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DuckDuckGo SEO Tips

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Owen Whitcombe

Senior SEO Specialist

.In March 2022 incidents of computer misuse saw 89% increase compared with March 2020.

Hacking offences more than doubled in the year ending March 2022 (to 1.3 million offences) compared with the pre-coronavirus year ending March 2020. This included victims’ details being compromised via large-scale data breaches, and victims’ email or social media accounts being compromised

The majority of people automatically think of Google when discussing SEO, however there are other search engines operating in the shadow of the Internet behemoth. Alternatives that are particularly concerned with data safety, like the DuckDuckGo search engine, are growing in popularity.

With this growth, you may want to consider how your SEO efforts are affecting DuckDuckGo search. Here we will give you tips on what to check to ensure you’re covered on Google search as well as DuckDuckoGo search.

What is DuckDuckGo?

Internet search engine DuckDuckGo places a strong emphasis on preserving user privacy. The search engine makes a commitment not to monitor users or gather IP addresses or search histories. It serves as an alternative to search engines like Google or Bing, which gather a lot of data on users and their search habits, in terms of greater data privacy.

DuckDuckGo is becoming ever more popular and in 2022 alone it has processed 26,936,193,866 search queries.

How do DuckDuckGo Work?

The search engine includes results from more than 400 sites in addition to its own web crawler (Duckduckbot), including Wikipedia. Consequently, it functions somewhat similarly to a meta search engine in that it incorporates other search engines results, such as Yahoo or Bing results in their own search results.

Even in private mode with Google or Bing, the search terms you enter are communicated to the website you are viewing in the HTTP referrer header when you click on links from these search engines. Your computer automatically communicates information, such as your IP address, when you visit that website. It is possible to identify you using this information. This isn’t the case with DuckDuckGo. No IP or exact location information is shared so your visit is totally private.

Wherever possible, DuckDuckGo search also connect you to websites’ encrypted versions, making it more difficult for others to see what you’re seeing online.

DuckDuckGo SEO

Optimise Your Page for Bing & Yahoo: As we know that DuckDuckGo uses results from these two big search engines it’s important you get the basic metrics that these use right. For instance, Bing SEO prioritises keywords, titles, and meta tags more so than Google, so make sure the title contains the key phrases you want to rank for. More so than Google, Bing gives importance to social signals. As a result, you should place greater emphasis on sharing and advertising your material on social media.

Yahoo uses domain age as a factor when calculating rankings. Your domain age is not something you can control but an older, most established domain has a better chance of ranking highly on Yahoo! than a newer, fresher domain.

With Bing, the number of links seems to have a greater effect on ranking, and exact-match anchor text plays a greater role compared to Google. This means that links coming to your site with anchor text keywords that you want to rank for, will be more valuable. Google is different since it prioritizes quality links over the number of links. But this doesn’t mean you should go hell for leather and get as many links as possible just to satisfy DuckDuckGo. As you will see below, DuckDuckGo still values quality backlinks.

Submit your sitemap to Bing: A sitemap is essentially a list of webpages on your site that you want crawled and indexed. Submitting these to Google Search Console is a basic SEO tactic you should already be undertaking, but you can also submit sitemaps to Bing Webmaster Tools. This in turn will help search engines such as DuckDuckGo find and index your content easier.

Maintain a healthy social media presence: Google has denied that social signals matter to their algorithms, but Bing has admitted that they use social media in their ranking algorithm. The Bing webmaster guidelines openly talk about how social signals are important for ranking highly on Bing search.

Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results. The most obvious part it plays is via influence. If you are influential socially, this leads to your followers sharing your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals. These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run

Build High Quality Backlinks: DuckDuckGo insiders don’t give much away when it comes to DuckDuckGo SEO, but it was noticed that in their own help and advice section:

The best way to get good rankings (in pretty much all search engines) is to get links from high-quality sites like Wikipedia

Find out how to get quality backlinks to your website or checkout our complete guide to backlinks to get more information how to go about get yourself backlinks that will make a difference to all your SEO efforts.

Optimise for DuckDuckGo’s “Instant Answers”: As with Google’s featured snippets, DuckDuckGo supplies its users with quick answers to questions it detects their users are trying to find answers for. DuckDuckGo uses over 100 sources to provide answers to your searches, without the need to click on a result.

DuckDuckGo pulls answers from Wikipedia, Crunchbase, GitHub, wikiHow and the Free Dictionary. That means creating content on those platforms will help you gain more instant answer SERPs space on DuckDuckGo.

Local SEO is More Difficult: Local SEO works a little differently with DuckDuckGo than with conventional search engines like Google, since it neither stores user data nor accesses their location. Instead, DuckDuckGo uses IP addresses to roughly estimate where the respective user is located. Google can use cookies to help pinpoint a location. Website tracking cookies can gather data about the websites you visit, the pages you look at while on those websites, potential items you may have clicked on, purchases you may have made, etc., as well as your IP address and location. Google can also use things such as previous websites you’ve visited or other search terms you’ve entered to figure out where you are.  Googlies policy guide says:

Two of the most common places where this information may be saved is Location History and Web & App Activity

This means that the local results with DuckDuckGo search are not as accurate as with Google, but privacy is preserved. So, users can’t just enter “restaurant near me” in the search bar and hope for relevant results, but should at least enter the town, city or a street name to refine the search.

To combat this, you should include your local keyword variants into your local pages on your website. You should already be doing this as part of your long tail keyword research strategy, but even more so if optimising for DuckDuckGo.

To get your business listing onto the DuckDuckGo search results you will have to include your business on Apple Maps as this is where DuckDuckGo pulls these results from:

Can You Track DuckDuckGo in Google Analytics?

In the still existing Universal Analytics, you can check out your site’s DuckDuckGo search traffic by using the Source/Medium option under Acquisition > All Traffic:

If you are using GA4 to track your site data, then you can go to Acquisition > User Acquisition, and then select First user source. Then, you’ll see data relating to your DuckDuckGo search users.

How to track DuckDuckGo keyword rankings?

You can use SEO Power Suite’s rank tracker app to check keyword rankings on a wide selection of search engines from all over the world. This includes DuckDuckGo. As you can run a setup to check your keyword rankings you can easily select which search engines you wish to see results from:

Need Help Achieving SEO Success?

The moulds of most modern search engines all use the same top level metrics and factors when it comes to ranking webpages. SEO for DuckDuckGo search is no different. By getting your on-page and off-page SEO elements right you, will be in a position for organic visibility success across all the main search engines. DuckDuckGo SEO should, with standard best practises followed for links and content, be as natural for any modern day SEO professional. With a little help from a professional SEO agency you will be well prepared to rank no matter what search engine your users choose to use.

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By

Owen Whitcombe

Senior SEO Specialist

Owen has worked in primarily Ecommerce since leaving University. Many years spent in the online sports retail arena before gaining experience in the online catering business then becoming digital marketing manager for national toy company before finding his feet in SEO. As a results driven individual Owen loves nothing more than when we can give…

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