Why Now, More Than Ever, SEO Is Not Just About Google

Posted by Royh

[Estimated read time: 4 minutes]

SEO is not just about Google! Yes, that’s right, I genuinely mean this and I’m going to stick to my word.

It’s common practice for SEOs to invest all their time and energies into just one search engine, but this is a limited approach. The truth is that SEOs need to investigate other strategies for generating traffic which don’t rely purely on Google. And to underline this point, I’m going to take a quick look at the current landscape and prove why this is an essential step for SEOs to take.

In mid-February, after a few months of in-depth testing, Google finally released details on the 4 paid ads on top. And there’s one particularly keen insight that Dr. Pete has uncovered that you need to pay attention to.

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With 4 paid ads on top, Google is setting itself up in the enviable position of being able to control 80% of the results above the fold. This scenario raises many questions, but the most intriguing one concerns the effect it will have on the organic results CTR.

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For example, let’s quickly do a search on the religion of enlightenment, Buddhism. Can you see the 2nd or 3rd results? Hardly positive karma, isn’t it?

The alternative search engine

I could speak about the lurking potential hidden deep within Bing, but I’ve got nothing to add to the swathes of articles going over old ground.

Instead, I want to take a sidestep from current SEO trends and focus on the fastest-growing search engine: DuckDuckGo.

It’s a search engine which respects its users’ privacy and, as a result, is operating in a niche which taps into the current zeitgeist of security concerns. The world of Internet search is gradually changing from a trackable arena into a more private and anonymous realm, so DuckDuckGo find themselves first in line to exploit this new frontier of SEO opportunity. It’s an exciting rise and, as I covered recently, one that is threatening to frazzle the edges of SEO.

traffic

As you can see here, in correlation to the increase of direct queries (more than 12 million per day), DuckDuckGo had more than 108 million visits in one month, which is an increase of 22% in their total traffic.

And the sweetener with DuckDuckGo is that they have only one position on top for ads. Naturally, this sets up a highly lucrative difference between the CTR of the top results in DuckDuckGo compared to Google and its bulldozing approach of 4 paid ads on top.

The growth marketing opportunity

It should be becoming clear to you now that your SEO needs to concentrate on more than just Google’s complex algorithms. SEO needs to take time to delve into the exciting world of guerrilla marketing and help to drive the growth marketing tactics of your client/company.

One of the most sweeping changes to SEO in recent years has been the scorched earth policy of social media traffic. What exactly do Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have in common? That’s right, they’re driving huge amounts of traffic that’s out of Google’s reach.

The top 5 biggest social networks by outgoing traffic:

I’m not being speculative when I say Facebook is the leading social media network for outgoing traffic. It’s a cold, hard fact. As you can see, according to SimilarWeb traffic stats, in January 2016 Facebook sent more than 3.5 billion desktop visits to other websites. That’s just over 1.5 billion more desktop visits than Twitter.

The top 5 biggest referrals in outgoing desktop traffic:

However, it would be a little foolish to simply renounce Google and put all your eggs in the social media basket. There are still plenty of other websites you should be looking to portion your SEO efforts out on.

Twitch.tv is the number one referral site in the world and manages to deliver 385 million outgoing desktop visits. Even the fifth most popular, BuzzFeed, still generates a mammoth 50 million outgoing visits, and HackerNews closes the list with almost 20 miillion outgoing visits in January 2016.

Final thoughts

I’ve shown how times are changing in SEO, and all the clues point towards social media becoming the new Google. This, of course, could easily be misconstrued as repeating the SEO/Google mistake of neglecting diversification. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, it underlines the need to choose your tactics carefully on the SEO battleground and attack a number of different traffic sources.

If you’ve got any questions, or want to discuss how you’re tackling the evolution of SEO, then I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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