Jens Kuhn

German search engines and what to consider when optimising for them


With over 71 million internet users, equivalent to 88% of the population, Germany comes in at eighth place when looking at internet population size worldwide.

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

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

The most popular German search engines

Google is by far the most popular of the German search engines, accounting for 92% of all searches in the country. Bing comes in at second place, with a 6% share of the search market, followed by Yahoo in third place at 1%.

Looking at the devices that German internet users use when searching online, desktop dominates, accounting for 56% of searches. Mobile search is also popular, at 38%.


Umlauts and German SEO

One of the main challenges in German SEO is finding out how German users actually search for things.

In the past, the Keyword Planner tool would give us monthly averages of search volumes for everything we put in the tool’s search box. It would also present us with a number of suggestions for related keywords.

Today, this is no longer the case. Google now decides (in ways only known to itself) whether a keyword is worth presenting a unique search volume for or whether it will be put in a bucket together with others and given a combined search volume. Sometimes it also changes what has been typed into something it likes better.

You can learn more about how to handle the complexities brought up by umlauts in the guide below.


Compound nouns and German SEO

Another complication of German SEO are compound nouns, which are commonly found in the German language.

In the past, Google would present very similar results for the split and compound versions of nouns, something that many Germans were in favour of, as it showed that the search engine understood that they were the same concept.

Nowadays, however, Google no longer treats compound nouns and their split variations as the same word. Instead, I would dare to claim that they get mixed up with all sorts of thematic ideas of how keywords should be conveying a concept rather than a semantic entity. I could be wrong – indeed I hope I am – but if not, then one thing is clear: German SEO has just become quite a bit more complicated.


Jens Kuhn

Jens Kuhn

Keywords Manager at Webcertain
Jens is the General Manager at Webcertain Keywords. He was born in Germany but moved to Sweden when he was 19 and lived there for 20 years before moving to the UK. Having worked as a journalist and magazine editor for many years, he always had an interest in the internet and created his first web page in 1993. He has a degree in Nordic languages and literature.

Leave a Reply