The year 2020 will be known for a lot of things. It was the year of the pandemic. A year where America lived how to work remotely. A year where a lot of us quickly became experts at Zoom meetings. What many people may not have realized is that 2020 was also the year that search engine DuckDuckGo quietly became a serious contender in the search engine wars. In a battle of DuckDuckGo vs Google, it’s not quite as one-sided a victory as it was before 2020.
DuckDuckGo is one of the emerging search engines gaining genuine traction with the public. Its entire existence centers around the fact that it’s based on user privacy. That idea must be resonating with the public. In 2020, DuckDuckGo experienced a 62% increase in daily searches. Was the message that they don’t track data the reason for the increases? It certainly seems that way.
Founded in 2008, DuckDuckGo experienced 23.7 billion search inquiries in 2020. Google is clearly ahead with something like 1.2 trillion searches per year. However, is the tide beginning to turn? With security breaches consistently in the news, viewers appear to be increasingly supportive of a search engine that respects their privacy.
DuckDuckGo vs. Google: What Makes DuckDuckGo Different?
DuckDuckGo’s basic premise is that they don’t track user searches. They also don’t share any personal data with third-parties, which Google is famous for doing.
Clearly, people gravitate toward DuckDuckGo because they like that the search engine respects their privacy. It’s the kind of marketing message that is quickly spread by word of mouth. While Google has dominated the search engine market for years, people are looking for alternatives that don’t involve selling their tracking history to the highest bidder. In a DuckDuckGo vs Google contest, the winner has always been Google by a mile. How long that lasts is debatable.
Many question how DuckDuckGo makes its money if it doesn’t sell tracking data. The company’s website says that its income comes from private ads on its search engine. With Google, ads are based on profiles compiled about users’ personal information such as search, browsing and purchase history. In contrast, DuckDuckGo ads are based on search results pages users view, not on the individuals viewing them. That’s a crucial difference. Given the uptick in DuckDuckGo searches, it seems to be one that people appreciate. It’s possible that PPC campaigns in the future could undergo a transformation if DuckDuckGo continues to attract more users.
DuckDuckGo Quietly Gains Popularity
In some ways, DuckDuckGo is ironically a victim of its own policies. Since it doesn’t track its users, the search engine isn’t entirely sure how many people use it. Its CEO can only guess that the number is approaching 25 million. Yet, because it doesn’t track users, DuckDuckGo can never be certain of this estimate. As a result, in the battle of DuckDuckGo vs Google, it may be difficult to determine if or when DuckDuckGo poses a serious threat to the search engine giant.
DuckDuckGo’s increasing popularity coincides with recent trends toward privacy-focused apps. For various reasons, some good and some questionable, people are attracted to platforms offering greater privacy.
All it takes is a story to hit the national news about a major data breach to push users away from platforms that hold a lot of their personal data. When the Justice Department sued Google for antitrust violations in October 2020, the fallout only served to boost the allure of DuckDuckGo’s anti-tracking policies.
Who Wins in a DuckDuckGo vs Google Battle?
In the end, users win in the battle of the search engines. Among the fast emerging search engines, DuckDuckGo is clearly worth paying attention to. In the battle of DuckDuckGo vs Google, it’s going to be interesting to see how things unfold in the next few years.
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