The first thing most people would think when hearing the term "search engine", the word "Google" is often the only platform that comes in mind.
Google is indeed the most popular and widely-used search engine of the web. Serving billions of users' search query per day, Google is indeed at the top of the food chain.
But let's not forget that there are many other search engines out there, and each one of them can be unique.
One of which, is DuckDuckGo.
The search engine from Gabriel Weinberg emphasizes that it protects its users' privacy, and avoid the filter bubble of personalized search results Google is known for.
The search engine that has a policy of not collecting or sharing personal information, is able to distinguish itself from other search engines by not profiling its users.
While DuckDuckGo's popularity, dominance, influence and traffic cannot be compared to Google, thesearch engine is popular among those who concerns internet privacy.
As the web grows and Google having a larger grip on the overall internet, an increasing number of people use DuckDuckGo, simply because they want to get away from Google's influence on their internet usage.
Because an increasing number of people are starting to concern their privacy and are willing to get outside their comfort zone to preserve privacy, webmasters and web owners who want those people as visitors, need to conduct SEO campaign for DuckDuckGo.
So not only that their SEO campaigns should target Google, as they are also required to target DuckDuckGo, if they want to reach those privacy-concerned individuals.
It should be noted that DuckDuckGo is a hybrid search engine that gets its results from multiple sources, like other search engines, crowdsourced platforms like Wikipedia, and others.
Its method of ranking websites on its search results, according to Weinberg in a post, is a bit oblique and a bit more obscure.
That, in order to create an indirect approach to deliver results, which is unlike Google.
But that doesn't mean that there is no way to optimize websites for DuckDuckGo.
As a matter of fact, SEO for DuckDuckGo should be easier to do than to most other search engines, simply because it relies on the basics of making a website friendly to search engines.
The Modern SEO Standard
The web is growing. Since there are lots of contents for DuckDuckGo to index, websites that want to target their SEO campaigns for DuckDuckGo need to make sure that their websites adhere to the modern SEO standards:
- Websites should load quickly on all platforms. A few seconds at most, no more than that.
- Responsive web design that is friendly for mobile devices with narrower screen sizes.
- Websites should have no complicated URLs, bad meta tags, poor structure, etc..
- The content should be optimized for keywords, with no grammar or spelling errors.
- Content should be well-written and informative.
- The keywords that are used, should be placed in strategic places.
These are the modern standards all websites should have when conducting an SEO campaign to whatever search engines. These won't directly impact websites on DuckDuckGo's ranking, but they will certainly influence it.
What's more, an optimized website should provide the basis of a greater overall user experience, meaning that implementing the standards will have long-term results and will never hurt.
The web, and the reason why people call it that way, is because it's entangled. And the thing that connects websites to its web pages, and to other websites, is its link.
Link building is vital, and it's always one of the most important part of SEO. It's simply the way to exist on the web.
While Google considers link as one of its several most important ranking factors, DuckDuckGo puts a higher emphasize on link.
For this reason, every high-quality link a website earns, will increase its credibility. Here, quality matter more than quantity.
- Earn links from authority websites.
- Earn links from relevant websites.
Further reading: The Dos And Don'ts When You Are Building Backlinks
Repurpose Existing Content
According to DuckDuckGo on its Help page about the sources it uses, the search engine said it believes people are looking for answers and not links.
This is why DuckDuckGo populates its results pages from many categories and from "over four hundred sources" that it think does a better job at answering the searches than what a general search engine can do with just links.
For this reason, it's recommended for websites conducting SEO for DuckDuckGo to have contents on Quora, Stack Overflow, Reddit and so forth by answering people's questions, and link back the answer to their website.
Website owners can also use platforms like LinkedIn, Amazon and others, whenever they have relevant content on their websites to link back to.
Another way of saying it, webmasters need to spread their content as far and as wide as possible.
Use Hyperlocal Search Terms
Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo doesn't track users' browsing behavior.
While Google can pinpoint the exact physical location of its users, DuckDuckGo cannot. But it does mimic the experience by using the GEO::IP lookup. With this method, DuckDuckGo can get a rough location based on users IP address.
Because of this, websites won't be able to target DuckDuckGo users with keywords like "restaurant near me". Because DuckDuck cannot locate users physical location, the search engine will only provide answers that are closer to the center of the GeoIP.
What this means, this kind of query won't be as accurate with DuckDuckGo as with Google.
To make use of DuckDuckGo, users must tell the search engine where they are. And to gain the best local results from DuckDuckGo users, websites may need to use hyperlocal terms on their pages, describing where they are, what's nearby, street name, neighborhood, landmarks, and so forth.
Webmasters should adapt to whatever terms users are more likely to search for on DuckDuckGo.
DuckDuckGo is younger than Google, and is indeed less capable of delivering the best of results Google can. But it does pack a punch in delivering results that should have been the best answers out there.
Search engines in general will continue to grow as the web grows larger. But as people value privacy more than ever, and with debates about data protection and privacy rights, Google should land in more lawsuits and in hot water, more often than DuckDuckGo.
What's more, with more privacy tools from web browsers and third-party apps that block cookies and trackers, internet personalization is getting more difficult for Google, if the tech giant isn't evolving its methods.
Because of this, internet personalization and tracking may not last forever.
This is why DuckDuckGo as a privacy-first search engine, is having a good start, and picking up its pace to become a more powerful search engine that it already is.
For webmasters, the best way to do appeal DuckDuckGo, is by going back to the basics. Create small wins in order to aim for a long-term result.