Search marketing in China: the rise of so.com

so.com

Baidu, the leading Chinese search engine, is the third most popular search engine in the world, despite being mostly concentrated in and around China. That speaks clearly to the immense size and power of the Chinese market.

An estimated 507 million Chinese use search engines. This is an enormous marketplace for companies who want to grow overseas and engage with new prospective customers.

Although Google dominates much of the search engine traffic in North America and Europe, in China it is one of the least popular search engines.

Instead, Baidu, and its rising competitor Qihoo 360, control the landscape. Those interested in doing business in China will need to make sure they understand these search engines if they want to compete.

How is the Chinese market changing? – So.com

The market in China is quickly changing and evolving. Baidu has long dominated the search engine sphere, and they still control an estimated 54% of the search engine market share. Over the past few years, however, there has been a fast rising competitor that is seizing an increasing percentage of the search volume.

baidu serp

Qihoo 360 was developed by a security software company and its search engine so.com. It was only launched in 2012, but by 2015 it controlled an estimated 30% of the Chinese search market.

Its popularity has likely been influenced by the growth of mobile. By Q3 in 2014, mobile devices were the leading source of searches and revenue for Chinese search engine marketing, and Qihoo 360 has been responsible for building the most popular app store in China.

How is search engine marketing different in the APAC region than in the US?

Brands who want to expand overseas into the APAC region need to be familiar with the local ranking factors and how to conduct SEO for the popular search engines, particularly Baidu and so.com as optimizing for one site will allow you to improve your rankings on both.

Tips for SEO in China:

Do not try to get a website ranked by using automatic translators or just students of the language. Using a native speaker will provide you with an infinitely superior site, as you will be able to avoid major grammatical errors, have the content flow more naturally, select more relevant keywords and use vocabulary that resonates better with the local audience. Your site will fit better overall into the framework of the Chinese digital ecosystem. Translation issues can hurt your reputation and cause you to rank lower on the SERPs.

When setting up a website, you want to try and get a .CN domain. If that is not possible, then seek a .COM or .Net. You website should also be hosted in China and you should secure an ICP license from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Avoid having multiple domains or subdomains.

It is imperative that you know the list of blacklisted words that cannot be posted online. Inclusion of these words can cause your site to be de-indexed and even taken down. Remember that your website can not criticize the government in any way.

As you build the website, keep your title tags under 35 characters in Simplified Chinese and your meta descriptions below 78 characters in Simplified Chinese.

Website speed is highly valued. Regularly test your site to make sure it loads quickly. Inbound links are also viewed as valuable for search rankings, so finding opportunities to build a strong backlink profile can be very helpful.

All of the links you create should be in plain HTML. In general, avoiding Javascript is preferred, because sometimes content in that format is not indexed.

The Chinese search engines value fresh content. So regularly publishing on your page will help boost your reputation and success. You should submit your blog posts to the Baidu News Feed, which will help you attract new readers to your material.

For businesses interested in expanding into Asia, understanding how the local search engine market is evolving and changing can be critical to creating sites that rank well on the local search engines.

For business expanding globally outside of the US, make sure you optimize for premium search engines for key regions such as Naver (South Korea) and Yandex (Russia) also!

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