Let’s start our introduction to China SEO with an example. Imagine an internet user (let’s call him “Li”) searching for a “headphone manufacturer in China”. When Li enters this into a search engine online, he gets several million results.
So, he clicks on the first link on the results page. There he receives all the information that is interesting and relevant for him. But what about the many other links on the results page? Surely they also provide good information about headphone manufacturers in China.
That is exactly why professional search engine optimization is important. In this article by China Gravy, your favorite digital marketing agency, you will learn how you can optimize your business for search engines such as Google and Baidu.
SEO in China
SEO is a popular term, which stands for “search engine optimization”. This means processes that increase the online visibility of a website and thus lead to a better ranking on the search engine results pages.
Since more than two-thirds of internet users only click on the first five organic results in an online search, SEO is so important. The Chinese market is gaining in importance for companies around the world – for sourcing and as a sales market. Therefore, we want to give you an introduction to China SEO in this article.
Experts differentiate between on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to measures that you take directly on your website. Off-page SEO takes place outside of your own website, for example in social networks. In China, these so-called “social signals” come mainly from Weibo, and in Taiwan and Hong Kong via the international platforms Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Google is very quick to include a page in its index and display it. In comparison, the review process at Baidu generally takes longer.
Back to Li. He found all the information he was looking for. But the websites he did not click on did not even have the opportunity to impress Li. Why is that?
How Search Engines Work
Two aspects are particularly important: crawling and indexing. You can imagine crawling like spiders, sent out by search engines, which systematically search the internet. They are trying to collect all the information which is available on public websites.
After this information is collected, it needs to be organized and sorted. This is called indexing. It determines where your website will appear in the search engine results.
China SEO experts place great importance on this indexing as it is important so that a website later appears on the first positions in the organic search results.
A well-structured website with meaningful content is easier to crawl. On the other hand, an unstructured website that is also slow can be crawled and indexed only poorly or not at all. For Baidu, this crawling process is still very slow in comparison. Moreover, unstructured websites are often not crawled.
When creating your website for the Chinese market, make sure you have simple and clear structures and that your website loads quickly. An online marketing agency can support you if necessary.
Now that you’ve learned the basics, let’s see how you can optimize your website for search engines in China and around the world.
China SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Baidu & Co.
The algorithms of Google, Baidu, and Co. take many things into account. Let’s take a closer look at the four things that enable you to optimize your website for search engines relatively easily and quickly.
1. Quality Information
The most important thing about a page is high-quality content that offers added value for the user. This can be useful information, entertainment, or service.
When Li was looking for information about headphone manufacturers in China, the link at the top of the results page (which he also clicked on) contained a lot of information, products, images, and blog articles related to the topic he was researching.
If online users visit a website and like the content, they stay on this page longer. This is one of several factors to consider a website as an authority in its area. Since there are almost two billion websites on the internet, high-quality content is a must.
2. Internal & External Links
Internal links refer to links that, when clicked, take a user to other pages on your website. Through internal links, crawlers can scan a page faster and understand the structure better.
External links (backlinks) are important because they confirm and improve the relevance of a website. If an external website links to our content, it basically recommends us to its audience.
At Baidu, the quantity of backlinks is very important. However, at Google, more value is placed on the quality of the backlinks. With further development of the Baidu algorithm, experts expect that the quality of the backlinks will become more important than the quantity, just like it is with Google today.
3. Site Speed & Hosting
The speed of a website is essentially about the response time to a user’s command. If it takes a long time to load your website (more than 3 seconds!), the visitor will probably get impatient and click away.
Search engines rate slow speed as uncomfortable for the user. In connection with other criteria, they tend to give a lower rank on their results pages.
The site speed is particularly important in China because of the “Great Firewall”. The fast loading of your website is an important factor for Baidu when ranking your website.
Also, make sure to host your website in China or geographically close to China. For example in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, or South Korea.
- If you choose to host in China, you have to acquire an ICP license (Internet Content Publishing License) for your company. This license is essentially a legal green light from the Chinese government for the operation of your website. However, it is almost impossible to get this license if your company is not physically based in the country.
- If you host your website outside of China, you also have to make sure to compress and optimize it in order to get through the “Great Firewall of China” (Project Golden Shield) faster.
Finally, let’s take a look at the last parameter, with which you can easily lift your company’s SEO potential.
4. Meta Tags
Generally speaking, meta content helps search engines to better understand your website. Thus, they can deliver it as a result of relevant search queries by internet users.
Important meta tags are the title, the keywords, the language, and instructions for the web crawlers (robots). While Google ignores the keywords meta tag, Baidu still considers it.
Meta descriptions, which are also essential meta tags, are a summary of the content of your website. They are also displayed in the search results directly under the link to your website.
For Baidu, the meta description should contain 78 simplified Chinese characters and the keyword. For Google, the meta description should be about 150 characters long and also contain the keyword.
Regarding the language, keep in mind that simplified Chinese (Mandarin) is used in China. Hong Kong applies a mixture of Simplified and Traditional Chinese. Traditional Chinese is mainly utilized in Taiwan; the simplified script is not welcome there.
Now you have learned the measures that you should definitely consider when optimizing your website for search engines. What else do you need to know? We’ll tell you!
What Else You Must Know About SEO in China
First of all, you should think carefully about why visitors come to your site. Then, you can optimize the content and offers on your website for your target group.
Good SEO practices focus on using the right keywords and descriptions, including, for example, the ALT attribute for image files (the alternative description of the image if the image cannot be displayed).
If your target group is not sure whether they want to buy your product or service, you can convince them with a good “About Us”, “FAQ”, and “Review” page. You can easily integrate industry and product-related keywords such as “agency” or “headphone manufacturer in China” here.
China SEO – The Takeaway
The goal of search engines like Google and Baidu is to structure the internet and to provide suitable information for the users. It is therefore important to optimize your website so that more users are reached.
Since search engines regularly update their algorithms that affect SEO practices, a professional SEO agency can help you to stay up-to-date.
At Baidu, for example, you can improve the rankings of your website with a variety of links in forums and blogs to your Chinese website. These links also help Baidu index your website faster. Google, on the other hand, puts more emphasis on the quality of the backlinks. Find out more about Baidu SEO, the top Chinese search engine here or read the answers to the 5 most common questions around Baidu SEO that we get.
An SEO agency China, like China Gravy, stays up-to-date on Google’s and Baidu’s algorithm changes and provides SEO strategies and China digital marketing services. We also design cutting-edge SEO strategies and implement them for you. You can easily conquer the Middle Kingdom with our integrated China marketing strategies.
Keep in mind that most marketing experts (70%) say that SEO is a more effective tool for increasing sales than PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. SEO is also free if you do it yourself (except for the amount of time you invest). And it is sustainable in the long run.
Regardless of whether you hire an SEO agency or implement the SEO services yourself – take a look at our FAQ page and visit our blog for exciting topics around digitalization and marketing in China. We also offer WordPress training and SEO coaching. Contact us today for your personal search engine optimization advice.