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10 DuckDuckGo Facts For Digital Marketers & SEO Pros



How often do you use DuckDuckGo?

If you answered “never,” you might want to read this article.

Over the years, DuckDuckGo has redesigned itself and evolved to better meet searchers’ needs and protect their privacy.

In addition to its excellent search capabilities, DDG (DuckDuckGo) has many helpful features that can help you improve your search strategy while cutting the time it takes to complete research.

I’ve researched DDG and its value for digital marketers and SEO professionals.

Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about DDG, why marketers should consider using it, and some interesting facts about the search engine.

What Is DuckDuckGo?

DDGo is a search engine that doesn’t track users, meaning it doesn’t store any information about what websites you visit.

This means that when you use DDG, no one knows who you are, where you live, what you like to search, or which sites you’ve visited – creating a private search history.

Gabriel Weinberg founded the company and has progressed his idea since 2008.

He started using Google for searching, but after seeing how much data Google collects, he decided to create a new, private search engine.

Marketers and SEO pros can use DDG on Safari, Chrome, and Firefox with a built-in extension.

In addition, the search engine is now available as an app for iOS devices, Android phones, and Windows 8 tablets.

Now, let’s get into why you should consider using DDG.

Why Use DuckDuckGo?

With its unique search algorithms, DDG has become one of the most popular alternative search engines.

And while many people are familiar with the name, few understand what makes it stand out from the crowd.

DDG has been designed from the ground up to be fast, private, and secure.

The search engine uses only what it needs to deliver results, which means no tracking cookies or other unnecessary data collection.

This makes DDG one of the best privacy-focused search engines available today.

It lets you search anonymously while blocking trackers on websites you use.

DDG uses HTTPS encryption for all searches and doesn’t store IP addresses.

While there are similarities that make DDG comparable as a search engine to Google, the main difference is that DDG doesn’t track you as Google does.

So, no matter how often you search, you won’t see ads based on your previous searches. Instead, you’ll see sponsored links relevant to the current topic.

This isn’t just good news for privacy advocates – it’s great news for anyone looking for quality information online.

If you want to find something specific without being tracked, DDG is a great option.

Also, if you’re trying to figure out how to incorporate SEO for DDG, you can check out this Search Engine Journal resource.

DDG allows you to block certain types of cookies, which means you can control whether third parties can track your browsing history across the Internet.

Access to this information can provide significant advantages, especially regarding marketing campaigns.

For example, you can target specific keywords based on the pages users visit, which means marketers can reach potential customers faster than ever before.

So now, let’s dive into the helpful features DDG offers.

Helpful DuckDuckGo Search Features

DDG has numerous features such as image searches, location-based searches, and voice searches.

As I mentioned, the main difference between Google and DDG is that DDG does not track users through cookies or other methods.

It also does not sell any data to third parties.

DDG aims to protect the people using its service.

The company has built several features enabling it to identify potential threats without invading user privacy.

It also has instructions to evaluate your add-ons to help you safely remove any unofficial and potentially harmful add-ons.

In addition, DDG has integrated with Apple Maps, allowing users to search for locations privately.

Some features include Safe Search, Instant Answers, and private searches. These help DDG protect its users from malicious websites, scams, and malware.

With Instant Answers, DDG uses over 100 different sources to provide answers to your queries without making you click on different websites for results.

The !Bang Syntax

One very cool feature on DDG is the !Bang Syntax function, which lets you directly search on a site from DDG without having to go to that site first.

For example, suppose you want to search for butter chicken recipes on Pinterest.

You can use DDG’s Pinterest shortcut by entering [!p butter chicken recipes] into the search bar, and it will transport you straight to the Pinterest results on that platform.

DDG has many other shortcuts to websites such as Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Wikipedia.

To see all the shortcuts, type in the exclamation mark in the search bar, and they will pop up.

Don’t worry – it is easy to use and very helpful for quick searches.

It takes the time out of navigating to a website to complete a search.

If you use DDG’s browser extension or have it as your browser’s default search engine, the !bang commands also work in the address bar.

DDG has many other interesting features you should check out, such as category pages, keyboard shortcuts, and Autosuggest.

If you’re not sold on the search engine yet, check out these ten DDG facts that might help to change your mind.

10 DuckDuckGo Facts

1. DDG Turned 14 In 2022

Google has become synonymous with Internet searches. Even though DDG is a relatively new search engine, the company has existed for over a decade and is still growing at an incredible rate.

2. DDG Hits 100 Million Searches Per Day

It is now one of the top 10 search engines worldwide.

In addition, the search engine hit the milestone of 100 million daily searches in 2021.

3. Over 100 Billion Searches Have Been Performed On DDG

In 2019, it broke one billion searches in a month – and in 2020, it broke 50 billion searches.

Due to its efficient and streamlined search capabilities, over 100 billion searches have been performed on DDG.

4. DDG Has A 11.43% Bounce Rate

While Google still ranks as the number one search engine in the U.S., DDG has worked its way up to the second leading search engine.

And DDG has a bounce rate of 11.43% compared to Google’s 28.46%.

5. DDG Employees Have Grown To 180

From its humble beginnings with founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg running DDG by himself until 2011, the company now employs 180 people.

Additionally, the business is now profitable.

It’s a great example of how you can start small and grow into something bigger.

6. Average Of 6 Million Monthly Downloads On DDG

With more people looking to protect their data, there are an average of six million monthly downloads of DDG for both mobile and desktop use.

Since 2020 it is also the default search engine on Android throughout the EU.

7. Average Of 3 Billion Monthly Searches Performed On DDG

More people are benefiting from the DDG, and now there is an average of three billion monthly searches.

This is because more people rely on the site for everyday searches.

8. DDG Holds 2.42% Of The Search Market In The US

In 2019, the DDG market share began to grow, starting at 1.25%, and has nearly doubled today.

DDG holds 2.42% of the search engine market shares in the US.

9. The Cost Per Click On DDG Can Be 10x Cheaper Than Google

DDG runs pay-per-click advertising like Google and Bing.

But, some marketers have found DDG significantly cheaper than the cost per click of ads on Google, thus lowering the cost of their average conversion rate.

With the right strategy, DDG can be a valuable marketing opportunity for marketers and brands to increase conversion rates.

10. DDG Has An Average Rating Of 4.5 Stars

One of the best ways to determine if a platform is legitimate and worth your time is to look at its reviews.

DDG has an average rating of 4.5 stars, meaning people like using it.

With quick load times and ease for mobile users, it’s an effective search engine.

Key Takeaways

DDG is fast becoming one of the world’s most trusted and popular search engines due to its excellent privacy policy.

It is one of the top search engines for digital marketers and SEO pros because it offers a unique combination of features that help our users stay safe online.

As you can see, DDG provides a wide range of tools and features that can help you optimize your digital marketing strategy, create more opportunities for organic traffic, and increase your online presence.

But don’t let these benefits fool you: DDG is an entirely free service, requiring minimal investment on your part.

So it’s time to try DDG and take your online search strategy to the next level.

Featured Image: sdecoret/Shutterstock

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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays




GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After 'Unexpected' Delays

OpenAI shares its plans for the GPT Store, enhancements to GPT Builder tools, privacy improvements, and updates coming to ChatGPT.

  • OpenAI has scheduled the launch of the GPT Store for early next year, aligning with its ongoing commitment to developing advanced AI technologies.
  • The GPT Builder tools have received substantial updates, including a more intuitive configuration interface and improved file handling capabilities.
  • Anticipation builds for upcoming updates to ChatGPT, highlighting OpenAI’s responsiveness to community feedback and dedication to AI innovation.

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here’s How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]



96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here's How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

It’s no secret that the web is growing by millions, if not billions of pages per day.

Our Content Explorer tool discovers 10 million new pages every 24 hours while being very picky about the pages that qualify for inclusion. The “main” Ahrefs web crawler crawls that number of pages every two minutes. 

But how much of this content gets organic traffic from Google?

To find out, we took the entire database from our Content Explorer tool (around 14 billion pages) and studied how many pages get traffic from organic search and why.

How many web pages get organic search traffic?

96.55% of all pages in our index get zero traffic from Google, and 1.94% get between one and ten monthly visits.

Distribution of pages by traffic from Content Explorer

Before we move on to discussing why the vast majority of pages never get any search traffic from Google (and how to avoid being one of them), it’s important to address two discrepancies with the studied data:

  1. ~14 billion pages may seem like a huge number, but it’s not the most accurate representation of the entire web. Even compared to the size of Site Explorer’s index of 340.8 billion pages, our sample size for this study is quite small and somewhat biased towards the “quality side of the web.”
  2. Our search traffic numbers are estimates. Even though our database of ~651 million keywords in Site Explorer (where our estimates come from) is arguably the largest database of its kind, it doesn’t contain every possible thing people search for in Google. There’s a chance that some of these pages get search traffic from super long-tail keywords that are not popular enough to make it into our database.

That said, these two “inaccuracies” don’t change much in the grand scheme of things: the vast majority of published pages never rank in Google and never get any search traffic. 

But why is this, and how can you be a part of the minority that gets organic search traffic from Google?

Well, there are hundreds of SEO issues that may prevent your pages from ranking well in Google. But if we focus only on the most common scenarios, assuming the page is indexed, there are only three of them.

Reason 1: The topic has no search demand

If nobody is searching for your topic, you won’t get any search traffic—even if you rank #1.

For example, I recently Googled “pull sitemap into google sheets” and clicked the top-ranking page (which solved my problem in seconds, by the way). But if you plug that URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you’ll see that it gets zero estimated organic search traffic:

The top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demandThe top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demand

This is because hardly anyone else is searching for this, as data from Keywords Explorer confirms:

Keyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demandKeyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demand

This is why it’s so important to do keyword research. You can’t just assume that people are searching for whatever you want to talk about. You need to check the data.

Our Traffic Potential (TP) metric in Keywords Explorer can help with this. It estimates how much organic search traffic the current top-ranking page for a keyword gets from all the queries it ranks for. This is a good indicator of the total search demand for a topic.

You’ll see this metric for every keyword in Keywords Explorer, and you can even filter for keywords that meet your minimum criteria (e.g., 500+ monthly traffic potential): 

Filtering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Reason 2: The page has no backlinks

Backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and its traffic.

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
Pages with more referring domains get more traffic

Same goes for the correlation between a page’s traffic and keyword rankings:

Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywordsPages with more referring domains rank for more keywords
Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywords

Does any of this data prove that backlinks help you rank higher in Google?

No, because correlation does not imply causation. However, most SEO professionals will tell you that it’s almost impossible to rank on the first page for competitive keywords without backlinks—an observation that aligns with the data above.

The key word there is “competitive.” Plenty of pages get organic traffic while having no backlinks…

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
How much traffic pages with no backlinks get

… but from what I can tell, almost all of them are about low-competition topics.

For example, this lyrics page for a Neil Young song gets an estimated 162 monthly visits with no backlinks: 

Example of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerExample of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

But if we check the keywords it ranks for, they almost all have Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores in the single figures:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

It’s the same story for this page selling upholstered headboards:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

You might have noticed two other things about these pages:

  • Neither of them get that much traffic. This is pretty typical. Our index contains ~20 million pages with no referring domains, yet only 2,997 of them get more than 1K search visits per month. That’s roughly 1 in every 6,671 pages with no backlinks.
  • Both of the sites they’re on have high Domain Rating (DR) scores. This metric shows the relative strength of a website’s backlink profile. Stronger sites like these have more PageRank that they can pass to pages with internal links to help them rank. 

Bottom line? If you want your pages to get search traffic, you really only have two options:

  1. Target uncompetitive topics that you can rank for with few or no backlinks.
  2. Target competitive topics and build backlinks to rank.

If you want to find uncompetitive topics, try this:

  1. Enter a topic into Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to max. 20
  4. Set the Lowest DR filter to your site’s DR (this will show you keywords with at least one of the same or lower DR ranking in the top 5)
Filtering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

(Remember to keep an eye on the TP column to make sure they have traffic potential.)

To rank for more competitive topics, you’ll need to earn or build high-quality backlinks to your page. If you’re not sure how to do that, start with the guides below. Keep in mind that it’ll be practically impossible to get links unless your content adds something to the conversation. 

Reason 3. The page doesn’t match search intent

Google wants to give users the most relevant results for a query. That’s why the top organic results for “best yoga mat” are blog posts with recommendations, not product pages. 

It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"

Basically, Google knows that searchers are in research mode, not buying mode.

It’s also why this page selling yoga mats doesn’t show up, despite it having backlinks from more than six times more websites than any of the top-ranking pages:

Page selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinksPage selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinks
Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"

Luckily, the page ranks for thousands of other more relevant keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. So it’s not such a big deal that it doesn’t rank for “best yoga mats.”

Number of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga matsNumber of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga mats

However, if you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic—and they already target a keyword with traffic potential—another quick SEO win is to re-optimize them for search intent.

We did this in 2018 with our free backlink checker.

It was originally nothing but a boring landing page explaining the benefits of our product and offering a 7-day trial: 

Original landing page for our free backlink checkerOriginal landing page for our free backlink checker

After analyzing search intent, we soon realized the issue:

People weren’t looking for a landing page, but rather a free tool they could use right away. 

So, in September 2018, we created a free tool and published it under the same URL. It ranked #1 pretty much overnight, and has remained there ever since. 

Our rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the pageOur rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the page

Organic traffic went through the roof, too. From ~14K monthly organic visits pre-optimization to almost ~200K today. 

Estimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checkerEstimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checker


96.55% of pages get no organic traffic. 

Keep your pages in the other 3.45% by building backlinks, choosing topics with organic traffic potential, and matching search intent.

Ping me on Twitter if you have any questions. 🙂

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Firefox URL Tracking Removal – Is This A Trend To Watch?




Firefox URL Tracking Removal - Is This A Trend To Watch?

Firefox recently announced that they are offering users a choice on whether or not to include tracking information from copied URLs, which comes on the on the heels of iOS 17 blocking user tracking via URLs. The momentum of removing tracking information from URLs appears to be gaining speed. Where is this all going and should marketers be concerned?

Is it possible that blocking URL tracking parameters in the name of privacy will become a trend industrywide?

Firefox Announcement

Firefox recently announced that beginning in the Firefox Browser version 120.0, users will be able to select whether or not they want URLs that they copied to contain tracking parameters.

When users select a link to copy and click to raise the contextual menu for it, Firefox is now giving users a choice as to whether to copy the URL with or without the URL tracking parameters that might be attached to the URL.

Screenshot Of Firefox 120 Contextual Menu

Screenshot of Firefox functionality

According to the Firefox 120 announcement:

“Firefox supports a new “Copy Link Without Site Tracking” feature in the context menu which ensures that copied links no longer contain tracking information.”

Browser Trends For Privacy

All browsers, including Google’s Chrome and Chrome variants, are adding new features that make it harder for websites to track users online through referrer information embedded in a URL when a user clicks from one site and leaves through that click to visit another site.

This trend for privacy has been ongoing for many years but it became more noticeable in 2020 when Chrome made changes to how referrer information was sent when users click links to visit other sites. Firefox and Safari followed with similar referrer behavior.

Whether the current Firefox implementation would be disruptive or if the impact is overblown is kind of besides the point.

What is the point is whether or not what Firefox and Apple did to protect privacy is a trend and if that trend will extend to more blocking of URL parameters that are stronger than what Firefox recently implemented.

I asked Kenny Hyder, CEO of online marketing agency Pixel Main, what his thoughts are about the potential disruptive aspect of what Firefox is doing and whether it’s a trend.

Kenny answered:

“It’s not disruptive from Firefox alone, which only has a 3% market share. If other popular browsers follow suit it could begin to be disruptive to a limited degree, but easily solved from a marketers prospective.

If it became more intrusive and they blocked UTM tags, it would take awhile for them all to catch on if you were to circumvent UTM tags by simply tagging things in a series of sub-directories.. ie.<tag1>/<tag2> etc.

Also, most savvy marketers are already integrating future proof workarounds for these exact scenarios.

A lot can be done with pixel based integrations rather than cookie based or UTM tracking. When set up properly they can actually provide better and more accurate tracking and attribution. Hence the name of my agency, Pixel Main.”

I think most marketers are aware that privacy is the trend. The good ones have already taken steps to keep it from becoming a problem while still respecting user privacy.”

Some URL Parameters Are Already Affected

For those who are on the periphery of what’s going on with browsers and privacy, it may come as a surprise that some tracking parameters are already affected by actions meant to protect user privacy.

Jonathan Cairo, Lead Solutions Engineer at Elevar shared that there is already a limited amount of tracking related information stripped from URLs.

But he also explained that there are limits to how much information can be stripped from URLs because the resulting negative effects would cause important web browsing functionality to fail.

Jonathan explained:

“So far, we’re seeing a selective trend where some URL parameters, like ‘fbclid’ in Safari’s private browsing, are disappearing, while others, such as TikTok’s ‘ttclid’, remain.

UTM parameters are expected to stay since they focus on user segmentation rather than individual tracking, provided they are used as intended.

The idea of completely removing all URL parameters seems improbable, as it would disrupt key functionalities on numerous websites, including banking services and search capabilities.

Such a drastic move could lead users to switch to alternative browsers.

On the other hand, if only some parameters are eliminated, there’s the possibility of marketers exploiting the remaining ones for tracking purposes.

This raises the question of whether companies like Apple will take it upon themselves to prevent such use.

Regardless, even in a scenario where all parameters are lost, there are still alternative ways to convey click IDs and UTM information to websites.”

Brad Redding of Elevar agreed about the disruptive effect from going too far with removing URL tracking information:

“There is still too much basic internet functionality that relies on query parameters, such as logging in, password resets, etc, which are effectively the same as URL parameters in a full URL path.

So we believe the privacy crackdown is going to continue on known trackers by blocking their tracking scripts, cookies generated from them, and their ability to monitor user’s activity through the browser.

As this grows, the reliance on brands to own their first party data collection and bring consent preferences down to a user-level (vs session based) will be critical so they can backfill gaps in conversion data to their advertising partners outside of the browser or device.”

The Future Of Tracking, Privacy And What Marketers Should Expect

Elevar raises good points about how far browsers can go in terms of how much blocking they can do. Their response that it’s down to brands to own their first party data collection and other strategies to accomplish analytics without compromising user privacy.

Given all the laws governing privacy and Internet tracking that have been enacted around the world it looks like privacy will continue to be a trend.

However, at this point it time, the advice is to keep monitoring how far browsers are going but there is no expectation that things will get out of hand.

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