Ahrefs Launches A Search Engine

Ahrefs Launches A Search Engine

Ahrefs Launches A Search Engine

Episode 040

Ahrefs, a leading SEO software company, has decided to up the game a little… by investing $60 million of their own money into creating a ‘Google killer’ search engine.

So will their search engine work, or will it be another flop in a long list of Google competitors that never went anywhere?

We dig into the new search engine and discuss some of the selling points it claims and why Ahrefs might have decided to launch something like this.

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Michael 0:00
Hi guys, Michael here before we get into the show, if you’re a Twitter user, head to at service scaling, I’m tweeting a bunch of stuff. I’ve learned scaling our digital marketing agency, and I think you’ll find it pretty interesting. All right, let’s get into the show.

Unknown Speaker 0:15
It’s time for the SEO show where a couple of nerds talk search engine optimization, so you can learn to compete in Google and grow your business online. Now, here’s your hosts, Michael and Arthur.

Michael 0:36
Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of the SEO show. I am Michael Causton. And he is other fabic. That was pretty cool.

Arthur 0:46
Yeah. So we decided to use our surnames. Yeah. So you guys know who we actually are. So you can do a quick Google search and find us. Yeah, be careful

Michael 0:55
what you wish for when googling up a fabric. That’s all I’m gonna say. But anyway, maybe you shouldn’t google it. Maybe you should? Yep. It doesn’t quite work, does it? But that’s what we’re talking about. Right?

Arthur 1:08
Yeah. Today, we’re talking about Ahrefs. New Search Engine yep.com.

Michael 1:13
So for those of you that don’t know, if you haven’t listened to any of our previous episodes, you wouldn’t have heard of address per week. But we do talk about a lot on the show. It’s an SEO software tool. They for some reason, have invested 60 million big ones of their own money into launching a search engine called Yep. Is it going to work? Well, that’s what we’re going to get into at least our thoughts on it. So yeah, look, address that probably, as far as business goes to try and create a search engine that pretty uniquely placed in that they already have a robot going out there crawling the red web and building a massive index of website. So like, I think they’re the second biggest

Arthur 1:53
Yeah, they say trip spot, which is their version of, I guess Googlebot visits more than 8 billion web pages every 24 hours. There you go. And they claim that they claim themselves at the second most active crawl on the web behind Google.

Michael 2:08
So they’ve got they’re out there, they’re finding all these pages, that’s one thing, they’ve got an index of at all, that’s another but building a whole search engine to sit on the front end with, like the algorithms that go into it and returning relevant search results is a whole other thing. And then on top of that, in the future building, like an ad platform to serve ads on that search engine is a whole other thing. So it’s, you know, they’ve they’ve bitten something quite large on Yeah.

Arthur 2:32
Would they even want to run ads on? Yep.

Michael 2:35
Well, this is what let’s get into the model, I guess shows. I’m a bit confused on how it’s actually going to work. But um, in terms of, I guess, what makes it different, right? Because there’s so many. There’s Google, which dominates Yeah. Then there’s Bing, who have been plugging away for years and like, managed to get like 2% market share my best bet. Yeah, we might be harsh on Bing. But like, the thing is, they might have 5%, because they force people to use it on a false sort of, let’s just say technological left. So the left so

Arthur 3:06
people like my mom, who will get a new laptop with Windows installed, we’ll be using Bing as the default search. Yeah, search engine, basically, because it’s built into Microsoft Edge. Yep. Which is the default browser. And unless they want to change that browser, which they my mom, won’t, she’ll be using Bing, without even realising that it’s not Google. And does she go to Bing and then typing Google know why that’s the number one search and but not asked her that, nor have I ever watched her search for anything, but my assumption is that she would be the type of person that would just use whatever’s built in and use whatever search engine pops up. So yeah,

Michael 3:43
okay. Well, so that’s, that’s, you know, Microsoft, with all its billions, and all of its resources to be able to force being on people through, you know, web browsers on their operating systems, is still only able to get a few percent. And then there’s all these other search engines, you know, like the Duck Duck goes in the world, and the privacy focus

Arthur 4:01
just signed an agreement with Microsoft. Yeah, for like, we’re all about

Michael 4:05
privacy until when. But um, you know, they’ve been struggling away for ages. So you know, yep. is coming from scratch trying to compete with all of that, right. So what’s their angle?

Arthur 4:19
Well, two things from based on what they say themselves, the first one being privacy. So they claim they will not collect any of your personal information. So stuff that Google collects, such as geolocation, demographical data, such as your age and gender, they don’t look at any of that at all. So what it does is basically, when you do a search on Yep, it will rely on whatever search that you’re that whatever keyword that you’re searching, and then it looks at the empty keyword, your language preferences, and then it returns a result based on your geographic IP.

Michael 4:54
Right. That’s what they say. Yes. So that’s one angle. So I guess Privacy, is that powerful enough to get people moving over from Google?

Arthur 5:04
Or DuckDuckGo? For many, many years, until they sold out to Microsoft, so yeah, short answer, probably no. Yep. It’s not enough, I think to get people wanting to use, although there are people that are more and more kind of conscious about privacy. But that is still just a very, very small percentage of people. Yep. And I’ve used Duck Duck go in the past. I think I’m pretty sure they used Bing. Yeah. So the results are the same as being results just without the tracking. But I find Bing results, not as good as Google

Michael 5:37
know. Well, for a long time that Bing was just copying Google. I think Google threw out a few. What what are you going to call them like Easter eggs or gotchas where they they put things into their search results that then being replicated so that they could catch them copying them? Really? Yeah, so it’s funny. Yeah. But um, look, so let’s say privacy, that’s not going to get people changing from Google in droves? No. What’s the other big part of Yeah,

Arthur 6:02
well, I guess the more interesting use cases profit sharing. So I guess the plan they have kind of rolled out is that 90% of whatever profit they make, will go back to the people actually create content to the publishers, which I think is interesting. That could be enough. I don’t know. Do you reckon it could be enough to force people to want to use it?

Michael 6:29
Well, the content creative, yeah,

Arthur 6:32
you how you use searches?

Michael 6:33
People don’t care? No, I don’t care if Well, first and foremost, how the hell are they paying? Content creators? 90%? Like, let’s say there’s a search result.

Arthur 6:43
They’re gonna be making money first.

Michael 6:45
Yeah, first, they’re gonna be making money, then they’ve got a Am I right in assuming that they split it up evenly between everyone that’s on the first page of the search result? Is that how it goes?

Arthur 6:54
I’d say clicks traffic to the site.

Michael 6:57
Yeah. Okay. But then how do they manage payments to all of those content creators at scale? We’re talking like, I know,

Arthur 7:03
that’s yeah. Well, it’s a huge task that they need to figure out.

Michael 7:07
It’s one that seems insurmountable. Yeah. And like, what happens if people are going to have three pages deep in the search results? And then clicking something like are all of them getting a bit of that profit share? Or just the one that’s click through to? If what if someone clicks through to a website has a terrible experience? And then leave? These are all great questions. They are great questions. And I?

Arthur 7:30
I don’t Yeah, as far as I know, from my research, they haven’t really kind of explained that pop very well. Yeah, how that’s gonna work, the monetization side of things. But I guess it’s kind of yeah, if you look at Google, basically, they’re trying to do the opposite. So yeah. Google don’t want to pay publishers. Yep. These guys do. Yeah. So

Michael 7:50
Google is the exact opposite. They will wholesale go and scrape content off people’s sites, and then display it straight in the search results to answer a question. Hopefully, without them getting GOOGLE IT perspective. Yeah, hopefully without you even leaving Google. So you can then they don’t pay the creative one single cent for that.

Arthur 8:06
Yeah. And that’s why there’s a lot of publications, publisher websites, which force paywalls and force people to subscribe, because they’re not making any money. People aren’t visiting the articles, the content. Yep, they’re not getting all that revenue. Yep. And I guess the end user is the one that kind of has to pay for it. Same as Wikipedia. You know, they’re always asking for donations, just because a lot of people will get the information they want, without actually going visiting Wikipedia, because it just shows up.

Michael 8:33
Yes. So like, it sounds great. In theory, it’s like, great in theory, but in practice, I just can’t see how they’re going to be able to share 90% of their advertising profits with content publishers. It’s such a broad, all encompassing claim. So it’s gonna be interesting to see how it plays

Arthur 8:52
out. Right. So have you used it?

Michael 8:56
I have. So let’s, let’s have a chat about results. What? How much have you used it?

Arthur 9:02
Briefly? I did a search for I guess some of our clients keywords. And the results were very mixed.

Michael 9:10
Yeah, I thought they were garbage. Yeah, but they’re very much us focus. Yeah, sounds like I’m

Arthur 9:15
not sure whether or not it’s ready to be rolled out across the rest of the world because it is meant to be using your IP and again, that geographical data is showing you results which are relevant to you but I’ve seen a lot of UK and yet American websites show up yep. So whether or not that’s just not finished.

Michael 9:33
Well, that IP things just I don’t think it’s even factoring into it because we I searched for local digital agency Yeah, so let’s do it. Now. Let’s have a look. Well, I’ll tell you I’ve got like nine or so results before you get to us from like UK, US. Random businesses like a business called Dream local or something like that from overseas, so not the best search experience.

Arthur 9:55
Yeah, Dream locals. The first one.

Michael 9:58
Yeah, we’re right down the bottom like it As girlfriends of

Arthur 10:01
some government agency, local digital declaration from the UK from the uk.gov.uk. Okay, that’s garbage. Now do a keyword like FCA Sydney, right? I’ve

Michael 10:11
gotten that one. We know that keyword. Well, yeah. Just YouTube Twitter results. Businesses we’ve never heard of like, in our space. We know a lot of other businesses in our market. Yes, it’s showing a whole bunch that have not I’ve personally never heard of before. So very limited sample size. I have a couple of searches. But from my testing, garbage, yeah. And like to, to convince people to move from Google over to Yep. In a wholesale numbers that it’s going to actually succeed at needs to be way better. Yeah, the value proposition needs to be better. And it’s just, it’s just not.

Arthur 10:47
Yeah. So that could be just down to the fact that it’s not completely ready to be rolled out. Could be in beta. It could just not be using geographical information. Why? That’s why it’s showing us that UK so yep. Yeah, not looking promising at the moment.

Michael 11:03
So like, with Google being so entrenched, like 90% of the market here, and to Google something is a verb. It’s not just the name of a business, it’s a verb. I just don’t think a people care about privacy that much, you know, in large numbers, revenue being shared with creative shoulder creators love it. But that’s not going to encourage, like, let’s say, my family, for example, to go start using Yep, over Google, because I had created for getting 90% of profit.

Arthur 11:31
And personalization is important, because they need that data to give you the best result. Yep. A lot of the time.

Michael 11:38
Yeah, absolutely. Might be and for the ads that they’re ultimately going to have to build. Yeah, I guess he added, like you type a keyword in it can be very keyword, you know, exact match keyword driven. Yeah. And location, but they didn’t need to know location and all that stuff. It depends on how much privacy is actually going into this. So do you think this would be a viable search engine?

Arthur 11:59
As a standalone search engine? No, I was reading an article earlier. And the main aim of this was more to get or gather attention from, I guess, bigger businesses, Microsoft, for example, and try to get them to adopt the model that they’re proposing. So whether or not that’s true, I don’t know. But

Michael 12:19
things weird, right? They’ve spent 60 million so far trips, building this thing. And then they want Google to go and not Google Microsoft to adopt it. Like just take their business model and use it themselves, or they want to be acquired by Microsoft.

Arthur 12:34
I can read the little comment out, go on. So basically, 2019 cannot pronounce pronounce this guy’s last name. But he said the goal is then hypothetical search engine was to attract the attention of a logic company at Microsoft, that could afford to bring the idea to scale. So this actual quote was considering the platform early generates a fraction of the company’s $120 billion revenue, the organisation could easily revamping under the profit share model. It is my prediction and positive Pub Pub sorry, public sentiment alone, that will have greater ROI than existing ad revenue. If we succeed in our endeavours, Google will finally get some long overdue competition for search.

Michael 13:15
So it sounds like he’s saying he’s trying to inspire Bing to potentially Yeah, that’s what exactly what he said. But it just seems an odd thing to do. Like as a business psychiatrist, like they’ve got their tool. Yeah, they do what they do well, with that, like the marketing of their own brands, amazing the tools and even like, the products amazing. They’re gonna go spend 60 mil building this whole search engine and get distracted by that just to inspire being

Arthur 13:39
maybe not to inspire, but maybe to sell it to Bing. Well, yeah, he didn’t say that in any of those words. But that could be what they’re trying to do there and try to sell it for a nice little profit. Yeah.

Michael 13:49
Which that makes sense. There’s got to be some sort of play going on here from a dress that’s not just creating,

Arthur 13:54
I guess if like, like, they said that the second biggest Corolla behind Google bought, they have that to their advantage. So you know, why not?

Michael 14:04
Well, I can think of 60 60 million reasons why not? Yeah, for now, like, who knows what like, because they’re building their own, like whole network of servers and stuff. Like they’re not using, let’s say, Amazon, AWS, cloud architecture. They actually think they’re doing their own server work. They’ve got their servers in Singapore. I think they’re building all around the world.

Arthur 14:22
I think the next service is going to be in the US, but I was reading it’s crazy. They’ve got like, 1000 servers. Yeah, it’s insane. So a lot of a lot of

Michael 14:29
bandwidth. That’s a B flat, they gotta have something at play here. Because that thing, like taking 10% of advertising revenue on a tiny amount of searches. I just can’t see that ever being repaid, though. For the acquisition route. Makes sense?

Arthur 14:45
I think that might be the ultimate player, long term player.

Michael 14:47
How do you think they get people actually searching on it though? Like so for me? It’s going to be digital marketing FBI geeks will be

Arthur 14:56
will need to know that it exists. First and foremost. Yep. Which a lot of people weren’t? I don’t think they will get people using it. Personally, I just think that, like you said, you know, there was duck talker, which was, I guess the more popular alternative for those who are conscious about their privacy. I just don’t think you know, if Docker, Docker has such a small market share, they’re gonna get a fraction of what doc Docker had. And it’s just not a viable well being, like being being way more, or anyone outside of Google. So yeah, I just don’t know. I don’t like I don’t know, acquisition is probably probably what I think they’re trying to do.

Michael 15:36
Yeah, but no, I guess he if they can build the infrastructure and the algorithms and all that, then that’s worth being acquired, even without users if it can be rolled up into being, for example, or another search engine? Yeah, but no one’s going to require it expecting it to be a self service, self sustaining thing with people using it or not. And like you’ve looked at, what is it Google, they pay Apple 15 billion over a year to be the default search engine in Safari? For now anyway, until they until absolutely, yeah, we’ll do an episode on Apple Search for when that gets announced. Coming up? I don’t know. It’s being hinted at. It’s not official. But um, if that’s what Google is willing to go to, to sort of maintain market share? How on earth is Yep, stealing any of it that? I don’t know, they’re up against it. It’s gonna be very interesting to watch on from the sidelines and see what happens.

Arthur 16:33
I’m sure. These are all things that I’ve thought about already, before they decided to invest 60 million so thinks they watch this space. I guess it’s still very, very early days. Yeah, like, like we said, the results that it returns aren’t good. In fact, they’re shit. So yeah, we’ll see how it evolves over time and see, see if there’s any interest from competitors willing to adapt their model.

Michael 16:57
Time will tell but in the meantime, if you’re interested in checking out you can go to Yep. I like to. I like saying it like that. Yep. I like the name. It’s okay. yep.com just yet. Yeah. Have you done? Uh, yep. for it.

Arthur 17:09
Very easy to remember. Yeah, the three letters.

Michael 17:12
I wonder what they paid for that domain name. Probably big money, maybe the modifying the three letter domain name and for sure, they would have spent lots. But anyway, yep.com. Go check it out. Search for your brand, search for some of the non brand keywords in your space. See what you think of the results. See if they’re as bad as were saying they are at the moment and maybe in a few months time, it’s going to be better. It will be interesting to see it play out. But for now, that’s about all we have time for. So until next week, happy yapping and happy doing so yeah.

Unknown Speaker 17:46
Thanks for listening to the SEO show. If you like what you heard, don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review wherever you get your podcasts. It will really help the show. We’ll see you in the next episode.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet your hosts:

Arthur Fabik


Michael Costin


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