There is no doubt that Google has a dominant position among users in most parts of the world. Recent studies show that Google has a market share of 95.91% in desktop and mobile searches in the United States.
And in almost all of Latin America, it has a share of 97%. And there are no signs that it will change.
At this level of market share, there are 70,000 searches per second, 5 billion per day, and 2 trillion searches per year on Google.
Some impressive numbers and a little crazy, right?
However, they have a cost. Internet users are becoming more sensitive about how Google tracks and uses their data to share it with advertisers, which means many are looking for alternatives for more privacy.
When thinking of alternatives to Google, we are quick to think of their direct equivalents like Bing or Yahoo, but the reality is that there are also specialized search engines and platforms, like YouTube and GIPHY, that offer a specific type of result.
It’s also no surprise that Google is a favourite destination for SEO professionals’ efforts, even though they may be missing out on traffic opportunities. Google isn’t right for everything and everyone, so we’ve compiled a list of alternative search engines, from the expected ones to some unknown ones:
The Search Giants
Think of a web search engine other than Google. Probably, Bing or Yahoo will be the first that comes to mind. Bing offers a more visual approach, while Yahoo was once a much more powerful force than it is today (anyone remembers those days with the power of Inktomi?).
There is no doubt that Bing is lagging behind in number of users, as they currently have less than 7% market share in the United States. It offers the same essential features as Google like translate, rich snippets, conversion calculators, knowledge panel for hotels and flights, etc.
However, there are more advanced features that we are underestimating. For example, Bing has a more visual approach. Its home page is dominated by images and videos and it also provides advanced features like machine learning predictions for things like sports scores and elections.
Also, its image search is much more advanced than Google’s and has object detection intelligence within the image search feature. You can also save searches as “collections”, allowing you to search again later. Bing is the leading search engine when it comes to image search.
We cannot ignore some incredible advantages. The Bing Reviews feature also rewards its users by giving them credits just for using the platform to browse.*
*You will need to log in to earn points while you search, but you can use any device, mobile, tablet or desktop.
Yahoo used to be one of the biggest search engines in the world, but now it only has a 3.5% market share.
You shouldn’t be too quick to think that Yahoo has lost popularity over the years. Today it is still the third search engine in the United States. Its results look a bit like Bing’s (not surprisingly, since Bing is behind it), but they’re not as visually appealing. However, users state that this engine is their first choice when searching for news, sports, or financial information.
Search engines that protect privacy
As search users become more savvy, it’s no surprise to learn that they’re becoming more concerned about their internet security. Marketers have seen a significant increase in the number of search engines that put privacy at the heart of their business.
Here are a few engines that are privacy-focused:
Even though DuckDuckGo is becoming more and more popular, it only accounts for 1.5% of the market in the United States.
It is considered one of the best search engines to protect user data, so it is not surprising that it has gained market share. It does not collect any data about the search terms performed or about your personal information, which explains its increase in popularity.
One of the functions to take into account is the “Bang” search. You can use this feature when you know where you want to search (Wikipedia, eBay, Amazon, etc.). Click on the “Bang” button and you will perform the search on the chosen site.*
*DuckDuckGo makes it clear that if you visit other websites, you will be subject to their policies, including how they collect your data.
Startpage makes the bold statement that they are the most private search engine in the world. As a consequence, it had some interesting media coverage at the time, as well as a third-party audit by the European Privacy Seal.
Startpage.com’s claims are backed by its “no logs” policy. The “no logs” policy means you don’t know who your users are; they do not store the IP address of browsers or tracking cookies.
If you’re simply looking for a search engine that delivers relevant results with the peace of mind that privacy comes first, Startpage.com is the right choice for you.
Qwant claims that they “respect your privacy,” making it another option for those looking for a true alternative to Google search.
Unlike other Internet search engines that put privacy first, Qwant uses its indexing engine combined with Bing results to avoid filtering search results and users getting stuck in the so-called filter bubble .
Since this search engine is based in Paris, it is essential to know that European privacy protection laws are much stricter than in other places in the world, such as the United States.
When you use Qwant is a search engine, we do not place any cookies on your browser that could allow us or others to recognize or follow you everywhere on the Internet. We do not use any tracking device (pixels, fingerprints…). We do not collect or store any history or your searches. When you perform a search, your query is instantly anonymized by disassociating itself from your IP address, as advised by the French data controller. Simply put, what you do on Qwant is part of your privacy and we don’t want to know about it. Qwant
6. Swiss cows
Swisscows is another European search engine strongly focused on the privacy of its users. They are promoted around three central premises that make them a good alternative to Google and other search engines:
- They do not store your data
- Attach great importance to family-friendly content
- They have created an innovative search engine
Letting kids surf the web is a concern for many parents, and Swisscows strives to continue to deliver safe results for the whole family to enjoy.
7. Search Encrypt
In its own way, Search Encrypt is quite similar to Google, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
They place a special emphasis on doing one thing well: helping the user to search.
However, Search Encrypt’s goal is to “protect your privacy by detecting searches that can be tracked and linked to your personal information. It intercepts these searches and redirects them to Search Encrypt’s privacy-enhanced search engine, which will be set to your default search engine.”
Unlike some of the alternatives mentioned, it stores your history in its database for 30 minutes. Are you wondering if it is the right search engine for you? See what users who have switched from Google are saying and their experience with this search engine.
OneSearch , Verizon’s revamped search engine, with six privacy-focused features they’ve built their product around:
- No cookies
- No user tracking
- No search history
- Pure, unfiltered results
- Share links safely
- Keyword encryption
This is an attractive option considering that the parent company, Verizon, also owns Yahoo.
And it’s no secret that Yahoo has suffered numerous data breaches and privacy blunders in the past. However, the results are offered by Bing, a platform that you are already familiar with. Another point in favour of OneSearch is that you have extra layers of privacy.
Charity Search Engines
If you feel like doing your part to support a great cause while doing your daily web searches, you might be pleased to know that there are charity search engines that make a donation every time you do a search. Here are a few worth checking out:
The sad reality is that there are many parts of the world that still do not have access to clean drinking water.
You can help by using GiveWater as a search engine and clicking on the ads on the platform. There is also a browser extension on hand that you can install to contribute to this worthy cause.
A search on Ekoru helps clean up the oceans.
This search engine created by non-profit organizations is gaining relevance as people become more aware of the importance of the damage we are causing to our seas and oceans.
Ekoru states that: Every search helps raise funds for the Big Blue Ocean Cleanup organization. All of their servers run on hydroelectric power.
It is a search engine with an ethical approach, and everything is done with an eco approach in mind.
Ekoru can also be classified as an alternative to Google that takes privacy into account. Their commitment to encrypting all data and not storing any of your searches on their servers is another plus for this search engine. Double victory for Ekoru!
Despite only having a 0.13% market share in the US, Ecosia is a search engine that is rapidly growing in popularity.
His focus as a business is to generate positive changes in the environment, using his profits to plant trees around the world.
Bing provides the Ecosia search results, so you will have a great search experience like translation, rich results, conversion calculator, knowledge graphs for hotels and flights, etc. Ecosia is also proud of its privacy, and users can, if they wish, disable tracking to ensure a private browsing experience.
Ecosia is gaining more and more popularity. Right now, it has 15 million active users and they have helped plant over 100 million trees with their search engine. So if you’re looking for a platform that protects your data while giving back good things to the world, be sure to give Ecosia a try.
Format-specific search engines
Think about the things you’ve searched for last week on Google.
Surely you have done searches to help you find:
- learning material
The question you need to ask yourself is if Google is the best search engine for these formats, or if there are other options out there based on these specific formats.
Here’s a quick rundown of format-specific search engines:
We guess you don’t need us to introduce you to YouTube .
After all, it is the second largest search engine in the world and the one most people use every day. If you’re looking for videos, from movie clips to podcasts, or if you’re looking for amazing original content creators, YouTube is a great place to start.
Yes, you can search and find videos on Google. But when it comes to finding the right content quickly, you should go straight to the platform itself and use its internal search engine.
Whether you’re looking for images to publish your next article, photos for social media, or as part of your print material for your brand, images are an essential part of your interaction with businesses. However, we all know that stock images can be quite expensive.
Unsplash is a search engine that helps you find free-to-use images without worrying about copyright. So, before you go to Google Images and go crazy over how to get the rights to an image, you can count on Unsplash to use all images with no strings attached.
Have you ever attended a conference, not taken notes and wished you could find the speaker’s talk? Or maybe you didn’t attend and want to know what someone had to say at a big talk you wish you could have attended.
Slideshare hosts thousands of presentations covering just about any topic you can imagine. Finding one you already know can be the beginning of a path that helps you find new content that inspires you.
15. Creative Commons Search
The second of our recommended alternatives to Google image search is Creative Commons Search. Creative Commons Search can help you find content to reuse or modify.
There is always some risk when using Google for this purpose, even when filtering by type of use. It may be that someone other than the original creator mistagged an image. Creative Commons avoids that concern, making sure you find high-quality images to use quickly.
16. Listen to Notes
Podcasts are gaining in popularity right now, and we can see in Google Trends how much search activity is being generated.
But the reality is that Google is not preparing a podcast search engine, something that you do have at your disposal in Listen Notes. If you’re looking for an easy way to find your next podcast, you should give it a try.
Who doesn’t love a gif?
From finding the right one to use for a presentation, to your latest blog post, or simply to share on social media, choosing the right one is essential.
Google Images offers some gifs, but nothing compared to GIPHY ‘s library of gifs. GIPHY is home to over 10 billion pieces of content, many of which you’ve probably used on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, and more.
GIFs are everywhere, but when you’re looking for the right one, nothing can compete with GIPHY.
The last but not the least of the alternative engines is Wiki.com , the perfect place to search not only Wikipedia but other encyclopedias and wikis.
If you’re a fan of informative community-created content and use it regularly in your work, Wiki.com can save you a lot of time by helping you find the right information quickly while giving you the best results.
Optimize your website for alternative engines
So what should you do differently to rank on these alternative search engines to Google?
The honest answer to that question is that you should take the time to understand how each engine works and what makes it different from Google. For those with a specific format, you need to know how their algorithms work since they are not a direct alternative to Google. By correctly optimizing for other formats, you will enjoy better results and receive more relevant traffic.
And really, it all comes down to Google or Bing, with perhaps the exception of DuckDuckGo, given that most are using the results of one of the major search giants to drive their own results (including Yahoo).
Most search engines use the results of one of the major search giants to power their own listings (ie Google, Bing, or Yahoo). However, among the great giants, there is a critical confrontation: Google vs. Bing. To properly optimize for Google and Bing, you need to focus on the differences.
You can read more about the differences between Bing vs. Google, but to quickly summarize it here are the key elements:
- Exact match keywords (on your domain, in title tags, in H1s, and in URLs) still have a bigger impact on Bing than Google. Just be careful not to hurt your visibility on Google when optimizing for Bing.
- Meta keywords are still used as a ranking factor. However, it has never been officially confirmed.
- While Google uses PageRank to measure the influence of links as a ranking factor, Bing looks at things a little differently, as more established domains become key players.
- Bing is very open about what social signals can influence rankings, having previously stated that “social media plays a key role in everyday efforts to rank well in search results. The most obvious part is his influence. If you are a social influencer, this can lead to your followers sharing your information, which results in Bing detecting it as a positive sign. These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.”
- Bing loves audiovisual formats. Attractive images, videos and other formats on your website can help you maximize visibility.
Although Google has become the search engine of choice for most of us, there are other alternative engines. You may want to keep your data safe or help a good cause while browsing, or even find a specific type of result. Don’t be afraid to use another search engine; can help you find what you are looking for.