Thinking global? What exists beyond Google? What to consider
When it comes to Search Marketing in North America, Google, Bing, and Yahoo are probably the first and only names that come to mind; that’s because they’re the only ones that really matter for North American searchers. According to ComScore data from April 2015, Google’s US Desktop market share sits at 67.6%, with Bing and Yahoo collectively accounting for 28.7%, leaving 3.7% for all others.
The Google/Bing/Yahoo oligopoly doesn’t span worldwide; in Russia, Yandex is the most popular search engine, while most Chinese internet users prefer Baidu, and South Korean’s prefer Naver. Optimizing for these search engines are totally different and require different skill sets.
PageRank out, MatrixNet in! Within the SEO community, Yandex is known to be the wild west of search engines. Historically, it was the place where many black-hat techniques of the past still worked and were openly advertised by websites. More recently however, Yandex has become tougher on black-hat techniques, penalizing websites that sold links for the purposes of SEO. Optimization techniques are weighted differently in Yandex when compared to Google so knowing where to focus your efforts when dealing with content and code is important.
Naver is a completely different beast, and requires a radically different approach to SEO. For one, there’s little point optimizing unless your web-property is in Korean. Next, you’ll have to register your web property and submit categories. South Koreans are also highly engaged in Mobile, more so than their North American counterparts, so having a mobile strategy is critical.
Entering the world of Baidu means saying goodbye to the world you’re familiar with. Be prepared to accept a higher level of government transparency (required when acquiring a Chinese ccTLD), and getting less than deserved exposure. Baidu’s paid results, forums, news, and Q&A platform all take precedence over organic results. If a Chinese search presence is important to your client however, Baidu is unavoidable as it commands ~80% of China’s Search Engine market share.
Try searching for your highest value keyword in one of these search engines, the results might surprise you.