Let’s face it, if you don’t consider the market share of different search engines in your target region then you’re preparing to fail.
Each search engine commands a varied degree of local market share for a region, and they each have different traits that you must understand before devising an optimisation strategy.
At a top level, outside of Google and Yahoo, we generally recognise the following major search engines internationally – Naver, Yandex, and Baidu.
We’re going to explore the differences between those search engines, review the regional market share comparisons, and offer optimisation tactics for each.
We know that Google has the largest market share in Europe at 93.6% (StatCounter), and there are countless articles on optimising for Google on the web, so we’ll focus on the other important search engines globally.
Below is a visualisation which illustrates the market share of search engines around the world in 2018. (Alphametic)
Yandex has a 54.9% share of search in Russia, whereas Google has a 41.9% market share (StatCounter), so if you’re planning to target the Russian market you will need to have a Yandex optimisation strategy.
AI & machine learning are at the core of Yandex, which is led by the Yandex Initiative in Machine Learning and the key parts to consider are deep learning, natural language processing and reinforcement learning.
To provide an overview, we have broken down a list of SEO tips for Yandex below.
Yandex algorithm ranking factors
- The metrics that matter to the Yandex search algorithm include:
- Click-through-rates in the SERPs
- Time on site (mobile & desktop)
- Relevancy to the search query
- Conversions on site
- The number of backlinks that are sending traffic to the website.
Yandex technical SEO
- The age of a domain is an important ranking factor on Yandex.
- The technical SEO elements vary in degrees of importance:
- Header tag: Very important
- Title tag: Very important
- Meta keyword tag: Important
- Keywords in URLs: Very important
- Internal linking structure: Average
- The best methods of being indexed efficiently by Yandex:
- Submit Sitemaps via Yandex Webmaster
- Be aware that Yandex only supports the <head> markup
- Yandex supports the meta keywords tag as an HTML element: <meta name= “Keywords” content=”…” />
- The algorithm Nakhodka aims to identify and prevent cloaking.
Yandex keyword research
- You should never translate English-language keywords that have been identified using Google keyword planner.
- The average keyword length of Russian keywords is 2-3 words.
- Yandex Zen is a content optimisation platform to use when producing content for the Russian market.
- Yandex Wordstat is the main platform for Russian keyword research, alongside Google Keyword Planner.
- Yandex Metrica is a platform you can use for search query reporting when monitoring the performance of your SEO campaign in Russia.
- Yandex is highly capable of natural language processing in Russian, much more so than Google.
- Yandex struggles with Google queries, so this would include CrazyFont, which is searching in Russian using Latin Script.
Yandex backlink acquisition
- The backlink profile of a website is less important for Yandex and is for Google’s algorithm.
- Yandex operates with an algorithm that looks for unnatural links, in a similar way to Google.
- If you incur a Yandex penalty, it will be much more severe than Google Penguin.
- The algorithm does work to determine link quality.
- Thematic Index Citation (TIC) analyses websites to determine popularity and relevance to a search query.
- Ensure you place good internal links that add value for the user
- The optimisation tactics for TIC include:
- Produce high-quality content that satisfies user intent
- Your website must possess relevant content to the user’s search query.
If you are planning to target the Chinese market, then you must have an international SEO strategy that caters for Baidu.
Baidu is China’s primary search engine, with it commanding 70.3% of search engine market share in China (StatCounter).
We’ve curated a list of SEO tactics for Baidu below:
- The title tag of a web page is important, so include keywords and ensure local native writes it in engaging way.
- The meta keywords and meta description are crawled and analysed to see the relevancy and value of a page.
- The HTML body text on a web page is very important, with Baidu attributing greater value to content towards the top of the page.
- Internal linking structure and optimisation is taken into consideration by the Baidu search engine, so you should include your important close to the homepage.
- You should conduct your keyword research in simplified Chinese only, as the many other Chinese dialects are not currently supported.
- The English-language search results on Baidu are powered by Bing.
- Baidu does not support Hreflang implementation. However, it’s worth including on your website in case Google crawls the content, to avoid content being served incorrectly.
Naver is a search engine used most in South Korea, along with Google. Interestingly, the market share statistics vary, with certain sources citing a significant drop in usage recently at 4.8% market with a 74% market share. (KoreanClick)
The search engine acts like more of a portal than solely a search engine. It’s busy with lots of properties including paid listings, product listings, registered blogs, registered websites, encyclopedia directory, social results, UGC and much more.
To start optimising for Naver, you should leverage Naver Cafe, Naver Blog & Naver Knowledge. Firstly, add the Korean version of your website to Naver Webmaster Tools as this will be shown in the organic results section of the SERP. You must also register your website information with Naver, which allows for your website to be crawled and indexed in the site’s section by the Naver bot.
The Naver SERP is structured with those properties retaining a large amount of real estate on the page so therefore it’s valuable to seek inclusion on each platform.
The Naver SERP is structured as the following:
- Paid ads
- Naver Blog SEO
- SEO listings
- Naver CAFE SEO
- Naver News
- Naver Knowledge
- Naver Books
- Naver News Library
And here is some further useful information on each of Naver’s own search result properties:
- Naver Knowledge – Wiki Korea dominant with over 90% information on NaverIN.
- Naver Blog – Hosts more than 12.4 million blogs, and represents 65% of Korean blogs in total.
- Naver Cafe – There are more than 1.2 million cafe articles which includes some ecommerce and ‘club hangouts’.
- Naver News – Most of the local major news providers have posts in this SERP section.
- Naver Video – The majority of videos in Naver are offered in local languages.
- Naver Image – Mostly served through Naver images with links provided for outside images.
Naver Cafe is a heavily used social community in South Korea that features prominently in the SERPs. It’s important to utilise influencers to promote your cafe, which will subsequently work towards building a following (members).
It’s important to regularly add unique content to your Naver Cafe which contains relevant target keywords. The keywords used in the body content, title and headings will impact visibility within Naver Cafe, and increase likelihood of inclusion on Naver SERPs for your target keywords.