In the world of international SEO, it’s not all about Google. In some countries, other search engines dominate the search landscape. If you want to succeed in these markets, you need to optimise your websites for these search engines.
The main non-Google search engines you need to be aware of are these: Baidu in China, Yandex in Russia, and Naver in South Korea.
This blog post will look at some of the SEO differences between Google, Baidu, Yandex and Naver, specifically internal and external linking, to help ensure your optimisation efforts are focused in the right places.
Internal links carry more weight for Baidu than for Google. The structure needs to be flat and logical, and you should always include one link to your homepage with anchor text.
Baidu is still known for focusing more on the quantity of external links than their quality, but it is tolerating link spam less and less. Make sure that, if you have external links, that they are from China-hosted websites as they are preferred by Baidu. Baidu may penalise low quality and spammy links. If you discover any of these, you can use Baidu’s disavow tool in Baidu Webmaster Tools. You have two options: disavow individual links one by one, or disavow all links pointing to a specific part of your website.
Yandex likes internal linking, and therefore you should include internal, keyword-ed links on your pages.
External backlinks in Yandex are valued by how much traffic (referrals) they actually deliver to a website. If a website has external backlinks from high-authority websites, but they don’t deliver referral traffic to the website, they won’t contribute to the website’s authority.
Getting regional links (the natural way!) is important, as Yandex search results are grouped by region/city and these local search results vary drastically. Don’t forget to identify your preferences in Yandex Webmaster Tools.
The Minusinsk algorithm (similar to Penguin) was introduced in May 2015, and penalises websites that create links for SEO purposes. Paid links are considered a black hat SEO technique.
There is not much information available on how internal links help SEO on Naver. However, I would recommend that you include them in your optimisation efforts, as for Yandex and Baidu.
External links do not play a big role in ranking on Naver. However, any bad links can have a negative impact on your website. Unfortunately, off-page SEO guidelines are limited.
I hope this has given you a useful introduction to the SEO differences between Google, Baidu, Yandex and Naver. For more in-depth information on more topics like hosting, domains, crawling and indexing, language, meta tags, content and mobile search, read my free, full-length guide here.
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