Want to expand your potential audience reach in South Korea? Then, optimise not just for Google but also for Naver. Naver is South Korea’s leading search engine. This top search engine had a 51% market share back in 2022. According to the data, 62.81% of Korean internet users use Naver now.
Moreover, South Koreans use Naver not only for its search feature but also for its other products. This means entering the market with a Google-tailored search strategy won’t be enough to reach your potential Korean audience.
So, if you’re targeting the South Korean market, use the best Naver SEO strategies. In this Naver SEO guide, QWERTYLABS will help you know these best practices to reach a wider audience in South Korea. Know how the search engine works and how to work with it below.
What is Naver?
Founded: June 1999
Products: Online search engine and portal site, mobile messaging platform
Core Business: Online advertising and content creation
Total Revenue: 8.2 trillion KRW as of 2022
Naver is a search engine more popular than Google in South Korea. With a 62.81% market share in the country, it’s the undisputed heavyweight champion among search engines and is popularly known as the ‘Korean Google.’ It was established in June 1999 by a group of ex-Samsung employees and has continued to grow throughout the last 24 years. Although Naver is mainly only known in South Korea, it's still one of the most used search engines worldwide after Google, Yahoo, Bing and Baidu.
It offers an entire ecosystem of services that many Korean people depend on daily, which is quite different from Google. Aside from similar maps and mail services, it has a community forum and a question-and-answer forum, Knowledge-iN. Moreover, its search engine results page (SERP) categorises each link to make browsing easier. These create specific ranking factors and a search results page unique from Google’s.
Naver SERP layout and features
Unlike Google, Naver’s SERP layout delivers more relevant results on a single page. You can find different entities and trending topics here, aside from content and brands from its properties. All these are brought together under the View section in the Naver search portal. However, you can view them separately by clicking on the category tabs.
Learn about its homepage, SERP layout, vertical searches and more below.
Take a look at Naver’s homepage above. On it, you’ll find diverse content types and ad formats without going through multiple pages or websites. Compared to Google’s simple interface with only the search bar, it’s filled with information, properties and links that make navigating difficult for those unfamiliar.
But if you're already familiar with it, it's easy to navigate. On the homepage, you’ll find Naver’s most interesting features, like Naver Café and Blog, two of the portal’s most popular features to this day. You’ll also see shopping, news and stock categories so you can easily filter search results.
Naver search tools & SERP layout
In this example, we searched ‘South Korea’ to see Naver search engine results. On its search engine results page (SERP), you’ll see (in red boxes) Naver’s search tools at the top, a section for related search keywords and another section for related information regarding your search term.
Click the ellipsis icon next to the map icon to reveal additional search tools, like audio, music or Wikipedia. To filter your search, click the ‘search option,’ which includes:
Sort results by relevance
Filter results by time range (1 hour, 1 month, 1 week, 1 month, 2 months, 6 months, 1 year).
Take note that search options may change depending on your search category.
Naver vertical searches
Like Google, Naver provides access to a wide variety of information through its vertical search categories, like image, Knowledge iN, shopping and more. You’ll also find user-generated content (UGS) and images in all these categories, as Koreans prefer more than just search results. The order of the vertical searches depends on the search term and the users’ historical search behaviour. If you're searching more about shopping, the ‘shopping’ category will be one of the first to appear.
Naver’s related/suggested searches
Regarding related or suggested searches, Naver also uses a different algorithm than Google. For Naver:
It generates a list of related or recommended searches based on the term entered.
An in-depth analysis of related keywords, content and consequent search intent determines related searches.
Recommended searches are terms focused on a certain business industry and predict what the inquirer will look for next.
Naver universal vertical SERP features
When you scroll down on Naver's SERP in the default integrated category, you'll find all the results categorised according to the vertical search result properties. This makes comparing search results easier since you know what type of content they are. With Google, its first results page features 30 or more results, including images, videos, news, maps, books and scholarly results. However, that doesn't compare to Naver's 19 vertical search results categories on one page, even without counting its featured snippets.
Know more about Naver’s universal vertical SERP categories below:
Naver Paid Search Ads
Most of the time, the main portion contains links to paid search results, social media and user-generated material. Naver Ads is an advertising platform that works similarly to Google Ads. However, the two are not the same. This is because Naver has two ads you can see on its SERPs: Power Link and Biz Site.
You can see Power Link at the top of the SERP, and depending on the keyword, up to 10 ads can be displayed. It is the most eye-catching section since it shows your product in the first top 10 results. On the other hand, Biz Site is located near the bottom of the page and can show up to 5 ads.
The encyclopaedia vertical search section features encyclopaedic entries from the Naver Encyclopedia. It’s similar to Google showing Wikipedia entries first, but instead, Naver puts brand pages. Thus, Wikipedia is not the primary encyclopedia result.
Naver View section
Naver’s View search engine section displays incorporated content from Naver properties, such as Blog, Café and Post. Although the View section collects results from several properties, the algorithms are designed to provide relevant material to the right audiences.
Naver Café - Similar to Reddit, Baidu Tieba, and Facebook groups, Naver Café is a community-based website that brings together users who share a common interest in exchanging knowledge and discussing that issue. It displays discussions, online forums and message boards relevant to the inquiry.
Naver Blogs - This Naver property displays blog posts related to the searched keyword. You can use manual requests with Search Advisor using your Naver Webmaster tools account to optimise your presence on this platform.
Naver Posts - A simplified version of Naver Blogs. This view property includes a ‘follow’ option and focuses on the writer's expertise on a certain topic.
Knowledge iN (Q&A)
This Naver property functions like Yahoo Q&A and Quora. It's a section that provides users with answers to inquiry searches. Any user can post and ask questions across a wide range of topics that others can answer. Other Naver users can also upvote an answer. This product gathers data from a variety of sources, including itself, and can feature heavily in search results, particularly for queries.
Naver removed the website search capability in October 2020. However, you can see organic results from all Naver-owned properties on the first SERP under the universal search section. This feature displays related web pages to the keyword, similar to a Google search results page.
Over the years, Naver's algorithm has undergone significant changes to improve user experience and combat spam. In May 2021, Naver launched its new ranking algorithm for View search, allowing users to find more relevant and higher-quality pages. Aside from keyword density, the algorithm now considers other factors, such as relevance, page quality, user behaviour and social signals. The more frequently it indexes a site, the more accurately it can reflect user search intent, and the quicker it can implement new ranking features.
Naver has three algorithms, each one focusing on different aspects online. Know more about them in detail below:
C-rank algorithm (2016)
The Creator Rank algorithm, also known as the C-Rank, prioritises signals from Naver's other products, such as the Naver Blog, Naver Café and user-generated content. It ranks search results based on content context and chain metrics, as well as the content creator's authority, popularity and reliability of the content creator. In chain metric or score, it considers the popularity and credibility of your blog. The more web traffic, the more popular your blog will be.
Also, Naver employs deep learning technology to discern various content kinds. This algorithm, however, does not prefer many blogs. It prioritises pages with substantial traffic and provides the top slots in its rankings to those with the most authority on a certain subject.
To understand better, here are the ranking factors for Naver’s properties.
Ranking Factors Considered
Quality of on-page contentSource popularity and reliabilityGeneral blog activityThe article and blog’s focusOfficial blog status in terms of popularity and trust.
Quality of on-page contentCommunity engagement levelNumber of Café visitsContent relevancyOfficial Café status.
Naver KnowledgeIn (Q&A)
Quality of on-page contentRespondent's number of questions answeredResponder's regularity and consistency in answering queriesNumber of upvotesPopularity of the responder.
They introduced this Naver search ranking algorithm to make its organic results ‘higher quality’ and match the standards set by other search engines such as Baidu and Yandex. Naver analyses a range of ranking indicators using an artificial intelligence data processing technique. This determines both a web page's quality and its relevance to a search query.
These criteria can be summarised as:
Website’s crawling and accessibility
Social media signals.
Deep Intent Analysis (D.I.A.)+ algorithm (2018)
D.I.A+ analyses the query to gain a better understanding of user intent and optimise Naver's SERP. Furthermore, it searches each blog's feature image and presents it as a snippet on the search result to improve the appearance and feel of its SERP.
This algorithm analyses a variety of measures to assess what a searcher wants in a certain material. These include the time spent on a web page, the number of shares of a blog, comments, and so on.
Other ranking factors
Like Google, Naver monitors and collects data on users’ experience on SERPs, like CTR. It also considers keyword usage and its frequency within the content as ranking factors. Naver searches for the target keywords and their related variations more simply than Google.
Naver vs Google
Despite Google’s best efforts to expand its presence in Korea, Naver's market share still dominates at around 65%. One look at Naver’s and Google’s homepages, and you’ll already see the differences. Let’s compare the two and see why Naver tops Google in South Korea.
Google Ads offers 43 languages and allows marketers to target countries worldwide. You may target highly precise places, such as cities or areas around a company. On the other hand, Naver Ad only supports the Korean language and has even fewer location-targeting possibilities. This makes them niche and more specialised. Moreover, Naver places more ads than Google, with 10 Power Links at the top and 5 Biz Sites at the bottom.
Naver's SERPs are longer and busier than Google's, which offer no more than ten organic results on each page.
Naver's search algorithm is based on the Korean language, which allows this search engine to give more relevant results than Google.
In 2021, the ranking factor update of Naver includes:
Providing well-indexed pages and reflecting user search intent
Providing meta titles or tags to help search engines index well-structured web pages.
What makes Naver different from Google is that the former prefers to rank its content. This means that if you have content on Naver Café, Naver Blog and its other properties, you have higher chances of ranking high.
On-page SEO techniques for Naver
Just like in Google, improving your website’s discoverability on Naver SERPs requires following its on-page SEO requirements. Some of these include keyword utilisation, meta tag optimisation and internal linking.
Find out all your needs for Naver SEO on-page optimisation tactics in this section.
Identify relevant keywords for your business niche
Keyword research localised to Naver is a must. Use SEO tools to identify keywords targeted by your competitors and are relevant to your target audience. You’ll then get an insightful analysis of the best keywords in your industry.
Utilise Naver's keyword tools for content ideas
Since you're tailoring your strategies to Naver, it's best to use their keyword research tool to search popular terms or topics for your business niche. You can use the Naver Keyword Research Tool, which can help you discover new keyword opportunities and understand search demand for your targeted queries.
Create engaging and shareable content with targeted Naver keywords
Your site’s content site is essential for Naver optimisation. They should be useful, original, unique and valuable to the reader’s search intent. Make it conversational and socially shareable to drive engagement on your site. Moreover, always remember to integrate keywords in your article but avoid keyword stuffing. Proper keyword usage can help your page to be noticeable.
Follow Naver-specific on-page content guidelines and structure
Naver remains focused on classic SEO factors such as headers, subheadings, internal links, meta tags and descriptions. Create relevant titles and descriptions that align with your brand. For Naver, title tags should be descriptive and concise, with a length limit of 40 characters or less. Most importantly, they should accurately reflect the context of your page. Be sure to include keywords in your title and tags so your blog appears on the first page of SERPs.
Lastly, use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) throughout your content to organise material. This will make it easier for search engines to understand the hierarchy of information and topical relevance on your page.
Incorporate Naver-specific SEO elements
To boost visibility, take advantage of the platform's preference for its categories. Develop and optimise content for multiple channels like blogs, cafés (forums), shopping pages, and so on. Using SEO for Naver Properties is a great approach to boost your online presence and reach a larger audience. Don’t forget to include data markup and tags.
Off-page SEO strategies for Naver
Now that we’re done with on-page strategies for Naver, it’s time for off-page SEO efforts. Off-page optimisation refers to the efforts you make outside of your website to improve your search engine rankings, visibility and credibility. This is where you should show your brand presence and expertise. Off-page strategies involving link building and participating in Naver cafés and communities.
Build high-quality backlinks from Naver-approved sites
The C-Rank algorithm takes into account various factors, such as social signals. Ensure to leverage your social media platforms for user engagement through comments and shares on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
Register and optimise your business on Naver Map
Register your business as a Naver Smart Place, and people will find the location of your business listing on Naver Maps. This is ideal if you have a physical store. You can register on Naver Smart Place and get more functions and features, like reviews, that help promote your business.
Participate in Naver Cafés and communities
Creating a Naver Café for your website or business allows you to communicate with South Korean people and promote your prospects and community. It's where you can provide insights and answer discussions and questions about your business. The greater the number of community members in your café, the higher your content ranks on Naver search.
Technical SEO best practices for Naver
Implementing technical SEO is essential to ensure user satisfaction on your site. If you have an optimised page, you’ll have better organic traffic and higher user engagement. Here’s what you should do.
Create user-friendly navigation for Naver users
If your website structure is user-friendly, you make it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for, resulting in increased engagement. Moreover, this makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your page, which is good for your visibility. You can do this by incorporating navigation links, anchor text and URLs.
Optimise website for Naver's mobile searches
The majority of people search on their phones, so ensure that you optimise your site for mobile devices. You make your site more accessible to a larger demographic by doing so. Make sure the size, spacing, images and videos are right when using mobile phones.
Improve website speed, responsiveness, and usability for Naver
Images and media files can consume a lot of bandwidth and slow down your site’s loading speed, especially if they are not optimised for the web. This might harm the user experience. That’s why website speed optimisation is paramount. Make sure the file sizes are optimised. Check the metrics to see how responsive your page is.
Analytics and reporting for Naver SEO
Tracking performance measures like organic traffic growth, keyword rankings and conversion rates are critical for measuring the effectiveness of your Naver SEO strategy efforts. Monitoring these metrics regularly can help you find areas for improvement.
Interpret Naver analytics to make data-driven decisions
Always track traffic growth, keyword rankings improvement, bounce rate, CTR, conversion rates and user demographics. You can do this by using Naver Analytics or Naver Search Advisor to gain insights into your website’s overall performance. Through this, you’ll know the areas for improvement.
Utilise Naver Webmaster Tools and other analytics platforms
Setting up analytics tools that may give significant insights into your website's traffic performance and user behaviour is the first step in measuring your Naver SEO performance. To do this, register for Naver Webmaster Tools. These free tools allow you to monitor and analyse your website's traffic, uncover technical errors, and submit your sitemap to Naver. Through this, Naver's algorithms will be able to effectively crawl your pages and grasp the structure of your website.
To implement your Naver SEO tactics, follow the step-by-step plan with elements necessary to optimise for Naver.
Step 1. Submit your website or blog to Naver
Register your site with NAVER to have search bots crawl, index, and rank your material. The admin team at NAVER usually needs up to two weeks to review your submission. You'll need a native SEO service provider to assist you with the registration procedure because the submission form is also available in Korean.
Step 2. Operate Naver blog and Naver post
Use Naver’s local elements to widen your scope. Reach more users when you post material from your website using the Naver Blog and Naver Post properties.
Step 3. Register on Naver Webmaster Tools, Naver Analytics and Naver Smart Place
Next, add your website domain to Naver Webmaster Tools, Naver Analytics, and Naver Smart Place. These Naver features track your SEO activities’ performances so you can later get relevant insights and data.
Step 4. Apply Naver’s guide for web standard optimisation
This guide includes a list of the requirements that a website must meet to rank well on Naver. If your site fits the standards, it will obtain a higher score and get a better chance at ranking first in Naver SERPs.
Step 5. Implement the on-page, off-page and technical SEO strategies for Naver
After doing steps 1 to 4, it’s time to be competitive and make your SEO efforts to rank high on Naver’s SERP. Make sure your site is aligned with Naver’s requirements to reach your target metrics.
Get your site optimised for Naver SEO with QWERTYLABS
Naver is different from Google. Using Google’s Korean SEO marketing strategies won’t be enough to optimise your site for Korean searchers. You have to follow their top search engine and maximise all the features it offers to make a successful Naver search engine optimisation. Follow all the strategies we’ve added to this comprehensive list to maximise your visibility on the platform.
QWERTYLABS is here to help you with your Naver SEO implementation. You can achieve new heights in visibility and success online with our international SEO services. Get the best metrics for your casino site when you work with industry experts and professionals in keyword research and content creation. Contact us now!
Naver SEO guide FAQs
What does Naver do?
Naver is a Korean search engine platform displaying search results in curated sections, such as ads, news, images, video and shopping.
What is Naver used for?
Just like Google, Naver is used to search for pages on the internet. It shows blog posts, news articles, images, videos and more information related to other searches.
How does Naver work?
Naver uses different algorithms, such as the C-rank algorithm, which ranks search results based on content, context and chain metrics.
Is Naver like Google?
Naver is a search engine platform like Google, but it uses specialised algorithms to perform different tasks and feature unique categorised content on SERPs.
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