Korea SEO 2021: What you need to know about Naver’s new universal SERP

After several key search algorithm updates, Naver has now rolled out its new universal SERP, which means that its desktop SERP now matches its mobile SERP.

Previously, how Naver’s search results appeared depended on which device was used to search. But in Oct 2020, to improve user experience, Naver updated its SERPs to show the same results regardless of device.

So, let’s take a look at what’s been changed and what Naver’s new universal SERP looks like as we start 2021.

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Naver universal SERP

Naver SERP Update: Organic Results

One of the biggest changes on the new Naver universal SERP is that organic website search results are now more integrated with other search result types, including paid and Naver-specific properties like Café, Blog, Knowledge iN, Shopping, etc.

What this means is that it’s more difficult for users to distinguish organic website results from other search results, which is critical when we consider Naver SEO.

Fortunately, organic search results are still visible on the universal SERP, but whether they appear above or below the fold depends on the type of keywords used to search.

To test this, we looked at the SERPs after searching generic keywords, brand keywords with higher monthly search volume (MSV), and brand keywords with lower MSV:

Naver Generic Keyword Universal SERP (MSV: 343,600)

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Naver universal SERP: generic keyword

Naver Brand Keyword Universal SERP (MSV: 143,800)

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Naver universal SERP: brand keyword (high MSV)

Naver Brand Keyword SERP (MSV: 30)

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Naver universal SERP: brand keyword (low MSV)

We discovered that the type of keyword and the MSV dictates the order and appearance of the Naver universal SERP. One good thing for Naver SEO, however, is that users can choose to view more organic website search results: They can simply click See more results or change the number of pages at the bottom of the SERP.

Additionally, users can surface just organic website results by inputting specific URL parameters:

https://search.naver.com/search.naver?display=10&f=&filetype=0&page=2&query=searchquery*&research_url=&sm=tab_pge&start=1&where=web

*‘+’ must be inserted between words if spacing is required.

Naver SERP Update: Search options

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Before (left) and after (right) the Naver search option update 

After Naver’s SERP update, the search options available to users are: Integration (in green), VIEW, Image, Knowledge iN, Videos, Shopping, News, Realtime search (i.e., social media), and Dictionary.

By clicking More Options (…) on the far right, the following are also available: Map, Books, Music, Encyclopedia, Audio clip, and Academic Info.

And although users can view web results on the SERP,  they no longer show in the search options.

NAVER SERP UPDATE: VIEW with Naver Properties

Naver still prefers displaying Naver-specific properties higher on the SERP regardless of the search terms used. What’s more, Naver consolidated its search results for Naver Café, Naver Blog, and Naver Post under the VIEW search option, so it’s evident that Naver pushes more of its own properties.

For instance, when we entered The Egg website URL in the VIEW search, even as an exact match (i.e., in double quotations), Naver Blog still ranked first on the SERP, followed by our website.

Conversely, a Google search of the same term showed results all relating to The Egg Company.

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Naver’s search results (left) versus Google’s (right)

NAVER SERP UPDATE: Featured Snippets for TV Series + Movies

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Featured snippets of the K-drama, Crash Landing on You

Naver has further optimized the user search experience by featuring interactive snippets on their SERPs, particularly for movies and TV shows. These interactive snippets feature a variety of media types, including movie banners and synopses, playable trailer videos (Naver TV), movie ratings, and more.

On top of that, Naver answers queries in-search, thereby helping users arrive at relevant information without needing to conduct additional searches. Furthermore, these featured snippets occupy more SERP real estate above the fold, making them both more attractive and visible to the user.

However, since most of the snippets are hyperlinked to the respective content pages on Naver rather than user-created content, organic traffic to your website has a greater likelihood of dropping. This is one of the major downsides of featured snippets.

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To conclude, Naver’s latest SERP update has further prioritized Naver properties in its search rankings.

Within the SERP, we also see that the VIEW section tends to be located above the fold, whereas the website section that generates much of the organic traffic usually ranks towards the bottom of the SERP. Naver SEO has now proven to be more challenging.

To maximize your SEO in Korea, we would generally advise that you begin with Naver Blog or Naver Post and be sure to set up your Naver Webmaster Tools.

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