DuckDuckgo was founded in 2008 as an alternative search engine that respects user privacy and claims to have a “superior search experience with smarter answers.” Users of DuckDuckGo flock to the site to avoid the filter bubble of personalized search results. The number of people who used the search engine grew in 2015, and according to DuckDuckGo, they even had a day on which they reached over 12 million search queries.
This increase in queries can be correlated directly to the traffic increase the search engine saw over 2015. Looking at worldwide desktop and mobile traffic, DuckDuckGo had an impressive 22% increase in traffic from January to December 2015.
But who exactly are these DuckDuckGo users, and what are they interested in? Using SimilarWeb’s audience interests tool, the data allows us to discover that DuckDuckGo users show a strong affinity to tech and tech news sites. The top 5 sites with the strongest affinity to DuckDuckGo are Whitehatsec.com, an e-security company, Github.com, a software building website, NYtimes.com, 4chan.org, and YCombinator.com, an American startup accelerator.
In comparison to DuckDuckGo, Bing users, who also chose to use a non-Google search engine Google, show affinity to the kinds of typical websites you would suspect of the average internet user. Among the top 5 that have a strong affinity to Bing, you find MSN.com, Amazon.com, Reddit.com, Google.com, and Baidu.com.
Comparing DuckDuckGo to Bing is actually a good benchmark of how well the search engine is doing. Although Bing’s traffic tops DuckDuckGo’s, there are other key metrics, where DuckDuckGo is winning. For example, in December 2015, Bing’s bounce rate was at 43% and DuckDuckGo’s was at a much lower 31%.
Another key metric where DuckDuckGo has the upper hand is the amount of time spent on site. According to SimilarWeb data, DuckDuckGo’s users are more loyal to their search engine than Bing users, and spent an average of over 9½ minutes on the website in December 2015.
DuckDuckGo users primarily get to the website by typing it directly into their browsers, accounting for 93% of its traffic. While only 1.5% of their traffic came from search, it is important to look at the search terms for which DuckDuckGo competes. Again, looking at DuckDuckGo and Bing, we examined 3 key search terms that drove traffic to both sites. For the term “search engine,” DuckDuckGo emerges as the clear winner with 76% of the traffic result from that exact search. When the term is altered slightly to “search engines,” Bing wins with 51% of the traffic, and for just “search,” Bing dominates with 97% of the traffic share.
DuckDuckGo is an important search engine to be aware of for SEO and marketing experts, and as Rand Fishkin pointed out in his 2016 predictions, “DuckDuckGo will be the fastest-growing search engine of 2016.” With users who are extremely loyal to the site, the privacy-ensuring search engine is poised for immense growth. These users are looking for a Google alternative, and prefer one that ensures their privacy. Furthermore, these users show a strong affinity to tech news and software-type sites. If DuckDuckGo wants to continue to grow they will need to deploy a digital strategy that targets an interested audience of tech-minded users and continues to compete over relevant search keywords.
Find more 2016 SEO predictions by industry experts here.