Startups in Korea tend to focus mainly on Naver SEO/SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and not so much on Google SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is understandable since most are marketing to the Korean consumer, who overwhelmingly uses Naver. Google vs Naver is not a debate in South Korea as many SMEs focus mainly on Naver. South Korea is only one of three countries where Google is not the top search engine. China’s top search engine is Baidu, and Russia’s top search engine is Yandex. The majority of people around the world use Google. The power of Google SEO for startups in Korea is immense and highly underutilized. Many startups in Korea need to utilize Google SEO to bring more awareness about their company on a global scale.

Having a strong presence on Google will help startups in Korea attract global investments, partners, and potential global customers. A strong presence means you are ranking at the top of page 1 for keywords related to your industry. Even if the startup’s current customers are Korean, they might want to expand out of Korea and into the global market at some point in the future. Why wait until that point? Why not start now since it will take six months to a year to rank anyway? Investing in the future through optimized content can bring rewards for years. 

Google SEO for Startups in Korea

Google SEO takes time, and it is better to get started early to reap the benefits in the future. Seoulz started in mid-2019, we rank #1 on Google for over 100 keywords related to the Korean Startup Ecosystem. We started writing a few weekly articles and went from 5,000 views a month to now having over 200 articles bringing in over 180,000 views a month. Guess what, these numbers are purely from Google search results. This goes to show just how much people use Google to find information. As the traffic grew, Seoulz was able to launch its sister site SEOULSPACE where we moved all our culture and lifestyle content. 

The more articles we write, the more views we get. Best of all, these numbers won’t go down because our articles are Google-optimized to stay on top of Google search results. Every article is focused on a targeted keyword phrase and, through SEO, eventually ranks #1 on Google in a few months. This is different from the press release articles companies in Korea are obsessed with. Korean companies send out press releases to media outlets in Korea. These media outlets might edit them a bit or not at all. Therefore, you have similar articles going up about the company in a span of a few days. However, these are only temporary and, after a few days, will get lost in the other millions of press releases throughout the week from companies all around the world.

Press releases have little staying power on Google! 

Businesses Spent Over $239 Billion in 2023 on Google Ads

Google Ads

Regarding ad revenue, Google and Facebook reign supreme, as far as search engines are concerned, Google owns a dominating portion of the search market (86%) over competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, and DuckDuckGo. Naver is not considered a competitor to Google in the global market. Therefore, Google is the most visited site in the world. In addition, they have over 1.5 billion Gmail users and also own YouTube. To rank #1 on Google for a typical keyword will cost a business, on average, $4,000 monthly. You might have noticed these ads when searching for something on Google. It says on the left-hand side, “Ad.” Companies worldwide spend thousands of dollars a month just to be placed #1 on Google for particular keywords. 

Now ask yourself…Do you click on these Ad Links when searching on Google?

Or do you skip the ad results and try and find an organic result? Those who skip the ads probably understand that the business paid to be ranked so high. While the organic results are the ones Google has ranked high based on the content. This is why there are so many SEO consultant companies that charge high fees for their SEO expertise. Many of these sites charge $2,500-5,000 a month! These companies thrive because companies do not want to invest the time to create high-quality content. Many would rather pay to be ranked #1.

There are advantages to both paid and organic search results. 

Advantages of Paying Google for Keyword Ranking 

It will generate instant results. Since it will be ranked #1 on Google, many people will click the link because it is the first link they see. Even if they skip the link, they see your business resulting in brand exposure. However, one of the main advantages is that you will get quick results. Compare this to organic results, which can take up to six months to sometimes a year to work their way up Google rankings. Many companies do not have the time to create content and then wait up to half a year to see results. Those who need results right away should consider paying Google for Keyword rankings. 

Advantages of Organic Keyword Ranking 

The main advantage of organically having your content rank #1 is that it will cost you nothing. It will just require a lot of hard work. It will for sure deliver a more impressive ROI than a paid ranking. In addition, it will boost your brand’s credibility because consumers will know Google regards your content as high quality. Best of all…the content will stay on top of Google for many years to come, unlike paid results which will go away once you stop your payments. 

Snippet Optimization – Ranking #0 on Google

When creating organic content, the goal is always to end up being #1 on the first page of Google. However, many don’t know that there is a rank of 0! Yes, you heard that right, ranking #0. These are called snippets; I am sure you have seen these from time to time when searching on Google. Snippets are featured box organic results that Google feels have the best content for that keyword. Seoulz and SEOULSPACE have many of these snippets; here is an example below.

Gaming in Korea

This is a snippet for “Gaming companies in Korea,” and it is pretty easy to see why snippets are highly valued. It takes up the whole screen, you have to scroll down to see any other search result. The only negative about snippets is that the click rate is slightly lower because the user gets most of the information from the snippet, which means less traffic to your website. Therefore it is understandable why Google has started to implement Snippets. They aim to have you stay on Google for as long as possible instead of sending you to another site. However, snippets still offer a lot of brand exposure and do a decent job of sending over traffic. Therefore we highly recommend forming your content to get the snippet for a particular keyword target.

The Power of Google Snippets for Startups in Korea

If a user decides to click on a search result, they will click on the Snippet most of the time over others. Snippets take up close to 80% of the clicks, leaving the other links to fight for the remaining 20%. In addition, companies love snippets because of the brand exposure they provide. To be honest, that is what Google is selling…brand awareness. Most Google ads don’t return value in terms of sales but return vast amounts of value regarding brand exposure. Being at the top of Google, whether it be #1 or #0, offers tens of thousands of dollars a year in brand awareness. People will see your brand as a top authority that Google approves of.

Close to 25% of Google searches show snippets; to get a snippet, there are a few steps to follow. We won’t give out all our secrets, but in general, make your posts on “Guides,” “How-tos,” “lists,” or “rankings.” When we consult clients, we go over the best strategy for each article and input the key features we know Google likes to give it the best chance of getting a snippet. Again, ranking #1 on Google or getting a Snippet takes a lot of time and many updates; there are no quick results unless you pay.

Businesses in Korea need to Understand the Importance of Google SEO.

Google SEO

Many startups, businesses, and brands in Korea don’t fully understand the importance of SEO and the benefits it will bring. Google SEO for startups in Korea not only improves the company’s overall searchability and visibility but there are other factors to consider. Imagine you are a startup in Korea but lack any presence on Google. When you meet global clients, these global clients are not going to be using Naver, they will search for you on Google. If they can’t find any information about your company on Google, that doesn’t look good. If you post content but still do not show up on Google, you probably have a low Google authority. 

Google Authority

Many factors go into establishing a high authority on Google. This authority takes time to build, and many startups in Korea are impatient. Why spend so much time working on content to rank organically when you can pay Google to get the content ranked? The benefits of organic results offer so many benefits in the long run. Why pay $4,000 a month when you can have content that will stay ranked high on Google…forever?? Think of how much money you will save and the leads you will be able to generate. 

So the question is, are you willing to put in the time? Seoulz put in a year, and NOW we are starting to see the results. Establishing a company as an authority in a particular industry takes effort, commitment, and, most of all, patience. 

The Seoulz SEO Strategy

SEO for startups in Korea

Seoulz works with businesses in Korea to create content for keyword phrases that match their business. The process is straightforward. We meet with businesses and develop five keyword phrases for their business. We work together to create high-quality content that can rank #1 on Google. After the content is created, it is run through our “checklist,” which we constantly optimize. 

This checklist is used for all Seoulz articles and is the main reason why Seoulz ranks so high for some of the top keyword phrases in Korea. You can call this our “secret formula.” This checklist is constantly being updated, and we monitor for changes to stay ahead of the competition. Being aware of the major algorithm changes on Google is a never-ending process. 

Once everything is set, the business has a choice to either publish the content on Seoulz or its website. 

Advantages of publishing the content on Seoulz

When publishing content on Seoulz, the article will have a faster track to ranking #1 on Google. Seoulz has an established Google authority, and most articles (depending on the keyword) can rank on page 1 of Google in 2 months or less. This is much faster than the typical 6-12 month period from publishing on a new website or their existing site. In addition, Seoulz will constantly optimize the article for on-site and off-site SEO every month. Also, a media site should write about your startup instead of your company talking about yourself. 

Advantages of publishing the content on your website 

The article will bring traffic directly to your website, and the business will have full control over the article. They can choose who to link to and grow their content over time. This will bring a higher Google authority to their site. In addition, your first backlinks will come from Seoulz! If you have a team member who can create and maintain the content on your site, then you should publish the content on your website, preferably in your blog section. 

SEO marketing, in my opinion, is the best form of marketing. Companies in Korea love press releases and social media shoutouts. However, these forms of marketing only last a few days and pretty much go away. The best part is that SEO is relatively cheap compared to other marketing schemes. When you compare the low cost with the big payoff, SEO marketing should be a no-brainer in the long run. Startups in Korea need to think of SEO as a real business investment. Good SEO will bring value to the company for years to come. 

Why Businesses in Korea Don’t Focus on Google SEO

Besides wanting to focus solely on customers in Korea, businesses in Korea like seeing instant results. Managers need to report to their superiors in Korea. If you can’t show short-term results, you are not doing well. The mentality of many companies in Korea is that if they don’t see instant results, it is a failure. SEO should never be looked at for instant results. 

Only a few people in Korea truly understand Google SEO is a long-term strategy. SEO can have a noticeable impact in as little as six months. However, it can also bring a valuable impact lasting many years. However, many businesses in Korea do not look too far ahead into the future because if they don’t produce results within a few months, they will probably need to find another job. In Korea, it is all about getting results as fast as possible. This is a major reason why news regarding the Korean startup scene is so limited on Google. 

To rank organically on the first page of Google takes time; many companies in Korea don’t want to invest too much of their time for the long-term payoff. Many businesses in Korea don’t even have an SEO budget! Furthermore, most businesses in Korea don’t have people who know how SEO works. They are just too busy to learn how to utilize SEO for startups in Korea. While social media marketing and other marketing methods are popular in Korea, SEO is still something most companies don’t fully understand or are interested in. 

Gateway to Global Connections

What is the biggest benefit of SEO for startups in Korea? It will bring new opportunities that they can leverage. As the world uses Google to find answers, having your company appear on particular keyword searches can connect you with companies worldwide. Being on the first page of Google establishes your company as a leader in a particular industry. Google SEO for startups in Korea is very underutilized. There is a massive opportunity for startups in Korea to get on it NOW! The top major newspapers and media sites in Korea don’t have English content optimized for Google! When will they wake up? Who knows? But we are glad they are doing the same old press release content. This allows Seoulz to grab all the top keywords about South Korea. 

CBD Oil in Korea

Here is a quick example. We wrote an article with the target keyword “CBD oil in Korea.” The reason for this is the huge potential market for CBD in Korea many years down the line (Once CBD becomes legal). The article gets a steady stream of traffic, probably from global distributors looking to enter the Korean market. Once CBD takes off in Korea, this single article will get massive amounts of traffic. Therefore it could be used to promote a particular company in Korea looking to get into the CBD oil business in Korea. 

Tips When Searching for SEO Consultants 

Make sure they can prove their work. How? It is simple. Ask them what keyword phrases they worked on with their clients and search that keyword yourself.

Do they come up #1?

That is a good sign they know what they are doing. This is why we tell clients to search for us on Google when speaking with clients. Our results speak for themselves.

There are a lot of shady tactics used in the SEO space. Therefore, you must keep an eye out for deals too good to be true. One tip I can give you right off the bat is to watch out for link schemes. This is when a company will have many sub-blogs they will use to link to the article. This is a prevalent technique in the SEO industry. They are trying to trick Google into thinking the particular article is important.

There is a risk in this because you will open yourself up to a Google penalty. Your website could be virtually wiped out from Google’s index. They use this technique because these backlinks are hard to get naturally. However, if your content is good enough, it will naturally get links to it. One high-authority backlink is worth more than a high number of low-authority backlinks. This is why you must sit down and go over the exact strategies with your SEO consultant. Don’t trust a consultant that says they will take care of everything. SEO content creation is best when consultants and clients work together to develop the right strategy. 


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