During our iSEO video series trip around the world, we stopped off in the Czech Republic and deep-dived into Czech SEO with Prague-based SEO consultant, Martina Zrzava Libricka. From seznam.cz to Czech grammar and exact match keywords, there’s much more to Czech SEO than meets the eye. So, let’s dive in!
Czech SEO is more than just content
There’s a bit of a misconception in the Czech Republic that SEO is all about content. But there is so much more to SEO than just titles, meta descriptions, and a few links thrown in for good measure. Ensuring your website is optimized from a technical standpoint is just as important, so ensure you’re not neglecting that.
SEO isn’t free
Another myth you see quite a lot in the Czech Republic is that it’s seen as “free”, especially compared to PPC. This is good for companies expanding into the Czech Republic because Czech SEO isn’t as mature as it is in the USA, which means there is a lot of potential. So, make sure that you’re investing your budget into the right things like:
- Technical SEO
- Link building
- Local SEO for the Czech Republic
- Data and Reporting
- Competitor analysis and monitoring (Czech competitors of course!)
By following these steps, you’re setting your company up for success, and you’ll see a higher ROI, a competitive advantage, traffic growth, new user acquisition, and more conversions.
Marketing channels in the Czech Republic
- Online vs. Offline
There is still a 50/50 split between offline and online marketing channels, meaning you can’t afford to go digital in the Czech Republic just yet.
- Most important channels
Offline TV advertising is the most important channel. For digital media, it’s display advertising, which is popular in the Czech Republic.
- Leaflets and e-leaflets are back
There’s a lot of interest in discounts in the Czech Republic, as shown by kupi.cz, a website where you can view a wide variety of leaflets, getting 16 million views in Q1 2021. Not bad for a country with a population of 10.5 million!
Here, you can also see how much money Czech advertisers spend on each channel.
Search engines for Czech SEO
In the Czech Republic, you can find people searching on Google, Seznam.cz, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex. Back in 2014, the split between Seznam.cz, a Czech search engine, and Google was 50/50, but as time passed, Google became the most popular search engine with 82% market share. This is because Google has a better mobile experience, and younger people are more used to searching on Google.
While Seznam.cz isn’t a popular search engine anymore, it is still worth looking into as they’re a top-rated email hosting provider and news site with its own map and property listing service, for example. These are all still very popular in the Czech Republic, and it’s a good idea for companies to get reviews on Seznam like they do on Google.
Seznam.cz ranking factors
Unfortunately, seznam.cz isn’t as open as Google is regarding ranking factors, so Czech SEOs have to do a lot of experimentation to see what works and what doesn’t. What we do see, however, is that Google and Seznam seem to have completely different ranking factors, as content that might rank highly on Seznam doesn’t do very well on Google and vice versa.
There is, however, a specific persona that you can target using Seznam, and that is:
Sex: All genders
Tech knowledge: Basic
Typical web use: Checking emails, browsing things for fun
Czech grammar and Czech SEO
It’s no secret that Czech grammar is one of the hardest in the world, and conjugation and declination are something that many foreign companies struggle with regarding Czech SEO. In Czech, we have 7 cases, which means that endings for adjectives and nouns change depending on how they’re used in different sentences.
We won’t go into that in too much detail, but it’s important to note that you don't have to use exact match keywords! And by creating useful content that’s written for users and not bots, you get more engaging content, better user interactions, and more sales!
Czech & Slovak – are they the same thing?
There’s still quite a bit of bias in the Western world that the Czech Republic is still Czechoslovakia and that Czech and Slovak are the same, which isn’t the case. It’s quite offensive to say that to Czechs and Slovaks, as even though we used to be one country, Czechs and Slovaks have always had different languages and cultures. Yes, we can understand each other, but:
- Czechs can’t write in Slovak, and vice versa
- Shopping behavior is different
- Search intent is different the majority of the time
- Keyword choices are different
If you are working on a tight budget, you can localize from Czech to Slovak and vice versa, as it’s easier than from English to Czech and English to Slovak, but please remember they are two separate languages. If you expand into the Czech Republic using Slovak, you will appear strange.
Titles and meta descriptions in Czech SEO
As Czech contains special characters like ř,ž,č,ý,š,ě, etc., they take up more room and make things like titles and meta descriptions a bit longer. So when dealing with Czech, it’s better to use pixels rather than a set character count.
In Czech, it’s quite normal to use a lot of anglicisms and germanisms, especially in the business world. So if you’re doing keyword research and you see English and German search terms show up, it’s most likely Czechs using them and not expats. This is why using a Czech SEO is so valuable because they’ll be able to tell you what’s used by locals and what’s not, which you won’t know if you’re using machine translation to translate your keywords.
Another thing to remember is that in Czech, there are different dialects. So you might have to optimize your product descriptions for a local variant of a particular word, for example, gauče vs. sedačky (sofas) or zemáky vs. brambory (potatoes).
Because we have many special symbols in Czech, you must be careful with your fonts. Unfortunately, not all fonts are geared up to support the Czech alphabet, which is why it’s quite common for big brands to use a different font in the Czech Republic. So, do your research early, and before you pick a font for your brand, make sure it can support different alphabets.
Global vs. Local and Czech SEO
If you want to succeed with Czech SEO, make sure you’re writing relevant content. Czechs don’t like having to read very Americanized or foreign content, so make sure you’re writing about local issues that Czechs can relate to.
Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to take a deeper look into the Czech market and all the local nuances that come with Czech SEO. If you’d like to know more, all you have to do is get in touch.
Watch Martina's Episode
Martina is a Czech SEO specialist based in Prague. With 10+ years working in SEO, Martina has helped brands like Ikea expand their reach in CEE markets.