Search engines: how the world searches


Cormac Reynolds, SEO specialist and copywriter, explains the various international search engines and why you need to think outside the (Google) box….

For companies in the import and export business, understanding the top search engines in the countries you deal with can be very important for your marketing strategy and allow you to reap a range of benefits.

The vast majority of searches throughout the western world are through Google – but this doesn’t mean Google has the monopoly everywhere when it comes to search. In fact, there are a number of countries and areas where other search engines are far more popular.

So, let’s take a look at some of the big alternatives.


If you could market your business to a billion more people, would you? Of course you would. China doesn’t tend to use Google for a number of reasons and the most popular search engine in the area is Baidu with around 62 per cent of the market share. In fact, Google doesn’t even come in as the runner up. That victory is for 360 Search. Optimising for search in China has tremendous benefits. With a huge population, growing e-commerce and the fact China is increasingly open for business, understanding how to approach SEO in the country is very important.


Google may hold around 40 per cent of the search share in Japan but it doesn’t dominate the results. Japanese people tend to have a preference for Yahoo. The Japanese tend to have this preference as the search engine entered and pushed in the Japanese market earlier than Google and also has more of a focus on local search services.


Russia is another emerging market and one where Google doesn’t really get much of a look in, accounting for only a quarter of searches. Yandex is Russia’s big search engine and holds around 62 per cent of the market share for search.

South Korea

The strong South Korean economy and its manufacturing prowess mean it has come to the fore of a number of industries. From autos to electronics, the South Koreans are doing very well, however Google isn’t. In fact, it doesn’t get a look in when it comes to search in South Korea – Naver with 72 per cent and Daum with 18 per cent of the search respectively are the large search engines in the country and the ones to optimise for if you’re doing business there.

Other places to watch

It’s also worth noting that, according to the Return on Now Search Engine Market Share Survey 2013,  Seznam still holds 26 per cent of the search engine market share in Czech Republic, although that is down from a 2011 share of 45 per cent.

If you’re exporting to Turkey, it might be worth knowing that Russian search leader Yandex is also on the radar as the #2 in Turkey with only a small 2 per cent share. However, they are aiming to raise that to 20-30 per cent in the next few years. Google dominates in Turkey now, but the internet penetration is still less than half of the population. As more users get online, we could easily see Yandex take off.

So, while it might be tempting to just focus your SEO efforts on Google, it’s worth bearing in mind that search engine use throughout the world differs greatly.

If you need to get your SEO in order it’s worth knowing a bit more about your target markets before setting up a campaign, using a SERP tracker like Creamy SEO and laying down investment. Understanding where to focus the efforts of your advertising is very important and understanding what search engine to use is central to this.

To read more about SEO considerations for exporting, you can read our International SEO Checklist and don’t forget to read up on the important role of translation when entering international markets, especially online.

Sectors: Software
Countries: China and Japan
Topics: Marketing Agents and Promotion
Export Action Plan