DuckDuckGo - The most important points in brief:
DuckDuckGo is the fourth most popular search engine after Google, Bing and Yahoo. DuckDuckGo promises not to collect any user data.
Only fourth place among search engines and then not even user data for targeting? Is DuckDuckGo even worthwhile for your marketing? The answer will surprise you.
DuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine for those who prioritize data security and privacy. DuckDuckGo promises not to store IP addresses or search histories and does not conduct visitor tracking. What makes it interesting is that without such data, a filter bubble is avoided. This means that only websites that already align with the preferences and interests of users are not selectively displayed in the search results. Therefore, each user is presented with the same results.
DuckDuckGo was founded in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg with the aim of providing less advertising and more relevance. Initially, Weinberg operated the search engine alone until DuckDuckGo gained fame in the USA through a bold guerrilla marketing campaign (“Google tracks you. We don’t!“). User numbers rapidly increased, leading to several investors entering the scene in the fall of 2011.
In March 2012, the alternative search engine already recorded more than 1.5 million search queries per day, not least because Google had changed its privacy policies to the displeasure of users at that time.
By October 2013, there were already over 30 million daily search queries, thanks to the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden.
In early 2021, DuckDuckGo surpassed 100 million search queries per day, once again driven by current events, as WhatsApp changed its privacy policies.
DuckDuckGo obtains its search results, as the company states, from more than 400 sources, including Wikipedia, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex. DuckDuckGo also uses its own web crawler, DuckDuckBot.
Since DuckDuckGo does not collect user data, advertising on DuckDuckGo is not based on user targeting but solely on the pure search terms. DuckDuckGo functions as an add-on for many browsers and is also available as an app.
When it comes to search engine optimization, everyone inevitably thinks of Google, because what works for Google surely works for all other search engines, right? In fact, the most important factors in search engine optimization for DuckDuckGo are similar to those for Google, but there are also differences. Here are the key tips for your search engine optimization for DuckDuckGo:
To display relevant content, DuckDuckGo places great importance on attractive backlinks. The keyword here is quality, not quantity. In addition to backlinks, user experience on the website is crucial. Therefore, for DuckDuckGo, it’s not only about having good content but also ensuring fast loading times, optimizing for mobile devices, and avoiding disruptive pop-ups and excessive advertising.
Since DuckDuckGo users are not subject to targeting, and the same results are presented to every user, the right keywords for your search engine optimization on DuckDuckGo are immensely important. Consider carefully for which search terms you want your website to be found and optimize for them.
DuckDuckGo retrieves a significant portion of its search results from Bing. If your search engine optimization is geared towards Bing, you are likely to be successful on DuckDuckGo as well. Bing, for example, places more emphasis on keywords, title and meta tags than Google, as well as on social signals. Here are some tips for search engine optimization for Bing.
The most significant difference in search engine optimization for DuckDuckGo compared to Google lies in the realm of “Local SEO.”
As no user data is collected, the search engine can only roughly estimate the location of users based on their IP address if they do not voluntarily provide it, or if it is inferred from search queries like “Restaurant in Aschaffenburg.” Therefore, to be found locally, you must ensure that your website includes accurate address information. Providing additional information about important locations and landmarks in your vicinity increases the likelihood of being prominently featured in DuckDuckGo for local searches. Additionally, make use of hyper-local keywords.
Targeted ads based on user data are not possible on DuckDuckGo due to the absence of user data. Instead, ads on DuckDuckGo are tailored to the specific search terms. A simple example: Someone searching for cars will see car-related ads, while someone searching for handbags will see handbag ads.
Of course, you can also place ads for regional search queries using the user’s IP or voluntary information, as well as for regional keyword combinations, such as “Schuhgeschäft in Aschaffenburg” (shoe store in Aschaffenburg).
DuckDuckGo users have the option to selectively opt-out of ads. This means that users who choose to view ads do so consciously, increasing the relevance of your advertisements significantly. Additionally, there is not yet significant competition for ads on DuckDuckGo, meaning that they may receive more attention from users compared to ads on other search engines, where up to 15 ads can be displayed per search query.
Despite all the advantages that DuckDuckGo offers, the search engine is still relatively small compared to Google. So, is it worthwhile for your company to expand your SEO and SEA efforts for DuckDuckGo?
Indeed, it depends on your product and target audience. DuckDuckGo users differ from those on other search engines. They value privacy while browsing, especially the security of their data.
According to Gabriel Weinberg, users come to DuckDuckGo for privacy and stay there because of the better user experience with less advertising and spam, as well as more purposeful search results. Many users show a high affinity for the internet and an interest in new technologies. Notably, a significant number of DuckDuckGo users are reported to use Apple products.
If your products or services are aimed at people who prioritize security or are enthusiastic about new technologies, incorporating DuckDuckGo into your marketing efforts is advisable. While you may not reach as many people as you would on Google, your target audience is likely to perceive and consider your presence on the alternative search engine as more relevant.
For all other products and services, even if you are not currently integrating the alternative search engine into your SEO and SEA efforts, it’s still worth keeping DuckDuckGo in mind for the future.