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search engine differences

What Are the Differences Between Search Engines?

Search engines are critical to the success of businesses all over the globe. As an SEO reseller, you probably get asked about the differences between search engines occasionally. The simple answer is that all search engines are similar in how they work, so there isn’t much difference. But, are all search engines the same? What are those small differences? Today you’ll discover answers to these questions.

Some of the most prominent search engines:

  • Google – Unless you’ve been living under a rock for many years, you know Google is the largest and most widely-used search engine. 
  • Bing – The search engine is owned by Microsoft and is considered the second largest search engine as it relates to search volume.
  • Baidu – A dominant player in China, and according to Alexa, it’s the 4th most popular website on the web. 
  • Yandex – This is a Russian search engine and the largest tech company in the country.

Indexing

Google uses mobile-first indexing, which means its bots will use your website’s mobile version to rank pages. That also means if the desktop version of a page loads fine, but the mobile one doesn’t, you’ll likely lose rankings. 

Bing uses desktop-first indexing and has no plans to introduce mobile-first indexing. Yandex and Baidu index web pages the same as Bing.

Backlinks

Google is stringent when it comes to backlinks. The search giant is picky about what it counts vs. disregards. Based on empirical and anecdotal evidence, the number of links matters less than the quality as far as big G is concerned. Worth noting is that the search giant valued the number of links over quality at one point in time, but things changed after spammers took advantage.

Bing evaluates backlinks much in the same way as Google. The search engine prefers quality backlinks over hundreds of low-quality links. Yandex mostly uses backlink data the same way Google and Bing do, but the company is probably stricter when evaluating links. And as with the other search engines, Yandex values quality over quantity. Baidu uses backlink data but values those from Chinese-based websites more than those from other nations. 

With all that noted, practically every SEO reseller knows backlinks aren’t a decisive ranking factor, though they can provide massive boosts in rankings.

Social Media

Google doesn’t use social media as a ranking factor due to the difficulties in understanding social identities. It’s also because there’s a greater risk of using data that’s incomplete or misleading. However, Bing embraces social signals as part of how it evaluates websites, according to its Webmaster Guidelines. But the company only uses the positive signals from social media, such as shares. 

Some reports suggest that Yandex derives ranking signals from social media, but it doesn’t seem to play an immediate role in rankings. No evidence suggests Baidu uses social signals at all or as a direct ranking factor. While search engines don’t generally rely on social signals, there’s a strong correlation between high performance on social channels and higher rankings.

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