– what do you need to know?
Serbia is a republic located on the Balkan Peninsula. Over 70% of the country is covered with mountains and hills. It is a candidate state for EU accession. Following the European Council’s initial assent, official accession negotiations began in January 2014. The country’s capital and largest city is Belgrade.
Serbia’s population is approx. 7 million people. The ethnic breakdown is as follows: Serbs (83%), Hungarians (3.5%), Bosnians (2%), Romanies (2.1%). The country is also inhabited by Croats, Slovaks, Montenegrins, Bulgarians and Romanians. It is a shrinking, ageing society (approx. 17% of the population is over 65 years old). Based on the available estimates and forecasts, the ageing society will be one of the country’s greatest challenges in the foreseeable future.
It is important that the country is beset by many other problems, too. It fell victim to the crisis of 2008, and has yet to fully recover from its ravages. Several factors contributed to this situation. For instance, no needed reforms have been implemented, and foreign investment (a key pre-crisis economic driver) has decreased. The country is also dealing with high unemployment, private sector corruption, and the economic dominance of large, unprofitable state-owned enterprises.
As of January 2022, approx. 84% of the Serbian population enjoyed internet access. The percentage increased by approx. 4.5% in the period of 2021–2022. Serbs are most eager to access the web using mobile devices. The specific device breakdown is as follows (as of March, 2022 data):
As of early 2022, 57.5% of the population were social media users. However, there is no guarantee that each social media account corresponds to an actual person. As expected, Facebook.com is the most popular social media outlet in Serbia. However, Instagram seems to be gaining on its competitor. The overall ranking of Serbia’s most popular social media outlets is as follows (as of March, 2022 data):
of the population enjoys internet access
of users use Google
Google is the most popular search engine in Serbia, and dominates this market. The overall ranking of search engines used in Serbia is as follows (as of March, 2022 data):
Evidently, other search engines are practically irrelevant, so Google is the only one you should focus on for the purpose of SEO activities.
Google’s Chrome is the most popular internet browser in Serbia. The overall ranking of internet browsers used in Serbia is as follows (as of March, 2022 data):
Keep in mind that the runner-up is Apple’s flagship Safari browser. This is reflected also in the operating systems used on Serbian mobile devices. Android is favoured by 83.54% of the market, whereas iOS holds 16.12%.
The acute crisis that began in 2008 ensured that the Serbian consumers’ most important criterion while shopping is the price. Serbians usually purchase what they need, not what they want. Apart from a high median age and low per-capita GDP, Serbia is beset by significant income inequality across the board. As much as 25% of the population lives in poverty. Nonetheless, Serbians are eager to buy online. In 2021, 35% of the local population purchased at least one product online.
The e-commerce sector has doubled during the coronavirus pandemic. As a consequence, certain industries (ex. food) have grown by as much as 200%. Clothing and footwear sales have increased by 100%. The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia indicates that in 2020 alone e-commerce generated income worth 395 million Euro (per 3.3 million e-consumers). The e-commerce income in 2021 came to USD 559 million. It is estimated that the overall e-commerce income in 2022 will come to as much as USD 945 million.
The largest e-commerce website on the Serbian market is gigatron.rs. Its overall income in 2021 was USD 44 million. Second (by overall income) is tehnomanija.rs which made USD 40 million. Third is zara.com with the overall income of USD 20 million. These three websites generate 20% of Serbia’s overall online income.
We already know where Serbs do their shopping. All that remains is to determine what they buy. These are the most popular e-commerce segments:
When shopping online, Serbians most often use prepaid cards/vouchers. The great majority of the local consumers use computers to shop online. According to Euromonitor, Serbian consumers are not particularly aware, and tend to mistrust shopping via mobile devices (only a few percent of e-consumers choose this method).
When planning SEO activities on the Serbian market, you should choose the national domain (“.rs”) for your website. The usual principles apply, as the domain should be short and to the point. This positively affects visibility and makes it easier to remember.
If you are active on numerous markets, consider using the European domain (“.eu”) or the global one (“.com”). Specific language versions should then be added to each selected domain directory (i.e. “.com/rs” in the case of Serbia).
You should know that “.rs” is the highest-level domestic domain, assigned to the Republic of Serbia. According to the ISO decision of 2006, the RS abbreviation became Serbia’s country code. There is a reason for that. In June, 2006 Serbia and Montenegro officially separated into two independent states. As a consequence, the “.yu” domain was replaced by “.rs” and “.me”.
Serbia is the world’s 81st largest e-commerce market with an overall income of USD 559 million (2021). Even though the Serbian society has to struggle with many problems and does not enjoy as much disposable income as its Western European equivalents, local consumers are growing steadily more likely to shop online. The e-commerce income has been dynamically growing in recent years, and future forecasts are promising. If you choose to develop your business in Serbia, you must get to know the average local e-consumer’s preferences and needs. It may be a better idea to sell essential, basic wares rather than luxury goods.
When starting SEO activities on the Serbian market, you must remember that a properly optimised website is a must. Also, you must prepare a Serbian-language version of the website which is well-adjusted to the local version of Google. Link building activities are the second step. Their objective is to gain valuable website links which will eventually translate into greater search engine visibility. The most effective classical method of securing links is Content Marketing, i.e. high-quality articles sponsored on external websites. It is a good idea to select local-domain (“.rs”) websites. If you choose to publish an article on any given site, make sure the link comes with the “dofollow” attribute. If it does, it will be most beneficial from the SEO activities perspective. Buzz Marketing, or word-of-mouth marketing, can be another source of links. Links can be published as forum entries, or website/blog comments.
The most comprehensive service
SEO360® ensures the most comprehensive service among other similar on the market, such as SEO or SXO, which has been confirmed by research.
Guaranteed sales increase
The service provides a guarantee of the final effect, an increase traffic and revenue / leads.
Hybrid settlements based on success fee
Once 100% of the original target is achieved, any results above are based on a success fee.
Guaranteed link maintenance
We do not remove acquired links even after the end of cooperation.
We work all over Europe
Under one contract, we can carry out our work for all European countries with the support of a network of quality partners.
We prepare a comprehensive, extensive strategy in which we examine the real needs of consumers (customer insights) before starting any actions.
It is the starting point for SEO360® actions, individually priced and created on the basis of the customer’s needs and expectations included earlier in the brief filled in by the customer. As part of our conceptual work, we establish the KPIs necessary for successful implementation of further stages of the project, in particular analysis, content marketing plan and estimations, which are the components of the strategy.
In this step, we carry out all the activities verifying the current state of the selected website in terms of SEO and its potential in a given country when compared to the competition. At the same time, we analyse the full user path based on the customer journey. The result of the analysis is a large amount of data that can be used to implement further SEO360® steps.
Content Marketing Plan
Individually prepared for the industry represented by the Client and for the given markets where SEO360® activities will be conducted. It includes a scenario concerning the type of created content and the way of its distribution in order to reach the consumers with it precisely and to be one step ahead of the competition. Content Creators guarantee the successful implementation of this plan.
An extremely valuable and final component of the strategy, where we estimate individual values related to the visibility of the website in the most popular search engine of a given country, taking into account the increase in traffic and, more importantly, the increase in conversions over a specified period of time.
When starting proper SEO activities, one of the necessary steps to achieve final success is technical SEO, also called technical analysis or technical optimisation for SEO, i.e. the part of optimisation that does not concern content. It consists of all activities that affect the architecture and code of a website in such a way as to make it as friendly as possible to the most stringent search engine requirements and, at the same time, to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Part of optimising a website for SEO, in addition to technical SEO, is content optimisation. Valuable content for the user is one of the key elements that will help to achieve high search engine visibility as well as increase conversions and thus revenue.
UX + CRO
As part of the SEO360® service, we provide analysis and optimisation of User Experience metrics with a particular focus on heuristic experiments and A/B testing as well as Conversion Rate Optimisation. In this way, we analyse consumer activity at each stage of their purchase process, increasing sales effectiveness.
We conduct link building using the highest quality permanent links acquired from external sources or services, from reliable publishers with a guarantee of their maintenance even after the end of cooperation. As part of this process, we take care of the correct link profile, which brings end benefits.
Ongoing Data Analysis
In SEO360®, through advanced tools supervised by the Client Success Manager, we constantly measure the progress related to the evaluation of conducted activities, and on their basis, our customers have access to extensive reports 24/7.
Increase in traffic and revenue
The ultimate value of SEO360® is the increase in brand awareness, traffic, conversions and revenue generated from the service, which is significantly higher than in the case of ‘regular SEO’ and above all, it is long-lasting.
If you decide to conduct SEO activities on the Serbian market, you must prepare your website accordingly. This includes selecting the right domain, preparing the dedicated language pack, and adjusting it to the local market’s specifics. It is also important to select the right key phrases, as it will allow the website to be in line with what Serbian users actually search for online. Finally, you should also analyse the competition’s online activities in some detail. This will allow you to choose optimal strategies allowing you to swiftly achieve excellent search engine indexing results.