How to SEO Optimize Your Website for DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-based search engine, isn’t used nearly as much as Google. In fact, less than one percent of searches are done through DuckDuckGo. Most websites don’t bother optimizing their pages for DuckDuckGo because the search volume is so insignificant. Instead, they focus all of their energy on Google optimization, assuming their SEO efforts will help them to rank better in DuckDuckGo as well.

DuckDuckGo is a totally different search engine from Google. If you do a search for a keyword in DuckDuckGo you may get remarkably different results. Perhaps you don’t care how you rank in DuckDuckGo, but there are quite a few reasons you should.

Why you should optimize your pages for DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo’s share of the market is growing fast!

DuckDuckGo is up and coming, with fast, rapid growth. While it gets less than 1 percent of the total search engine market, the company’s share of the search engine market has grown 73% year-over-year.

Am excited woman using DuckDuckGo on her laptop

If you are old like me you might remember when Google was not the biggest search engine. Google became the most popular search engine because they realized quickly what people wanted in a search engine. They developed an algorithm that provided users with the most popular results. Over time, they improved their algorithm to include over 200 ranking factors. You no longer had to weed through pages of information to find relevant results. Usually, you can google the answer to anything and find what you are looking for in the first two or three links.

DuckDuckGo is a promising new search engine that may give Google a run for their money over time. Because I love DuckDuckGo and believe their search engine is going to continue to grow, I am getting ahead and the game. All of my blog posts are optimized for DuckDuckGo, and I get much of my search engine traffic from DuckDuckGol

DuckDuckGo ranks websites differently than Google.

DuckDuckGo is not just an alternative to Google, people who’ve made the switch to DuckDuckGo like the results they get better. I remember when you could type a search in Google and the results you got contained your specific keywords. The answers were exactly what you were looking for. Now, Google has updated its algorithm to provide better semantic search results. They use synonyms and other factors to refine their results. Instead of just providing you links to websites based on the keywords you used, they attempt to give you a better experience by trying to decide your intent and showing you the results they think will be most relevant to you.

DuckDuckGo uses more than 400 sources to rank websites in their search engine.

Their search results incorporate information from partners like Bing and hundreds of vertical search engines. Vertical search engines are more narrowly focused on a specific topic (or vertical) and help DuckDuckGo to provide users with more relevant content.

DuckDuckGo believes when people use a search engine they are looking for answers. They use crowdsourced sites and user review sites like TripAdvisor in their ranking system because they believe these types of sites answer people’s questions better than a general search engine.

woman looking at stats on her laptop

DuckDuckGo’s Users are loyal and will stay on your website longer

Everyone uses Google, but most of the time people look for an answer to their question, skim an article, and leave. DuckDuckGo’s users are different. According to a report from SimilarWeb, people that love the search engine have an affinity for tech and news sites. This makes sense because people that are concerned about privacy may be more knowledgeable about technology and more interested in the news. If your website is only optimized for Google, you may be missing this audience completely.

How to optimize your website for DuckDuckGo

Here’s what I love about DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo is easier to SEO optimize for than other search engines. DuckDuckGo uses on-page keyword optimization to rank its sites more than Google does. So, if you are really good at on-page SEO, getting a page to rank well in DuckDuckGo shouldn’t be that hard.

Keyword optimize for questions someone might search for.

Unlike Google, which uses synonyms and a ton of other factors, DuckDuckGo ranks its sites more heavily on keyword optimization. They designed their search engine based on the concept of answering questions people might search for. Pages that use “who”, “what”, “when”, “where” or “how” perform better in DuckDuckGo.

When you create your page, think about the searcher’s intent and what questions and answers they might be searching for. For example, I optimized this page for “how to optimize your website for DuckDuckGo”. I could have chosen “DuckDuckGo SEO tips” or something like that, but I know DuckDuckGo loves pages that answer questions.

Create fresh relevant content

Like Google, DuckDuckGo loves fresh content. Create new content regularly or freshen up older posts. Make sure you have related content for each of your blog posts. You want to create enough content for users to read once they land on one of your posts. On every blog post link to at least one other related post to keep your visitors engaged on your site. DuckDuckGo looks at what visitors do once they are on your website. Links that get clicked on and read will rank better.

Do not create redundant content. You want to have a lot of good quality content, Don’t go crazy writing tons of posts using similar keywords. Each post on your website should have value and answer a unique question.

Build links that drive traffic to your website

DuckDuckGo favors crowdsourced websites and websites that organically drive traffic to your website. Keep that in mind when you are developing your link strategy. Even if you can get a link on a high domain authority website if it isn’t driving traffic to your website it won’t be as helpful in DuckDuckGo. Focus your strategy on links that will send actual traffic to your website. Use your own blog to build internal links and drive traffic to other pages on your website.

Link to crowdsourced websites in your posts

Links within your blog posts help search engines to understand your page better. DuckDuck loves crowdsourced websites. Along with Bing, Yahoo, and vertical search engines, they get their results from websites like Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not viewed as a credible source by some, but DuckDuckGo likes this kind of user-generated information. Linking to Wikipedia or other crowdsourced websites may give you a boost in DuckDuckGo.

List your business in Apple Maps

While most businesses want to be listed in Google’s Map pack (the top 3 businesses you see on Google Maps, DuckDuckGo uses Apple Maps for their map pack. If you have a business and want to be featured at the top of DuckDuckGo’s pages, you need to be listed in Apple Maps.

Optimize your site for Bing

Microsoft Bing logo

Bing likes fresh, up-to-date, and relevant content. Make sure that you have related articles for every blog post you have. Bing looks at how users interact with your website once they land on your page. Since Bing is one of DuckDuckGo’s major partners, if you rank well in Bing, you’ll have a good chance of ranking well in DuckDuckGo.

  • Read over Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines. Use Bing’s Webmaster Tools along with Google Analytics and Search Console.
  • Submit your site map to Bing by using their Sitemap tool. Add a line in your robots.txt file, specifying the path to your sitemap like this http://example.com/sitemap_location.xml
  • Use Bing’s url submission tool to manually submit new pages to be indexed. You can submit up to 10 urls a day.
  • Build links from trusted sites that actually drive traffic to your website. Bing looks for organic links that send traffic to your site. Getting a link that nobody actually clicks on does not help your SEO as much as a link that drives traffic to your website. They are looking at how your links perform, not just how many you have.
  • Build internal links on your website that get clicked on. Each of your pages should have at least one link to another page on your site, preferably with keyword anchor text. The goal again is for the links to drive traffic, not just to link build.
  • Avoid javascript on your pages. Bing is able to process javascript, but they have limitations and may not be able to crawl through all of your pages if they contain a lot of javascript. This is why website builders like Wix do not perform well in Bing.

Check your website’s speed and security

Like Google, DuckDuckGo wants to provide its users with the best quality sites. Site speed and security are ranking factors for most search engines. Check your site speed and performance by using Google’s core web vitals tool in Google search console.

AlthoughDuckDuckGo has not stated that SSL certificates are a ranking factor in their search engine, website security is becoming a major ranking factor for SEO. Most web hosting companies provide free SSL certificates, but if you do not have one on your site you should invest in one.

Patty Malowney, Badass Web Designer in Albuquerque, New Mexico

I am Patty Malowney, the creator of Badass Web Goddess. I am an Albuquerque SEO and digital marketing consultant.  I started my first internet business in 2004 with a $40 garage sale computer and a whole lot of determination.  I sold my first website, JustMommies.com to the dating company eHarmony.com in 2008. My website was acquired by another company where I worked as a consultant and editor until July, 2019.

After encouragement from friends and family, I decided to branch out on my own and start my own consulting business.  I offer advice and services to local businesses on how they can rank better in Google.

In addition to running Badass Web Goddess, I am an avid blogger. I run several blogs including my internet marketing blog here at Badass Web Goddess.  If you love my blog, Follow Me on Facebook or Twitter!

7 thoughts on “How to SEO Optimize Your Website for DuckDuckGo”

  1. Matthew Justin

    This is really informative. Awesome post. To tell you the truth, I have never even thought of optimizing for DuckDuckGo. After reading this I want to. Great tips, thank you.

    1. I get a lot of my traffic from DuckDuckGo. I rank better in DuckDuckGo. I was really excited because this post ranked better than some of the big SEO experts’ posts on DuckDuckGo(for the keywords I optimized for). I really want to become an authority on DuckDuckGo optimization. I honestly like their search results better.

  2. Whitney Woodley

    DuckDuckGo is my favorite for many reasons! I love the privacy. I learned so much from this article though. Thank you so much for sharing this great info with us!

    1. I only use Google when I have to. I really hope more people start using DuckDuckGo. It’s kind of why I optimize for it. I am hoping I will be in a good position as the search engine grows.

  3. Kathleen Wonders

    Thanks for sharing this! I have been constantly reminded to switch to DuckDuckGo for better privacy, but it never occurred to me that we have to optimize our posts for it as well! I will keep this in mind for my future posts and check traffic from there! Better start early! 🙂

    1. I honestly do not use DuckDuckGo for privacy reasons. It’s part of it, but my biggest reason for switching is I like their results better. When I search for stuff in Google, I often find posts that aren’t even for the keywords I am searching for. It annoys the crap out of me. I like DuckDuckGo’s results better. I am trying to rank well in DuckDuckGo for as many keywords as possible. Optimizing for DuckDuckGo is a lot different than Google. I think I know what I am doing because several of my posts were in the top spot (or top 3) within days of posting them. If you get frustrated with your Google traffic, put some energy into DuckDuckGo.

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