Should I optimise my website on DuckDuckGo?

When you come to optimise your website, it is common to only focus on the main search engines; Google or Bing and any search engines with market share in your region (Yandex and Baidu for example). But are you missing out on extra traffic through the smaller search engines? This is something we’ve been looking into here at Anicca.

What is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that was launched in September 2008. It’s biggest USP is that unlike other search engines (specifically Google as they like to point out) they do not collect private user data. This means you don’t get ads following you round the internet like you do if you search on other search engines.

How popular is DuckDuckGo?

As you would expect, DuckDuckGo gets a tiny fraction of traffic compared to the likes of Google, but it’s still significant enough to pay attention to. In August 2021, DuckDuckGo averaged over 94million searches a day. Compare that to August 2020 where they averaged just over 65million searches a day and you can quickly begin to see just how rapidly the search engine is growing.

How does DuckDuckGo rank websites?

DuckDuckGo claim to get its results from over 400 different sources, but the main ones to focus on are Bing (it generally uses Bing search results) and also Apple Maps for local results. Therefore it’s important to get your business listed and verified on Apple Maps.

Why should I be bothered about DuckDuckGo?

It’s likely that if you’re just browsing top level data in Analytics you wouldn’t even see traffic from DuckDuckGo, but it’s definitely worth checking. As more and more people become more aware of protecting their digital privacy, DuckDuckGo may continue to gain more and more users at a significant rate.

As you can see below, we’ve compared traffic from DuckDuckGo to one of our sites so far this year compared to the same period last year, and the users are up 140%. Not only that, but transactions are also up 125% and revenue up by 134%.

If we look at another example that proves just how much the search engine is growing, we can see that there is a 160% increase in users year on year, not only that, conversion rate was almost 90% higher whilst revenue is a staggering 1000% higher!

Looking at the data we have available it’s clear to see that DuckDuckGo is going to be at the forefront of the ‘other’ search engines (E.G not Google or Bing), so getting ahead of the competition now is going to be key to getting the most from this data source.

How do I rank in DuckDuckGo?

As previously mentioned, DuckDuckGo uses over 400 data sources for its search results but the two key sources are Bing and Apple Maps. So, there are some simple steps you can take to get the ball rolling on your DuckDuckGo optimisation.

1 – Create a Bing Webmaster Tools Account

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a Bing Webmaster Tools account. This is Bing’s equivalent of Google Search Console. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll want to ensure you submit your XML sitemap and check there are no errors. This helps ensure your pages are being submitted to Bing’s search engine and therefore should also start showing in DuckDuckGo.

2 – Create and Verify an Apple Maps listing

Next, you’ll want to create a listing on Apple Maps. DuckDuckGo uses Apple Maps to populate it’s local search results, so if you’ve got a local service offering or a physical location someone would search for then you’ll want to create and verify your listing in Apple. To do this you may need to verify by phone so ensure you have access to a phone line for your business.

3 – Optimise your website for Bing

Typically, you’ll only check your rankings in Google, but we’d recommend checking Bing regularly. Bing uses similar ranking factors as Google, so ensuring you’re properly optimising your pages for Bing as well as Google is key. You can also use Bing Webmaster tools to keep an eye on how well your website is performing here.

4 – Build high quality links to your website

Quoting their own help page, DuckDuckGo claim “the best way to get good rankings (in pretty much all search engines) is to get links from high quality sites.” So working on your websites link building strategy will also help benefit your websites rankings here, not just for DuckDuckGo, but Bing and Google too.


Although the current traffic levels from DuckDuckGo may be a small portion of your current website traffic, it looks like this is something that’s going to continue to grow and become more prominent within your Analytics reports in the years to come. Not only that, but whilst competition to rank in the search results here are still relatively easy compared to the likes of Google, getting ahead now could really set you up for the years to come.

If you’d like more information about how Anicca’s SEO team can help you optimise your website and build your organic visibility then get in touch today.


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