If you are reading this article, you probably have at least a vague idea of what a search engine is. In fact, you probably used one to find this article. Whether you use Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other tool to find information on the Web, you are using a search engine.
The rapid development of the web industry raised questions about the most efficient way to navigate the web. Today it seems natural to type a query into a search bar and get tons of information on any subject, but at the dawn of the Web, finding things was a serious technical issue to tackle.
The problem of quick and effective information retrieval from the Internet was solved in the early 1990s. Once solved, search engines began to emerge one after the other. As a result, we have dozens of different search engines to choose from. The problem is, we really don’t need that many.
Frankly speaking, most people prefer Google over any other search engine. However, lesser search engines have their audiences, advantages, and disadvantages, so we will present some brief information about each.
It’s hardly a secret that Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world. Every month, approximately 79 billion people use Google to find all kinds of information on the Web.
Google’s popularity trumps its competitors across the globe. This search engine giant enjoys its greatest popularity in the United States, Brazil, India, the United Kingdom, and France.
In 2019, Google’s desktop traffic share is 0.64% lower than in 2016.
Google’s mobile traffic share increased by 0.67%.
Despite a slight decrease in desktop traffic, Google still occupies the leading position in ranking for both mobile and desktop search.
Bing was released in 2009, and is actually one of the oldest search engines – its legacy comes from Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search. Bing is most popular in China, the United States, Japan, Germany and France.
In 2019, Bing’s share of desktop traffic is 4.38% higher than in 2016. The search engine still ranks second for desktop search.
Bing’s mobile traffic share decreased by 0.43%, but Bing still preserves the 4th position in mobile search ranking.
China’s “we-have-our-own-internet” policy is highly beneficial for Baidu, the country’s leading search engine and regional version of Google. Apart from China, Baidu is being actively used in the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Korea.
In 2019, Baidu’s desktop traffic share is 0.5% higher than in 2016. This search engine still ranks third in desktop search ranking.
Baidu’s share of mobile traffic increased by 0.85% in 2019. Baidu ascended to the second position in mobile search ranking.
4. Yahoo! Search
Originally an online website directory, Yahoo! Search is one of the most-used search engines in the United States. Outside the US, Yahoo! Search is used in Taiwan, the UK, Brazil, and India.
Since 2016, Yahoo’s desktop traffic share has decreased by 4.99%. The search engine still ranks fourth for desktop search.
Yahoo’s share of mobile traffic decreased by 1.59% in 2019. Yahoo dropped from 2nd to 3rd position, giving way to Baidu.
Yandex Search is a web search engine owned by Russian corporation Yandex, and is the company’s core product. Yandex Search is the leading search engine in the Russian Federation. Оver 92% of monthly visitors are from Russia. Apart from Russia, it is also popular in Ukraine, China, Belarus, and Germany.
In 2019, Yandex’s share of desktop traffic is 0.31% higher than in 2016. The search engine still occupies the 5th position in desktop search ranking.
Yandex’s share of mobile traffic increased by 0.3%. Yandex holds the 5th position for mobile search.
Its question-answering focus makes Ask a unique search engine, where users search for not just any data, but for answers provided by other users. Also, Ask is one of the oldest search engines – it was founded in 1995. The search engine is the most popular in the United States, Japan, Brazil, India, and Germany.
In 2019, the share of Ask’s desktop traffic is 0.06% higher than in 2016. Ask still occupies the 6th position for desktop search.
The share of mobile traffic decreased by 0.01%. Ask dropped from 6th to 8th position in mobile search ranking.
In a world obsessed with online privacy, DuckDuckGo prides itself on being the only search engine that does not track user activities. Most of DDG users are US citizens. The service is also popular in Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and China.
In 2019, DuckDuckGo’s traffic share for desktop devices is 0.28% higher than in 2016. However, the search engine still occupies the 7th position in desktop search ranking.
DDG’s share of mobile traffic increased by 0.29%. This allowed DuckDuckGo to ascend from 7th to 6th position in mobile search ranking.
Naver is a South Korean web portal operated by Naver Corporation. It was launched in 1999 as the first online resource in Korea and was equipped with its own search engine. In addition, it was the pioneer company offering a comprehensive search feature collecting links from various categories and showing them in a single list. Since its earliest years, Naver has been enhanced by a plethora of advanced services ranging from basic ones (like email or news) to the world’s first online Q&A platform, Knowledge iN. Apart from Korea, the search engine is popular in the United States, China, Japan, and Canada.
In 2019, Naver’s share of desktop traffic is 0.08% higher than in 2016. This change allowed the search engine to rise from 10th to 8th position in desktop search ranking.
Naver’s share of mobile traffic increased by 0.09%. This allowed Naver to rise from 9th to 7th position in mobile search ranking.
9. AOL Search
This platform is Google-powered and allows users to look for any information on the Web, but offers nothing really special. However, the company itself says that it “searches the way people think.” AOL Search is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Canada.
In 2019, AOL Search’s desktop traffic share decreased by 0.09% compared to 2016. The search engine dropped from 8th to 9th position for desktop search.
In 2016, AOL Search’s mobile traffic share was below 0.01%. In 2019, it grew to 0.01%. This allowed the search engine to rise from 10th to 9th position in mobile search ranking.
Dogpile is a metasearch engine fetching results from Google, Yahoo!, Yandex, Bing, and other leading search engines, including results from audio and video exchange platforms like Yahoo! It was launched in November 1996. Today, Dogpile is most popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, and Indonesia.
In 2016, Dogpile’s desktop traffic share was only 0.01%. In 2019, its desktop traffic share is below 0.01%, causing it to drop from 9th to 10th position for desktop search.
In 2016, Dogpile’s mobile traffic share was 0.03%. In 2019, this indicator, as well as desktop traffic share, is less than 0.01%. The search engine drops from 8th to 10th position in mobile search ranking.
The following diagrams accurately reflect a comparison of mobile and desktop traffic distribution between search engines in 2016 and 2019.
Desktop Search (2016)
Desktop Search (2019)
Mobile Search (2016)
Mobile Search (2019)
Summary From the Research Author Dmitry Kotlyarenko
Dmitry Kotlyarenko, a digital marketer at Clever-Solution, has vast experience implementing SEO strategies. He has conducted the above research to arm our team with relevant knowledge on the most popular search engines and to detect the patterns of how their positions in desktop and mobile rankings change over time.
Dmitry has chosen this topic for his study, since he understands the critical role search engines play in today’s world, for both digital marketers and regular web users. To quote Dmitry:
“It is hard to imagine the Internet without search engines. You would not be able to find your favorite websites, movies, and music, or even your favorite social networks. In short, search engines and the Internet have become inseparable.”
Dmitry Kotlyarenko shares his observations on notable trends in the niche:
“Search engine providers originally entered the niche in hopes of big returns, but only a few succeeded in creating something that really worked well, and still does. Even though you may have never heard of most of the search engines listed above, they represent only a fraction of all available search engines. Developing an effective search engine is very difficult. It takes time, effort, and tons of innovations to create a search engine that performs on par with Google.”
Not to downplay the advantages of big companies, Dmitry also gives small search platforms some credit:
“Although Google, Baidu, Bing, Yahoo, and other giants dominate the Internet, smaller search engines still manage to survive, against all odds. Perhaps our list will inspire you to try some lesser-known search engines other than Google.”