We have to admit it: when we talk about SEO, 99% of the time we refer solely to Google. Even some of the most experienced SEO agencies are guilty of this!
Many of us don’t give much thought towards being found in searches on other search engines. Because let’s face it: with 9 billion daily searches, Google is without a doubt the king of the hill.
Which brings us to today’s topic. I was talking with a friend over dinner and we had a disagreement over a song lyric. Out came our smartphones to find out who was right (spoiler: it was me).
Interestingly though, I noticed that instead of using Google, she used Bing!
That got us thinking: are companies and digital marketers missing out by not optimising their web pages for other search engines? Is there anything to be gained?
The Yahoo and Bing alliance
Yahoo’s had a rough couple of years, with a string of bad executives, poor decisions, ineffective long-term strategy and mismanagement of its acquisitions like Flickr and Tumblr.
It’s no wonder that Yahoo’s market share has slowly been in decline ever since Google hit the scene in 1998.
This is in contrast with Bing, Microsoft’s entry into the search engine arena. While one of the newer entries into the market, it’s already made a splash in its short history. By 2016, Bing had achieved 20% market share in the US market.
Not too shabby!
That’s why in spite of its status as a relative newcomer, Microsoft has signed an agreement with Yahoo in 2010 - a single year after first launching - to power Yahoo’s search engine function with Bing.
While it’s hard not to feel bad for Yahoo, there’s a silver lining for digital marketers: both Yahoo and Bing search algorithms are identical now. If you optimise for one, you automatically optimise for the other!
The Yahoo-Google deal
It gets even better: in 2015, the deal was been modified further. Instead of exclusively powering Yahoo Search, the revision only requires the “majority” of searches be served by Bing.
Where the rest of the search queries go might surprise you.
In 2015, Yahoo signed an agreement with longtime rival Google to serve results for the remainder of its searches up to the end of 2018.
Up until the end of 2018, users of Yahoo Search will more or less be Bing or Google with a Yahoo shell on top. Depending on the search term, optimising your organic results for Google automatically optimises your site for Yahoo as well!
What does this mean for you?
If your digital strategy focuses on obtaining organic search results, this convergence of the major search engines points towards one trend in particular: the future of SEO is likely to be search engine-agnostic.
Unlike the late 90s where there were multiple major search engines with their own unique search algorithms, the future looks like there are going to be fewer search engines, each using very similar systems. In many cases (such as the case of Yahoo), they might even be sharing the same search algorithms!
Search Engine Optimisation for specialist search engines
We’ve been spending most of our time going over Google and its alternatives.
And while ranking for Google, Bing and Yahoo are important, we can’t ignore the presence of the many other specialist search engines out there with their own users!
Sites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Linkedin have their own proprietary search engines. If your business or marketing strategy features these sites prominently, we really encourage you to start thinking about optimising for these sites!
Google, Bing and Yahoo are information hubs - they care about finding the best answer to their users’ questions.
On the other hand, Amazon is essentially an online shop - people aren’t visiting it to find product information, they’re visiting to make purchases! By its nature, A9, Amazon’s proprietary search engine, isn’t trying to provide good information… it’s trying to get visitors to buy.
What does this mean for you? Unlike conventional search engines, Amazon wants to know that your product is good. A9 is built around finding the best product for its customers.
And what are the signs of a good product on Amazon?
- Sales volume
- Customer feedback
- Conversion rates
- Listing info provided
There’s good news: just like Google, you can influence where your listing turns up in Amazon’s results page! Here are some of the SEO techniques you can use to make your product listing rank higher:
- Synonyms: populate your listing with more keywords, synonyms and variations
- Longer is better: Amazon encourages you to include as much detail in your title tag as possible!
- Optimise for people, not algorithms! While it’s important to have the right keywords in your listing, your goal is to sell
With 2 billion active monthly users, marketers and businesses that aren’t on Facebook do so at their own peril. Even with recent algorithm changes, Facebook marketing is an important part of building an engaged audience, driving traffic to your site, and raising your company profile.
Even if it’s impact on SEO is widely debated amongst marketers, a Facebook presence is a must when building strong brands and raising your company profile. Optimising your business’ page for Facebook search could be an important consideration in your SEO strategy.
- A solid title: a title is the first thing your visitors and Facebook’s search engine will see
- Fill out all your page’s information: Facebook scours your business page, indexing information from all your page’s information fields. Additional information gives Facebook more information when returning search results
- Relevant keywords: like any other search engine, keywords are an essential part of Facebook’s search algorithm
- Optimise your page URL: when you start a Facebook page for your business, a custom URL that matches your business name is mandatory. Not only does it make your page easier to find for users, a relevant URL can boost your page’s visibility on Facebook’s search
- Use relevant keywords and meta descriptions for post visibility: have you noticed Facebook search returns posts as well? Writing Facebook posts with
relevant keywords can increase the visibility of your posts on Facebook’s results page, driving users to your company page
It’s Search Engine optimisation, not Google optimisation
I don’t think we need to go over the importance of effective SEO in your overall digital marketing strategy.
And while it’s understandable that most people focus on Google, we still can’t deny the fact that there are many other search engines out there with their own active users - depending on your business, other search engines may be a treasure trove of untapped potential.