Naver Redesigning its SERP Interface after Four Years


On September 1st Naver introduced a complete overhaul of its search interface and published an official blog post about this major redesign a few days later. It is the first redesign in four years and the major change that stands out the most is the two column SERP (previously three) with the search tools now positioned at the top of the results page.Naver Redesigning its SERP Interface after Four Years-1

This change is almost an exact copy of Google’s SERP redesign exactly two years ago in 2012. Two months later, in December 2012, Google also introduced its knowledge graph. Now, almost two years later, Naver follows suit with a very similar feature. In addition to the regular search results in the middle, related information is now shown in the column to the right, at the same position where Google places its knowledge graph. 

Naver Redesigning its SERP Interface after Four Years-2

One example is shown below when searching for the popularity of a current Korean movie. Besides the direct answer, which can be found in a more distinctive area at the top, one can also find additional information about the movie’s background and the actors on the right.

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For Google users, this doesn’t look that groundbreaking, as it seems to be a simple copy of Google’s knowledge graph algorithm.

Google usually uses multiple sources for its movie knowledge graph, such as IMDb, Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes and its own search database. For the movie example above, Naver seems to pull the data from its own movie database under http://movie.naver.com/.

Example 2 with Baseball Club

Naver Redesigning its SERP Interface after Four Years-4

Naver explains these change by saying that in the past, people were just looking for simple text results, but nowadays a lot of background and connected information are expected to show up. As shown above, and something which Google users are also familiar with, Naver created different kinds of SERPs depending on the keyword category and based on the historical search behavior data, as explained in the next paragraph.

Together with the new design, Naver has also placed considerable emphasis on the implementation and ongoing development of its latest algorithm updates to constantly improve the search results. The main focus here is to understand the search intent by analyzing the previous searches and to deliver the right answer with only one search instead of multiple follow up searches. We covered the basics and functions of this new Naver algorithm in a previous post. Naver also emphasizes the integration of time and place factors in its search results, calling it ‘LTPS (Localized-Temporal Personalization System)’. This algorithm is mainly used for searches related to weather, traffic or when looking for places nearby, such as restaurants or shopping malls (more about this algorithm can be found here).

User responses are mixed, as reported by local news sites such as ‘Business Today’. The main complaint coming from users is that they feel confused by the new interface and want to use the old version. Currently, this is still possible through the button right next to the search field (screenshot below).

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However, a representative of Naver stated that this button will only be available temporarily to help users through the transition.

Even though Google Korea initially adapted to the Korean market by copying Naver’s grouped universal search results page (screenshot below), it seems that, this time, it is Naver who bluntly copied Google’s search tool (from the left to the top) and knowledge graph (on the right) regarding their positions, design and functions.

Google initially copying Naver’s SERPs for many
Google initially copying Naver’s SERPs for many