Unconventional Search Engines – Think Outside the Box

Unconventional Search Engines – Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie, Home Agency

In today’s guest post, Home Agency’s Digital Strategy Director Lawrence Alexander, and Head of Technical SEO Neill Horie, provide an insight into the ten unconventional search engines that may be the answer to delivering your digital strategy and sales targets.

Don’t just rely on Google – take a look at the top 10 search engines people use to buy and make sure you’re doing all you can, including unconventional ones.

When it comes to making sure that their content and products are found, people often think about Google, but forget other platforms with a massive reach in terms of users, searches and sales. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 to help you think outside of the box and investigate some unconventional search engines.

  1. Google – 165,000,000,000 searches per month

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

The largest search engine in the world, with 2 trillion monthly searches per year1, or roughly 165 billion searches per month. Making sure that your content is visible in Google is typically the obvious first step.

 

 

2. Facebook – 30,000,000,000 searches per month

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

Facebook has a giant reach in search which is often overlooked, with well over 1 billion monthly usersand surpassing 30 billion search queries per month3. To no-one’s surprise, they’re also thinking about how to leverage that search, but are already well placed due to the amount of company information already present.

 

3. Bing – 24,000,000,000 searches per month

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

Bing have kept their search data statistics relatively quiet, but with 12% of global market share (including Yahoo!) versus Google’s 83%4, it’s definitely smaller than Google. Roughly 80% of its audience are in the USA (probably 19 billion monthly searches) and much of the rest in Canada5, however, meaning that it’s much less useful if your customers aren’t in North America. This may grow over time however, due to Alexa (Amazon Echo), Cortana (Windows 10) and Siri (iPhone) using Bing to power their search functionality.

4. YouTube – 1,000,000,000 active monthly users

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

Often considered the search engine which people don’t think about, YouTube’s reach is enormous, claiming a third of the world’s internet population amongst its users6. Shooting videos is often seen as too expensive, and the medium itself seen as ill-suited for many brands. This need not be true, as already in 2015, they claimed a year-on-year growth of 70% for “how to” queries7, which many brands may want to take advantage of, especially given its prevalence in voice search.

5. Instagram – 500,000,000 active monthly users

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

Not only does Instagram have a high number of monthly active users, but 80% of those users are outside of the USA8. Hidden from traditional search marketing due to being a closed, mobile-only system, it nevertheless helps 60% of its users – or 300 million people – find out about a product or service9.

 

6. Vimeo – 170,000,000 active monthly users

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

A slightly more exclusive video-sharing platform than YouTube10, Vimeo can be useful in more B2B-centric environments due to the cost-effective paid packages and absence of advertisements. Stats on internal searches within Vimeo are hard to come by, but Vimeo itself often ranks well in Google (albeit behind YouTube).

 

7. LinkedIn – 112,500,000 active monthly users

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

A widely used11 content hosting platform in addition to just a place to have business connections, LinkedIn is often a missed opportunity for people wanting to be found by determined searchers.

 

 

8. Pinterest – 150,000,000 active monthly users

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

At 150 monthly users12 and 2 billion monthly searches13, Pinterest may only be a fraction of the search volume seen by Google and Bing, but those users are actively interested in purchasing. 93% of users use Pinterest to plan for purchases14, 72% have seen something and bought it offline and whilst 52% have seen something and then purchased it online15.

 

9. Google+ – 40,000,000 active monthly users

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

Irrelevant for many people and typically considered dead, it has about 4-6 million actively posting users16, which could mean about 40 million users including lurkers. Nevertheless, it has value for the right audiences, particularly tech-savvy ones. For instance, Niantic, the developer behind Ingress and Pokemon Go, uses Google+ heavily for its communications17.

 

10. Amazon Echo/Alexa – 1,600,000 active owners at present

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box by Lawrence Alexander and Neill Horie

They may be new to the market, but (AI-driven) voice search and assistants are an onrushing trend to take advantage of. Alexa, for instance, only has 1.6 million active owners right now18, but not many businesses have skills – specific phrases you can associate with your products or services – developed yet competition is incredibly low.

This isn’t the end of the opportunities either, as there will often be specific opportunities available for your niche and situation. The important thing is to not restrict yourself to the main, most competitive method when other ways exist.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, you can catch-up with Lawrence and Neill at next week’s Search Leaders Masterclass in Manchester, where they’ll be delivering a session on – Sales before search: Why alternative search engines and ‘renting’ ranking space might be the answer to your sales targets.

Sources

  1. http://searchengineland.com/google-now-handles-2-999-trillion-searches-per-year-250247
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/
  3. http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/11/3317720/facebook-billion-search-queries-a-day
  4. https://www.further.co.uk/blog/who-what-and-when-profiling-google-yahoo-and-bing-search-demographics/
  5. https://www.aborg.com/2014/08/google-vs-bing-which-one-are-your-customers-using/
  6. https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html
  7. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/i-want-to-do-micro-moments.html
  8. https://www.instagram.com/press/
  9. http://blog.business.instagram.com/post/150771324916/instagram-advertiser-number
  10. https://vimeo.com/about/advertisers
  11. http://venturebeat.com/2016/08/04/linkedin-now-has-450-million-members-but-the-number-of-monthly-visitors-is-still-flat/
  12. https://blog.pinterest.com/en/150-million-people-finding-ideas-pinterest
  13. https://blog.pinterest.com/en/2-billion-monthly-idea-searches-and-counting
  14. https://www.millwardbrowndigital.com/pinterest-and-the-power-of-future-intent/
  15. https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/how-pinterest-drives-purchases-online-and
  16. https://ello.co/dredmorbius/post/naya9wqdemiovuvwvoyquq
  17. https://plus.google.com/+Nianticlabs
  18. http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-many-amazon-echo-smart-home-devices-have-been-installed-2016-6

Author Biogs

Lawrence Alexander - Home Agency

Lawrence is a strategist specialising in digital and brand communications. He’s worked with over 150 high street brands including Microsoft, Mashable, BMW, Sony and Unilever. Since 1999, Lawrence has been using a mixture of behavioural psychology and digital brand strategy to help businesses and brands achieve their business objectives.

 

Neill Horie, Head of Technical SEO at Home Agency - Search Leaders Masterclass, Manchester

Neill is Head of Technical SEO at The Home Agency with a passion for making things clearer via organisation. To that end, he’s involved in a projects in the hope that regardless of whether it’s a new website or an old product brochure, it’s clear what’s what.

 

 

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