If you are running or planning to run a Korean website such as a blog, forum or even an online shopping mall, you must have heard of the term “SEO” at least once before you clicked on this article.
SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” and to put it in very simple terms, it is a technique, usually used in marketing, used to optimize the visibility of your website. By “optimizing the visibility of your website”, it means you are trying to make your website show up at the top of a search engine result. To put it in another way, you are trying to get a higher rank for your website in a search engine result so that it shows atop other similar websites.
This is something that you should consider because the visibility of your website affects your online presence to a great extent.
Let’s say you are running an online shopping mall business with the website as the portal where a customer skims through products, reads reviews, chooses a product and pays for it, and that there are hundreds of other businesses doing the same thing online. If a customer wanted to shop online and searched the word “online shopping mall”, the site that pops at the top of the search engine result it likely to be the one that will get clicked and used by the customer.
If your website’s visibility on a search engine result has not been optimized – that is, if it shows up in the search results way behind other websites – you are losing audience (or customers) and perhaps money, too.
Just image – right now, there are billions of people connected to the Internet via a PC, smartphone, tablet or some other device. This is undeniably a huge audience or group of potential customers that you can tap into.
However, before you embark on using SEO to tap into this huge group of people, it is important for you to consider who or what you are dealing with and how to handle them effectively and efficiently, and if possible, create an ecosystem and lock them in.
Know Your Market
This is a simple and obvious step that most people forget to do. People just start a website “hoping” for someone to visit it without knowing who they are targeting. This is not the most effective and efficient way to run a website. Yes, some random online user might bump into your website and read or buy whatever you have on it. Lucky. However, once they leave, it is likely that they will never return again because they bumped into your site by chance. So, it’s important to know your market and find out a way how to capture them in the best way you can.
First, you need to know the status quo of the Korean search engine market. The market is currently dominated by two search engines, namely Naver and Daum, but the gap between them is quite big with Naver leading the way (so, optimizing your website to Naver is recommended, and in fact, this is what most Koreans considering doing when they plan to run a website).
There are also other search engines such as Nate and Zum, and even foreign ones like Google and Yahoo, but their combined market share is not even close to 10%.
Source: Internet Trend 
Second, it’s good to know your potential audience. According to Korea Internet Security Agency, there were about 38.1 million Korean Internet users who are of ages 3 and above in 2012. The Internet usage rate has been rising steadily since 1999, according to the agency.
Number of people: in millions
Source: Korea Internet Security Agency
Below is a breakdown of the number of Internet users in 2012.
Number of people: in millions
These are just a few of the basic information that you need to keep in mind in launching a Korean website so that you can tailor your website to a targeted group of people. Further research may be required to collect more information for the specific market that you are targeting – be it finance, manufacturing, renewable energy, IT or science. More information will help you understand your target market better and help you come up with a good plan in running a website effectively and efficiently.
Now you have some idea of how big the Korean search market is, the population distribution of Internet users, the dominating search engines and other relevant information, it’s time to apply SEO to your website.
But before going any further, you need to know that Korean search engines have released only a limited amount of information on how they rank or evaluate websites. What’s more, they frequently change their search algorithms and policies (this is common among search engines). Thus, there is no silver bullet for optimizing the visibility of your website but there “useful SEO tips” that you can apply, and one of them is using the right keywords repetitively in your website.
Korean search engines are not as powerful as Google and Yahoo in terms of indexing power and analytics, for instance. Because of this, it is crucial for you to maximize the use of the right keywords in the first five to ten sentences of an article in your website. One caveat is to not make excessive repetitions because this may be considered spam by the search engine and consequently, you may get your website removed from the search results.
Another good SEO method is the use of images. Use an ample amount of images in your website as Korean search engine give big points for these. Adding a video before you end an article is also a plus.
Constantly interacting with other websites is also a good SEO tactic. The more interaction you have, the more online neighbors you get, and the more online neighbors you get, the more comments you get for your website, which will give you a competitive edge against other websites. Posting a redirection link that leads to your website in other sites as you make a comment is another natural yet effective way to optimize the visibility of your websites in a search engines.
Finally, increasing the number of posts in your website by consistently uploading new articles is also a good SEO tactic. The number of accumulated articles in a website is a critical factor that Korean search engines look into when evaluating a website. Therefore, having a lot content in your website may give your website more visibility.
However, the important thing here is consistency. Uploading at least one article a day over a month consistently is a much more effective SEO move than uploading 30 articles all at once in a single day.
Meanwhile, there are also things that you are not recommended to do in SEO and to name a few: excessive repetition of keywords and copy-pasting of other articles or blog posts in your website. These actions may degrade the ranking of your website in a search engine results or, if worse, get the website removed.
Indexing is a process in which a web crawler analyzes a group of text in a blog or website and creates indices that can be used to search corresponding data quickly.
By allowing a search engine to index the contents in your blog, you are making the indexed contents visible in a search result. Conversely, if you do not allow your contents to be indexed, the contents will not be indexed and therefore will not show up in search engine results.
Korean search engines, mainly Naver and Daum, offer indexing services for the blogs that you run on their platform.
Naver offers a web indexing service that is “automatic” – meaning, once you upload an article on a blog or website, a Naver crawler will index it even if you don’t ask for it. They did offer a “manual” indexing service where you can submit links and register it on the search result (at a certain cost) but this service was discontinued in 2007. So, in the present, Naver does not have a link (or service) where you can submit links to index your website because it carries out the indexing process automatically.
In addition, Naver also offers an option that allows you to remove a site or subpages from its index database. This option is one of the many administration tools offered by the search engine (See image below).
The part pointed out with a red box is the option that you can check or uncheck to add/remove your sites and subpages to/from the Naver index database.
Similarly, Daum offers an automatic indexing service as well. Moreover, they also have an option similar to that offered by Naver in adding or removing sites or subpages to or from its index database (See image below).
You can access these tools at the Naver’s and Daum’s blog administration pages. But before you access them, you need to create an account with Naver or Daum because these tools are only offered to registered users.
1. Access the Naver blog website by clicking the link above (Make sure you are logged in first). Then, you will see a screen like the one below (Click the image to see the whole image). Click on the part indicated with a red box.
2. You should be seeing a screen like the one below. Click on the red box again.
3. By now, you should a screen like the one below. Click the part indicated with a red box to add or remove your blog articles from the Naver index database.
1. Access the Daum blog site by clicking the link provided previously. Then, you should be able to see a screen like the one below (Click the image to see the whole image). Click on the part indicated with a red box.
2. You should be able to see a screen like the one below. Click on the red box again. Once you click it, you will be able to see a drop-down menu of the item you clicked.
3. The drop-down menu should look as shown in the image below. Click the red box to add or remove your article from Daum’s index database.
SEO is an effective marketing tool that optimizes the visibility of your website. But before applying SEO, first consider your potential audience and target market. You may want to do an additional research if more information is needed.
There is no absolute rule for SEO as the search algorithms and policies are frequently changed by search engines but there are small yet powerful tips that is generally agreed among internet users such as the ones explained above. Try maximizing these tips and if possible, experiment and discover new tips that may be helpful in optimizing the visibility of your website.
Before ending this article, I would like to emphasize that focusing too much on SEO and not considering that your audience wants must be avoided. Indeed, an effective SEO tactic may put your website atop others in the search result and it will be likely to be clicked by online users. However, if it does not have content that people want, it may not be visited again by the customer even if is has greater visibility in a search engine result. After all, it’s the people, not a search engine robot, whom you are running a website for.
1.  Internet Trend
3. Naver Blog Story
4. Daum Management Guide