State of Search in Asia

From the beginning of search engine marketing including SEO, the work started with Baidu, Naver, and Yahoo! Japan for search engine optimization professionals and advertisers aiming to grow businesses in China, South Korea, and Japan markets. While they are still important platforms in each country, the search engine market share has been shifting, especially in the last 16-24 months.

The popularity of Google and Bing in Asia

Google has already been very popular and the dominant search engine in Asia except for China, South Korea, and Japan. Unfortunately, many businesses have overlooked the opportunities these countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Phillippines offer. With good content localization and some additional SEO work, your site optimized well for Google should perform well there immediately.

Search Market Share Shift

The recent changes I mentioned earlier are the growth of Google and Bing’s search market share in China, South Korea, and Japan. (See data below.)

Search Engine Market Share in China
Search Engine Market Share in Japan
Search Engine Market Share in S.Korea

As you can see, Naver and Yahoo! Japan are no longer the top search engines by market share in South Korea and Japan, respectively. In China, Baidu is still the top search engine, but they are losing market share, while Bing is gaining. These changes might be to do with the quality of search results people see in Baidu/Naver/Yahoo! Japan vs. Google/Bing. Perhaps, people who used to search at these search engines have moved away to other platforms including social media.

Website Owner’s Next Steps

What does the change mean to the website owners?

For SEO, websites performed well and depended on traffic from Baidu, Naver, and Yahoo! Japan must polish up the site for Google and Bing. You now compete with all other websites that aren’t ranking well in Baidu, Naver, and Yahoo! Japan, but doing well with Google and Bing.

If you manage the PPC campaigns, you should secure an additional budget to run ads in Google and Bing. If the budget increase is not possible, at least reallocate the budget among the multiple search engine platforms.

If you are targeting the Asian market, you are already aware of the importance of mobile-friendly sites and user experiences. Review the usability of your site to remove any roadblocks that the site may have.

I think this trend with search engine market share is a welcomed change for many businesses. It opens up the business potential by providing more ways to reach the target audience.