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The top 10 international search engines

By Josian Phillips, 


Search engines have become as much a part of our daily lives as switching on the kettle to make a cup of tea.

Want to know which laptop to buy? A quick tap into a search engine and you’ll have all the information you need to make the right decision.

Do you know what happened to the guy who sold his life on Ebay? Well, a search engine does.

In 2017, 46.8% of the global population accessed the internet, a figure which is set to grow to 53.7% by 2021.

With many of us now glued to our mobile phones, the device also plays an important part in preferred search engine use. In 2018 so far, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide has been generated through mobile phones.

Knowing whether your target audience is using their desktop or mobile device, and their preferred search engine, is crucial to successful marketing.

It’s important that digital marketers understand which international search engines their audience is browsing on across the globe.

Let’s have a look at the top 10 international search engines used in 2018.

  1. Google

You probably guessed that Google would come top of list for the world’s most popular search engine.

According to Netmarketshare, as of January 2018, it has a total global market share of 74.5% of the desktop search engine market. For mobile that’s 93.1%.

In the UK alone, the popular search engine has a market share of 90.4%.

‘To google’ is a verb, which is synonymous with ‘to search’, and was added to the dictionary in 2006. No other search engine has managed to influence language in the same way as Google, and probably never will.

There’s really no competition.

Brands need to take a few things into account when producing content for other countries. Beyond creating quality content, there are some technical considerations, such the of use hreflang attributes. These attributes are tags which correctly interpret the language and the intended country for the content, so your site can avoid duplicate content issues.

  1. Baidu

Baidu is the Chinese equivalent of Google and is the country’s leading search engine, with a market share of 3.2%.

Despite only being used in China, it now boasts a huge 10.5% of total global market share. This is a significant rise from 8% in 2016 and is continually growing. It’s now the second most popular search engine in the world thanks to China’s dense population.

For businesses thinking about expanding overseas, China’s huge online marketplace could be the one. To be successful, they need to be extremely familiar with Baidu.

To compete in rankings, any content needs to be written in simplified Chinese, use a ‘.cn’ domain, and host the site in China. Content will rank higher with features such as title tags and meta descriptions – just like how Google ranks brands.

  1. Bing

The search engine was created in 2009 by Microsoft, and is often used as an alternative to Google.

It has a total global market share of 8.0% and a total of 1.8% for mobile.

Bing is known to rely on social media signals a lot. It has a definitive role when your content is widely shared by users, and generates a lot of engagement. These positive signals help with organic rankings and traffic.

If it isn’t already, social media should be a key component of your overall digital marketing and SEO strategy.

In 2017, Bing accounted for 17% of search traffic in Canada and 33% in the United States. So, while it may never reach Google’s popularity, it still has a large share of search engine traffic.

  1. Yahoo!

Yahoo come out fourth on the list, with a total global market share of 5.4% and mobile share of 1.3%.

The Bing algorithm powers Yahoo itself, so optimising your website for Bing means you’ll see the benefits on Yahoo too.

The search engine may not be as popular as the three above, but it’s been around foreverand it’s certainly not going anywhere.

  1. Yandex

This is the most popular search engine in Russia, with 52% of the market share in the country – yet a mere 0.17% mobile market share.

This is a significant proportion compared to Google, which takes 42.4% of the share.

Although Google is trying to overtake Yandex in Russia in that part of the world, Yandex remains the most dominant. The engine divides all its queries into geo-dependent and non-geo-dependent. Geo-dependent queries mean that the sites of a given area (such a city) should have advantages over sites of a national scale.

To be a success and rank highly on Yandex, content must be original. Any duplicates result in harsh penalties. 

  1. Ask

Originally named AskJeeves, Ask has a global market share of 0.3% and a mobile search share of 0.1%

The search engine operates in the form of questions and answers. To get your page to rank highly you need to cultivate your presence in online communities with others in a target industry. The best thing to do is get as many organic backlinks to your site as possible from credible sources.

  1. DuckDuckGo

A name which certainly gives Google a run for their money in term of catchiness.

DuckDuckGo has a total global market share of only 0.2%, but is growing in popularity every year. Last year, it surpassed 10 billion searches in a single month.

It’s not as big on mobile, with only  0.1% market share, but it sure is a promising platform.

Founded in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg, it was created with the intention of providing users with a perfectly anonymous way of searching the web. The attraction to the search engine is the fact that it doesn’t retain any of the user’s search history or personal information.

Its built-in privacy measures are incredibly attractive to cautious searchers.

  1. Naver

Naver is the South Korean search engine, and has 0.1% of total global market share and a mobile search share of 0.1%

It’s only been given a small chunk of the global market share, but it has over 70% of South Korea’s own market. Naver’s homepage has similar style to Yahoo’s.

The search engine’s algorithm is built in the Korean language. This helps Naver deliver better results than Google, as the syntax is so different to English language’s.

  1. AOL

AOL has over 2 million users and a partnership with Google, but no mobile search share at all.

It has a total global market share of 0.1%, a miniscule amount when you compare it to the likes of its giant partner.

Verizon has plans to merge AOL with Yahoo!, so there could be big changes coming to the site.

  1. Dogpile

This interestingly-named metasearch engine also has a total market share of 0.1%. It also has a decent mobile search market share – 0.17%.

Dogpile recognised that searchers weren’t always finding necessary results when they were using one search engine. They decided to combine results from multiple search engines including Google, Yahoo! and Yandex.

Honourable mentions

There are two very influential search sites which didn’t quite make the cut, but must be mentioned:


YouTube isn’t strictly a search engine, but it does have over a billion users (that’s a third of people that use the internet) who search and watch videos every day.

If the list was based on Alexa.com’s top 500 sites, it would boot Baidu off second place.

The platform makes searching visual and engaging, and simply can’t be ignored.


Facebook is the social media platform which also gives Google some healthy competition.

It has 2.2 billon active monthly users, who are now turning to the platform to search for a variety of things relating to their friends and family, and businesses, organisations and events.

The site would kick Bing into fourth place on the list according to Alexa.com’s top 500 sites, due to its sheer volume of users – all connecting and searching every day.

It’ll take a big hit from one of the other search engines to knock Google off the top spot. Will it ever happen?


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