When it comes to searching the Internet, you probably think of Google first. After all, we typically use “Google” as a verb when we talk about searching for something. “Did you Google it?”
While Google dominates the search engine market, optimizing for alternative search engines like Amazon, YouTube, or social media platforms is becoming increasingly important. It can be easy to overlook these non-traditional search engines. But just like organic results on Google, if you have a presence on these platforms, it can be very beneficial to optimize your content for their search features. Additionally, with AI chatbots and answer assistants that are powered by AI, there are more options than ever when you “search”. That means there are more opportunities than ever to have your brand and your content appear on these engines, increase your exposure, and potentially expand your client base.
It would be too much for this article to go through the details of each platform’s search capabilities, differences, and methods. Instead, we will focus on the benefits of optimizing your content for search on non-traditional search engines.
In this article, we will discuss what “non-traditional” search engines are, provide some examples of ways to optimize your content for them, and look into the future of all things search.
Let’s get started!
Is SEO just for Google?
No, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not just for Google. While Google is the most popular search engine and the one that many SEO efforts primarily focus on, SEO can also apply to other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and various smaller search engines used in different regions of the world.
Additionally, SEO principles can be applied to other online platforms and even social media. The goal of SEO is always to optimize your online content and presence to make it more discoverable and accessible to users across various platforms and, yes, search engines, depending on where your target audience is searching for information.
Even so-called “non-traditional” search engines.
What are Non-Traditional Search Engines?
Non-traditional search engines are platforms other than Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other widely recognized search engines. These can include specialized search engines or search features on niche websites or apps.
Examples of non-traditional search engines include:
For e-commerce businesses, optimizing content for Amazon’s internal search engine is crucial.
Video SEO is essential for ranking well on YouTube, which functions as a search engine for video content.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn have search functions that allow users to find content and profiles.
App store optimization (ASO) is important for visibility on platforms like the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Zillow serve as search engines for local businesses and services.
Getting Content to Appear in Answer Bot Responses
Rich results, previously called “rich snippets”, were a great measuring stick for published content. Getting your article to appear with pictures, highlighted text, or links to your videos meant that not only did your content rank well, but you got to occupy a more coveted space near the top of the results.
Rich results are still highly sought after, but with the recent restriction of the FAQ rich result, there is an increasing emphasis on using these “search assistants”, as demonstrated here with Google’s Search Generative Experience:
Will search experiences continue in this direction? Only time will tell.
Getting your content to appear in these search experiences really just relies on your content being indexed and available to the Google or Bing crawlers. When the bot crawls your site, your content, if it is available, can get added to the datasets used by the AI chatbot to respond with. Google’s SGE and Bing Chat provide citations and links to where they pull the information from, but OpenAI currently does not.
Of course, there are real concerns about security and plagiarism with AI-generated results, and each company and content maker should consider their stance on AI content. With that in mind, if searchers make use of these kinds of search experiences, you will seriously want to consider optimizing your content to appear in these results.
Tailoring SEO for Non-Traditional Search Engines
SEO strategies for non-traditional search engines do differ from those used for general web search engines. However, there are many more similarities than you might imagine.
Here’s how to approach it:
Identify keywords and phrases specific to the platform. For example, on Amazon, focus on product-related keywords, while on YouTube, consider video titles, descriptions, video chapters, and tags.
Create content that is relevant and valuable to the users on that particular platform. This may involve creating engaging videos, informative social media posts, or detailed product listings.
Encourage user interaction, such as likes, comments, and shares, as these can improve visibility on platforms like social media and YouTube. Just don’t go overboard with it, as everyone expects it nowadays.
For app stores, optimize app titles, descriptions, icons, and screenshots to improve discoverability within the app store’s search function.
Reviews and Ratings
On platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor, positive reviews and high ratings can boost your visibility and reputation. Just make sure you aren’t going against their terms of service when getting them. And Google Business Profile reviews still remain a deciding factor when people look up local businesses.
These platforms often have their own unique algorithms and systems that determine search results. While some are more intuitive than others, understanding these systems as they change and ranking factors specific to the non-traditional search engines that you’re working with are very important.
What is in Store for the Future of Search?
The future of search holds a lot of promise and potential as technology continues to advance. We can expect to see increasingly sophisticated search methods that utilize AI and machine learning to better understand user intent and deliver highly personalized results. Additionally, the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into the search experience could revolutionize how we explore and discover information.
The future of search will also involve tackling the challenges of ensuring the quality and credibility of search results in an era of misinformation. Overall, the future of search promises to be exciting and full of innovation, offering users more powerful, intuitive, and immersive ways to access useful information and better understand their world.
The Bottom Line
While Google is a significant focus for SEO due to its market dominance, the principles of SEO can be applied to a wider range of search engines and online platforms to improve visibility and traffic. Regardless of whether Google remains the go-to for searches or not, your content and products can and should be optimized.
SEO for non-traditional search engines involves adapting your optimization strategies to the specific platform’s requirements and user behavior. By understanding the nuances of each platform and tailoring your approach accordingly, you can improve your visibility and reach a wider audience.