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Privacy search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Startpage are becoming increasingly popular. They usually leverage the big search engines in order to return results, but proxy search requests so that Google or Yahoo or Microsoft do not know who made the search. In other words, these see only that the search query came from the privacy search engine.

These privacy search engines promise to not log your IP address or any searches you make. Does this sound good to you? Good. The next question, then, is which privacy search engine to use…

Why privacy search engines?

The problem with most search engines is that they spy on you. This is their business model – to learn as much about you as possible, in order deliver highly targeted advertising direct to your browser window.

Google has even recently dropped its moratorium on combining what it learns by scanning your emails with what it learns about you through your searches. All the better to spy on you. Information typically collected and stored each time you make a search includes:

  • Your IP address
  • Date and time of query
  • Query search terms
  • Cookie ID – this cookie is deposited in your browser’s cookie folder, and uniquely identifies your computer. With it, a search engine provider can trace a search request back to your computer

This information is usually transmitted to the requested web page, and to the owners of any third party advertising banners displayed on that page. As you surf around the internet, advertisers build up a (potentially highly embarrassing) profile of you.

Of course, if Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, etc., know lots about you, this information can be (and often is) handed over to the police and the NSA.

Google Transparency Report on the number of User Data Requests received, and the number (at least partially) acceded to

Indeed, it was only recently that evidence emerged showing Yahoo works hand in glove with the NSA to betray its users to the intelligence service.  Naughty, naughty.

The filter bubble

An added benefit of using a search engine that does not track you is that it avoids the “filter bubble” effect. Most search engines use your past search terms (and things you “Like” on social networks) to profile you. They can then return results they think will interest you.

This can result in only receiving search returns that agree with your point of view, This locks you into a “filter bubble,” where you do not get to see alternative viewpoints and opinions because they have been downgraded in your search results.

Not only does this deny you access to the rich texture and multiplicity of human input, but it can also be very dangerous as it can confirm prejudices, and prevent you from seeing the “bigger picture”.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo Privacy Search Engines

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • Looks great
  • Discrete non-targeted ads
  • Bangs
  • Contextual filters
  • CONS
  • US company
  • Uses Amazon servers
  • Yahoo results 

DuckDuckGo is “The Search Engine that Vows Not to Track You.” Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo has stated that “if the FBI comes to us, we have nothing to tie back to you.”

It is a US-based company, and is the most popular and high-profile of the privacy search engines. Searches are primarily sourced via Yahoo, with whom DuckDuckGo has a strong relationship.

This is very worrying given recent revelations about its ties to the NSA,  but DuckDuckGo continues to promise that it does not collect or share personal information.

Aesthetics

DuckDuckGo sports a clean interface. I find its red, grey, and white styling and cutesy logo attractive and fun, although this is, of course, a matter of personal taste.

Search results

  • DuckDuckGo offers search suggestions as you type in a query.
  • Search returns are very fast. This includes image and video search returns.
  • Presentation of results is very clear.
  • Search filter categories include Web, Images, Videos, Products, Meanings, Definition, and News. Displayed filters are adaptive, and DDG will initially show results under the filter category that it feels is most appropriate to the search terms. Depending the filter selected, DuckDuckGo may display image, video or Wikipedia previews at either the top of the search page, or in a box to the right of the results.
  • Ads may also be displayed to the right of search results. Paid ads are clearly marked as such, are discreet, and are never mixed in with the “pure” search returns.
  • Image results, however, can only be filtered by size (Small, Medium. Large).
  • Video results display a thumbnail preview. YouTube videos can be played directly from DDG the website, but a warning alerts you to the fact that these will be tracked by YouTube/Google.
  • Results can also be filtered by country and date (Anytime, Past Day, Past Week or Past Month).
  • Subjectively, I find the quality of DuckDuckGo’s search returns to be very good. I have seen complaints, however, by others who do not find them as good as those of Google. This is one reason why “bangs” are so useful (see below).

Here we can see both the contextual filter in actual (auto-direct to Products) and DDG’s discrete ads

How it makes money

DuchDuckGo displays ads alongside its search results. These are sourced from Yahoo as part of the Yahoo-Microsoft search alliance. By default, when advertisers sign up for a Bing Ads account, their ads automatically enter rotation into all of Bing’s distribution channels, including DuckDuckGo

Importantly, however, these ads are untargeted (they are displayed based on your search terms). And as already noted, there are clearly marked and are displayed separately from the “pure” search returns.

DuckDuckGo is part of the affiliate programs of Amazon and eBay. When you visit those sites through DuckDuckGo and subsequently make a purchase, it receives a small commission. No personally identifiable information is given out in this way, however, and this does not influence search result rankings.

Privacy

DuckDuckGo states that does not collect or share personal information.

  • An affiliate code may be added to some eCommerce sites (e.g. Amazon & eBay), but this does not include any personally identifiable information.
  • Being based in the US means that DuckDuckGo is subject to government pressure and laws such as FISA and the Patriot Act. This means that the US government could mandate that DuckDuckGo start logging its users’ activities. And prevent the company from alerting users to this fact via a Gag order.
  • DuckDuckGo uses Amazon servers. Again, this is a US company, subject to pressure from the US government.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A+

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, has contacted me regarding this article. Please see the Update at the bottom of this page for his answers to some  criticisms expressed here.

Features

In addition to its rather nifty contextual filters, the most striking feature of DuckDuckGo is “bangs”.

These allow you to search other websites quickly and easily. For example, typing !guk before a search query will return Google UK search results, and typing !a will search the Amazon store for you.

Note that bangs take you to the website in question. The searches are proxied, but if you are signed into Google (for example), then Google will know who you are and will record the search terms.

My thoughts

DuckDuckGo is, in my opinion, the best looking and most user-friendly privacy search engine out there. This makes it great to use, although some may prefer Google to the primarily Yahoo-based search results.

Bangs are a killer feature, however, and one that go a long way towards compensating for this issue. Just remember to sign out of your Google account before using a Google bang!

It is little surprise, then, that DuckDuckGo is so popular. But the fact that it is a US company should sound a note of caution.

Startpage (and Ixquick)

Startpage

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • Non-targeted ads
  • Can proxy webpages
  • Based in Netherlands
  • Google results
  • CONS
  • Runs servers in the US (but can you choose non-US servers)

Startpage and Ixquick are run by the same company. In the past, Startpage returned Google results, while Ixquick returned results from a number of other search engines, but not Google. The two services have now been combined, and both return identical Google results.

Although no longer actively supported, the old Ixquick metasearch engine is still available at Ixquick.eu. Interestingly, despite no longer being actively supported, Startpage has recently removed Yahoo results from the legacy search engine. This is in response to news that Yahoo has been helping the NSA spy on its users.

Aesthetics

The cloudy blue sky default theme doesn’t really do it for me, although this can be changed in the settings. Overall, there is nothing wrong with how Startpage looks, but I much prefer DuckDuckGo’s red-themed cutesiness.

Search results

  • Suggestions are not offered as you type.
  • Search returns are fast, but perhaps not as fast as those of DuckDuckGo (this is a purely subjective assessment).
  • Presentation of results is very clear.
  • Searches can be only filtered by Web, Images and Video categories. An advanced search option is available that allows you to specify a variety of search parameters, and you can filter results by time.
  • Ads are displayed above search results. These are clearly marked as ads, and are not mixed with the “pure” search results.
  • There are no additional filters for Images.
  • Video results display an image preview. YouTube can be played directly on the Startpage website, although you are warned that this is not private.
  • Search results are pulled directly from Google, and are therefore very good. This does mean, however, that information censored by Google is also censored from these returns.

startpage-1

Ads are more prominent than with DDG, but the ability to proxy webpages is great

How it makes money

Much like DuckDuckGo, Startpage makes money from ads and affiliate links. These ads are untargeted, clearly marked, and not mixed in with the “real” search returns. They are somewhat more prominently displayed than with DuckDuckGo, however.

Privacy

  • Startpage is based in the Netherlands, which has strong privacy laws.
  • It runs servers collocated in the US. These are owned and controlled by Startpage, and I am assured that they are secure against government snooping. If this worries you, however…
  • It is possible to use non-US servers only (or non-EU servers).
  • Webpages returned from searches can be proxied (see below).
  • Startpage is the only privacy search engine that has been independently audited.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A+

Features

Startpage’s killer feature is that, rather than visiting a website directly, you can proxy the connection. If you select this option, then a proxy server run by Startpage sits between your computer and the website.

This prevents the website from knowing your true IP address (much like a VPN), and from being able to use web tracking and fingerprinting technologies to identify and track you.  The downside is that pages load more slowly, since StartPage must retrieve the contents and redisplay them.

I must say that this is a terrific feature, and one that can greatly improve your privacy. Given its downside, however, you probably won’t want to use it all the time.

My thoughts

Startpage is not as pretty or user-friendly as DuckDuckGo. But thanks to being based in the Netherlands and having nothing to do with Yahoo, it should be more resistant to NSA spying than its US-based rivals long (if you specify non-US servers!). And  the ability to proxy web pages is an absolute doozy.

 SearX

Search

  • PROS
  • Can be self-hosted
  • Choose which search engines to leverage
  • Can proxy webpages
  • No ads
  • CONS
  • Public instances could be logged

Less well-known, but fast gaining traction with the security community is SearX. Not only is SearX fully open source, but it is easy to setup and run your own instance of it.

There is an official public SearX instance, or you can use one of many volunteer-run public instances. But what SearX is really about is running your own instance. This makes SearX the only metasearch engine where you can be 100 percent sure that no logs are kept!

Aesthetics

I would describe SearX as functional looking, rather than pretty. That said, the layout is clean, and results are displayed clearly. It is possible for hosts to customize their instances somewhat, although most instances look and feel fairly similar to the official template.

Search results

  • By default, SearX leverages results from a large number of search engines.

searx-search-engines

In Preferences, users can change which search engines are used

  • Search suggestions are not offered as you type, but are displayed to the right of your search returns.
  • Searches can be filtered by the following categories: General, Files, Images, IT, Map (using OpenStreetMap), Music, News, Science, Social Media and Videos. They can also be filtered by time.
  • There are no ads
  • Wikipedia entries are displayed to the right of search results
  • There are no additional filters for Images, although a preview is displayed when they are clicked on.
  • Video results display a thumbnail preview. Clicking on a video takes you to the website it is hosted on (for example YouTube or Vimeo).
  • Search results can be downloaded as a .csv, .json., or rss file.
  • As with Starpage, search results can be viewed proxied. This will “break” many websites, but does allow for a very high level of privacy.
  • Search results are as good as the engine’s selected. The official instance uses Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and a host of other first-rate engines by default, so the results are excellent.

How it makes money

SearX is an open source project run by volunteers. On the official instance there is no on-site advertising and no affiliate marketing.

Because it is open source, individual operators of public SearX instances are free to introduce their own finance models. But I have yet to find a single instance that is not 100 percent ad and affiliate-free.

Privacy

  • There is no way to know if a public SearX instance operator is logging your searches. And this includes the official instance.
  • That said, there is no way to guarantee that DDG, Startpage, or any other “private” search engines are not logging your searches either…
  • If you are serious about privacy, therefore, you should set up your own SearX instance. In fact, setting up your own SearX instance on a server that only you directly control is the only way currently available to guarantee that your searches are not logged.
  • This makes self-hosted SearX instances by far the most secure search engines available. Documentation for installing your own SearX instance is available here.
  • For the casual user, public SearX instances are unlikely to log your searches, and are much less likely to be monitored by the likes of the NSA than the other services mentioned here.
  • Just remember, though, that there is no way to be sure of this.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report for searx.me (the official instance): A. Note that each SearX instance (public or private) is different in this respect.

searx-reults

The are no ads, search suggestions are listed to the right, and as with Startpage, you can proxy webpages

Features

As with Startpage, the ability to proxy websites is a killer feature if you can live with it breaking many websites that you visit.

My thoughts

For serious tech-savvy privacy-heads, a self-hosted SearX instance is the way to go. Simply put, nothing else is in the same league when it comes to knowing for certain that your searches are not logged.

More casual users may also be surprised at how well the software works on public instances. My personal feelings are that these are much less likely to log your searches or be spied on by the US and other governments than DuckDuckGo, Startpage or Disconnect. But this is purely speculation.

Disconnect Search

Disconnect Search

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • No ads
  • Choice of search engines
  • CONS
  • US company (so beware the NSA)
  • Uses Amazon servers (so beware the NSA)

Before writing a Disconnect review, we knew the US-based company had made a name for itself with some excellent open source privacy-oriented browser extensions. One of these is the open source Disconnect Search add-on for Firefox and Chrome (a non-open source Android app is also available).

This browser add-on is still the primary way to use Disconnect Search, although a JavaScript web app is available. This mimics the browser extension, and allow you to perform web searches from the Disconnect Search web page.

Disconnect also markets a Premium VPN and online security app, with Disconnect Search functionality built-in. Please see my Disconnect review for more details on this.

Search results

  • Searches are usually made from the browser add-on.
  • You can select which of three search engines to query: Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo (default).
  • Unlike the other privacy metasearch engines discussing this article, Disconnect does not display search returns on its own website. Results are simply routed through Disconnect’s servers to hide their origin, and are then opened in the selected search engine’s webpage.
  • Incognito mode searches are supported.

disconnect-search-1

The browser extension

How it makes money

Disconnect markets a Premium product (see review), but the Disconnect Search browser extension is free. It hides your IP when making searches, but then sends you direct to the selected search engine.  This means that Disconnect performs no advertising or affiliate marketing of its own when making a search.

Privacy

  • Disconnect is a US company, and is therefore not a good choice for the more NSA-phobic out there.
  • The browser extension is open source, but search requests can still be logged by Disconnect, as they are made through its servers.
  • Disconnect hosts its service on Amazon servers.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A (this is for the Disonnect.me website).

My thoughts

The Disconnect Search browser extension provides a quick and easy way hide your true identity whilst making searches using your favorite search engine.  The fact that Disconnect is US-based, however, is a major issue.

Honorary mention: Peekier

Peekier is a new no-logs search engine. There is not enough information about this service currently available for me to give it a proper assessment. It is worth mentioning, however, because of the attractive and innovative way that it displays search results.

Results are displayed as large thumbnail previews of returned webpages

In a field were where, if we are honest, most search engines look pretty similar, it is great to see a different approach. I therefore think it worth flagging up Peekier, and keeping an eye on the service to see how it develops.

Privacy Search Engines Conclusion

Using any of these services engines will greatly improve your search privacy. Crucially, your searches will not be recorded in order to build to help a profile that is used to sell you stuff. All the search engines I looked at in this article are easy to use and return good results.

DuckDuckGo, in particular, is extremely user-friendly. This makes it a great service for transitioning away from Google.

Will these services protect your searches from government surveillance (and the NSA in particular)? In the case of US companies, it is safest to assume not. But unless you are doing something very illegal, this may not concern you (although it should).

Startpage is non-US based, has been independently audited, and allows you to access websites with a great deal of privacy thanks to its proxy feature. It is therefore a much better choice for privacy-heads than DuckDuckGo.

Public SearX instances are less likely to be monitored than other higher-profile search engines, but they may be. It is also likely that you will know nothing about their operators. Running your own SearX instance on hardware directly under your control, however, is an extremely secure and private solution. And is therefore only one that I can recommend to serious privacy fanatics.

The fact the SearX has a great interface and returns on-the-button results from all the major search engines is the icing on the cake.

Update

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, has contacted me regarding this article. It is his firm (and I believe genuine) belief that DDG is as secure and private as a search engine can be (barring one that is self-hosted). And that my concerns about it being a US company and over its partnership with Yahoo are largely unfounded.

Central to his argument is that DDG keeps no logs. This means that it cannot be subpoenaed to provide what it does not have, and makes it irrelevant who it partners with. As no information exists about DDG’s users anyway.

Gabriel also pointed out the legal protections US citizens enjoy against government spying that are not afforded to other nationals, and that DuckDuckGo operates non-US servers. Users outside the US will mostly be directed to these when performing searches.

Now. I will go on record as saying that I think being a US company is a serious threat to privacy. This article is not the place to discuss such issues in detail, but look out for an upcoming article where I will dive into the subject head first.

Source: This article was published bestvpn.com By Douglas Crawford

Categorized in Search Engine

Will advertisers someday be able to buy recommendations?

It’s one thing to build a useful voice skill or app, but quite another for consumers to actually find it. That’s because people need to know a particular skill or app exists before they can use it, and today’s voice discovery tools are about as basic as a Yahoo search circa 1995.

Amazon publishes a directory of its 25,000 voice skills, as well as a bare-bones Skill Finder app, but consumers using those databases still need to know what they’re looking for. Brands looking to rise above the noise will need to figure out how to market and promote their voice skills if they hope to attract more than a handful of users.

“This is not an ‘if you build it they will come’ world,” said Greg Hedges, vp of emerging experiences at Rain, a digital consultancy that created an Alexa skill for Campbell’s, among others. “You really do have to enact the same kind of owned-earned-paid approach as you would elsewhere to generate awareness. And you have to give people a reason to return.”

To invoke a skill, you need to first enable it and call it by name: “Alexa, ask Campbell’s Kitchen to tell me how to make chicken soup.” If you were to simply ask, “Alexa, tell me how to make chicken soup,” however, the device would default to the Allrecipes skill. (An Amazon representative declined to explain why Alexa recommends that particular skill, saying only that “in limited scenarios, Alexa will respond to certain questions by suggesting skills that may be helpful.”)

So far, brands have been unable to lay claim to generic phrases on Alexa. But that hasn’t stopped Amazon from reserving some of them for its own products. For example, if you say, “Alexa, help me with my chores,” it will automatically enable and launch The Tick’s Housework Hero skill, which offers no actual help but plenty of hearty encouragement from actor Peter Serafinowicz, star of The Tick on Amazon Prime.

A bigger issue is voice commerce. Some Alexa skills can add products to an Amazon shopping list. Ask the Good Housekeeping skill how to remove a grass stain, for instance, and it will ask if you want to add bleach, detergent and stain remover to your list, without specifying a particular brand. Will brands one day be able to buy that recommendation? Amazon isn’t saying.

V-commerce is about to get a huge boost, thanks to Walmart and Google. Earlier this month, the retail colossus launched voice ordering on Google Home for more than 2 million products, as part of a bigger partnership with the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech giant. Meanwhile, Google also announced the $49 Google Home Mini, which will compete head-on with Amazon’s Echo Dot.


To search with love

Brands will need to lean more heavily on search to surface both their voice skills and their products. But when it comes to voice search, the rules are a bit different, cautioned Alex Lirtsman, chief strategist for digital agency Ready Set Rocket.

Rather than optimizing for the top keywords, brands will need to focus on more complex natural language queries, Lirtsman explained. Just as people have learned to use multiple keywords to get more specific results from online searches, they tend to ask more detailed questions with voice.

“Instead of saying, ‘Where’s a storage facility near me?’ they’ll say, ‘What’s the cheapest storage facility within a 10-minute drive?’” Lirtsman said. “There’s an expectation they’ll get pricing and other data. I don’t think a lot of brands have thought through all of these scenarios.”

Voice search also tends to be much more location-centric, Lirtsman added. Brands that lack a physical presence will be at a disadvantage.

And unlike the early days of internet search in the ’90s, the window of opportunity for voice is much narrower. On desktop and mobile, brands are usually happy to land on the first one or two pages of Google search results. But people are unlikely to listen to more than the first two or three search results on a device like an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

That puts even more pressure on brands to be at the top of the results list—assuming there is one, noted Gartner research director Charles Golvin. “For a lot of these searches, there’s just an answer,” he said. “And if you’re not the answer, you’re screwed, right?”

Pay to play?

This puts companies like Amazon and Google—and, eventually, Apple and Microsoft—in position to demand top dollar for placing a brand’s skill at the top of its directory or making it the first result in a voice search.

“It’s analogous to buying spots in the app store for a particular category,” said Golvin. “If someone is searching for word games, you can pay Apple to be the first result.”

Amazon declined to comment on whether it planned to monetize voice searches in the future, while a spokesperson for Google provided the following statement: “Similar to what we’ve done with other products, our initial goal is to provide users with a great Assistant experience. While we don’t have any plans to share right now, we’re looking at ways to create a business model that will also provide that great user experience.”

But some brands, fearing that they will be disintermediated in the same way that they were in the early days of Facebook, are concerned about big companies like Google and Amazon having such a powerful position in the voice assistance market, noted Susan Etlinger, industry analyst for Altimeter Group.

“In 2007, brands were asking, ‘If we create a Facebook page, and Facebook gets all the data, what is that going to look like 10 years from now?’” she said. “And now we know what that looks like. But at the same time, there’s undeniable value in it. So it’s a really tough decision.”

Source: This article was published adweek.com By Dan Tynan

Categorized in Search Engine

Private browsing using the supposedly private or incognito modes on your regular browser does not give you the level of privacy you think it does. You might not want to be tracked and have made it clear to your default browser as to the fact, but you know that’s not the case when ads that are related to your recent searches turn up on Facebook or inside your Gmail.

When in doubt, opt for private search engines instead. Private Search Engines are the search engines that do not store your queries or track your steps on the Internet.

There’s actually quite a number of them with a range of features and methods to keep your searches safe. Most of these search engines are not much to look at but they’re not here to look pretty, they’re here to give you a safe way to search for things that matter to you.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is one of the most secure search engines that never tracks your searches while providing you an enhanced search experience. It’s purposely built for people who love to remain private, and delivers instant results without tailored ads on the search pages. This search engine serves 10M+ searches a day.

duckduckgo
WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha is a computable search engine that provides accurate answers and offers open knowledge. It’s a knowledge-packed private search engine which nonetheless does not track what you search for.

This private search engine performs dynamic calculations using inbuilt algorithms and delivers expert knowledge about people, calculations, health & medicines, money & finance, music & movies and much more.

WolframAlpha
Startpage

Startpage works powerfully to provide search results while protecting your searches and avoiding tracking your steps. It offers browsing through a proxy server to help protect you from websites tracking your IP address or location. You can add it to your browser, on Chrome or Firefox, and even change its color theme.

Startpage
Privatelee

It’s not much to look at but Privatelee enables secure searches and strict filters if you need it. This search engine doesn’t keeps your search keywords to be used for ads or surveillance. Privatelee offers ‘PowerSearch‘ commands that lets you configure the search source and more. It is also known by an alternative name Qrobe.it.

Yippy

With Yippy, you can manually filter the results category-wise and flag any inappropriate result. Unlike some engines, Yippy allows searching of many types of content including web, images, news, jobs, blogs, government data, etc.

Yippy also lets you view cached pages (like Google) and filter results by tag clouds, sources, websites. It does not track your search queries and doesn’t show customized ads.

Hulbee

Hulbee is a private search solution that delivers instant searches while not tracking your search or location history. Hulbee provides intelligent information yet never analyses or stores its visitors’ information.

Your searches are all encrypted for security against middleman attacks and data leaks. Among its options: choosing a region for most relevant search results and even lets you ‘clear your activity‘ to avoid leaving any trace overall.

Hulbee
Gibiru

Gibiru offers fully uncensored yet encrypted search engine to prevent data leaks to any third parties. Gibiru works faster than most private search engines because it uses ‘Google Custom Search‘ to provide its service. It does however remove all tracking methods used by Google.

It also offers a free Firefox/Chrome search bar to help you make anonymous searches right from your browser.

Disconnect Search

Disconnect Search uses content search assistance from major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo but never tracks your online searches or activities or IP address. Disconnect Search lets you surf by location so that you can get location specific relevant results based on the location of your choice. It clearly informs about the tools that which are protected and unprotected, letting you choose which to use.

Lukol

Lukol uses a proxy server to deliver customized search results from Google using its enhanced custom search yet conserves your privacy by removing traceable entities. Lukol is considered as one of the best private search engines that protects from online fraudsters and keeps the spammers away by safeguarding you from misleading or inappropriate sites. It ensures full anonymity of your searches.

Disconnect Search
MetaGer

MetaGer lets you make confidential untraceable searches that leave no footprints. It also integrates a proxy server so that you can open any link anonymously from the search result pages and yet keep your IP address hidden from the destination server. It also never tracks your keywords.

This prohibits third parties or advertisers to target you for ads or any of malicious attacks. Its default language is in German.

Gigablast

Gigablast indexes billions of web pages and provides real time info without tracking your online searches or browsing history. It is considered as one of the best private search engines that keeps you almost entirely hidden to marketers and spammers.

Gigablast offers searching with certain customizations and optional parameters like searching by exact phrase, languages, terms, filetypes and many more.

Oscobo

Oscobo is an anonymous search engine that allows no tracking of any type. This search engine does not store or track user data in any way, nor does it let any third party hack or misuse users’ data.

Like a few of the private search engines here, it lets you search for information, images, videos, news, etc. It also offers a Chrome extension for making searches.

Source: This article was published hongkiat.com By Ashutosh KS

Categorized in Search Engine

Don't get caught off guard by limitations you weren't aware of! Columnist Patrick Stox shares 20 Google limitations that may impact SEO efforts.

Google has a lot of different tools, and while they handle massive amounts of data, even Google has its limits. Here are some of the limits you may eventually run into.

1. 1,000 properties in Google Search Console

Per Google’s Search Console Help documentation, “You can add up to 1,000 properties (websites or mobile apps) to your Search Console account.”

2. 1,000 rows in Google Search Console

Many of the data reports within Google Search Console are limited to 1,000 rows in the interface, but you can usually download more. That’s not true of all of the reports, however (like the HTML improvements section, which doesn’t seem to have that limit).

3. Google Search Console will show up to 200 site maps

The limit for the number submitted is higher, but you will only be shown 200. Each of those could be an index file as well, which seems to have a display limit of 400 site maps in each. You could technically add each page of a website in its own site map file and bundle those into site map index files and be able to see the individual indexation of 80,000 pages in each property… not that I recommend this.

4. Disavow file size has a limit of 2MB and 100,000 URLs

According to Search Engine Roundtable, this is one of the errors that you can receive when submitting a disavow file.

5. Render in Google Search Console cuts off at 10,000 pixels

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller had mentioned that there was a cutoff for the “Fetch as Google” feature, and it looks like that cutoff is 10,000 pixels, based on testing.

6. Google My Business allows 100 characters in a business name

GMB Name 100 character limit

7. 10 million hits per month per property in GA (Google Analytics)

Once you’ve reached this limit, you’ll either be sampled or have to upgrade.

8. Robots.txt max size is 500KB

As stated on Google’s Robots.txt Specifications page, “A maximum file size may be enforced per crawler. Content which is after the maximum file size may be ignored. Google currently enforces a size limit of 500 kilobytes (KB).”

9. Sitemaps are limited to 50MB (uncompressed) and 50,000 URLs

Per Google’s Search Console Help documentation:

All formats limit a single sitemap to 50MB (uncompressed) and 50,000 URLs. If you have a larger file or more URLs, you will have to break it into multiple sitemaps. You can optionally create a sitemap index file (a file that points to a list of sitemaps) and submit that single index file to Google. You can submit multiple sitemaps and/or sitemap index files to Google.

10. Keep URLs to 2,083 or fewer characters

While Google doesn’t have a limit, you probably shouldn’t go over Internet Explorer’s limit of 2,083 characters in the URL.

11. Google’s crawl limit per page is a couple hundred MBs

That is according to Google’s John Mueller and represents a significant jump from the 10MB limit in 2015.

12. Keep the number of links on a page to a few thousand at most

While Google doesn’t have a hard limit on the number of links per page, they do recommendkeeping it to “a reasonable number,” clarifying that this number is “a few thousand at most.”

13. 5 redirect hops at one time

Google’s John Mueller has said that Googlebot will follow up to five redirects at the same time. I don’t know if anyone has ever looked into the total number Google will follow. I did a little digging in Google Search Console and found one page still showing links as “via intermediate links” with a 10-hop chain. Yes, the original still showed in that case, but I also found some others that were cut off at six hops, even though they had more in the chain. I would say keep it to as few as you can, just in case.

14. No limit on word count on a page

It’s often recommended to keep it to 250 words, but there’s really no limit.

15. Google search limits to 32 words

Google search 32 word limit

Fun fact: Each word is also limited to 128 characters.

16. 16 words on alt text

While there’s not really a limit per se, this test is still live, and only the first 16 seem to count.

17. There is no limit to how many times a site can show on first page

That’s right, one domain can take the entire page if it’s relevant enough. Just check out the example below:

one domain taking all serp positions

18. YouTube maximum upload size is 128 GB or 12 hours

Per the YouTube Help documentation:

The maximum file size that you can upload is 128 GB or 12 hours, whichever is less. We’ve changed the limits on uploads in the past, so you may see older videos that are longer than 12 hours.

19. Google Keyword Planner limits you to 700

You are limited to 700 keywords in Keyword Ideas. This is also the limit when uploading a file to get search volume and trends, but you can upload 3,000 keywords at a time to the forecaster.

20. YouTube’s counter limit

YouTube’s counter used to be a 32-bit integer, limiting the possible video views it would show to a little over 2 billion (2,147,483,647). YouTube now uses a 64-bit integer, which can show ~9.22 quintillion views (9,223,372,036,854,775,808).

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Patrick Stox

Categorized in Search Engine

The price of houses is dictated by much more than the number of bedrooms.

What are seen as the best neighbourhoods in Sheffield changes over the decades as trends, jobs and schools alter within them.

 At at time when online firms are battling hard to convince customers that they offer the same services as traditional estate agents, trust means everything.

You only have to drive through the grand, old houses of Attercliffe and then look at their price-tags to understand that.

Correlating school ratings with property values also paints a painfully stark picture. We sit in what is described in this week’s Voices as our “comfort zones”, not daring to question where the grass is actually greenest.

That debate will never end but it is good for all if we get to know every area of Sheffield, rather than just our tiny corner.

I think the Telegraph has a role to play in that. It has been Sheffield’s property paper for many decades.

Today I am delighted that we have doubled the size of our homes supplement and have bigger plans for the future. Both our editorial and commercial teams have refocused their efforts because it has been made very clear to me that you, our readers, want property ads as well as information.

What we offer is not the same as that of internet search engines.

We give inspiration outside of defined boxes and allow browsing that might not start as house-hunting but often ends that way.

At at time when online firms are battling hard to convince customers that they offer the same services as traditional estate agents, trust means everything.

We will continue to work alongside Sheffield’s many and varied estate agents and we will continue to give them your feedback.

We will continue to work alongside Sheffield’s many and varied estate agents and we will continue to give them your feedback.

If there is something you would like to see in the Telegraph’s property guide - a feature, series or focus - let me know. There is much more to our neighbourhoods than buying or selling houses at the right price, but interest will always thrive because it is the biggest investment most of us make.

Source: This article was published sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk By NANCY FIELDER

Categorized in Search Engine

There have never been so many online learning resources, but that has a downside.

It's hard to overstate the vastness and confusion of the online learning ecosystem circa 2017.

It's a realm that extends from online mirrors of university classes and even whole degree programs to niche tutorial subscriptions like Angular University to pioneers like Coursera. As someone who's done it, just approaching the Google search bar with a topic of interest is unlikely to yield a tutorial or course or program that's really ideal for the learner. There are too many variables: time commitment, workload, cost, interactivity, length, skill-level, prestige, certification (if any). And this is on top of all of the usual confounding search engine noise.

Part of the problem when it comes to programming and development skills is that there are many skills subsets (or stacks) and to newcomers it's not always clear how to gain those skills in an optimal way. It's actually really easy to find an extremely suboptimal learning path, by, say, trying to muddle through a course out of your depth or by focusing on a skill that's heading for obsolescence.

Surely there are busloads of would-be programmers that have just been turned off by the messiness of the whole thing: programming languages, transpiled programming languages, transpilers, programming language frameworks, web frameworks, HTML, compiled HTML, CSS, SASS, APIs, Amazon Web Services, containers services, reactive programming, functional programming, imperative programming, object-oriented programming, WebStorm, Atom, Sublime Text, Vim, and on and on and on. I could try and tell you a right way of navigating all of the skill trees involved in web development (or other sorts of development), but even if I came up with an optimal learning path, this stuff is changing all the time. 

Enter Learn Anything. It's kind of a search engine. The basic idea is that you punch in a skillset you'd like to learn and it will return not a Google-like list of results, but a skill tree offering a clear way of navigating an optimized learning path. Included with that tree are links to curated learning resources. The content is all open-source and open to contributors, whose participation seems pretty neccessary to keeping Learn Anything useful.

Source: This article was published motherboard.vice.com By MICHAEL BYRNE

Categorized in Search Engine

Search engine alternatives to that of Yahoo, Google, and Bing, are highly sought by some users who really value privacy. If you are not fond of being tracked, below are some of the helpful best search engine alternatives you may want to check.

on the list for privacy-conscious individuals would be DuckDuckGo. The privacy statement alone assures users that it does not log personally identifiable information, according to How To Geek.

The said site has been gaining audiences since it was first launched back in 2008. The sense of anonymity has been highly valued by the site, which is why DuckDuckGo does not take note of cookies, user agents, and IP addresses.

However, if you can't get enough Google as your search engine, then you might want to try visiting Startpage. This particular search engine works by submitting your search to Google and returning the results to you.

What Google will actually see is not your information, but rather vast amount of searches from  Startpage's servers. Thus, keeping your privacy intact.

Similar to Startpage, Ixquick also functions the same. However, instead of searching on Google alone, it searches other sources.

Both sites somehow share basic site design and functionalities. Such connection may be associated with the fact that Ixquick is also being run by the same company running Startpage.

Another alternative also is Blekko. Although slightly similar to the aforementioned sites, Blekko records personally identifiable information, but would eventually delete it within 48 hours in contrast to that of Google's nine months policy.

Using Blekko may be something new for some users. The said site utilizes an initiative called slashtags, which makes use of "/" slash character for custom or categorized searches, according to Search Engine Watch.

If you really value your privacy, it would not hurt a bit to try the above-mentioned top and best search engine alternatives. Despite not being known to everyone, they serve their purpose very well.

Watch here below ways to be anonymous online:

Source: This article was published telegiz.com By Jacques Strauss

Categorized in Search Engine

One of the biggest reasons why many organizations are not doing even simple things to help people find their websites in search engines is they simply don’t understand how search engines work. This article is intended to explain the basics of how search engines work and in the course of doing so shatter some search engine myths and help you understand what you can do to help people find your website in search engines.

What is a search engine?

The first to step to understanding how search engines work is to understand what a search engine is. The simplest explanation is that search engine is a tool for finding things online. There are many different types of search engines but they can be put into two major categories…

Human-Powered Directories

The first “search engines” were not actually search engines as we think of them today, but searchable directories of websites organized by hierarchical categories. A site is added to a directory when the website owner fills out a submission form on the directory’s website requesting their site be included in the directory and include their website’s title, description, URL (web address), and category. A moderator later reviews the site and if it meets the directory’s criteria a listing for that site is added or activated. The original Yahoo was originally a human-powered directory, and directories like Open Directory Project continue on today.

The downside of the human-powered search engine is that it only includes websites that have been submitted to it, which means you may not find what you’re looking for especially if it’s a new web page. The other downside from the directories’ point of view is that reviewing every site submitted is very labor-intensive and costly. I know because my company’s “search engine”, OurChurch.Com’s Directory of Christian Websites, like almost all church/Christian “search engines”, is a human-powered directory.

Crawler/Spider-Powered Search Engines

The next generation of search engines has programs which actively seek out new sites and read them into their indexes. These programs are called crawlers, spiders, robots, or bots. All of largest and most popular search engines today are of this type, including Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.

The rest of this article is focused on how these crawler/spider-powered search engines work because more than 99% of searches are done on this type of search engine.

The Crawler

As mentioned above, the first part of a search engine is the crawler (AKA spider, robot, and bot). The crawler reads pages into the search engine raw database of every page the search engine crawler has read. Some important things to know about crawlers…

1) Search bots periodically reread every web page in their database. Why does this matter?

* You don’t have to do anything when you change your site. If your site is already listed in a search engine and you make changes to your website, search engines will eventually update their information.
* You do have to be patient. The frequency of re-crawling varies depending on the search engine, the importance of your site (as determined by the search engines), and how often you update it. It could take a day or it could take more than a week.

2) Search bots follow links on the pages that have already been crawled in order to find new pages. Why does this matter?

* If you add a new page to your website or create a new website, it’s important to add a link to it on a web page that is already in the search engines.
* If a web page that is already in the search engines has a link to your new page or new website, you do not need to submit a request to the search engines to crawl the new page or website, though it may still be worth doing just to be sure your website will be found quickly.

3) Some search engines have forms you can submit to request a website be crawled.Why does this matter?

* If you have a new website and no sites link to it, search bots will not be able to find it. In this case, submitting a form to the search engine requesting your site be listed or indexed can get it into search engines.
* Because human-powered directories do not have search bots/crawlers, to be listed in them you must submit a request form.

The Ranking Algorithm

Some time after a web page has been crawled by the search bot or crawler, the search engine then processes or indexes the page to determine what search words and phrases the page is relevant to as well as how relevant that page is compared with other web pages for those phrases. During this processing the search engine looks at many different factors including how many times each word and phrase occurs on the page, which words are in headings or bold, the domain name of the site, filename of the page, the pages that link to the page, and many more.

Exactly which factors a search engine looks at and how they’re weighted is called the search engine’s search ranking algorithm. It’s like the search engine’s “secret sauce.” Each search engine’s algorithm is different and each is a heavily guarded secret.

Why does this matter?

* There is time between when your site is crawled (or recrawled) and when it is processed or indexed. So, it can take as little as a few hours to many days or weeks before changes to your website may produce changes in its search rankings.
* Because each search engine’s ranking algorithm is different, a web page can be #1 in Google but #20 in Yahoo for a particular phrase.
* Because each search algorithm is a heavily guarded secret nobody outside of a few select engineers at each search engine knows exactly how much each particular factor weighs into the rankings of each search engine. But, people who spend their professional lives helping sites rank better in search engines have gained very good idea as to what factors matter most.
* Because the search ranking algorithms look at text, headings, and other elements on a web page, changing things on the web page can change where that web page appears in the search results.
* Search ranking algorithms look at factors outside of a web page, such as the age of a website and links to the web page. So, there are other factors which you may have less influence over.

The goal of every search engine is to display to the user the information or websites the user is looking for. In other words every search engine wants to provide the best, most relevant results. As a result, search engines are constantly improving their algorithms and including new factors which they think will produce better search results. Why does this matter? As search algorithms change, so will your website’s search engine rankings.

The Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) 
The crawling of websites and indexing of web pages are constantly going on even when no one is searching. The last part in the search process is part that you’re probably most familiar with – the actual search. You type in a word, short phrase, or question, and the search engine displays a list of websites.

That list of websites is called the search engine results page and sometimes referred to as the SERPs.

If you do a search and look at the SERP, you’ll notice two columns. Above the right column it says “Sponsored Links.” These are paid advertisements. The companies and organizations listed here pay a fee to Google for each person who clicks their ad, so they’re often referred to as Pay-Per-Click or PPC ads.

In the left column are the unpaid search results also sometimes called the organic results or natural results. These are the websites the search engine believes are most relevant to the search phrase that was queried. Sometimes search engines also display sponsored links in the left column above the natural results or will even place a block of pay-per-click ads in the middle of the natural results. Sponsored links are always labeled, though not always very clearly.

Why does this matter?

From the searcher’s perspective, there is nothing wrong with clicking on a paid link. You may find what you’re looking for there. But it’s important to be aware of which websites paid to be in the results and which are there naturally.

From the web administrator’s perspective, it’s important to understand there are two opportunities to get to the top of the search engine rankings, through natural results and by purchasing pay-per-click advertising.

Help the Search Engines
With a better understanding how search engines work, you can make better decisions about the marketing of your website though search engines. Search engines need your help to find your website and to know what words and phrases it’s relevant for. Give them the help they need. That’s where search engine optimization comes in, but I’ll get to that on another day.

Kurt Steinbrueck is the author of the Church Marketing Online blog. He has been Director of Marketing Services with Ourchurch.Com for over 5 years providing Christian search engine optimization services including services specific for church marketing solutions and private school marketing. Kurt is also a Deacon at his church.
Source: This article was published goodherald.com
Categorized in Search Engine

Advances in search engines make it seem like they can read your mind. But as a marketer, how can you read the minds of search engines – to know what they like, what they don’t, and how they’re working?

Well, you can’t read the mind of Google, but you can read seven insights from the Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin, which he shared in his presentation, The Absolute Most Up-to-Date Presentation on What the Heck is Going on With Search Engines, at Content Marketing World 2016.

Rand likes to count down so I’ll honor his approach in this post.

7. Google is still growing but others are too

Sure, Google has become ubiquitous – and even a verb. It consistently receives over 85% of all search engine traffic in North America, according to Gs.StatCounter.

.@Google consistently receives over 85% of all search engine traffic in NA via @statcountergs. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

While it remains king, it isn’t the only site where people search. Though still used by less than 1% of searchers, DuckDuckGo is the fastest-growing search engine, mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t track searches or users.

But don’t think of search simply in the framework of search-engine platforms. YouTube, actually, is the No. 2 search engine. Facebook, for example, is eager to keep visitors on its site and has become a growing resource used by searchers.

And don’t forget one of, if not the, largest commercial search “engine” of all – Amazon.com.

The largest commercial search engine is @amazon, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

AmazonvWebSearch

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Don’t ignore a search channel because it’s not Google.
  • See where your competitors get their search traffic (SimilarWeb PRO is a resource for this).
  • Apply different tactics in your content to reach audiences on different sites. (For example, this article shares Amazon’s ranking factors.)
  • Deliver content for multiple search engines. (For example, Moz uploads a video to its own website because it wants to rank for it on Google. Three months later, it publishes the same video to YouTube to gain traction there.)
 

6. Google now answers simple queries – users don’t need to click

If your site is the top resource to answer a simple question, Google is taking your information and sharing it directly on the search page (featured snippet). You don’t even get a click.

FeaturedSnippetSunglassesExample

Now a site with the premium No. 1 position on the results page appears twice (in the published answer from Google [Rand refers to this as the “0” position] and in the No. 1 position).

Moz thought it would lose traffic as Google revealed the answers, but traffic grew. In contrast, some sites have lost by some estimates up to 50% of their traffic – half of their search volume is now satisfied by the featured snippets, visual carousel results, and Google Maps pages that show up in results before organic links.

VisualCarouselMapExample

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Research your keywords to pick ones with higher click-through rates. (You can estimate CTRs in Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner or use Moz’s Keyword Explorer for specific numbers.)
  • Focus on structuring your content to be a featured snippet in search engines. (Learn more about structuring for snippets in this article.)

Focus on structuring your #content to be a featured snippet in search engines, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

 

5. Keyword data is more obfuscated, less reliable, and less accessible

When you peruse your keywords in AdWords’ Keyword Planner, do you wonder how the same number of searches occurs for several phrases? What are the chances two keywords will be searched for the same number of times? Well, the number in the Keyword Planner is only an estimate and is based on an overlapping range.

As Rand shares, those keyword volume search numbers don’t mean what you think they do. And when it has no related suggestions for high-volume queries, don’t believe it. Interpret the available data using other resources and research.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • View AdWords’ keyword volumes as relative comparisons and ranges.
  • Use Google Trends for more accurate volume comparison.
  • Bid (and pay) for Google ads incorporating your keywords to discover the best data about volume, conversions, and trends (Google shows the total impressions to customers).
  • Don’t rely exclusively on suggested related keywords in AdWords.
  • Use these research extensions (1) search, (2) people also search, (3) similar page ranks, (4) semantically connected, (5) topically related, (6) questions concerning these.

TIP: Suggested free tools (some have paid versions too) for some or all of those research extensions include SEMRushKeywordTool.ioMoz Keyword ExplorerUbersuggest, and Answer the Public.

 

4. Twitter is Google’s primary platform for social results

Even Google doesn’t like GooglePlus anymore. Content from Twitter now shows up more than any other social media platform. MozCast research reveals that content from Twitter shows up in 6.6% of Google searches. And more than one in 20 searches include results from Twitter.

.@Twitter #content shows up in 6.6% of @Google searches, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Search for your keywords on Twitter and see which people (handles) are talking about it.
  • Remember engagement and recency govern display of tweets.
  • Develop a strategy to reach influencers on Twitter who are using your keywords, including hashtags, trending topics, news.
  • If you share in Google+ now, keep doing it as it still has some benefits. If you don’t use Google+, continue to ignore it.
 

3. There are more nontraditional ways to get into Google than ever before

Only 3% of search results reflect the “classic 10 blue links,” according to Moz’s research.  Focusing only on securing those classic results dramatically reduces organic click-through rates.

As such, various content search types – knowledge panels, images, related questions, videos, featured snippets, knowledge cards, etc. – are attractive to Google.

Knowledge panels, images, related questions, videos, featured snippets are attractive to @Google. @randfishCLICK TO TWEET

However, it isn’t as easy as adding more video to your site. Google restricts what sites can get into certain types of content listings. For example, video snippets only appear from YouTube and Vimeo. On mobile, more kinds of searches are limited to particular networks, such as apps from Google Play and the iPhone App Store.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Analyze which types of SERPs appear for the keywords you care most about.
  • Determine what verticals and SERP types you should optimize for. (For example, if you see images in the SERP, you might want to add some visual charts to text-only content.)
  • If you can’t break into a particular SERP format, consider alternative ways. (For example, instead of “Seattle sights,” you could optimize for “Seattle sightseeing map.”)
  • Be on the right platforms for keyword search.

PlatformsforSEO

 

2. Matching searcher intent is more important than matching searcher keywords

Google strongly seeks to deliver content that the searcher wants to find. Keyword targeting is still needed, but it’s no longer a competitive advantage. Marketers must consider search intent more than they ever have.

Matching searcher intent is more important than matching searcher keywords, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

SearcherIntentonGoogle2

Your content’s SEO must be more sophisticated, incorporating not just raw keywords but also related keywords and addressing related topics.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Use keywords in page title, meta description, URL, and first few paragraphs.
  • Incorporate related topics – as identified on search results pages – into your content to indicate its relevance to the primary keyword/topic.
  • Serve keywords with matching intent together on one page.
  • Provide thorough answers to a searcher’s query.
  • Offer unique value over what other sites provide – not just unique content but value searchers can’t get from other answers in search results.
 

1. Machine learning and engagement are Google’s future

RankBrain, one component of Google’s artificial intelligence, enables queries to be interpreted better. For example, it interprets a search for “highest quality mobile phones” by returning results with phrases such as “best smart phones,” “best mobile devices,“ “best phones.”

Google also evaluates users, usage, and engagement rates. If a site ranks high for a topic but gets only a few clicks – or lots of clicks but quick returns to the search results page, Google will push the site down in the rankings, and move up content that better satisfies searchers.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Make the user experience the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.
  • Don’t let bad pages drag down your rankings. Your overall site’s search engagement reputation influences all your pages. (Eliminate bad search-engagement pages and you could see your rankings on other pages rise.)
  • Serve multiple searcher intents, not just your brand’s intent.
  • Avoid features that dissuade or annoy.
  • Ensure that your site loads as fast as possible.
  • Deliver an easy, enjoyable experience on any device.

Eliminate bad search-engagement pages to see your rankings on other pages rise, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

Conclusion

Now you know the seven things about what’s going on with search engines. More importantly, you now have 25-plus tips to help your company evolve in this ever-changing world of SEO. And if you only can take away one thing from Rand’s advice, I vote for this one, “Make the user experience the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.”

Please note: All tools included in this blog post are suggested by the Content Marketing World presenter, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Source: This article was published contentmarketinginstitute.com By ANN GYNN

Advances in search engines make it seem like they can read your mind. But as a marketer, how can you read the minds of search engines – to know what they like, what they don’t, and how they’re working?

Well, you can’t read the mind of Google, but you can read seven insights from the Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin, which he shared in his presentation, The Absolute Most Up-to-Date Presentation on What the Heck is Going on With Search Engines, at Content Marketing World 2016.

Rand likes to count down so I’ll honor his approach in this post.

7. Google is still growing but others are too

Sure, Google has become ubiquitous – and even a verb. It consistently receives over 85% of all search engine traffic in North America, according to Gs.StatCounter.

.@Google consistently receives over 85% of all search engine traffic in NA via @statcountergs. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

While it remains king, it isn’t the only site where people search. Though still used by less than 1% of searchers, DuckDuckGo is the fastest-growing search engine, mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t track searches or users.

But don’t think of search simply in the framework of search-engine platforms. YouTube, actually, is the No. 2 search engine. Facebook, for example, is eager to keep visitors on its site and has become a growing resource used by searchers.

And don’t forget one of, if not the, largest commercial search “engine” of all – Amazon.com.

The largest commercial search engine is @amazon, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

AmazonvWebSearch

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Don’t ignore a search channel because it’s not Google.
  • See where your competitors get their search traffic (SimilarWeb PRO is a resource for this).
  • Apply different tactics in your content to reach audiences on different sites. (For example, this article shares Amazon’s ranking factors.)
  • Deliver content for multiple search engines. (For example, Moz uploads a video to its own website because it wants to rank for it on Google. Three months later, it publishes the same video to YouTube to gain traction there.)

6. Google now answers simple queries – users don’t need to click

If your site is the top resource to answer a simple question, Google is taking your information and sharing it directly on the search page (featured snippet). You don’t even get a click.

FeaturedSnippetSunglassesExample

Now a site with the premium No. 1 position on the results page appears twice (in the published answer from Google [Rand refers to this as the “0” position] and in the No. 1 position).

Moz thought it would lose traffic as Google revealed the answers, but traffic grew. In contrast, some sites have lost by some estimates up to 50% of their traffic – half of their search volume is now satisfied by the featured snippets, visual carousel results, and Google Maps pages that show up in results before organic links.

VisualCarouselMapExample

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Research your keywords to pick ones with higher click-through rates. (You can estimate CTRs in Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner or use Moz’s Keyword Explorer for specific numbers.)
  • Focus on structuring your content to be a featured snippet in search engines. (Learn more about structuring for snippets in this article.)
Focus on structuring your #content to be a featured snippet in search engines, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

5. Keyword data is more obfuscated, less reliable, and less accessible

When you peruse your keywords in AdWords’ Keyword Planner, do you wonder how the same number of searches occurs for several phrases? What are the chances two keywords will be searched for the same number of times? Well, the number in the Keyword Planner is only an estimate and is based on an overlapping range.

As Rand shares, those keyword volume search numbers don’t mean what you think they do. And when it has no related suggestions for high-volume queries, don’t believe it. Interpret the available data using other resources and research.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • View AdWords’ keyword volumes as relative comparisons and ranges.
  • Use Google Trends for more accurate volume comparison.
  • Bid (and pay) for Google ads incorporating your keywords to discover the best data about volume, conversions, and trends (Google shows the total impressions to customers).
  • Don’t rely exclusively on suggested related keywords in AdWords.
  • Use these research extensions (1) search, (2) people also search, (3) similar page ranks, (4) semantically connected, (5) topically related, (6) questions concerning these.

TIP: Suggested free tools (some have paid versions too) for some or all of those research extensions include SEMRushKeywordTool.ioMoz Keyword ExplorerUbersuggest, and Answer the Public.

4. Twitter is Google’s primary platform for social results

Even Google doesn’t like GooglePlus anymore. Content from Twitter now shows up more than any other social media platform. MozCast research reveals that content from Twitter shows up in 6.6% of Google searches. And more than one in 20 searches include results from Twitter.

.@Twitter #content shows up in 6.6% of @Google searches, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Search for your keywords on Twitter and see which people (handles) are talking about it.
  • Remember engagement and recency govern display of tweets.
  • Develop a strategy to reach influencers on Twitter who are using your keywords, including hashtags, trending topics, news.
  • If you share in Google+ now, keep doing it as it still has some benefits. If you don’t use Google+, continue to ignore it.

3. There are more nontraditional ways to get into Google than ever before

Only 3% of search results reflect the “classic 10 blue links,” according to Moz’s research.  Focusing only on securing those classic results dramatically reduces organic click-through rates.

As such, various content search types – knowledge panels, images, related questions, videos, featured snippets, knowledge cards, etc. – are attractive to Google.

Knowledge panels, images, related questions, videos, featured snippets are attractive to @Google. @randfishCLICK TO TWEET

However, it isn’t as easy as adding more video to your site. Google restricts what sites can get into certain types of content listings. For example, video snippets only appear from YouTube and Vimeo. On mobile, more kinds of searches are limited to particular networks, such as apps from Google Play and the iPhone App Store.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Analyze which types of SERPs appear for the keywords you care most about.
  • Determine what verticals and SERP types you should optimize for. (For example, if you see images in the SERP, you might want to add some visual charts to text-only content.)
  • If you can’t break into a particular SERP format, consider alternative ways. (For example, instead of “Seattle sights,” you could optimize for “Seattle sightseeing map.”)
  • Be on the right platforms for keyword search.

PlatformsforSEO

2. Matching searcher intent is more important than matching searcher keywords

Google strongly seeks to deliver content that the searcher wants to find. Keyword targeting is still needed, but it’s no longer a competitive advantage. Marketers must consider search intent more than they ever have.

Matching searcher intent is more important than matching searcher keywords, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

SearcherIntentonGoogle2

Your content’s SEO must be more sophisticated, incorporating not just raw keywords but also related keywords and addressing related topics.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Use keywords in page title, meta description, URL, and first few paragraphs.
  • Incorporate related topics – as identified on search results pages – into your content to indicate its relevance to the primary keyword/topic.
  • Serve keywords with matching intent together on one page.
  • Provide thorough answers to a searcher’s query.
  • Offer unique value over what other sites provide – not just unique content but value searchers can’t get from other answers in search results.

1. Machine learning and engagement are Google’s future

RankBrain, one component of Google’s artificial intelligence, enables queries to be interpreted better. For example, it interprets a search for “highest quality mobile phones” by returning results with phrases such as “best smart phones,” “best mobile devices,“ “best phones.”

Google also evaluates users, usage, and engagement rates. If a site ranks high for a topic but gets only a few clicks – or lots of clicks but quick returns to the search results page, Google will push the site down in the rankings, and move up content that better satisfies searchers.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Make the user experience the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.
  • Don’t let bad pages drag down your rankings. Your overall site’s search engagement reputation influences all your pages. (Eliminate bad search-engagement pages and you could see your rankings on other pages rise.)
  • Serve multiple searcher intents, not just your brand’s intent.
  • Avoid features that dissuade or annoy.
  • Ensure that your site loads as fast as possible.
  • Deliver an easy, enjoyable experience on any device.
Eliminate bad search-engagement pages to see your rankings on other pages rise, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

Conclusion

Now you know the seven things about what’s going on with search engines. More importantly, you now have 25-plus tips to help your company evolve in this ever-changing world of SEO. And if you only can take away one thing from Rand’s advice, I vote for this one, “Make the user experience the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.”

Please note: All tools included in this blog post are suggested by the Content Marketing World presenter, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Categorized in Search Engine

Over the past couple of years, Google and Yahoo have played a pivotal role in the digital world. Not only are they the top, most used search engines with the highest market penetration, they also play a major role in the computer software industry.

Even though Google has created a strong brand name, Yahoo is not far behind. In fact, in certain aspects, Yahoo outweighs Google. The rivalry of these two search engines has continued to evolve at a rapid pace.

Users always prefer one search engine over the other, but what actually makes the said engine better or worse is often not understood and considered by them. Here are some ways how you can compare the performance and value of these two search engines.

The most valuable thing a search engine can offer is generating the most relevant search results for their users. Not to generalize, but users all over the world prefer a search engine which is able to deliver the most fulfilling and satisfying results for their search queries. While it is slightly difficult to measure relevancy as it depends upon user to user experience, an experiment showed that Yahoo generates more relevant results with a slightly higher relevancy degree of 4.8 compared to Google’s 4.6. On the other hand Google provides much more concise results. It offers a preview of information on the right column of the search engine result page which users find extremely beneficial.

Google algorithm is known to be much better than of any other search engine. This is because it favors quality content over well-established links and pages unlike Yahoo which still prefers old and well established websites. Not only is Google good for users as it provides them with reliable and relevant results, it is also preferred by new bloggers and site owners because it gives them opportunity to build valuable links.

The ease of access and usage is another factor to determine which search engine is the best. Google provides the feature Google Instant which allows for much quicker and faster results without the user having to press enter. However, while Google offers its users such quick results, Yahoo’s homepage holds more attraction for its users. With a wide array of interactive features like news, sports, finance, weather and much more on their page; some users find it easy to access their required information and connect with the world.

Both Google and Yahoo offer different benefits. They both have different ranking systems and algorithms. However, this does not mean that one is better than the other. While most of the young people do prefer Google today, people who are older than 45 still seem to stick to Yahoo. You need to make a choice based on whichever search engine serves your purpose and goals the best.

However, when it comes to SEO, it is important that you concentrate on all search engines and not just one.

Source: This article was published business2community.com By Michael Wight

Categorized in Search Engine

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