To understand the importance of SEO, it can be helpful to dig a bit deeper into how search engines work, how people use them, and the differences between various search engines. With that in mind, let’s talk a bit about search engine history.
That term, “search engine history”, can mean two things: the history of search engines, and how search engines handle your search history. In this brief piece, we’re going to take a look at both of those topics, focusing on three major search engines: Bing, DuckDuckGo, and of course, the biggest of them all, Google.
Which came first, the Duck or the Bing?
Search engines have been around for almost as long as the world wide web – technically even longer, if you count early search engines like Archie.
That’s going way further back than we need to for our search engines, however. Google came on the market in 1998, while DuckDuckGo was introduced in 2008, and Bing was introduced in 2009. Simple enough, right?
Well, not quite. Bing actually started as another search engine, MSN Search (later Live Search). It was launched the same year as Google – some would call it Microsoft’s response to Google.
Let’s look at worldwide search engine usage. According to Statcounter, Google has a 92.03% market share – Bing is in second place with 2.48%. DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, has only a 0.66% share of the global search engine market. That percentage increases to 2.45% in the United States.
This is why the best SEO companies will focus on Google – they have absolute market dominance. But other search engines will continue to try to compete with Google – and one way they try to distinguish themselves is through their handling of your search history.
How search engines handle your history
Google and Bing will tell you that there are advantages to search engines tracking your search history – and to a certain degree, they’re right. You may have noticed that Google will sometimes provide search queries “suggested based on your recent activity”. For someone who is regularly researching while writing articles, this feature is handy – Google can predict what queries might be useful, which can save a lot of time.
That said, companies like Google and Bing can also use your search engine history in order to personalize ads – and that’s how they make their money. Both of these companies have proprietary uses for search engine histories, and both have opt-out policies.
Advertisers looking to use PPC ads will often benefit from running them on Google or Bing, as search engine history makes targeted advertising more effective. DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, does not track any personal data – not even IP addresses. Privacy-minded users love their platform – and privacy-minded advertisers love to advertise on it.
Search history and SEO
It’s important to note that search history has little on SEO – Google and Bing will sometimes serve up articles based on your location, but a user’s search history only has a minimal impact on search results. That’s one of the reasons that SEO is useful across the board.
Knowledge of the history of search engines, and how search engines handle search history, highlight the importance of hiring an agency that understands how search engines work behind the scenes. Knowing historical trends can help us better predict how search engines will work in the future, and understanding how those search engines handle search history enables us to find tactics that work well for every search engine.