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SEO in South Korea on Naver

SEO on Naver: The beginner’s guide

For digital marketers looking at expanding into the South Korean market, knowing how to optimise their site for Naver, the country’s largest search engine, is a must. In the following article, we provide a brief introduction to the platform and how it differs from Google.

Naver say Naver

Since the launch of Naver’s “comprehensive search” update in 2000, results have been displayed in groupings to include results from different search formats in one place. Naver was the first search engine to do this, five years before Google’s first iteration of Universal Search.

However, the South Korean platform brings together many more elements than Google, including paid results, organic results, Naver Café, Naver Encyclopaedia, maps, images, blogs, Naver Knowledge IN (Q&A Site) and apps. The results pages also display boxes on the right-hand side with the most popular topics of the moment, and subjects fed from user groups.

Naver full results page

These mixed results appear for most searches and mean that it’s more than just organic and paid listings which will get search prominence reducing the space available for organic search results.

For competitive landscapes, you may also find more than one set of paid listings. The screenshot below is a Naver search for ‘Online Marketing’ in Korean and shows the results above the fold for this term. Note that all listed sites visible above the fold are paid adverts.

Naver online marketing results

These results are followed by Naver Knowledge iN listings and adverts from the registered websites service. Only then, three scrolls down the page are some organic results available. In our search for “Online Marketing” there were only four.

Naver online marketing organic results

Below the organic results, there are web documents which tend to be articles rather than service-based sites. The rest of the results page is made up of News, maps, blogs and encyclopaedia entries.

Naver acts a lot more like a “portal site”, with its results relying more on information directly fed into the platform than specific ranking factors.

An off-site boost to Naver SERP listings

The good news is that there are plenty of activities that marketers can undertake to improve visibility in Naver, beyond merely improving their site itself.

Naver Encyclopaedia
Naver Encyclopaedia is the South Korean version of Wikipedia and just as authoritative in this market. Set up a page for your brand as one of your initial activities.

Knowledge iN
Knowledge iN is an online Q&A platform, similar to Yahoo! Answers, creating a user-generated pool of content to help increase the amount of information available online in the Korean language. Other services which feed into the service include Naver Encyclopaedia, Local Q&A for location-based questions and Agony (an online user-generated Agony Aunt) and the Naver Dictionary.

Naver blog
When you register with Naver, they automatically generate a blog for you. Blogging is incredibly popular in South Korea, and blog results feature prominently in search listings. Blogging on the Naver platform, as well as on your site can help to increase visibility. However, as with any blogging platform, don’t start working on a blog in South Korea if you can’t see it through and only post items which are offering users something useful. We recommend that blog posting is thoroughly planned into your content calendar and based on both keyword and competitor research in the Korean market.

Naver Café
Naver Café is the Naver social community and is popular within South Korea. Influencers can boost or boost or belittle your social media marketing efforts, so make sure you’re aware of the big hitters in your industry.

Additionally, building a following of members can help your visibility in the search results. In a similar way to the Naver blog, don’t set this up and forget about it as that won’t help. Regular content is required, and competitions are particularly popular.

Unique content containing relevant keywords in the title, headings and body of your Café page will impact search engine visibility. There are lots of content categories available to help you promote your brand.

Facebook

Facebook is another popular social media network in South Korea, and Naver reads and pays attention to the platforms Open Graph tags, so include them in your site’s code.

TL;DR summary

Naver SEO tips

  • Content is important, make sure it’s unique and in Korean, not English
  • Use the associated social media platforms and ensure your site has Open Graph tags
  • Mobile is important, so make sure your website is mobile friendly
  • Naver also favours easy to use websites with fast loading speeds
  • Naver doesn’t support hreflang tags – so use the HTML Content-Language tag in your template

Top ranking factors include:

  • Click through rate
  • Link popularity – and quality!
  • Keyword relevance – content and keywords should match
  • Content freshness and quality
  • Mobile friendliness

This is just a brief intro to Naver, there are more issues which need to be considered as part of your SEO efforts for South Korea. To find out more about Naver and how Oban International can help you with visibility in South Korea please contact us.