private browsers

How Do Private Browsers Impact SEO

Will your website still rank if consumers are using private browsers or incognito mode? Learn what to expect as consumers seek out increased online privacy.

When you complete an online search, many background factors impact the results that you see. Some of those factors include:

  • Your location
  • Cookies
  • Search history

Two individuals could complete the same search and get completely different results. That’s because the search engine knows a great deal about the person to deliver results that meet their unique needs.

But when you use a private browser or incognito mode, can these search engines still do their work to better understand your needs? And for your website, just how much of an impact do private browsers have on SEO?

This is why it’s important to run analytics on your search engine rankings regularly instead of just Googling relevant search terms to see how your website fares.

While you might see great results, your customers might not find you in the top rankings in the same way. 

We’ll explain how private browsers or incognito mode works and the impacts it could have on your ability to rank when a customer uses this tactic.

How Private Browsing Works

Private browsing is not quite as private as you might think. The goal of such browsing is to hide your history from other people who use the same network or device as you use. 

It is not completely anonymous. Even when a user is in incognito mode, the search engine can see the person’s:

  • IP address
  • Location
  • Logins the person makes during that browsing session

Therefore, even in incognito mode, search engines can serve up relevant results using this information.

The largest impact you might experience when your customers use private browsing is in cookie-based tracking. This will make it more challenging for you to engage omnichannel marketing tactics to retarget individuals with advertisements after they visit your website. 

How to Rank in Private Search Engines Like DuckDuckGo

As consumers become acutely aware of their online privacy, the use of private browsers like DuckDuckGo will likely become more prevalent. But the good news is, search algorithms for these private search engines work a great deal like Google or Bing.

Keyword strategy will still have a large impact on what your customers see when they complete a search using a private search engine. While these search engines might have less data and information about the individual, they still have the means to deliver results and rank your website.

However, private browsers will lack valuable information, such as:

  • The consumer’s YouTube viewing habits
  • Previous purchase information
  • Browsing habits
  • Google Maps previous data

The future of SEO could change if consumers continue to favor private browsers and search engines like DuckDuckGo. But it certainly doesn’t mean that SEO is going away or will lose its value in any way.

private browsers and seo
SEO will still be around for the long haul. But the way search engines are using our personal data is going to change drastically.

If you’re seeing large traffic sources from DuckDuckGo or a variety of other private browsers or search engines, that doesn’t mean you should discontinue your SEO work. The reality is, you’re still ranking on these search engines, which is driving valuable traffic to your website.

Privacy concerns will likely stay at the forefront of consumers’ minds. Your SEO strategy and online marketing tactics will need to withstand these privacy concerns long-term.

New Light Digital understands SEO beyond just Google rankings. Our strategies help you focus on building an inbound marketing strategy that considers traffic from all sources and not just Google. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.

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