuckGo. But I am sure that DuckDuckGo will be our future search engine. I love DuckDuckGo for providing relavent information and more important is that they don’t track/save your information at all. It could be similar to Wikipedia in future.

    DuckDuckgo is never new but it could be a great platform for SEO outreach in the nearest future. Many are greatly looking for other platforms to employ in addition to great Google. Thanks for the timely information.

    DuckDuckGo competitor of Google ??

    avatar Lewis says:

    Love this info. Thnx alot..

    Dukduckgo is not a new search engine, and as you described it’s not so powerful at today that it can create any menace to Google. but i read in a discussion forum that it is banned in China. Is it true?

    avatar Eric says:

    Interesting piece. I remember when Google first came on the scene and it was the techies that took to it and drove it. Google quickly knocked off the other search engines such as hotbot and altavista. Clean straightforward great results – fingers crossed for DuckDuckGo. I personally would LOVE to see a search engine startup upstart that does the job effectively knock some of the smugness out of current providers… Until that happens though, still have to optimize for the leader. Ugh.

    avatar Ray says:

    Duck Duck Go are looking for Quality content, Google are seeking Quality content. A recurring theme in SEO is quality content.

    If we do one thing for SEO it must be to ensure we have Quality content, anything else is secondary.

    avatar Dr. Robert says:

    In another forum, I was told that there was so much wrong with what I had written about “DuckDuckGo” and yet here we are.
    Thanks for the article.

    avatar David Wilson says:

    Thanks for your interesting and useful article. It helped me a lot.

    DuckDuckGo is becoming increasingly popular also in Europe. Thanks for the advice.

    avatar serverbasket says:

    As its spreading across asia? can anyone list the countries it’s now-a-days influencing!

    avatar VijayRaj says:

    This is really interesting information about the new search engine. I would like to know more details about it.

    avatar shane lee says:

    Without a hesitation I can say that Duckduckgo is a new era for searching the profound information. The idea to shows visual information on the top bar is most interesting feature as per my thoughts. will be a tough competitor for Google for sure.

    avatar Ninja says:

    That is so true. Nothing is private when you search on Google. It tracks you like anything. From you phone to laptop you use to sites you visits, and what places you do visit, Google knows everything about you.

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