It isn’t easy to improve search rankings, but at least there’s no confusion about where you should be targeting your efforts. If you’ve been online for, say, 20 years, you might remember some other search engines that were competing with Google for a short time. But these days, Google is just about anything a marketing company needs to focus on when trying to improve search rankings.

This isn’t to say that all of the alternatives have disappeared forever. In fact, some new ones have come into the market much more recently. Bing may succeed in peeling off a handful of users, even if they’re just trying to rebel against Google’s dominance. Yahoo! and Amazon search engines might get some traffic from people who are already using their email service or devices, where the in-house search engine is the default. But even then, it’s generally safe to assume that if you improve search rankings on Google, you’ll improve them on other platforms, too.

Nonetheless, a marketing company should periodically take the time to glance at those alternatives on its client’s behalf. If any traffic is coming from them, the SEO strategy should try to make keyword ranking and other data points align as closely with the Google results as possible. Occasionally, comparative analysis may reveal the need for tweaks. Rarely, it may reveal opportunities to capture traffic on the alternative search engines that are being missed on Google.

Even if this isn’t the case, however, site owners should avoid thinking of their SEO campaigns in terms that are too narrow. Although they may have good reason to direct their marketing companies to focus solely on trying to improve search rankings on Google, they should be aware of the fact that there are multiple different angles from which they can approach that goal.

Once upon a time, it might have been appropriate to think of Google as just one thing, but these days the basic Google search is only one option among several. Image search is nearly as familiar, with video search just behind it. Ordinary users are also quite well aware of Google Maps, but may not recognize it as a viable target for search engine optimization. Meanwhile, they may be only barely aware of Google Merchant Center or Google My Business, if at all.

Each of these services represents a different venue in which a site can work to improve search rankings, and comprehensive SEO strategy should at least run competitive analysis on each of them and consider whether they should be targeted separately.

While it’s entirely possible that the same set of keywords will work for both a basic Google search and a Google image search, it’s just as likely that a website will want different content to appear in response to different inquiries in each case. After all, the textual information that best represents a company is different from the pictures that best represent it.

It’s a basic principle of SEO that web users should be able to find the quickest path to what they want the most, based on what they can search the easiest. For better or worse, the quickest path for a consumer often involves a more winding path for a site owner – specifically, one that wanders through several search result pages, leaving an assortment of breadcrumbs for different visitors to follow.