Seznam.cz is the second largest search engine in the Czech Republic (also known as Czechia).
Speaking with Dušan Janovský of Seznam, the search engine holds around a 25 percent market share, with Google dominating the market.
Seznam includes some SEO guidance through this Napoveda entry. Like other search engines, Seznam advises that:
“Optimization should focus primarily on the user and on the benefit of the content.”
Your approach to optimizing for Seznam should be the same as for Google, putting the user first.
However, Seznam isn’t as technically advanced as Google.
A Brief History of Seznam
Founded in 1996 by Ivo Lukačovič, Seznam started life as a catalog of some of the best Czech webpages to visit with a basic keyword search function.
In its first year, Seznam attracted around 10,000 visits per day and Lukačovič funded the project through an advertising banner on the site homepage.
By 2010, it was estimated that the entire Internet population of the Czech Republic was visiting the search engine at least once a month.
Eventually, Google gained more dominance within the market at the expense of Seznam.
Seznam has diversified its online offering with a number of other products including:
- Novinky.cz (An online news portal)
- Lidé.cz (A community dating website)
- Sreality.cz (An online real estate portal)
- Mixer.cz (A music video site)
- Mapy.cz (Maps search engine)
- Volnámísta.cz (An online jobs portal)
- Firmy.cz (A business directory)
Most recently they have also entered the internet TV market with Zprávy.
Seznam SEO Basics
Like all search engines, Seznam weights certain variables more than others.
This means that despite its now reduced market share, it is still a sizable player in the Czech market and shouldn’t be discounted.
.cz Domains (Myth)
It’s a common misconception that, like with Yandex and Baidu, Seznam has shown a preference to the native ccTLD of the Czech Republic, .cz.
The reasons are similar as to why Seznam shows a preference, too.
The .cz ccTLD show’s strong local relevancy to the Czech market.
When searching in Google.cz for [seo], the top 3 results I get are:
And if I repeat the same search in Seznam, I get:
This, however, has been confirmed as being a myth, and any data suggesting otherwise is correlative.
So it’s important that your Czech alternate version uses a lot of plain HTML for navigational and internal links.
Otherwise, the SeznamBot may have difficulties discovering all URLs on your website and crawling them frequently.
URL Structures & Illegal Characters
While Czech uses Latin characters, it is a Slavic language and uses a number of special characters not found in other Latin alphabets, such as č, š, and ž.
In a URL, č, š and ž need to be included without any accents, so they would become c, s, and z.
H1 tags still hold weight within Seznam rankings.
It’s important that they’re not used for styling purposes and the correct hierarchy of H1 to H6 is used appropriately.
Seznam advises that all H tags should use the same HTML tag, and they should be used in a “reasonable amount,” (i.e., not excessively) on the page.
Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
According to Seznam:
“The title is one of the most important tags in the entire page – the search engines put a lot of emphasis on it. Together with the text of the page, they are the basis from which the search engine creates a caption and a search result label.”
Seznam guidelines also place importance on these being unique to each page, not overly verbose, and not to be stuffed with keywords.
Seznam also overrides the specified page title within search results should it feel more appropriate on-page content can be used to better match user intent.
When it comes to meta descriptions, Seznam advises that for each page the description should be different (not unique, like it says for the title tag), and there is no suggestion that it impacts organic search performance as a ranking factor.
Seznam does support hreflang implemented in the page <head>.
Targeting Czechia with Czech, you would use the code:
<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/cz/ hreflang="cs-cz" />
Seznam respects the canonical URL and advises that it can be used when content management systems generate multiple URLs for the same content, such as:
That being said, Seznam’s guidelines warn that:
“If the robot does not appear to have pages with similar content, the canonical URL is not accepted.”
It is deemed unsuitable use if Page A and Page B aren’t similar in terms of content.
The only time I’ve really seen this is when someone has tried to use the canonical to sculpt PageRank from blog/supporting content pages to primary commercial content pages/user conversion pages.
Seznam’s guidelines clearly state:
“Do not create pages in frames if possible (placement using cascading styles instead of frames). If you just create pages in frames, add a
<frameset>placeholder in the frame layout definition using a tag
Seznam doesn’t personalize search results pages in the same way that Google does and doesn’t take into account previous search history.
That being said, if a user is searching on Mapy.cz (infer Google Maps) or Firmy.cz (infer a website/business directory), Seznam can detect your location, if enabled, and shows relevant results based on your proximity.
Mapy.cz and Firmy.cz snippets also appear within organic search results pages.
How Does Seznam Weight Backlinks?
Seznam’s backlink algorithms are less advanced than Google’s.
Studies have shown that citation flow (number of links) outweighs the trust flow (quality of links).
That being said, you can’t simply spam your way to the top.
Backlinks still need to have relevancy – so comment links, forum links, web 2.0 social links are still seen as low quality.
While quantity and quality are weighted differently, quality shouldn’t be substituted for volume.
Identifying Seznam Crawl Activity
Seznam has two user-agents, one for crawling pages and one for taking screenshots of pages. The primary user agent crawls from the IPV4 range 77.75.74 to 77.75.79 (excluding 77.75.75), and 2a02:598:a::78:x, 2a02:598:a::79:x and 2a02:598:2::x on IPV6.
In your log files, you can identify the primary SeznamBot user agent as:
- Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; SeznamBot/3.2; +http://napoveda.seznam.cz/en/seznambot-intro/)
Whereas the Seznam screenshot user agent can be identified as:
- Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Seznam screenshot-generator 2.0; +http://fulltext.sblog.cz/screenshot)
More International SEO Resources:
- Meet the 7 Most Popular Search Engines in the World
- A Quick Guide to Getting Started in International SEO
- The Best Practices of Optimizing for International SEO
All screenshots taken by author, September 2018