What is the Best Search Engine to Optimize For?

We often talk of search engine optimization like a uniform landscape. The truth is there are a number of search engines populating our digital landscape, from the monster players like Google to niche market alternatives like Duck Duck Go. But is there really a best search engine to target if you want to optimize your SEO?

In practice these independent search engines all have slightly different rules and assessment criteria when it comes to the real definition of ‘search engine optimization’. It’s not that optimizing your online presence for one will incur some sort of penalty by another search engine. Bing isn’t going to flag you as naughty just because you’ve got your page titles written up in a way that Google likes to see.

When we’re talking about optimization though, we’re surely talking about the optimal opportunity? That’s where ensuring you’re making the most of your SEO services come into play. So here’s an exploration of the facts around search engine use and what that means for your SEO.

What is the world’s most popular search engine?

Google is by far the world’s most popular search engine. According to the latest figures, as of February 2018 Google accounted for 80.22% of total search engine market share globally.

Following behind Google comes Baidu, with 11.56% market share, Bing with 4.27% of market share, and then Yahoo! at 2.7%. 

Google – 80.22%

Baidu – 11.56%

Bing – 4.27%

Yahoo! – 2.7% 

Trailing in the footsteps of these global leaders come an array of weird and wonderful search engines like Ask, Duck Duck Go, and the delightfully named Dogpile. So, is it all settled… Google is in charge?

Is Google the most popular search engine in every country?

It’s important to remember that average market share doesn’t apply uniformly across every country. If we’re going to keep it simple then a big question to ask is… are you in China, Russia, or somewhere altogether different?

Now once you’ve had a look out the window and double checked where you are, you have a good foundation to understand if Google is the most powerful search engine in your location. Google is the dominant player almost everywhere in the world, with the most important exceptions being China and Russia.

In China, market share is dominated by Baidu, which for years has controlled around 70-80% of the total search engine market. While recent search engine statistics reveal a potential shift in that share towards the alternative Shenma mobile-search platform, the important point is that if you’re talking China, you’re not talking Google.

Russia is another globally significant market that Google has so far failed to dominate, although there are signs that is changing, particularly around mobile search. The market leader in Russia is currently local engine Yandex, although with both Google and Yandex dancing around the 50% share, it’s uncertain how long that might continue.

What is the most popular search engine in Malaysia?

Google is the dominant player in Malaysia with 96.96% of total search market share. That dominance has been persistent and sustained, with Google demonstrating 93.86% market share back in February 2015 that has slowly growing to the current heights.

Google’s competition, if you can really call it that, comes from Yahoo!. The truth is though no exclamation mark is going to make up for the fact that this noted rival only enjoys around 1.73% of search engine share. Bing doesn’t even take a consolation prize with just 0.96% share, followed by Baidu at 0.17%.

Search engine market share metrics aren’t guaranteed to offer pinpoint accuracy. There’s a good chance that the truth behind those figures fluctuates from what analysis might show. However much room for error there is, you can be confident that error doesn’t go so far as to challenge Google for the crown. Google is by far the most important search engine in Malaysia.

What does this search engine market share mean for your SEO?

If you’re creating a website virtually anywhere in the world, you want to be following best-practice for Google search engine optimization. If you’re in China or Russia, you probably want to explore the current landscape.

Right here in Malaysia it’s clear that Google should be the benchmark for your SEO efforts. The helpful thing there is that optimizing for Google in Malaysia also means optimizing for the greatest share of search from the wider global audience.

When we talk SEO we often talk Google. It’s an easy assumption to make, but what this analaysis shows is it’s one clearly backed up by the numbers.  

When it comes down to the practicalities of good SEO, knowing the best search engine to optimize for is an essential piece of information. But don’t forget what really drives a great online presence is fantastic content that fulfils your audience’s needs, all wrapped up in a smooth user experience. When you get down to it, that kind of best-practice speaks a universal language.





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