The Chinese internet in figures: There are currently 570 million Chinese Internet users, 420 million Chinese access the Internet via their mobile. 220 million people shop online. Social networks are also at the heart of Chinese life with Sina Weibo and its 500 million users in particular …
All of these numbers are impressive, so it’s no wonder that China is in the top positions in many areas of the Internet. Find the rest of the characteristics of the Chinese Internet in our old article.
If we now look at the most popular sites and especially search engines, we can say that Baidu is the leader in China. If you want to conquer this market via the Internet, it is better to place yourself on Baidu than on Google, which is losing market share. Indeed, Baidu had around 70% market share in 2013.
We offer you today 10 points for successful SEO in China:
1- Beware of censored sites
The Chinese internet landscape is different, in fact, Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube are not accessible in China, giving way to local Chinese giants such as Sina Weibo (microblogging platform) or Youkou (video hosting platform) ). They must therefore adapt their strategy accordingly.
A large number of sites hosted abroad are also randomly censored (or not).
2-Having a site in Chinese
Obviously for anyone who lives in China, Chinese mainly speak Chinese and prefer information in their language. It is therefore necessary to have a site in Mandarin, and well written if possible.
With regard to Baidu, a partnership was established with the Bing engine. Indeed, on Baidu, the queries in English are associated with the Bing search engine and vice versa which when it has searches in Chinese on Bing, these refer to Baidu.
3-Priority to websites hosted in China
Know that it is better to be hosted in China to gain the favors of Baidu. Sites hosted abroad reap a strong penalty, which does not prevent having these sites referenced on less competitive requests.
The big advantage of a site hosted in China is the loading time, which is easily 10 times faster than for a site located outside the country.
4-Respect the syntaxes
Like Google, Baidu gives a lot of importance to “On-Site” optimization, ie to page titles, and prefers to give a serious advantage to meta description and meta keywords, which Google no longer does today. hui (from memory).
5-The omnipresence of Baidu Advertising
One important thing is also to know about Baidu: on the most competitive queries Baidu Advertising (Baidu’s Pay Per Click system) covers the first 11 results on its first page. It is therefore important before choosing to position yourself, to analyze the results and to choose longer queries that are not monopolized by the Baidu ad.
6-Give priority to long tail words which are more qualified
Due to the monopoly of advertising results, it is therefore important to understand that it is better to look for long non-competitive keywords and can be more interesting in terms of business than too general and ultra-competitive terms (a bit like on Google ). This trend is all the more true since it corresponds to Chinese research methods (see below).
7-Dominance of Baidu products
Other things, Baidu covers a majority of the results with its Site network, Zhidao. The next 3 results will be Baidu’s websites, Baidu’s Wikipedia, Baidu Shopping or even Baidu Experience…
If we analyze for example on the keyword “wine” we will find in order:
1- Baidu Wikipedia (Baike)
2- Baidu Shopping (the copy of Google Shopping)
3- Baidu News
4- Baidu Zhidao (the equivalent of Yahoo Answers)
5- And Baidu Image…
6- The first true natural result arrives at the bottom of the page
The Chinese public when researching adapts and uses longer keywords, and tries 4 to 5 times to find the right keyword. They will not type “wine” if they want to buy wine, but maybe “What is the best brand of French wine?” “.
Baidu has also developed a “Brandzone”, which gives a brand the opportunity to obtain personalized space. This space is very expensive, and increases with the notoriety of the brand. When a brand is already first on its keyword, Baidu’s sales teams have found a new, very good way to make brands, especially foreign ones, pay.
If we were to describe Baidu we could say that he is much less advanced and much more selfish than Google, the technical differences are also notable (see this article which summarizes all the differences). Baidu therefore promotes its network of sites for backlinks, news and government sites.
Baidu has recently developed an algorithm which is supposed to weight the links… but in reality it does not take into account all the small links coming from small sites. They are therefore in reality very unlikely to appear on keywords with high traffic.
9-Reputation of the site
It is important to always ensure that you have a strong reputation for your site, because if the site is considered harmful to the Chinese government, the site will be immediately penalized or even censored.
Baidu gives site evaluations manually, and gives for example advantages to its partners, Amazon for example, which suddenly appeared, and penalties to its enemies, like Alibaba or all the Taobao shops (Chinese Ebay) which have been dereferenced due to the launch of Baidu Shopping.
To finish here are some general tips:
Submit your site to Baidu, avoid publishing illegal content, attacks against the government and register in China to guarantee your seriousness, finally adapt as quickly as possible to the new unfair updates from Baidu.
To go further, you can read the Baidu SEO Guide, even if it won’t help you much. Here is also the largest forum for SEO practitioners in China.
Good luck !