Yay!  Finally, a decent overview of Naver search marketing (keyword marketing)!

I saw this article at SearchEngineWatch, one of the original, authority search engine industry sites (highly recommended), and thought it really needed a repost as its a great place to start if you want to try out SEM advertising in the traditionally difficult to access Korean internet market with Korea’s number one search engine and portal, Naver.com

Of course, there is an unlimited supply of material one could write about Naver and Korea search marketing for years that one could delve into (reminiscent of posts on Naver search from 2004 , back when Google first entered Korea), but again, this a great updated, simple overview and starting poing.

Also, it is important to note that, although it is mostly the same, Naver has changed their SERP (search engine results page) layout and services/PPC provider over the years and makes subtle changes in UI/UX, and sequence fairly frequently, so if you are planning Naver keyword marketing, be to check whether there have been any further updates from the time of this post.

Remember that the search market has pretty much always been entirely different game out here — epitomized by the fact that web search has traditionally been one of the LEAST popular of the “kinds of search” you can do in Korea.  Knowledge Search, the predecessor to Yahoo Answers and Quora, has been the dominate search form since the early 2000s! Yes, this has deep implications for SEO in Korea as well.  If people are interested in more specific content from this area, let us know and we’ll try to fill in any gaps.

Without further ado…


Search Marketing Guide to Naver, Korea’s Most Popular Search Engine

Michael Bonfils
May 11, 2011

If you’re considering search advertising in Korea, Naver is not to be ignored. This 12-year-old Korean search engine and portal dominates the pocketbooks of advertisers, having taken in a whopping $679 million in ad sales in 2010, or 72 percent of the total search ad budgets in the country.

What is Naver?

Naver, owned by NHN (Next Human Network), is based just outside of Seoul, Korea. The name “Naver” derives from the word “navigate,” which is fitting considering Naver’s main objective is to navigate visitors to find what they are looking for.


Nothing is more impressive than Naver’s incredible, long-standing market share in one of the most important and wired economies in Asia.

One-third of the Korean population visits Naver.com every day, according to Koreanclick. More than 130 million daily queries are conducted daily on the search engine.

Besides being part portal and part search engine (se.naver.com), Naver has some interesting features. For example:

  • me.naver.com allows for complete personalization of your experience.
  • jr.naver.com is a search engine/portal for kids
  • me2day is an online micro blogging portal. (seoulspace note:  check out  Twitter vs Me2day article for a quick comparison)
  • hangame.com is their hugely successful game site.

I recently spoke with Naver’s Kyle Choi, SEM Manager and Ted Kim, Marketing Manager in their Irvine, Calif., office to talk search advertising and learn a bit more about what makes them different from other search engines we’re used to advertising on.

Ad Types

Naver has a few different types of ads.

  • Click Choice Advertisement: Classic pay-per-click search ads, shown immediately below once a query is placed.

(SeoulSpace Editor Note:  This SERP section is actually called the “POWER LINKS”  in Korean.  “Click-choice” is the name of the ad category registration link you can find in the top right corner of the section)

  • Time Choice Advertisement: This type of ad allows you to pay one flat payment which will guarantee exposure for a contracted period of time without any change in rank. It’s located under the Click Choice advertisement block.

(SeoulSpace Editor Note:  This SERP section is actually called the “PLUS LINK” in Korean.  “Time-choice” is the name of the ad category  registration link you can find  in the top corner of the section)


  • Brand Search Advertisement: This ad provides a brand with a mini microsite within the ad block itself and can take over the most important real estate of the search engine when the term and its corresponding keywords are used.

(SeoulSpace Editor Note:  This SERP section is keyword sensitive. ie:  it does NOT always appear.)


(SeoulSpace Editor Note:  There is SERP section is actually called the “BIZ SITE”  in Korean, which is part of   “Click-choice” registration ad category registration link you can find  in the top corner of the section.  It generally appears below the “PLUS LINK” block.)

Outside of the search engine result pages (SERPs), Naver provides advertising through their mobile network, as well as their own content network.

  • Mobile Page Advertisement: (m.naver.com) Providing advertising on mobile devices.
  • Content Network Advertisement: Similar to Google AdSense, Naver also has a strong partnership with other portals and relevant websites.

Getting Started

The “Naver Search Advertise Interface” is only offered in Korean. So you can either hire a Korean speaker or hire an agency with Korean resources. Alternatively, you can use Naver’s own agency for a fee.

    • Business License: Naver is restrictive and they must see that you’re a legitimate business. Be prepared to provide any required information, such as your business license. You neither need to have an office in Korea, nor do you need to have your business license translated.
    • Prepayment: You will need to arrange for payment for your media directly with Naver in Korea. Wiring your prepayment is most common, but sending a check to the US office is fine as well. Naver does allow for refunds of unspent media, should you cancel.

Naver Rules

Although, advertising on Korea’s Naver seems difficult, it isn’t impossible. You can still get great results if you know the rules:

  • Campaign Budgets: Advertisers can’t set maximum daily budgets on each campaign in Naver, only on groups of keywords. NHN is aware of the problem and is working on an update.
  • Broad Match/Auto Correction Searches: Naver doesn’t offer broad match or auto correct searches. But for misspelled keywords, Naver does offer a “Did you mean … ?” system similar to Google’s.
  • Keyword Approval: All keywords need to be inspected in order to see if the website is actually relevant with the keywords submitted. The more popular a keywords is, the stricter the inspection becomes.

Targeting the U.S. Korean Market

Naver will launch a U.S. version in July 2011 to reach its 2.5 million Korean Americans residents. The website will remain the same, however the audience will be local and targeted to the U.S. market.

My next article will explore how Naver’s results are laid out, opportunities for optimization, and some tips to help you rank better.

Again, if people want to delve into any specific areas of keyword marketing in Korea.  Feel free to let us know (contact@seoulspace.co.kr).   In the meantime, mad props to Michael Bonfils for this.  🙂


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