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Can DuckDuckGo break into the ‘Big Three’ search engines?

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Can DuckDuckGo break into the ‘Big Three’ search engines?

For a long time, SEO companies like ourselves have considered Google, Bing and Yahoo! to be the ‘Big Three’ search engines to monitor.

Of course, it’s really more a case of the ‘Big One’, with NetMarketShare.com statistics showing Google to be responsible for 78.05% of the search engine market share, but if we are to compile a top three and ignore the Chinese Baidu and Russian Yandex, it’s still Bing and Yahoo! making up the numbers with 6.69% and 2.81% respectively.

However, as the below NetMarketShare.com graph shows, these two also-rans of the search world are not only way behind the leader, but are actually losing ground. The last two months have seen both Bing and Yahoo! slump to their lowest percentage of the market in two years. Meanwhile, that light blue line along the bottom represents DuckDuckGo, and while it may appear to be doing very little, it’s actually holding steady – something the two immediately above it are struggling to do.

Search engine market share 2018 10 15 16.31.16

The privacy-focused search engine may only boast 0.26% of the market, but has announced that it has hit a milestone of 30 million searches per day.

In an interview with Techcrunch, the search engine’s founder, Gabriel Weinberg, noted that a jump from 20 million to 30 million daily queries actually only continues the company’s record of growing by about 50% every year, but the numbers are now so big, it gives the impression of an exponential rise. Indeed, if DuckDuckGo were to continue growing at this rate, it would hit 100 million searches a day by the end of 2021.

What DuckDuckGo has going for it that the three big names don’t is an emphasis on showing everybody the same results, since it doesn’t hold any personal data on its users, hence it’s the default search engine for the anonymous browser Tor. From personal use, I’ve noticed that its results are quite heavily weighted in US favour, although it is possible to filter them by country. If the search engine were to start up a default .co.uk domain, it may make itself more attractive to users on this side of the Atlantic.

For a long time in football, pundits talked of the ‘Big Four’ of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Then Manchester City found a bit of cash and Tottenham Hotspur remembered they should be winning matches, and before we knew it, we were looking at a ‘Big Six’. Should SEO companies be monitoring the search engine undercurrent for movement into the upper echelons, and could a ‘Leicester City’ even come along and topple the lot, as happened in 2016?

John Murray

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