SEO in Sweden. How to Operate in the Scandinavian Market?

SEO in Sweden. How to Operate in the Scandinavian Market?
05 March 2023
Sweden is the biggest Scandinavian country inhabited by almost 10 million people. Despite the fact that the budgets of the local SEO agencies aren’t as impressive as those in the West and the market is still relatively young, the country has a huge potential. How to operate in the Swedish market and how to communicate with business partners there? Keep reading!
We’ve already analyzed the Norwegian SEO market and now it’s time for the Bergman’s homeland!

What comes to your mind when you think of Sweden?

It’s always a good idea to get to know the basics of cultural heritage of a given country before proceeding to analyze its market. Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and apart from the standard Swedish, there are several categories of dialects that aren’t mutually intelligible. An average European will associate Sweden with IKEA - the chain of furniture stores - freckled Pippi Långstrump and The Moomins. The icons of modern pop culture, ABBA band or the noir Broen genre of series also have their roots in this country.

A country ready for SEO - Sweden as the cradle of big business

Sweden is a fascinating country not only in a sociological aspect. According to Statistiska Centralbyrån, Statistics Sweden, as many as 24% of inhabitants of Sweden are from a foreign background and obviously this number doesn’t include unregistered citizens. The country is also home to many Finns, Norwegians and Danes. In some of the reports Swedes are recognized as an exceptional nation appreciating innovation and willing to implement it. The Swedish people are keen to set up various small and medium-sized enterprises and the world leading companies originating in Sweden include Volvo, Ericsson, H&M or Skanska. Many immigrants also have a nose for business and find the local market particularly attractive.

Swedish e-commerce

Before analyzing the market, it’s worth outlining the profile of the average consumer from the North. Statistic Lars Andersson every month spends about 150 euros on online shopping. He visits websites not only to finalize the transaction but also to thoroughly check the products online before purchasing them. Approximately 53% of customers carry out such an analysis and as many as 19% go to the bricks and mortar store to check the quality of the goods for themselves. Swedish customers demand high quality products as well as the transparency of the offer, therefore they love to buy in shops of well-known and valued brands. In addition, it’s also important to mention that residents of other northern countries, Norwegians in particular, very often take advantage of the offers of the Swedish online stores. The e-commerce market in Sweden is still expanding. In 2018 its estimated value reached 77 billion Norwegian crowns (7.7 billion euros) and in 2017, the Swedish e-commerce market accounted for over 32% of the Scandinavian online sales market. [caption id="attachment_6090" align="aligncenter" width="679"]e-commerce market value in Sweden Source:[/caption] Don't forget about mobile users and adapting the website to their requirements. Sweden leads among all the Scandinavian countries when it comes to mobile shopping. Roughly 41% of Swedish customers state that they shop using mobile devices. [caption id="attachment_6093" align="aligncenter" width="594"]Mobile shopping in Sweden Source:[/caption]

The way to a man’s heart is through… the content

The already mentioned Lars Andersson values proven and reliable content and this piece of information should be crucial when you start the SEO process. Sweden is at the forefront of daily press readership rankings; every house subscribes to at least one daily newspaper and the available tabloids don’t bear any resemblance to the classic British or American ones. At this point you should notice that a bit cold and distant Swedes like clear and profound content, realistic photos and graphics - all of these accompanied by a minimal dose of expressive message. If you manage to provide Swedes with the high quality of the content and appropriate infographics, any additional encouragement won’t be necessary. SEO in Sweden? Delante will take care of this - contact us!

SEO in Sweden - what’s the potential of this country?

According to the last year's report, 95% of Swedish citizens regularly use the Internet and 99% of workplaces are connected to the network. On the other hand, the group that is reluctant to use the discussed medium are people between 75 and 85 years old. The Swedes enjoy one of the fastest connections and the Internet has arrived at their homes much earlier than at most European countries. It’s also worth mentioning that Swedes are noticeably much more eager to speak English than the customers from Eastern Europe. Keep it in mind while choosing SEO model in that country, as their ability to communicate in English will certainly influence their browsing the net.

How to collaborate with the Swedes?

In building a mutual business culture, it isn’t only SEO that is important. Sweden as a wealthy northern country is associated with numerous stereotypes and the first contact with your Scandinavian partner may turn out to be more difficult than you expected. Lars Andersson feels comfortable in a formal situation and the discussion itself should be very substantive. An average Swedish person will be happy to listen to your ideas only if you show you’re a professionalist. Apart from outlining your plans and potential effect, remember to mention possible risks and problems - pragmatic Scandinavians will surely appreciate your sincerity. Try to understand their intentions and signs they give correctly, behaviours like ambiguous answers or wariness should be a warning signal for you.

SEO in Sweden

With all the information provided above it’ll be much easier to outline the proceedings of the perfect SEO process. Sweden is a country faithful to the Google search engine - almost 97% of people there use the website. The second place belongs to the Bing search engine. Campaigns are usually based on onsite and offsite SEO and RWD (responsive web design). Swedish agencies rely only on reliable methods and prefer long-term operations. What’s more, Swedes are rather reluctant to implement innovative solutions when it comes to SEO - for them it’s still a relatively new branch of business. Wondering why? The explanation why they’re so uninterested in SEO process is rather prosaic. Initially, in Sweden link building was considered to be an illegal activity and the attempt to tame the market took several years. Google Sweden

What to remember about when running SEO in Sweden?

Swedish is spoken by a relatively small number of people, therefore, when indexing website pages, Google robots won’t be able to find as many errors as in English or German even if the text was prepared very poorly. As a consequence, creating new channels doesn’t require native speakers. When it comes to the most popular portals in the country, more than 4.4 million people use Facebook and Twitter is second in the rankings. The Swedes search for products or services 50 million times per day, which gives a result of 100 trillion searches every month. Today, especially small and medium-sized enterprises implement optimization techniques. When running SEO, business owners eagerly choose their native language although Danish, Norwegian and Polish are becoming equally popular.

What problems can you encounter in the Swedish SEO market?

As it turns out, the difficulties resulting from the language barrier may not be the greatest challenge for a SEO agency in Sweden. Various problems can be encountered much earlier as SERP for the .se domains isn’t prioritized as much as in the case of the British or American ones. In such situation other market analysis tools should be implemented. The Swedish agencies also have to struggle with a comparatively small budget; sometimes it’s even up to 7 times lower than in Western European countries.

How to effectively run SEO for your company?

Remember that any market disadvantage can be quickly turned into advantage. Lack of traffic or insufficient focus on customers’ needs enables reaching the target group faster and more effectively. As it’s been already mentioned, Sweden is still a little sceptical when it comes to SEO, therefore the methods used there are often a bit anachronistic. Johannes Eriksson, the owner of one of the biggest SEO agencies in Sweden, notices: our operations are based on solutions from 2-3 years ago, so there is a gap between the Swedish and British or American SEO. Contrary to what you may think now, such solutions can do more good than harm. SEO specialists can take advantage of methods tried and tested in the West and avoid making mistakes resulting from experimenting with new solutions while running international SEO.
Mateusz Calik
Mateusz Calik

Managing Partner

Managing Partner, has been building Delante since 2014. Responsible for international SEO strategies. He has a strong analytical approach to online marketing backed by more than 12 years of experience. Previously associated with the IT industry, as well as the automotive, tobacco, and financial markets. Has experience in creating scaled processes based on agile methodologies.

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