How to work with duckduckgo?

Jack Rotgar
11 min readMay 2, 2023


We collected the basic issues of promotion in DuckDuckGo, answers to the questions and the solutions to the problems we have faced. The article will be useful not only for those who has been already promoting their website in the DuckDuckGo search engine, but also for those who are going to do it.

If you’ve never heard of DuckDuckGo, all you need to know is that it is an open source search engine. The main feature of the search engine is the lack of personalization by means of the collection of confidential user data. DDG (DuckDuckGo) shows the user the search results as a ranking based on a search query, not on a personalized machine algorithm.

At the moment , it takes leading positions in terms of:

● Top-3 search engines installed in the phones in the USA

● The most popular private search engine;

● The most popular search engine in the darknet (Tor network).

DuckDuckGo Distribution

Now, let’s delve into the numbers. If we analyze the general data of the site in March 2023, the search engine ranks the 5th which automatically makes it the leader of private search engines.

Over the past six months, it has entered the TOP-3 mobile search engines in the USA, which is clearly demonstrated by the graph below.

Q1 2022, DuckDuckGo registered 8 billion search queries. This means that more than 100 million user requests are fixed daily in the search engine (information is taken from the official DuckDuckGo report as of the results for 2022).

DuckDuckGo Target audience

Now let’s proceed with the most interesting aspect: the target audience of the search engine considered. According to Similarweb

● More than 70% of search engine users are men;

● The largest age group includes the users 25 to 34 years old;

● The second age group includes the users 18 to 24 years old;

Analyzing the user geography and interests, we may conclude everything is OK. Judging by the figures above, it is clear that more than 50% of traffic in DDG comes from the USA. However, it is worth noting that the rest of the top regions in terms of traffic are England, Germany, Canada and France.

The categories of user interests are quite obvious for those who have ever been interested in this issue. The top category is Adult, this is due to the fact that DuckDuckGo is positioned as a private and anonymous search engine. Video games rank the second while News and other media content are the third. The leading topics are News, Online and Shopping.

The last but not least, TorBrowser became the first browser that started using DuckDuckGo on a large scale. Of course, it is difficult to find specific figures now, but this factor should be definitely taken into account for strategy development.

DuckDuckGo also has its own smartphone app. Usage statistics is more than 10 million Android installations and approximately 300 thousand iOS installations.

Recently, Google Chrome and other browsers based on the Blink engine has started to offer DuckDuckGo to those who want to use a private search engine.

The extension for Chrome from DuckDuckGo is used by more than 5 million users worldwide.

These factors will significantly affect the growth of browser popularity in the USA and Europe in the future.

#1 browser on the darknet?

Strong statement, isn’t it? We agree and suggest analyzing this fact in a little more detail.

We have already underlined that DuckDuckGo is the official search engine of the Tor browser.

For those who have no idea what it is, below is a brief explanation.

Tor Browser is a special browser for using the Internet safely and confidentially. Inside the browser, its own methods of “onion” protection are used to ensure privacy.

Most often, it is used to visit a so-called deepnet.

The majority of users believe the deepnet (darknet) mainly consists on the crime-related sites. In fact, the statistics (collected by The Daily Dot) shows that the number of illegal sites on the Tor network is less than 45%.

The onion domain contains a lot of absolutely legal stores selling specialized software, independent magazines, that do not want to get under censorship, or the services of cybersecurity specialists.

The onion domain is a domain within the Tor network. Its advantage is that it is almost not indexed by conventional search engines while it is also impossible to access it from a regular browser that is not connected to the Tor network.

For the sake of understanding, at the moment the browser is used by approximately 3 million users daily.

Of course, DuckDuckGo is not the only search engine within the Tor network. However, it is a default one.

This is the Tor browser that provides more than 500 thousand search queries in DuckDuckGo.

Here is some statistics on the project audience. We will start from the similarweb data.

We see that the two main age groups are18–24 and 25–34 years old.

Here are the gender indicators. It is quite expected that 75% account for a male audience.

How come? It’s a lot easier than it seems; below are the most popular interest categories.


Top categories

Computers Electronics and technology — Other

Programming and software for developers

Consoles and accessories for video games



As you can see, contrary to the general opinion, adult is far from being on the top.

The most popular topics for search queries:

Top topics

First of all, we share this data to give the most accurate picture concerning your target audience and make you choose the method of promotion in DuckDuckGo.

Site indexing in DuckDuckGo

That was the thing about numbers, thus, if all other indicators are suitable for promoting your site, let’s proceed to practice. Namely, let’s learn how to add your site to the DDG search results.

Briefly speaking, there is no any special mechanism for adding a site to DuckDuckGo. The system uses partner crowd resources and its own DuckDuckBot bot.

The system partners include the Microsoft — Bing search engine. That’s why one can add one’s site there to speed up the indexing process of the site’s pages a little. To check the site indexing in , use /

P.S. If you are interested, we can cover this topic in a separate article.

The second point of interest is that, despite the fact that the search engine does not know exactly where the user is, it still uses Apple Maps. Therefore, the second important stage for you will be the placement of your organization on

The third point of interest will be especially relevant for you if you need to index a site in Russian in the “duck” project. It may sound strange, but our personal experience shows that a stable traffic from DuckDuckGo to Russian sites is registered after having a stable traffic flow from Yandex for a couple of months.

P.S. Yandex affects indexing in the same way as Bing. However, it is aimed at a different linguistic layer and domain zones.

The last obvious point is the file robots.txt . There is an official recommendation for SEO specialists: to make the Duck crawl bot be attracted to your site, add the bot indexing permission to the file.

It looks as follows:

User-agent: DuckDuckBot

Allow: /

Summary: be sure to check the site indexing on and if there is an offline point, place the company on .

Website SEO promotion in DuckDuckGo

If you want to find the desired button “Bring the site to the top in 1 hour”, there is a piece of bad news for you: no such button exists. There are very few well-established strategies developed specifically for this search engine due to its features and time of existence.

However, there are 4 tips that will definitely help you to promote the website:

Item 1. Local keys

This item refers to offline organizations that strive to be on the first lines of search results. Recall the first rule of DuckDuckGo and realize that the search engine does not store the geodata of its users. This means that, to be shown in the search results for the query “Pizza in London” or “Car Service in New York”, you need to update your strategy using local keys.

Accordingly, the process requires a detailed analysis:

  1. Determine the most relevant and profitable local keys;
  2. Create several geographical variations of keys for each of the selected keywords;
  3. Update the content of your website based on a new SEO promotion strategy.

For example, here are two screenshots: “the best car service” and “the best car service in New York”.

Here is a more detailed request with a geo-location.

Item 2. Links from other sources

Well, we know what you’d say: this is the most obvious way of promotion. Of course, you’re right: building up the link mass from other sources with a high trust rating is a conventional promotion method in SEO. By the way, the official statement in the DuckDuckGo help section implies this is the best way to promote your site in this search engine.

Item 3. Optimization for Bing and Yahoo

As we have already written, DuckDuckGo takes information from other sources including these two search engines.

This means that the Bing webmaster area,, will be your best friend in terms of proper site indexing.

For information: Bing and Yahoo have consolidated, so you will use a single webmaster area.

Do not neglect the conventional methods of promotion; for example, DDG, as well as other search engines, needs a site map in the proper form.

Item 4. Quick answers

If you look back to your user experience for a couple of seconds, you’ll probably remember seeing the quick answers from search engines. They look as follows:

The search engine uses more than 100 resources to find quick answers, including Wikipedia, wikiHow, Github, etc.

That is why creating the brand content on these resources will help you in SEO site promotion. However, you should know that in March the company began developing a new format for quick answers with AI use. That is why this promotion method is still questioned.

Item 5. DuckDuckGo Bangs

The project team has also updated another useful tool — DuckDuckGo Bangs. In fact, it is a search operator for the direct access to other search engines, for example — Amazon, Wiki, Stack Overflow, etc.

To get additional traffic, you can submit a proposal of your website to the Bang system, and users will be able to access it directly. Naturally, this will not suit every site. But it’s worth remembering that this is an absolutely free method of attracting additional organic traffic.

For submitting a new Bang, you need to go to the page — and press the button:

The problem of copycat sites (scam sites)

If you are quite familiar with, then, you probably know that most specialists and even ordinary users often complain about copycat sites, whose content is written by machine translation to create uniqueness.

Think we’re joking? Nothing of the kind:

Here’s another example. These are just two threads from Reddit.

What should one do if questionable sites are displayed on their DDG search query? Be patient and keep doing your business; first, use the feedback button in the search engine.

Here is where the fun begins. You need to “report” a suspicious site in Microsoft Bing. This is the point when you need a lot of patience. You need a Microsoft account. Log in and go to the form Fill in the form as much as possible. It will take time, but there is a high probability that such a scam site will be removed from the search results within a few hours or days.

Duck support

If you have a question about DuckDuckGo and cannot find the answer at the helpdesk, address directly the official community

DDG developers actively participate in the threads, accept bug reports and suggestions for the search engine improvement.

Here is an example of feedback on the feature development for users:

Here, for example, an employee of the DDG company with the nickname ziekel answered the user how best to use the search query.

They ask a variety of questions, from indexing issues to using Bang for simple everyday problems with the similarly-named browser and its settings.

Advantages and disadvantages of the DuckDuckGo search engine

For this block, we prepared a table for you, where we included all the pros and cons of using this search engine.



High user privacy

Because of no tracking of user location, the search results are not always relevant

The audience of the search engine keeps growing every year

The use share is less than one percent of users worldwide.

Advertising in DuckDuckGo is on average 70% cheaper than the same Google Ads

The display algorithm is less detailed due to the lack of user data


Let’s summarize the results. Is it worth thinking about promoting your resource in DuckDuckGo? If your Internet resource is connected with IT, Blockchain, 18+ Content or some local business in the regions of the search engine active application, of course, it is worth using it.

However, it will be your mistake to hope that using the only search engine you will be able to conquer the market. SEO promotion in DuckDuckGo will be an excellent extra way to a large-scale promotion strategy and will facilitate a 5–7% increase of high-quality organic traffic.