While some might say SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” was introduced when the first website was published in 1991, it didn’t become an actual term or utilized skill until about 1997. Before search engine optimization was chosen as the official name there were a variety of terms used to represent the strategy.
- Search Engine Submission
- Search Engine Positioning
- Search Engine Registration
- Search Engine Placement
- Search Engine Ranking
- Search Engine Marketing
- Website Promotion
It is well known that ever since Yahoo made the huge mistake of allowing Google to power organic results and added the (presently well-known) “Powered by Google” title to every search result, that Google became the household name for search engines. In modern society, most believe Google to be the only search engine. However, we use a variety of other search engines almost daily. Since “Googling” became the coined term for searching for something online, people tend to believe Google is behind every search query. This, however, is far from true.
So Google is Not Alone?
While most individuals, claiming SEO expertise, will do 100% of optimizations aimed at pleasing Google’s many algorithms, depending on the product or service being marketed, Google may not even be the best option for where to gain rank. Or, while Google results are your best destination, maybe your product is a Google Play app or you are only trying to target a specific or local audience. In these cases, the usual Google-based strategy optimizations won’t always get you the results you are looking for.
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Some “SEO experts” doing optimizations will focus solely on Google and forget about Bing. While Bing is far below the importance of Google’s massive popularity in search engines (2018 – 2019 statistics show Google holding 74% of net searches – Net Market Share), it still holds the 2nd place spot for the next most used search engine. Other search engines like Baidu or Yahoo! Yandex still get a small percentage of total searches online, meaning while they may hold zero weight against Google, they are still active and being used.
Some eCommerce marketplaces have also become successful enough to have developed their own versions of search engines for products. These eCommerce search engines differ from organic search results as the queries are only relevant to content available on that marketplace, where organic search engines scour the entire web looking for relevant results. Amazon is one of the forerunners in the eCommerce search engine platform. They have search algorithms entirely different from those of Google, meaning that the same strategies won’t always produce the same results within an eCommerce based search engine.
How to Optimize for Each Search Engine
Since every search engine listed here will have their own algorithms, benefits, and penalties when optimized, it’s more difficult to say how each should be optimized. Yet it is easy to say what not to do. Do not assume that you can implement the same strategies from Google search campaigns and garner the same results. Even optimizing between Google for desktop and Google for mobile has huge differences that while it may benefit one viewport of your website it can hinder in another view such as tablets and phone screens. The good thing is that since Google is by far the most successful and popular search engine, many of the other platforms will take cues and data from Google’s many algorithm updates and use them as models for their own changes.
So, although you’d have to do some research to learn the requirements from other search engines, it’s usually just a different way of optimizing that you’ll already be familiar with from Google’s algorithms. For instance, the optimal Page Title length in pixels for a desktop display is 568 pixels. However, for mobile view that pixel count is only 475px. Understanding that more than half of online searches are initiated through a mobile device leads most experts to believe optimizing for mobile first is a sure way to make sure your optimizations will also fit for desktop versions. However, when done the other way around mobile search results can become truncated, which decreases ranking for Google search engines.
What Are Some Other Search Engines to Optimize For?
The answer to this question will largely depend on the way your targeted audiences will search for your product or service. While most searches will undoubtedly be done on Google’s search engine, what of those looking for that new shirt on Amazon? What of the individual looking for the newest app on Google Play or iTunes? Does optimizing your content by following Google’s guidelines help you rank higher on Bing?
Each of these search engines have their own algorithms that are relevant to their platform. Most of these search engines, just like Google, do not publish the formulas used to generate their algorithms, nor even share tips on how to rank within their platform. SEO experts know they must not only do research to garner as much information on these guidelines as possible before optimizing. It is also known that a series of testing and experimenting must be performed on the content before results can be positive and maintainable. These same experts also know that the learning process never stops, as these search engines are constantly updating these algorithms to try and bring users the most relevant and accurate results for their queries. In the digital age, some of the search engines SEO managers can expect to run into are:
- Google Play
It’s Not All About You Google!
It’s obvious that most SEO managers should have a healthy amount of skill optimizing content to follow Google algorithm guidelines. However, those skills might not always be enough to help your business rank, depending on what you are advertising and who you are advertising it to. When optimizing an app to be published on Google Play, using the same content optimizations as you would for a business hosted on a standard WordPress template, will not guarantee you ranking results and could potentially even lower your rankings. Make sure your SEO manager is aware of which search engine they are specifically optimizing for. If you are optimizing for organic results, also remember that while Google is undoubtedly the leader of that market, it isn’t the only search engine active across the web. If both you and your competitor are showing up on page 1 of Google for the same keyword, but your competitor is also on page 1 of Bing then they are winning.
There are millions of websites across the web. A true SEO expert will analyze each avenue available to reach that site and then determine which is the most popular avenue used to travel to the site. That popular avenue is where the priority of optimization will begin, yet all lanes directing to that site should also be brought into consideration when optimizing to make sure users can find your site through any available connection. If your SEO manager only optimizes for Google without any consideration for other search engines, then it might be time for you to “Google” a new search query: “where to find a new experienced SEO expert”.
Authorship: Kevin P.