Any Business Owner Who Wants to be Found on the Web Should List Their Website with All Major Search Engines and Directories. Web surfers who want privacy can take a few simple steps to secure their activity.
Did you know there are more than a dozen major search engines, and thousands of specific types of search portals worldwide? But if you’re not looking for something super specific, why would you use something other than Google Search? It’s the biggest search engine in all the land, and, more importantly for business owners, it’s connected to other large online properties such as YouTube and Google Plus.
However, while every business owner wants their company to be found on the Web, not every Web user wants to be tracked and blasted with online ads while surfing the Internet. And there are those who say the company is too intrusive in their online lives. These people would like, instead, the ability to have a clean, unmolested search and user experience.
If that’s what you’re looking for, check out some of these alternative search engines compiled by Craig Daniels on his Listly page. I say some because several of the suggested alternatives also track user activity and display ads. StartPage.com is one search engine that offers “complete privacy!” The site uses Google search technology, but with none of tracking.
Other than wanting privacy, there is also the belief that alternative search engines level the playing field for the smaller players in search engine land. Meaning, a small business owner with a not-so-large budget for content marketing, SEO services or online advertising, might rank higher in search results once in a while. As well, more meaningful results will turn up for organic searches.
One aspect of using an alternative search engine is that we are supporting a deeper well of information and applauding the competition that grows as more players achieve success. — Craig Daniels via @Listly
However, it doesn’t seem so at first look, or, rather, first search, that the well is very deep. Or that more players are having an easier time climbing the ranking ladder.
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I conducted various simple searches for products and services using the exact same search terms on DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yahoo Search, Google and blekko. I cleared all cookies and Website browsing history so the search wouldn’t be affected by any of my previous Web activity. The search results turned up the same big players. For instance, a search for iPad Air 2 Cases came up with links to Apple, Amazon, BestBuy, PCMag, Logitech, Speck, Cases and Belkin among page one results.
All results were the same except for blekko. The search engine site, which claims to be “One of the Top Spam and Virus Free Search Engine(s),” categorized its search results, and the links listed were different than what the other search engines turned up. Although it did repeat two or three of the common sites under the Shopping category. The site uses an original search index plus “editorial evaluation” to come up with its unique results.
I also tried searching for “dog washing services Los Angeles.” Again, the bigger search engines turned up mostly the same sites. Especially with Google, Bing and Yahoo, which all offer map locations at the top of search page results. Google Search results were headed by at least four Yelp listings — not ads, but organic search results. A search for “How to tie a bow” yielded similar results among all engines, except blekko.
The unique thing about the dog washing services search: the most prominent results after the ads, were the directory and map listing results. Take a look at the screenshots I took of my Yahoo Search:
The moral of this story for people searching for things?
- For private Web surfing, set your browser to incognito or private, in addition to using one of the mentioned secure search engines on Daniels’ list.
- Go beyond at least page two to find something different.
- If you’re looking for specific answers to a question, bypass Google and try sites such as Quora, WikiHow or Ask.
What Should Business Owners Do?
Having a Website, a blog, and an active social network are just part of the Web presence puzzle. Submitting your Website URL to all major search engines, and listing your business with directories, especially the big players like Google Local and Bing, is a must.
If you’re a small to medium-size business owner, with a limited marketing budget, it may be difficult, but not impossible to compete with the big guys in organic searches. There are ways to make your business stand out from the rest. One is by focusing on your company’s unique qualities, and sharing this information by blogging, and taking part in social conversations online.
Niche businesses, where there aren’t many competitors online, might have an easier time in ranking higher, and more quickly, in searches. For example, a bookseller certainly won’t rank above Amazon in general for books online. But if that bookseller lists rare print editions on a certain subject, of course, they will have a leg up on the monolithic site. Just remember to use short and long-tailed keywords in all your descriptions and content online — but naturally. Don’t keyword stuff. A no-no for Google search.
Remember to take the following 3 steps:
- Claim your business on all major (and minor) online directories like Yelp, YellowPages, Google Local etc. Use a service like Yext as a way to find out a list of directories. The site offers paid services to list your business, but it’s something you can easily have an intern do.
- List your Website with all the major search engines. This requires submitting your Website URL, and verifying it through either uploading a page to your site or installing a tracking code. Here’s how to do it on Google with Google’s Webmaster Tools, and with Bing (a Yahoo search partner).
- Create and publish original, SEO content on a regular basis, and stay active on your social media networks.