Ready to conquer the Czech market? You have our full support! But first, you need to optimize your website’s settings to suit local search engines. Google.cz is the necessary standard, but if you’re serious about winning over Czech customer, than Seznam.cz is your new best friend.
Launched in 1996, Seznam is the Czech digital giant offering email services and running sister websites on real-estate, online maps, job listings and other social and ecommerce related content. It is the second most used search engine in the Czech Republic just after Google, covering 31% of all online queries.
The 10-Step Guide to Seznam.cz
Like any other search engine, Seznam has its own parameters and quirks when ranking websites. To help your get started and avoid mistakes, we’ve prepared a 10-step guide how to optimize your website for Seznam.
1. Choosing a Domain
Seznam’s success is due to focus on being a local search engine. Czechs are familiar with it and trust it. That’s why it’s not a surprise that Seznam ranks websites with the ccTLD “.cz” higher. When searching for “SEO” in Google.cz (left) and Seznam.cz (right) this is what we got:
If you’re approaching the Czech market individually, it’s better to have a ccTLD “.cz” than a generic domain.
Local SEO specialist Martin Kolčaba writes about it on his blog:
“It may happen that if your Czech website is registered as: websitename.com, users may from time to time search for you as: nameofwebsite.cz, because it’s still more “natural” for them. Best case, they won’t get anywhere, worst case, they’ll get to your competition.”
Seznam crawls websites through SeznamBot. For reliable indexing you should declare the encoding you are writing your website in on each page. Don’t rely on the fact that SeznamBot detects encoding based on information obtained from the headers sent from the web server. It can mix up the signals and indicate incorrect coding.
SeznamBot support the following headers:
Example of coding using meta charsets:
4. Crawling Control
SeznamBot complies with robots exclusion standards – robots.txt. A robot.txt file contains instructions which content of the website website robots are not allowed to access. If you wish to keep SeznamBot from accessing your site in full, use the following directives in your robots.txt file:
User-agent: SeznamBot Disallow: /
Below you’ll find examples how to clearly indicate to what extent you wish a robot or only SeznamBot to access your site.
Source: Seznam.cz, https://napoveda.seznam.cz/en/crawling-control/
Use words that are relevant to the content and structure of the website.
Example URL structure:
Czech is a Slavic language and has many characters in its alphabet that the English language does not know. Whether it is a small “roof” turned upside down on top of the letter (e.g. č, š, ž) or a long accent on the letter (e.g. é, í, ó) it is omitted in the URL and transformed into a character without any “add-ons”.
6. Redirects and Canonical
But, be careful – Sezam generally does not like redirects and many times your website will get poorly indexed because of:
- bad redirects,
- too many redirects and
- poorly resolved URL duplication.
If you use URLs with multiple parameters it’s better to point canonical tags from them to a simpler URL version. Don’t create multiple URLs for sites with the same content (eg. several “Product category” in e-shops). But if you do, try to point to one main URL or use the attribute rel = “canonical”. In danger of URL duplication Seznam detects canonical tag very well as it tells the search engine which is the main page.
7. Website Content
Seznam is very sensitive how you form your website content. It should be of high quality, understandable and well structured. All general good practice abou headlines, text highlighting and picture description apply.
Differentiate the hierarchy of your headlines. Tag “h1” is used for most titles (usually a title page) tag “h6” for headlines least important. Different kinds of headings should be used gradually increasing by the degree of one.
Example hierarchical heading formation:
H1 is Still an Important On-page Factor for Seznam
Seznam crawls all the content, but H1 headline appears in its SERP and it’s the first thing users see. To get better indexed, make sure it:
- contains a keyword,
- is relevant to the page content,
- is short and without stopwords.
8. Hreflang Tag and Country Targeting
Hreflang tells search engines the relation between different language/country versions, so that they can serve result to users searching in that language/country.
This is how you should set your Hreflang tag for Seznam while also using Czech language:
If you’re not certain about your coding skills try Hreflang Tags Generator:
SERP Personalization via Geo-targeting
In comparison to Google, Seznam does not personalize SERPs. Regardless what you’ve searched for in the past, you’ll always get the same results.
But, there is one personalization feature. When searching on Mapy.cz (Seznam’s “Google Maps”) and Firmy.cz (Seznam’s business directory), the search engine detects your current location and shows results which are near you. In comparison to Google this geo-targeting feature is more precise developed to target users locally. Mapy.cz and Firmy.cz snippets often appear in classic SERPs.
Remember, when you’re a global business with a branch in the Czech Republic, it’s definitely worth it to set up a listing on Firmy.cz and take care of it (e.g. ask for reviews and regularly update it).
9. Link building
With Seznam, Citation Flow outranks Trust Flow. This means, greater the number of links leading to a website from a quality domain the better it ranks. Czech SEO expert Marek Hnatek confirms this in his blog post: “What’s better – quality or artificial link building?”
Hnatek discusses what happened when he used both types of link building when putting up a new sales site for selfie sticks. He concludes that free linking can be efficient when you use trusted sources, e.g. bloggers with authority.
If your office is physically present in the Czech republic we recommend you to enlist in Firmy.cz and Mapy.cz. This will boost your local traffic and ranking. Basic NAP information (Name Address Phone no.) as well as a Czech company ID number (IČO) is sufficient information.
Czech webmaster Dušan Janovský has worked for Seznam on several projects. In his interview he emphasizes that Seznam is updating its affiliate website to be more SERP friendly. Janovský comments:
“Search results will include more products from Zboži.cz. And these are likely to be even more visible. For the matching queries, Seznam will increasingly favor paid listings from Firmy.cz.”
10. Keyword Optimization
To avoid spam and low quality pages Seznam evaluates each keyword separately throughout different phrases and context. It’s important that when e-shops label products by brand and model name to categorize them under the right keywords. Dušan Janovský warns that Seznam is quickly catching up with Google on detecting keyword quality:
“Optimizing for individual keywords and bolding them will make less and less sense for Seznam’s SERP in the future.”
Similar to Google Adwords Seznam has its own advertising system – Sklik.cz.When setting up your campaign you can use the keyword planner to check on a keyword: search frequency, annual trend, competition and average price.
In comparison to Google Adwords Sklik is usually cheaper, but you’ll find all the necessary features including retargeting.
DIY Seznam Check-up and Webmaster Tool
When you’re fully done or just started optimizing for Seznam, you can check basic elements of your website and errors that prevent you from indexing better in Seznam’s . It also alerts you of blank page elements that may be part of a search result. It’s easy, just input your web address:
Similar to Google Search Console Seznam has it’s own check-up tool to help you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Seznam called Webmaster Beta. By adding a file or meta tag description you’ll find out how many pages SeznamBot has crawled and published into SERP, where the robot detects redirects or errors etc. For a more detailed examination you can use API and also customize the report by choosing exact past and present time periods.