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6 Types of Search Optimization to Make You Think Beyond Google

Search is one of the most commonly used tools in the modern world, which makes it unsurprising that search optimization has become one of the most popular marketing and advertising strategies used by businesses to increase brand visibility and traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) is usually discussed in the context of Google, which makes sense on some level — not only does Google control more than two-thirds of all web searches online, it also sets the standards for search in general, thanks to its sophisticated search algorithms and thought leadership.

However, Google isn’t the only search tool that consumers use on a regular basis, nor should it be the only kind of optimization you use for your business. Other forms of optimization will give you a broader reach, allowing you to pinpoint your demographics with more specificity. It may even allow you to get an edge on the competition, knowing they won’t be using these strategies as heavily as they will traditional Google optimization.

6 Types of Search Optimization to Make You Think Beyond Google

So what are these other types of search optimization and how can you use them to your advantage?

#1. App store optimization.

Google has been quite app-friendly in recent years, even offering app streaming for certain types of apps, but if you want to get more visibility and more downloads, you’ll need to optimize your app for app stores specifically. App Radar has an excellent guide on the subject, but here are the basics: make sure you’re targeting keywords and keyword phrases that users use frequently (with low levels of competition), especially in the title and meta data of your app. Engagements, such as comments, and downloads will increase your rankings, as will the number and quality of your user reviews.

The Google app store also factors social signals into its rankings, so make sure people are actively talking about your app as well. The Apple and Google app stores function a little differently, so don’t be afraid to tweak your strategy to favor one over the other, based on your target demographics or app availability.

#2. Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other standard engines.

Why would you optimize for any search engine other than Google? Even though Google dominates the search market with more than two-thirds of all users, Bing is creeping up behind Google with almost 16 percent of the search share. Bing does a number of things better than Google (by some accounts), including better autocomplete suggestions and more interactive video search results. It’s also used by different demographics, especially since it’s the default search engine for Edge, Microsoft and Windows’ default internet browser.

Thankfully, Bing and Google use many of the same criteria to rank sites, so you won’t need to make many adjustments — they have higher priorities for title tags and for local search, and you’ll find yourself able to target keywords with more precision than you can with Google’s semantic search. Other search engine options, like DuckDuckGo, which specializes in anonymous searching, are also considerable — if you’re looking for niche demographics to target.

#3. YouTube.

Next up is YouTube, which is your best resource for optimizing videos for search. It’s true that both Google and Bing offer video results for various queries, but with the sheer number of people who consult YouTube directly, it’s more than worth optimizing your videos for YouTube searches. As with most types of online search, YouTube relies on keywords and phrases to organize videos according to relevance. That means your video title and description need to feature relevant, in-demand keywords; you’ll also need to use proper categories and tags if you want YouTube to “understand” what your video is about.

Beyond that, you’ll need to work on getting more likes and comments, both of which will increase your rankings, and organize your videos into identifiable channels, which can also gain relevance and authority. For more information on the topic, Backlinko has an impressive guide on the subject.

#4. Amazon.

If you have any products on Amazon on behalf of your business, you should be using Amazon search optimization. There will likely be more competition here than you’ll find on other search optimization opportunities, but if you find the right niche, you can trounce the competition. You’ll need to focus on well-researched, targeted keywords like usual here, but thankfully, Amazon gives you a formulaic structure that you can fill out with those keywords, so you don’t have to optimize from scratch. Your reputation as a seller and the reviews your product get are major factors in ranking, so be sure to emphasize them—and consult Moz’s guide on Amazon optimization for more information.

#5. Etsy.

Etsy, the art and craft platform that caters to individual sellers, is definitely worth optimizing for if you have a shop set up there. In most ways, it functions similarly to Amazon, but you’ll need to fill out different types of product categories and tags. Make sure you split your shop into sections, and earn plenty of inbound links for your products. Also, Etsy isn’t shy about telling you how to optimize for their store — they give you the guide immediately.

#6. Yelp.

Optimizing for Yelp is a two-for-one deal, since your presence in Yelp will directly affect your local rankings in Google and other search engines as well. Your first job here is to claim your local business on Yelp and fill out as many details as you can, including your business category, address, and a brief description of what you do. After that, most of your ranking changes will depend on how many people review your business — and what they say about you. It’s against Yelp’s terms and conditions to solicit reviews directly, but you can always remind your customers that you’re listed on Yelp to encourage them to leave a review.

Should You Use Them All?

In marketing, it’s easy to get lured into thinking that the more you involve yourself in, the better. Optimizing for more search engines should, hypothetically, allow you to reach broader and broader audiences with each new addition. However, this isn’t necessarily true; each type of search optimization has advantages, disadvantages, and demographics that it favors over others. Instead of striving to optimize for as many as possible, shift your priorities to optimize better for the handful of search engines that are most relevant to you and your audience.

Remember, the goal here isn’t sheer quantity; it’s to see the best possible return. Learn where your investments are most likely to pay off, and take advantage of those channels over others. Have you any suggestions to add in the comments below?


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Jenna is a freelance writer and business consultant who covers business, technology, and entrepreneurship. She's lectured for several universities, and worked with over 100 businesses over the course of the last 15 years. Follow her on Twitter.

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