The face of search is Google. It still is today and it shows in the metrics. Nearly 70% of all search queries take place on Google but you may be making a huge mistake by putting all your eggs in the Google basket?
Consider this. You’re the passenger in a car. The driver says I’m hungry and could go for some Chinese food. You’re not in an area you’re familiar with when it comes to restaurant options. What do you do?
Today many people ask Siri, Cortana or Google using a voice search. Unless you’ve been under a rock you know that iPhones have a large share of the smartphone population. This means that when an iPhone user uses Siri to perform a search they may not be using Google for their search results…a decrease in their search dominance.
With one example you can see that the face of search is evolving. However, it goes so much further than that. There are numerous ways to for things now. Let’s cover a few.
Google Search Alternatives
Voice Search on Your Smart Phone-As a mentioned earlier many smart phone users will use Siri, Cortana or Google to perform a voice search from their phone. Obviously if you’re using an Android then you’re still using Google to search but if you use Siri or Cortana you can change the default search engine. Keep in mind that a large share of the smart phone market belongs to Apple so Siri is used often to perform a search.
YouTube-The second biggest search engine today is YouTube. Yes, I know it’s owned by Google but it is still a different platform. Many people use YouTube to find how to videos, DIY videos, entertainment and much more.
Facebook-Do I need to go into details? Facebook is by far the largest social media platform on the planet. That means people are searching for things. They’re looking up people, businesses and asking questions and so much more. Facebook has been developing their search functionality for years in an effort to be the face (pun intended) of the internet.
Pinterest-Pinterest has a very large audience of women. That means that when it’s time to look for recipes, clothes, shoes, home décor and things often associated with women they may be using Pinterest before going to Google or Facebook. I smell opportunity for blue collar businesses!
Bing, Yahoo, Ask-Some of the other search engines. I say some because there are more. These are the more popular ones. Bing has been chipping away at Google for years but has gained very little ground. Can you guess what the default search engine is for Cortana?
LinkedIn-It’s where the professionals go. If I want to find information on a business owner, sales person or solopreneur LinkedIn is the default search engine. If you’re a business owner not on LinkedIn there’s a good chance you’re hurting your business. It’s not enough for you to be on LinkedIn though. Your company should also have a presence on LinkedIn.
People also use LinkedIn for Job Search.
Reddit, Digg, Delicious-These are social bookmarking sites. Essentially they’re another way to share content. However many people on the internet use these to “discover” the web.
Twitter-Twitter as a platform has a large number of users but also may have the largest number of idle or abandoned accounts. However that is changing as people who once ignored their Twitter accounts are suddenly seeing the value thanks to Periscope and Blab. Twitter has also introduced moments in an attempt to keep people on the Twitter platform. Searching hashtags (#) started on Twitter and it’s still a relevant search mechanism today..on most social media platforms. Twitter search is used in large part to discover currently relevant conversations.
In fact Google recognized Twitter’s popularity and partnered with them. Tweets are now indexed on Google…..again.
iTunes-Speaking of conversations..iTunes is currently the most popular place for Podcasts. If you’re seeking information on a particular topic and you think a podcast on the way to work or a meeting might be the perfect way to gain knowledge then you’re likely searching on iTunes. Google is going to add podcasts to Google Play in 2016 but for now its iTunes or a plethora of 3rd party podcast submission sites.
About(.com)-says they are the largest source for expert content on the internet. You can get questions answered, and find resolutions to some of your problems. There is also Quora which is a social platform that basically does the same thing.
Yelp, YP, Angies List and others-These are local directories, and there are hundreds. Generally speaking there are probably 5-10 high quality local directories. The rest are largely ignored by marketers and most businesses.
Industry Specific Social Media Platforms-Just about every industry has their own platform to participate on. For example Avvo is a platform for attorneys while Bigger Pockets is one for Real Estate Investors. If you’re looking for a business or person in a specific industry there’s likely a resource for it.
There is a ton of other ways to search the internet for information. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
One thing I do want to point out is Google does index most of these sites and directories as well. That means if you take to Google to look for something then it may show up on the first page in one of the aforementioned sites. However you won’t always find what you’re looking for that way. If you’re like me then when you search on Google you probably ignore the directories and social sites in most cases.
You’re probably wondering why a Google Certified Partner would write a blog post to talk about other ways to search the internet. Well, there is a method to my madness. Yes it’s true I am a Google partner and some would even call me an expert. However it’s important to understand the changing landscape of search for your business.
I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up all the options as they exist today, and in the future. I can compare this to the SEO companies that still practice link spamming and keyword stuffing. These methods today will hurt you, but five years ago they worked. It was wrong to do these things but it worked if you wanted to rank on Google. Today your site probably doesn’t exist if you haven’t updated your methods.
I have always looked to the future to ensure that my clients and my business are prepared. Clients are listed on local directories, all of the major search engines, relevant social media platforms and anywhere that will work for their business…even iTunes in some cases.
SEO is not just optimizing for Google. It’s optimizing for the user. Google recognized this about 5 or 6 years ago. So should your marketer or SEO provider.