Should I optimize for DuckDuckGo.Com?
A niche market is as such because it provides a specific product or service to a specific sector of the market. Although you might not be drawing in the stampede of customers and new consumers, you will be consistently pulling those outliers into your reach. With nearly any niche market, the competition is thin and you're one of the few to offer what that consumer needs—which is a good thing.
A new niche search engine might not have the sticky grip that Google has over the search engine world, but DuckDuckGo isn't a search engine you'll want to gloss over. It serves the "privacy cautious searchers", is fast loading, and has good quality search results.
What Makes DuckDuckGo Niche?
DuckDuckGo isn't a sloppy search engine. If you go to duckduckgo.com, it's just about as sleek in appearance as Google is, but there's something that's drastically different between the two search engines and it isn't just the goofy, bow-tie wearing duck that brands the newcomer website.
Right beneath the search bar are five messages that take their turn in the spotlight. Immediately, the first message lets you know why DuckDuckGo is not like any other:
"The search engine that doesn't track you."
With privacy increasingly becoming a major issue in the eyes of users everywhere, DuckDuckGo satisfies the needs of the consumer who does care whether their information is tracked and analyzed.
A Growing Market
Although a lot of what Google does track benefits businesses marketing efforts, DuckDuckGo is a search engine you might want to keep an eye on. For now, Google still has majority rule, but even a report by searchenginewatch.com saw a "181% increase in referring traffic from DuckDuckGo." As of the date of this post, DuckduckGo.Com recently hit it's highest traffic date yet, over 12 million searches on Feb 22nd. The publicly share their search query information.
Granted, the numbers from DuckDuckGo still only account for 0.2% of search traffic compared to the whopping 81% of Google, but the near 200% increase alone a telling sign that the market is not stagnant. As more people become aware of the privacy issues at hand, DuckDuckGo is likely to grow it's market in the coming years.
How Does DuckDuckGo Compare?
For a search engine that doesn't track its searcher, DuckDuckGo still manages to have the third best conversion rate when compared to Google, Bing, and Yahoo. However, DuckDuckGo's average order value comes in between $240 and $245, while Bing rings in the highest between $270 and $275.
Searchenginewatch's prediction for performance per every 10K visits finds that, based on each search engine's average order value and conversion rate, Bing reigns in as king with over $50,000 while Google and DuckDuckGo come in at around $40,000.
Without focusing all your efforts on optimizing your business for this new niche, it may be worthwhile to at least put some efforts into continuing to watch this website. Not every new startup is going to be worthwhile, but not every startup is going to be worthless, either. Figuring out how to balance the focus between gargantuan engines like Google and smaller ones like DuckDuckGo should be a part of every online marketing strategy. Because--who knows--maybe that market that doesn't use Google is in need of what your business can offer. Fortunately, SEO for DuckDuckGo.Com has overlap with what you do for the bigger engines. If you check now, you likely have similar placement in Duckduckgo.Com as the major search engines.
The details about "exactly" how to do SEO for duckduckgo.com is not as readily available as the major's but having optimized clients sites who were already achieving solid placement elsewhere and from reading some good articles, here are some key areas to start.
Do Some Searching
Head over to duckduckgo and "experiment." Take the tour that outlines why DuckDuckGo is different and see for yourself why this market is a growing one. The first step in the tour outlines that DuckDuckGo offers everything Google or any other big search engine offers, just, you know, minus the tracking part of it.
An "Instant Answers" feature compares with Google Instant, providing users with he information they need instantaneously so they don't have to leave the search engine.
Customize your search by region, theme, etc, search directly through "bangs"—a list of popular websites such as Amazon and Wikipedia.
What This Niche Means For You
The search engine itself seems like a solid contender and has the potential for growth in the future. Although nothing really compares to Google as of yet, this unique "no tracking" mission statement makes DuckDuckGo stand out against other startups.
Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist and blogger states at the 2012 TechCrunch Disrupt, "We didn't invest in it [DuckDuckGo] because we thought it would beat Google. We invested in it because there is a need for a private search engine. We did it for the Internet anarchists, people that hang out on Reddit and Hacker News."
There you have it. A market teeming with potential. For now, big names like Google and Bing hold the majority, but there could be a new search engine world very soon.
Your Tips for optimizing for DuckDuckGo.Com
If you have done SEO for duckduckgo.com and have had some "wins" or failures", please comment below, I would love to chat about it!
Mike Hodgdon- SEO & Digital Marketing Expert Consultant