Unfortunately, as long as DDG depends on third-party crawlers, the suggestions to improve search results (& "the algorithm") seem far-fetched & naive.
(DDG does have its own crawler, DuckDuckBot, but apparently it's only used for very specific functionality.) https://help.duckduckgo.com/duckduckgo-help-pages/results/so...
> For DuckDuckGo, it may be tricky to resolve the issue permanently as long as it relies on Bing. https://torrentfreak.com/duckduckgo-restores-pirate-sites-an...
> According to various online forums, the best way to ensure your site gets indexed by DuckDuckGo is to submit it to Bing and Yandex. https://www.jessesquires.com/blog/2022/03/25/my-website-disa...
This makes it sound like that's easy. Yes, SEO twattery is an issue, and with the growth of the web it's also much more prevalent and the stakes are higher. Google from 2022 has a much harder problem to solve than Google from 2000. DDG can't "just" solve that just as Google can't "just" solve that.
Jokes aside I think fixing the SEO hacking as the author mentions would go the longest way. It's really bad for stack overflow posts. When I Google a programming error the first few results are copy cat sites with the exact Stack Overflow questions and replies. I don't understand how SEO has evolved to favor that over the actual, more popular, stack overflow page.
Disclaimer: No connection except as a satisfied paying user ($12/mo).
Like typing 'Tusk HiT' in Google, should yield me a ton of articles about what Donald Tusk(a famous polish politican) has recently said on HiT('History and Present days' - new, propaganda school subject and highly controversial book of mostly fiction and opinions that was made bu our 'government').
If I type it in Google I get newest and relevant results. Is it at the cost of my privacy(they know my rough location)? Sure. Do 99% of users care? Not really.
If i type it in DDG, I get Songfacts about 'Tusk' by Fleetwood Mac... It's not even comparable. For every day use, it's simply a no go for most of the world, which is not really technical enough to even realize they can/should use bangs. DDG will never get higher market share unless they realize, people rarely actually know what they search for, they won't know if they wanna see a Wikipedia article or something else. They just want relevant results, and DDG doesn't really deliver that.
Is it possible to take the google results and apply a domain score overlay on it to get rid of the spammy SEO sites? ie a community curated whitelist of sites that get preferential treatment
1. When I search for "X Y Z", ensure that the resulting documents contain X AND Y AND Z. The plus signs and quotes don't work. No exceptions to this rule, unless the user specifically requests "OR" searches, fuzzy searches, stemming, synonyms, etc. But no one will request those things because those things suck. (Recommending spelling corrections are okay, however. Just don't automatically perform them.)
2. Do not show me what "People also ask". Fire the product manager who is keeping this shit in the results.
3. Do not mix images and video and news with web results. I see the "images" etc links. I know how to click on things.
Has anybody had this experience with Google lately: Fighting and fighting to get it to NOT show 800 billion non-matching results, and then finally getting the actual result you want, only to have it be accompanied by the warning, "It looks like there aren't many good results for your search." Bad design award of the year, for that one.
For example if I search for something super simple like:
"what is another word for happy"
Google lists synonyms at the top of the page from Oxford.
If I do the same exact search on DDG
I just get the definition of happy and no synonyms.
Today, I would bet that the majority of searches aren't to find websites but to find answers to questions.
DDG sucks at answering questions.
The problem is I often search weird esoteric things that just don't appear well in DDG. Things about a game from 20 years ago. Specific, niche mods for said games. Indie music artists. Bits and pieces from old television or movies. Lesser known product brands. Almost anything that isn't very well named.
For those things, DDG's first couple (or several) results are often quite poor as they reference something that almost sounds related and is very popular/common, but actually has nothing to do with what I needed.
I like privacy and take easy steps to get it where I can, but I may end up ditching DDG.
I've sponsored search.marginalia.nu a few months (it is awesome for what it is and sometimes gave me better results than Google/Bing/DDG) and now I am a paid Kagi customer.
Yes, they too sometimes ignore quoted keywords, but they treat it like a bug when I report it.
But maybe 1%-2% of the time I find DDG's results seem utterly unrelated to what I was looking for, like it randomly rolled a dice. I do mean completely unrelated. It's not a big deal but it certainly is a puzzle.
If there were a "Google with privacy" I'd switch instantly. But right now DDG is "Google with privacy, plus every other search fails".
Now if they can pursue some tactful strategies like the article hopes for, they can eject the Microsoft ads that they have been grinding their teeth over.
According to the world map infograph in the article there are 4.5 million more people using the internet in Australia than there are people in Australia...?
So I'd say the estimates aren't great, or they're likely estimating number of internet connections rather than the people using them.
https://searx.be/ for example.
I don’t see a difference in the level of ad targeting I’m getting, even though I changed from Google to DDG.
Seriously? I have no use for results that point into a walled garden where I don't subscribe.
For a privacy-focussed search engine that's a very hard goal to achieve without betraying their core value prop.
Google can do that through
- Google analytics
- Youtube embeds
- Google DNS cache
- Android DNS
- Tracking repeat searches
- Tracking similar searches
- Google fonts
Every other player is just so far behind it's unlikely we'll see anybody beat google in their core desktop and mobile search but there are certainly niches that can be attacked.
The reality is that satisfying all privacy concerns and building a great search engine are not compatible.
Giving users control over their search results is a big part of fighting SEO spam.
I know a handful of us immediately switched out of DDG when they decided they were going to artificially down-rank Russian web sites from results, but I imagine the overlap between DDG users and people who care about this is quite small.
Short of them completely reversing course and throwing out an apology, I’ve moved on from DDG. Companies that curate content for political reasons are a dime a dozen and we don’t need another one.