Successful online marketing relies heavily on your brands, products or services appearance in the search engines commonly used by your target audience.
So, if you are looking to target Chinese audiences then which search engines should you be working hard at getting good rankings in for your Chinese website?
Chinese Search Engines
China Analysys posted that in 2015 the top three Chinese search engines were...
- 360 Search
In fact these three search engines make up 97% of the Chinese search engine market share with Baidu being the largest with 71.35% of the market share.
There are other Chinese search engines but with them only making up collectively 3% of the Chinese search engine market share it is safe to say that these should not be your focus.
Baidu is the top search engine in China and feels similar to Google.
The Baidu search engine was one of the first search engines in China, this means that over the years it has been able to gain the trust of the Chinese population and remains their preferred search engine provider.
Factors to Consider when Targeting Baidu Search Engine
There is no such thing as Chinese, there are actually several different dialects within the Chinese language so it is important that your website and online marketing is written in the correct Chinese dialect for your target audience.
Also Chinese characters can often be used to represent several words adding a further layer of complication.
To get around this the Baidu only indexes simplified Chinese characters. This actually makes it easier for English speaking companies wishing to target those who speak Chinese as there is no guessing as to which characters or dialect to focus on.
By focusing on simplified Chinese characters you will be working with Baidu’s system.
A good domain name has already been proven to be a key SEO factor across the globe, China is no different. It is particularly important in China that your domain name isn’t just relevant to the website; it also needs to be short and memorable.
If you want to be remembered by your audience, choose a domain name which ends in .cn or even .com.cn. Some research has shown that people find the .com.cn or .cn domain name easier to remember.
As with the domain name, website structure is a proven SEO factor and Chinese websites are no different. Due to the complexity of the language it is particularly important that you make it clear to your users what is on your website and how they can find what they want with ease.
Baidu itself actually recommends a tree like site structure with a flat architecture where possible. Important information should be found in the top level of the website and you need to ensure that each page can be found via a text link.
This is largely due to the old style crawling system used by Baidu (when we compare to Google’s) which means that it relies heavily on on-page information rather than structured data and machine learning algorithms like we are seeing in the UK.
The need for clear site structures and information provided at first glance is actually due to very poor connectivity in most of China, indeed most Chinese search engines only look at the first 100kb to 120kb of content on a page due to the fact that they simply don’t have the power to download your entire website.
To put this in perspective – Google as of 2014 had 48 billion pages in its index, whilst Baidu had just over 800m pages. This gap means that whilst your entire website may be indexed by Google in the UK, your Chinese website might only have just a few pages indexed in China. The need to make the pages indexed in China your best ones are high.
So focus on fewer high quality landing pages that load fast.
As mentioned already, there is poor connectivity in China despite the booming population and investment in its infrastructure. It’s important that sites are fast, mobile optimised and very easy to crawl.
In China your technical and on page SEO is critical to your online marketing strategy. An element that is sadly often neglected in UK online marketing (not here at ExtraDigital though).
Specific Chinese Features to Consider:
Consider these features can give your Chinese SEO that extra boost:
Use of Mobile
A key thing to remember when looking at the search engines in China is that the majority of website traffic, uses mobiles. Indeed, more people in China use the internet on their phones than on laptops or tablets.
In fact, tablets are hardly used in China – it is either laptops (internet cafes and schools) or mobiles (for personal use and searches).
So take a mobile first approach.
Every search engine result for your website, online blog or social media channel needs to be accessible and written for a mobile phone. Spend more time considering the space you have available to you and aim to use that space more effectively.
Google makes up less than 2% of the Chinese search engine market so forget about focusing your attention on ranking highly in Chinese Google unless you are targeting Chinese communities in more Western areas like the UK or US.
The main reason for Google’s lack of ownership of the Chinese search engine market isn’t just because of language difficulties, it is because Google closed a bulk of its search engines in China back in 2010 and directed all traffic to its Hong Kong search engine. This was due to China’s censorship laws along with attacks by reported Chinese hackers.
It may have names like ‘The Great Firewall of China’ but censorship in China is no laughing matter. The heavy use of Censorship by the Chinese government means that your website and marketing needs to ensure that you are staying on the right side of what they consider appropriate.
Any conflictions with what they deem acceptable will see your website being blocked indefinitely.
Indeed, censorship is taken so seriously in China that it was reported that back in 2013 that the Chinese government had hired 2 million people to scan the web, all social channels and online blogs for any malicious content.
Ensure that your website is free of any malicious content and is appropriate for all before you enter the Chinese marketplace.
For more information on Censorship in China visit: wikipedia.com/CensorshipInChina
Looking to Target Chinese Search Engines?
Are you planning on branching out to the Chinese marketplace? Looking for a partner or assistance in getting your website into Chinese search engines like Baidu? ExtraDigital can help.
Call our team on +44 (0) 1227 68 68 98 today.