Benjamin Lefebvre

French search engines and what to consider when optimising for them


With over 55 million internet users, equivalent to 86% of the population, France comes in at 11th place when looking at internet population size worldwide.

With such a large and relatively wealthy online population, France is understandably an attractive target market for many businesses considering expanding internationally.

This blog post will teach you about the most popular French search engines and what you need to know about French SEO in order to succeed.

The most popular French search engines

Google is by far the most popular of the French search engines, accounting for 92% of all searches in the country. Bing comes in at second place, with a 5% share of the search market, followed by Yahoo in third place at 2%.

One French-made search engine that is worth mentioning is Qwant. Qwant is the fifth most popular search engine in France, with 0.4% of the search market. What sets it apart from other search engines is the emphasis it places on user security and privacy. As the French are quite keen on online privacy, search engines such as this could grow to become a serious alternative in the future.

Looking at the devices that French internet users use when searching online, desktop dominates, accounting for 60% of searches. Mobile search is also popular, at 33%.


Accents and French SEO

The French language imposes certain difficulties and challenges on search engine marketers targeting the French market. One of the main issues is accentuation. There are four significant accents in the French language and yet there is also evidence that French speakers do not consistently use accents when they conduct searches in search engines, with many dropping accents altogether.

This would be OK if search engines compensated for this (technically known as normalisation) – however, unfortunately, this is not often the case. Google for instance normalises the acute accent, but all other accents are not dealt with on an equal basis.

‘Stemming’, which is used to deliver both singular and plural spellings in response to a particular search engine query, is not so prevalent in French, as there are fewer stemming systems available for the language.


Benjamin Lefebvre

Benjamin Lefebvre

Director of Business Solutions at Webcertain
Ben is the Director of Business Solutions at Webcertain. With an extensive linguistic background, and over four years of hands-on search experience, Ben is a regular speaker at the International Search Summit and is one of the tutors at the International Marketing School. Familiar with a variety of different industry sectors and digital channels, he also makes sure that all clients’ international digital marketing strategies have been appropriately adapted to each target market. Ben’s areas of expertise are PPC, SMO, SEO, online PR and link building applied to international and multilingual markets and project management.

One Response to French search engines and what to consider when optimising for them

  1. shivangi says:

    great content…nice work keep it up

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