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8 search engines that are challenging Google in 2021

You would be forgiven for thinking that Google is the only important search engine in the world.

It has become so synonymous with search that many people even use the phrase “Google it”, rather than “search for it”.

But it is not the only search engine out there. In certain countries, there are alternative search engines that are challenging Google’s dominance – and sometimes even knocking it off the top spot.

Ignoring these search engines could spell disaster for your search marketing campaigns. Therefore, anyone who is even remotely serious about international digital marketing needs to have these alternative search engines on their radar.

This blog post will look at eight of these alternative search engines, based on the latest data from Webcertain search and social report 2021.

1. Baidu

Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, where it accounts for 78% of all searches. Google’s share of the search engine market in China is tiny, so if your brand is targeting the Chinese market, you must focus on Baidu. Baidu’s dominance is a result of its superior local knowledge, compliance with local laws and censorship, and a better understanding of the nuances of the Chinese language.

2. Sogou

Sogou is another Chinese search engine. It accounts for 14% of all searches performed in the country. Whilst this may not sound like a lot, remember that China has a massive population, with almost 1 billion internet users. That means that 14% actually represents a lot of searches! It is therefore worth considering Sogou as part of your search engine marketing efforts in China. You may find there is less competition on this search engine, as most people’s focus will be on Baidu.

3. Yandex

Yandex is best known as one of the leading search engines in Russia. It accounts for 45% of searches in the country, only marginally behind Google. However, these figures fluctuate frequently, and the closeness of them means that both search engines are important when doing search marketing in the country. Yandex is also becoming increasingly popular in Turkey, where it now accounts for 18% of all searches.

4. Naver

Naver is a popular search engine in South Korea. Estimates of exactly how popular it is vary wildly depending on the source, with many South Korean sources putting it as the most popular search engine, and many Western sources putting it in second place behind Google. Whatever the true break down, one thing is clear: if you are targeting South Korea, it is wise to include both Naver and Google in your search marketing efforts.

5. Yahoo Japan

Yahoo Japan is a popular search engine in Japan, where it accounts for 21% of all searches. It might be more accurate to describe Yahoo Japan as a “portal” rather than a search engine, as it is used by Japanese internet users to do far more than just search: it is a place they go to read the news, buy products, watch video on-demand, book tickets, and much more.

6. Bing

Bing is most popular in its home market of America, where it accounts for 6% of all searches. However, when looking at desktop and tablet searches only, Bing’s market share rises to about 11% and 15% respectively. Given the large size of the American online population, that translates into a lot of searches. It is therefore worth considering Bing in your search marketing efforts in this country, alongside Google.

7. Seznam

Seznam is one you may not have heard of before. It is a Czech search engine, and it accounts for 11% of searches in the country. If you are targeting the Czech Republic, you may therefore want to consider it as part of your search engine marketing efforts. You may see less competition on there than on Google.

8. CocCoc

And finally, we have CocCoc. CocCoc is a Vietnamese search engine, where it accounts for 5% of searches. Again, this may not sound like a huge number, but the large size of the Vietnamese internet population means it should at least be considered as a candidate for your search engine marketing efforts.

I hope this blog post has given you an interesting insight into how search engine usage differs around the world. For more in-depth information about international search trends in 49 countries, check out Webcertain search and social report 2021!

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Elin Box

Content Marketing Manager at Webcertain
Elin is a Content Marketing Manager at Webcertain. She is responsible for Webcertain's Self-learning platform, producing in-depth guides on a range of international digital marketing topics. She is also part of the Webcertain TV team, where she writes scripts for short educational videos and helps with the day-to-day management of the YouTube channel. She also supports the Director of Marketing with a wide range of other marketing tasks, as and when required. Elin is from the UK.
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