When many digital marketers think about SEO, they focus on just one thing – appeasing Google. And it’s easy to see why. As of July 2017, Google had 81.12 percent of the search market share.
But it’s important to maintain objectivity and understand that SEO is bigger than Google. Here’s why.
As I just pointed out, Google has over 80 percent of the total search market share. It’s next biggest competitor is Bing at just under 7 percent. While this is obviously a huge disparity, there’s still nearly 20 percent of the market that Google doesn’t have. So in theory, one in five search engine users will use a platform other than Google. If you completely disregard these other platforms, you’re basically throwing away 20 percent of potential traffic.
One issue that a lot of people have with Google is security/privacy or the lack thereof. Not everyone is comfortable with their personal browsing information being kept on file.
Another turnoff is the advertising that takes place on Google. It’s their primary form of revenue and is expected to reach $28.55 billion by the end of 2017. While Google isn’t exactly over the top with their ads, it’s motivating many search engine users to explore other platforms.
Niche Search Engines on the Rise
One alternative that’s really starting to gain traction is niche search engines. Simply put, these are search engines that cater to a specific demographic or individuals with certain interests/preferences. For example, Webopedia is a popular resource for everything tech-related.
One particular search engine that people are turning to in droves is DuckDuckGo. It’s main selling point is that it doesn’t store users’ personal information and has very minimal, non-invasive advertising. There’s just a single ad at the top of search results. DuckDuckGo also has a clean, crisp interface that many people find appealing.
There’s one last important thing to point out. Social media is gradually creeping in on Google’s search market share. Everyone knows that people turn to networks like Facebook and Twitter for news, but they’re also generating an increasing amount of outgoing traffic.
If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it simply means individuals land on a site and are redirected to an external site. So instead of people always turning to Google, we’re seeing more traffic coming from social media. Facebook in particular is generating an immense amount of outgoing traffic.
Data from SimilarWeb found that in January 2016, Facebook sent more than 3.5 billion desktop visits to other websites. Twitter was second with just under 2 billion desktop visits. As social media usage becomes even more widespread, you can expect this trend to continue.
Should you neglect optimizing your content for Google in your SEO campaign? Absolutely not. Google is and will continue to be the search engine titan for the foreseeable future.
The point here is to remember that SEO is bigger than Google. You shouldn’t get so caught up trying to appease one search engine that you leave out other potential avenues for generating organic traffic. The key is to strike a nice balance and continually explore new options.
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