SEO toolkit giant Ahrefs has been secretly building its very own search engine, Yep – it’s like Google, but focuses on helping content creators make more money…

If you run a blog or a website, you’ll know Ahrefs. The company, based out of Singapore, makes one of the best SEO tools on the planet, Ahrefs. With annual revenues exceeding $100 million, the company has been secretly funding the development of its very own search engine, Yep.

Ahrefs says it has plowed $60 million of its own money, meaning it used ZERO investment, into developing an alternative search engine to Google. Ahrefs unveiled Yep last week, confirming how the search engine would work, its plans for the future, and why content creators will love it.

What is Yep?

If you were to set about building a search engine from scratch, most people would leverage either Google or Bing’s APIs and then repackage them into something a little different. This is what DuckDuckGo does, to an extent. But this isn’t the approach that Ahrefs took. Instead, it decided to build its own search engine from scratch – to the tune of $60 million so far.

Ahrefs is even running Yep on its own, custom servers. The company says it already has over 1000 servers up and running, storing more than 100 petabytes of data. Indeed, the MO here appears to be a completely unique, separate approach to search – one that doesn’t involve Google or Microsoft, or Amazon in any way, shape, or form. And that’s commendable, as well as totally ballsy.

No one just builds a search engine; it requires a ton of expertise, funding, and manpower. But Ahrefs is pretty unique in this context. It already has its own web crawler, the AhrefsBot, that visits 8 billion web pages every 24 hours, and it is using this tool in the same way Google uses its Googlebots to crawl the web. And it is this bot that will power its search engine.

But what makes all of this even more impressive is that Ahrefs has a team of just eleven people working on this project, whereas Google employees tens of thousands of engineers, developers, and coders. And if that doesn’t make your brain hurt, keep in mind that Yep will be available in nearly every country and every language. Impressive stuff, for a spartan team of 11 people.

Yep Will Pay Content Creators More Than Google

The big USP of Yep, according to Ahrefs, is that it will pay content creators 90% of its ad revenues. That is a HUGE number. For sites like Wikipedia, it’d chalk up to potentially billions of dollars every year. If this pans out, and Yep takes off, it could be a huge payday for the internet’s biggest sites, as well as smaller publishers too.

And if you want to quickly force the adoption of your search engine, the quickest way to do that is with money. Publishers large and small are always on the hunt for higher ad rates and more money for impressions. If Yep can undercut Bing and Google, it’ll fast become the darling of the publishing world – no one else is doing a 90% split in favor of publishers.

Creators who make search results possible deserve to receive payments for their work. We saw how YouTube’s profit-sharing model made the whole video-making industry thrive. Splitting advertising profits 90/10 with content authors, we want to give a push towards treating talent fairly in the search industry. We do save certain data on searches, but never in a personally identifiable way. For example, we will track how many times a word is searched for and the position of the link getting the most clicks. But we won’t create your profile for targeted advertising.

Ahrefs founder and CEO, Dmytro Gerasymenko

Yep is now live, you can check it out here.

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