For customers interested in succeeding on a global scale, knowing the major international search engines should be a priority.
When it comes to digital marketing, for many, search seems nearly synonymous with Google. Within the United States, this major search engine distinctly dominates the market with updates made to the algorithm or layout of the site drawing conversation and news articles for weeks.
This does not mean, however, that other search engines do not deserve consideration. In the US, Google holds a powerful 67.6% of the search market, but that still leaves nearly a third of the searches performed occurring on other search engines. In other countries, local search engines can outnumber Google. For example, in China, a country with about 688 million internet users, Google is nearly nonexistent. Although the search engine continues to speak with the Chinese government about lifting the restrictions, several other search engines have risen in its wake to become immensely popular in the country.
Other countries also boast local search engines that outrank Google, including Russia, a country with 84 million internet users, and South Korea, with more than 45 million users. International brands that want to succeed on a global scale need to understand the variety of search engines found globally and how to optimize for the popular ones in their desired areas.
Here are ten of the most important international search engines that all marketers should be familiar within the global digital economy.
The 10 International Search Engines You Must Know
Google is one of the most obvious international search engines, but when it comes to producing content for other countries, there are still some important steps to take into account. In addition to focusing on relevance and quality, brands should also use hreflang tags for international content. This ensures that Google correctly interprets the language and the intended country for the content, such as a local site for Argentina versus one for Mexico.
It is also impossible to mention Google without talking about YouTube. The video service is actually the second-largest search engine in the world. Optimizing video content for the platform involves including keywords in the video description, tagging well, and working on building a successful channel as a whole.
Bing is the second-most popular search engine in the US. On a global scale it has also earned a position as the second-largest of the international search engines. Many optimization strategies for Bing are similar to those for Google, including claiming local businesses, tagging and categorizing sites, as well as including relevant content and natural keywords. Social media, however, has a definite role in Bing rankings, as opposed to Google where the role of social sites remains less obvious. Bing also does a better job of indexing flash media than Google, opening up the opportunity for site owners to use flash on their sites.
Yahoo is the third largest search engine in the US, commanding about 12% of search, resulting in millions of opportunities to engage customers. The Bing algorithm powers Yahoo itself, so optimizing for Bing will also allow you to optimize for Yahoo.
Baidu is the largest search engine in China, receiving about 60% of domestic search traffic. Given the size of the Chinese audience, anyone who wants to succeed in the region needs to be intimately familiar with Baidu. Succeeding on this search engine requires working with a native speaker. To rank well, write content using Simplified Chinese, use a .cn domain, and host the site in China. Businesses that want to do work in China should have some kind of local contact information, such as a local branch address, which should be featured on the site. Within the content, Baidu looks for title tags, meta descriptions, meta-keywords, alt-tags, and H tags.
Yandex remains the dominant search engine in Russia and parts of surrounding countries, although Google continues to try and secure this position for themselves. Yandex divides all queries into geo-dependent and geo-independent. Those considered to be geo-dependent will only have sites from a particular region displayed, which can make it easier for many organizations to promote small businesses. Optimization for this search engine also takes longer, because the spiders crawl the sites slower than Google does. The Russian search engine looks at user behavior as a ranking factor, and domain age is also considered important, which can make it challenging for new sites to gain traction. Fresh content is considered even more important than on Google, and the penalty for duplicate content can be even larger than Google’s.
Naver incorporates content from users, social platforms, and paid search. Brands that gain the most visibility are the ones that have a presence across as many areas of the search results as possible. This is because results are grouped together as paid listings, products, blogs, registered websites, images, organic listings, social results, and more. Brands need to sign up with the search engine and create accounts for relevant services on Naver to ensure that content appears in the search results. Write content in the Korean language, submit them to relevant categories, and incorporate basic on-page SEO, such as keywords. Use the social and user-generated content features to your advantage as well by incorporating a strong social presence and generating blog posts that are up-to-date and well maintained.
Although only launched in 2012, Qihoo360 (so.com) has already risen to the prominent position of second-most popular search engine in China, controlling almost a third of the market. Some believe that the spiders from Qihoo360 move faster than Baidu’s, making it easier to successfully optimize on the site. Like optimizing for Baidu, users should focus on native-written Simplified Chinese content and using Chinese domains and site hosts. Since this search engine is relatively young, it continues to mature as do the optimal SEO strategies for it.
DuckDuckGo is a unique search engine because it does not store any user information. It shows the same results to all users regardless of search history or location — although paid search may be location dependent as ads are from the Bing-Yahoo network. This site continues to gain traction as a private alternative to the other major search engines. It uses crowd-sourced sites to provide some no-click answers at the top of the page, similar to Google’s Quick Answers. It also seems to take into account semantic search and quality links when determining rankings.
Ask.com originally operated under the name AskJeeves. While it does not receive as much traffic as the other sites, a few key moves can help ensure that your page does rank highly when the opportunity comes. Submit any local businesses to AskCity to help your page appear in local searches. You also want to cultivate your presence in online communities surrounding your industry, particularly drawing links from the respected community back to your site.
AOL still has 2 million users and has a business partnership with Google, so optimizing for Google seems to also help brands optimize for this search engine.
While the core of search is consistent globally: matching users with the content most likely to address their needs, there are a number of different international and US search engines that marketers should be aware of as they prepare a global search strategy. The ten listed above dominate most search markets, and these tips should get you started on the right path. Monitor their differences moving forward to expand your global brand reach.