Semalt: What You Should Know About Search Engine DuckDuckGo SEO

Google, Bing, Yahoo are some of the most famous search engines today. DuckDuckGo, have you ever heard of this search engine? Well, in this article, we would familiarize you with this search engine and show you how we can improve your website's performance and visibility on DuckDuckGo. 

One of the reasons why DuckDuckGo made it on our radar was because, in January 2021, they hit a significant milestone of 100 million searches per day for the first time. Now, this may be not so big a deal for other search engines like Google, but for DuckDuckGo, this meant the world. It showed us that Google didn't own the search engines' monopoly and forced us to as: "Are we optimizing for DuckDuckGo?"

Secretly, DuckDuckGo has been attracting more users and generating traffic over the years. After doing some background check, we realized one of the secrets of what it takes to rank in DuckDuckGo search results. 

But before we go into the main item on the menu (how we optimize for DuckDuckGo), let's familiarize our readers with the basics. 

Why does DuckDuckGo matter?

We started looking into DuckDuckGo back in 2018, and at that time, the world was getting more protective of its data privacy. We've had anti-trust issues with some of the giant companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google, with regards to our privacy. 

As the awareness of how much privacy users have on these apps grow, more data is undercovered regarding how they collect and share information. DuckDuckGo has capitalized on this "misfortune" to create a name for itself. The way DuckDuckGo handles its user data is what distinguishes it from every other search engine right from inception. 

According to DuckDuckGo, it never stores its users' personal information or browsing history. It doesn't bug its users with ads or track their activities across the Internet. Their mantra is simple, "Just searching; no ads targeting, not tracking". This shows its clear distinction between this private search engine against google who tracks its users and uses their data for ads. 

According to DuckDuckGo, there were nearly 24 billion searches conducted on its site in 2020, which was a 57% increase from its previous count in 2019. The daily average number of searches as of December 2020 had also risen to around 79 million. In the previous year, that number was about 48 million searches. 

Below is a chart published by DuckDuckGo illustrating its growth: 

These are impressive numbers, but we must put them into perspective. DuckDuckGo market shares pale when placed side by side with other major players in the search engine industry. 

However, upon closer analysis, we discovered that some websites, if not all, are getting traffic from DuckDuckGo. And although this number may be relatively small, it is still something to watch. Maybe, capitalizing on this small search engine will be the equivalent of buying bitcoin in 2008. 

What should we know about DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo claims to get its results from more than 400 sources, which range from crowdsourced websites to its own crawler, DuckDuckBot. Because DuckDuckGo's sole priority is privacy, it does not know exactly where its searches originate from. However, they can provide an estimated location using the GEO::IP lookup. 

On its blog, DuckDuckGo explains that when you click the search button, your computer sends the search query to their bot. in that request, your computer also includes additional information based on the permissions you've given it. For example, if you are opt-in to location sharing on a site, the information your computer includes can be your approximated location. 

But that's all to familiarize yourself with DuckDuckGo we would advise that you check them out. Now that we've covered the basics, how can this help?

Exploring your SEO options for optimization on DuckDuckGo

Outside the traditional SEO methods, there is only a handful of extra steps you can take to optimize on DuckDuckGo. 

Attract quality links

As with most other search engines, links are important. And don't roll your eyes over because you've danced this dance a thousand times. In this case, it's a bit different as this directive is directly from DuckDuckGo. This information was made public years ago and still is applicable today. Semalt has a great resource that guides you on how we build links, which can be particularly beneficial in this case. 

Using tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, and majestic are all excellent tools to help you identify and analyze linking opportunities. However, it would help if you did not forget to focus on quality links. It is always quality and not quantity when it comes to links. 

Understand your target audience

This may be another cliché but considering that the DuckDuckGo focuses on privacy, searchers are funds of exhibiting a different behavioral pattern on this search engine. For example, a user might decide to add specific geo-qualifiers in their search queries because they understand that DuckDuckGo can not pinpoint their location. 

Optimizing on this search engine also requires deep keyword research in order to be able to understand your inbound traffic from the result pages of DuckDuckGo. Some tool we use for our analysis includes Seed keywords, SpyFu, and SEMrush. These tools provide valuable intel on how users search for the products and services of our clients. 

Optimize for Bing

We can bet you weren't expecting that. Strange. We couldn't possibly optimize the website for Bing so that they can be optimized on DuckDuckGo. On the DuckDuckGo help page, we see it addressing Bing, and they claim to source from multiple partners, and the most common of its partners is Bing. 

Since we now know that DuckDuckGo pulls from Bing, it would be wise if we optimize our sites for Bing as that indirectly puts us in the graces of DuckDuckGo. So we ensure that we follow the best practices for Bing.  

This is something we advise everyone to do regardless, considering that Bing has a decent share in the search market pie. Some of the ranking tips for Bing includes: 
  • Making sure your XML sitemaps are accurate and error-free.
  • Ensuring you submit your XML sitemaps to Bing webmaster. 
  • Using Bing webmaster tools to check the overall health of your site.
  • Monitor the crawl and indexation performance.
  • Identify optimization improvements.
Bing is continually giving its algorithms feedbacks so that it can improve. The data used by the algorithm team is used to tweak the algorithm's features and the rules. The updated and labeled data is then fed back to the machine to implement. 

If there are any negative feedbacks, Bing's algorithm team uses it to adjust and improve their operations. Both positive and negative feedbacks are utilized by the machine to improve its function. 

SERPs are built from the ten blue links upwards. These ten links are the foundation of SERP in every respect. This means that we shouldn't expect blue links to die off soon in Bing (or any other search engine). Although the rise of developing SERP features has killed off some blue links, it is still clear that blue links wouldn't be going extinct in the foreseeable future.

Claim and update Apple maps listing

You can claim your Apple Maps listing by visiting

DuckSuckGo uses Apple Map listings as its map to give an approx. Geolocation of users. Once you've claimed your business, there are some fields you will be required to fill, including:
  • Business name 
  • Address
  • Phone number 
  • Hours of operation 
  • Categories 
  • Website 
  • Social media platforms 


Like any other search engine, there is no magic potion or secrete key when it comes to optimizing for DuckDuckGo. What we do is to attract quality links, focus on our user keywords and optimize for the other search engines DuckDuckGo uses, such as Bing and Google. 

The real focus here is to get all of your SEO ducks to follow your website like the mother Duck (we've been searching for the perfect opportunity to use a cheeky pun). It may not sound like much at the moment, but in the nearest future, who can tell how good or famous DuckDuckGo will become?

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