First published on March 11th, 2016
What Is the Best Search Engine?
Most of us don’t even think about choosing a search engine to use. We simply “Google it.” Google is the most popular search engine in the U.S. and for good reason. They have spent a fortune trying to create a popular search engine that supplies the best search results, quickly.
As a business operating in the digital age, it is important for you to understand how Search Engines (specifically, Google) collect and distribute information that it finds across the world wide web. Is Google the best search engine? Or is there an alternative search engine that is better?
For September 2018, SparkToro estimated that to see of all the major online platforms how much search share they own in the US. Below is the search engine market data they discovered.
TL;DR use the index to skip to your preferred content.
1. Humble Beginnings: Who and When
2. What It Takes to Be the Top Search Engine
3. User-First Mentality: Get Me What I Want, Now!
4. Developing Strong Trust Through Better Results
5. Local Search: Matching Proximity to User Search Intent
6. Is Your Business Being Found on Google?
7. Constantly Testing and Improving: Algorithms and AI
8. Creating the Best Video Search Engine
9. Developing an Image Search Engine
10. How Businesses Should Harness the Power of Google
11. Applying SEO Best Practices
12. Consider Using Google Ads
13. Become Familiar with Google Analytics
14. Be Local, Think Local
15. Make Sure Google Knows Your Business Exists
16. Best Search Engine Alternatives to Google
Digital media is only progressing and it would be smart to grow and develop along with the industry leader. Join me as I look at the reasons why Google is the people’s choice when searching the web.
Humble Beginnings: Who and When
Who Founded Google?
Google was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page when they were just students studying at Stanford University. Google was a thesis the pair worked on for their Ph.D. program. According to their thesis, Google (known as Backrub back then) was different from other search engines because it focused on the relationships between websites (primarily links).
Focusing on links was a significant change compared to other search engines, where the approach to ranking information was based on how often particular search terms appeared in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This concept revolutionized how online search would operate from then on.
When Was Google Founded?
Google was officially launched in 1996 and quickly made a name for itself as the search engine with a weird name. The company received its initial cash-flow from investors such as Jeff Bezos of Amazon as well as other internet entrepreneurs. In 2004, Google officially went public.
What It Takes to Be the Top Search Engine
Google has the capability to calculate a site’s relevance according to the number of pages and links pointing back to the original site. The success of Google has led to it being the most-used search engine in the U.S. market, managing over 3 billion pages a day.
So, what about other search engines? Where do they stack up against Google in terms of search market share? Stat Counter collected data from 2015 to 2018, which highlighted the fact that Google properties own almost 90% of all searches.
As you can see, Google is a clear favorite in terms of usage, but why? What has lead to Google being the go-to choice of users? Here are some of the reasons why we believe Google is the leading/largest search engine.
User-First Mentality: Get Me What I Want, Now!
It’s believed that Google’s success came from its desire and ability to provide higher-quality results for each user. Understanding search intent and finding the most accurate and relevant websites that match each query have allowed Google to stand out from the competition. Online satisfaction is a major part of their core business model.
Google provides simple, better results. If users like the search results they find, based on the search queries, then the user will be happy. Happy users turn into repeat users. Repeat users become loyal to the platform.
Developing Strong Trust Through Better Results
engines. As a result, users started to leave MSN, Yahoo, Alta Vista, and other platforms to enjoy a search engine that offered relevant search results quickly.
Better results have allowed Google to be considered a trustworthy resource for finding information on the web. Google’s trust has continued to increase over the years by:
- Constantly updating their search algorithms (technology and process for collecting relevant information)
- Focusing on the user, their intent, and their satisfaction
As a result of the above, Google has become a household name that everyone is aware of. Now, most people won’t go a day without Googling at least one thing.
Local Search: Matching Proximity to User Search Intent
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and Google took advantage of this information. They combined search capabilities with proximity and geo-location targeting to create custom, local results for users.
Local search opened up the competitive playing field for all businesses, as they were able to be found for their products or services based on how far away they were from the user. Google provided users with better results based on both search intent and geo-proximity of where the search actually took place. These custom results have led Google to become the go-to medium for local searches.
Once accomplishing this, Google took it a step further by marrying local search results with the Google Maps platform. This allowed users to navigate and explore local businesses with their smartphone. With this, Google was and still is able to help users navigate their way to any location
Constantly Testing and Improving: Algorithms and AI
Google is constantly testing their search results in order to change and adapt as users’ habits change. Google’s algorithm is a hidden secret that is constantly being developed using human analysis and machine learning. As always, the end goal is to create better search results.
Many SEOs have tried gaming the system in order to get around Google’s algorithm and rank higher in the SERPs. While this might work in the short term, Google almost always catches on and penalizes websites who proactively use black-hat techniques. This is Google’s way of making sure results are not skewed and that users keep trusting them to provide the best results.
Creating the Best Video Search Engine
YouTube, which is owned by Google, is another major medium where users can search for videos. Similar to television, online videos have more sensory impact on users. Video allows users to see and hear, but, unlike television, online videos are more accessible and interactive.
As technology such as WiFi, cameras, and mobile devices continue to advance, the ability to upload, download, and watch videos will increase. As this trend grows, having a search engine that can accurately find and produce what users are searching for amongst the masses of video files will become a necessity. This is something that YouTube has excelled at.
Producing an Image Search Engine
The Google Images search engine was created due to the overwhelming number of users searching for Jennifer Lopez wearing a Versace dress (back in 2001). Google’s search engine was not able to manage all the demand, and as a result, they developed the image search engine. You can read more about that here.
Google’s image search is a massive library that is able to retrieve image content. More than that, these pictures are relevant based on the user’s search query. Using complex algorithms, Google is able to find, interpret, and assign images based on search queries.
How Businesses Should Harness the Power of Google
With Google being the dominant search engine, catering to billions of users each day, it only makes sense that businesses use this platform to reach their target audiences. Never before has there been an opportunity to market so specifically or globally to an audience who you can track and understand.
The internet is constantly growing as more and more people and businesses create websites. Google has simplified the web by creating an outstanding search engine that people trust. As a business, there are a few things you should take advantage of, even if you are not a marketer.
Rand Fishkin of SparkToro presented findings showing where web users search the most. The data is staggering as you see just how dominant Google and its affiliates are.
Applying SEO Best Practices
While it’s great that more businesses have websites, it is not enough. Just because you have a website for your business, does not mean users will be able to find your website. Google has outlined details on what makes a quality website and how websites should be structured. Following these guidelines helps Google to better understand your business information and rank it in the SERPs. You can view the Google quality guidelines here.
There are masses of content online addressing SEO and how to rank better on Google. We have even written our fair share on SEO tips such as “How to Be Found: A Guide to Google SERP Features” and “5 SEO Writing Tips That Will Make Your Content Better.” Every business should apply SEO best practices to their website. This is an investment that will help Google navigate better quality traffic to your business.
Consider Using Google Ads
Google allows businesses to advertise on their search engine. However, not everyone has a marketing team to help implement SEO best practices. And while SEO can be timely, it does not create instant results.
This is where Google Ads can come into play. Google Ads allows businesses to create text ads quickly and publish them on Google’s partner of networks. These ads use keywords (similar to SEO) that attract potential users to related ads and guide them to your business page.
While it may be costly if you are not targeting based on user intent, this method does quickly help generate traffic to your site. To get started with Google Ads, we suggest AdEspresso’s guide!
Become Familiar with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free resource provided by Google that allows you to view data about the visitors that come to your website. It is a great tool for understanding areas of your site that attract users. It’s also a useful tool if you’re creating a profile of your ideal customer. Armed with this information, you can create better content and optimize your site so that it can rank better.
While Google Analytics can be overwhelming, there are free resources to help you become better acquainted with the program. Some of our favorites include:
Be Local, Think Local
As mentioned earlier, one of Google’s biggest successes came from focusing on local search. This has given small businesses a chance to rank better because of location-based searches. As a small business, you now can rank higher than national companies that have more links and content.
Local search provides a huge opportunity that every business should take advantage of. Google offers free resources to help local businesses rank better based on their location. One of these Tools is Google My Business. Businesses can simply add their information to help Google direct more relevant traffic to their sites. It can also assist users who are looking for your physical address.
In addition to Google My Business, we suggest using Google Search Console. It allows you to view health problems or issues that Google sees with your website.
We suggest also using Google Search Console, which will allow you to see health problems or issues that Google sees with your website.
Make Sure Google Knows Your Business Exists
Google is a great platform, but even they realize that they are not able to crawl the whole web. However, you’ll want to make sure they can crawl your business’s website when they do get to your territory.
By understanding what is important to Google and applying those best practices, you can help your business rank better. Knowing that Google cares about delivering the most relevant content on the web to its users, businesses can optimize their website based on the client they wish to attract. The reward is that Google will display those businesses’ information in search results.
This chart below from SparkToro shows how much market share Google has. It is evident that if businesses want to reach their audience, they need to use Google (because that is where the audience is).
Best Search Engine Alternatives to Google
While Google is the biggest and most dominant search engine, there are plenty of other platforms that are made to suit different user needs. Here are the top search engine alternatives!
Best Search Engine for Privacy
Known as “the search engine that doesn’t track you,” DuckDuckGo is a search engine that focuses on safeguarding searchers’ privacy and avoiding personalized search results, which are based on user profiling and history.
If you’re looking for more privacy on the web, it’s the best search engine to use. However, because you won’t be tracked, you’ll also probably see ads that aren’t as relevant to you. It’s also possible that you get lower-quality search results with queries.
In February 2019, DuckDuckGo had an average of 35 million daily searches.
Best Search Engine Alternatives to Google in the U.S.
Bing is owned by Microsoft and is the second largest non-Google search engine after all other Google properties in the US.
Remember these guys? Back in the mid-to-early 90s, Yahoo was the most-used search engine. Not anymore. While Yahoo! does provide search results, they are powered using Bing’s engine.
Yahoo! Has transitioned from being a search engine to providing web services such as mail, answer forums, and financial assets.
Best Search Engine Alternatives to Google in the World
Baidu is a search engine that’s predominantly used by Asian countries. Baidu is recognized as being the second largest search engine in the world (after Google).
Yandex is a Russian search engine provider that is mostly used in Russia and other eastern European countries. It is recognized as the fifth largest search engine after Bing and Yahoo!