It is certainly true that in most of the rest of the world, Google is the leader — but if you’re already using Google for either SEO or paid search campaigns, are there still opportunities to expand the reach of your campaign using “local” search engines?
I actually like the term “alternate search engines” because it clearly describes that you’re going to have to continue to work with the big “G” but at the same time suggests there might be “alternatives” for your campaign. Here are some examples of the kind of site and search approach which already exist to inspire you to go and find more!
Naver isn’t actually an “alternate” search engine at all. In fact, Naver is number one in South Korea where Google has a very small share. It used to be powered by Yahoo’s Overture system, but following the Yahoo-Microsoft alliance, the engine decided to build and launch its own keyword advertising system, so Naver has now become a leading search engine with its own advertising system. If you’re targeting Korea, put this one first.
In the Czech Republic, Seznam has been in the lead for a long time and still just about competes with Google there. However, Google is rapidly creeping up and knocking at its door. For now, continue considering Seznam as essential in the Czech Republic. Over the border in the the Czech Republic’s sibling state Slovakia (they were once one nation and known as Czechosolvakia), Google has already taken over as a strong lead in first place.
Eniro is an interesting example of a search engine in Sweden and for a variety of reasons. Eniro is the orignial publisher of Sweden’s Yellow Pages and, as a result, Eniro still has significant brand traction in the country. However, more recently, Eniro has partnered with Google for some aspects of search and for advertising.
What’s interesting though is that Eniro has developed its own pay per click advertising system and then backfills with Google ads which is a model I think we can expect to see emerge more widely. You don’t have to take much more share of advertising revenues, to justify building such a system and amortizing its costs over a few years.
A Polish portal with a strong following, Onet.pl has a slightly different version of the Eniro approach with its search coming almost entirely from Google with its advertising including a significant element of its own direct advertising customers.
The telecoms companies over the years have, in general, gained a larger slice of “eyeballs” and have often overtaken the former search engines for audience. In France, for instance, Orange has a very strong portal which carries a search function. That search function is powered by Voila.fr — probably the number one ,original French search engine. However, the pay per click advertising on Orange.fr comes from Google, so this is an example of the opposite business model to those above.
Whilst we’re in France, let’s mention Bing has a French language version where AdCenter advertising is possible alongside its Canadian version which is also in French with English. Whilst Bing is an alternate search engine in many countries, through AdCenter, there is still very limited scope to advertise. This has to and must change, but it’s possible to speculate that the Yahoo-Microsoft alliance has delayed this whilst things are sorted out since the Yahoo team will have something to say about it! See next…
Some people think that Yahoo has, in general “gone to sleep”, but it is in fact still offering search advertising solutions with a much bigger global footprint than anyone else other than Google and outside of the US with search offerings in all major continents with the exception of Africa and the Middle East. These are still being fulfilled by Yahoo Search Marketing.
Another trend of the moment is of newly prominent search sites that are news portals, generally the online mirrors of offline mega-brands. Der Spiegel (The Mirror) has been the leading and best respected German news magazine since its launch in 1947. Its move to online guaranteed a strong audience and an opportunity for both search and news advertisers.
It has a fascinating approach to search in that any searches query the Spiegel itself plus manager-magazin.de for management issues, merian.de for travel and Wikipedia, clearly giving it a focus on responding to informational queries. Spiegel doesn’t yet have a keyword-specific search facility not yet having discovered the opportunity, but it does enable you to build your own banner ads directly online and is just one step away from a very influential keyword search facility. Watch this space!
It is a search engine and it’s not. It is a Yellow Pages and it’s not. Strongest in China and India, Alibaba is difficult to describe apart from saying that in size, it dwarfs some of the better known search engines. Some describe Alibaba.com as a dating site matchmaking manufacturers and their various types of distributors, which is actually pretty fair. And it has its own keyword matching advertising facility as well.
In the Netherlands, Marktplaats is a prominent Yellow Pages style directory and is in this column to represent the myriad of Yellow Pages style advertising portals which have migrated to the web and offer keyword-based advertising tools.
Still More Alternatives
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a strong alternative to Google keyword search to boost your results, then there are three other options you should also consider.
Firstly, YouTube.com, which may be from the Google stable, but is also the second most important search site in most global markets. The next natural alternate to Google is Facebook which is not directly a keyword-matched advertising solution, but is the most prominent alternate site where people go to “discover” things.
And finally, you may find the best way to boost your search campaign internationally is to expand its reach to the many thousands of sites which boast banner advertising opportunities which can promote the success of your “pure” search campaign.
In summary, there are “alternates” but more importantly, I predict we have turned the corner and more will emerge in the future from the news world, telecoms and former Yellow Pages stables — and they’ll be mixing and matching Google, not aiming to go up directly against it!