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Should You Optimize for DuckDuckGo, the Pro-Privacy Search Engine?

Should You Optimize for DuckDuckGo, the Pro-Privacy Search Engine? Blog Feature

Kate Fodera

Director of Client Success, 7+ Years Experience Creating Remarkable Marketing Experiences

October 17th, 2018 min read

With Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of rules that could fundamentally flip the relationship between massive tech companies that gather data, and the users they gather it from, coming into effect this year, data privacy and online usage has been on everyone’s mind.

As marketers, we’ve gotten hundreds of emails, we’ve read articles on Zuckerberg and the Cambridge Analytica Privacy Scandal, and we’ve worked hard to educate our clients on what this increasing focus on data protection and privacy means for their digital marketing efforts.

Because this topic has been front and center in the news, it’s not surprising that people all over the world are becoming more concerned about how they can protect themselves and their data online.

In fact, this has become such a hot topic that pro-privacy search engine DuckDuckGo has hit 30 million daily searches just a year after reaching 20 million — a year-on-year increase of 50%.

But let’s back up a second…

What’s DuckDuckGo?

Simply put -- DuckDuckGo is a pro-privacy search engine alternative to Google.

Whereas Google uses cookies to track users’ online behavior in order to serve them up relevant ads and content, DuckDuckGo does not track and profile users.

Instead, it displays ads that are based directly on the keyword that is being searched for at the time of the search.

Using this approach means that the company has no need to harvest - or preserve - user data.

DuckDuckGo is pro-privacy on purpose, and prides itself on not collecting or sharing your personal information, not storing your search history, or even tracking you in or out of private browsing mode.

And the popularity of the search engine is growing --  

“We’ve been growing by approximately 50% a year pretty consistently so at a macro level it isn’t too surprising, just the numbers are getting bigger! That said it has been even increased on top of that this year, especially in the past two months. We are growing everywhere though it is a bit more in the US in the past few months.” - founder Gabriel Weinberg tells TechCrunch.

Statistics like this are clear indicators that users are focusing more on keeping their personal information private. Given DuckDuckGo’s recent momentum, I would expect this trend to strengthen over time.

Should you optimize your content for DuckDuckGo?  

At this stage, there’s no need to blow up your marketing plans and shift your focus to optimizing for DuckDuckGo.

With over 70% of the search market share, Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine and right behind that, is Bing.

In fact, as of September this year, DuckDuckGo was listed as the 7th most popular search engine.

Having said this, DuckDuckGo is growing rapidly in market share and it wouldn’t surprise me if more pro-privacy platforms began popping up in the next few years.

As time moves forward, it’s going to be important to keep an eye on this platform (as well as others that may crop up) and identify ways that you can optimize for it - and for users that don't want to share their personal information.

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