Seven Steps to Search Engine Marketing Success

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a major part of marketing and advertising strategies for companies today, with hopes of boosting their digital presence. This presence is not limited to companies and stretches to museums, cultural institutions, and small businesses as well.

While it can be a taxing challenge on Google and other search engines in the West, SEO is even trickier when you travel towards the East. In a country like China, where there is endless potential to expand your business and promote your brand, the go-to search portal over there, Baidu, has many advantages to offer. But at the same time, it is very tricky and must be handled with care at each step. In this article, we will talk about the seven steps to consider for search engine marketing in China (!

1. Hosting A Native Domain

When engaging in Chinese search engine marketing, you want to ensure that you take all the necessary steps to get the best possible results. To begin with, ensure to host a native domain; even though Baidu does rank some .net and .com sites, it is better to host a .cn domain in mainland china. These Baidu-optimized .cn domains are sure to provide you with the best results. .cn sub-domains ( works too.

2. Get an ICP License

There are inflexible Chinese internet laws, one of which mandates that all websites hosted on Chinese servers must be Internet Content Publishing (ICP) licensed. While ranking high on Baidu is a difficult task, it is not even possible without getting ICP licensed, and is, therefore, one of the top steps to achieving search engine marketing success in China.

3. Getting the Translations Right

Baidu’s indexed web pages and websites are typically all in Chinese. The SEO resources, meta tags, and site copy (that is originally in English for you) must be translated into Mandarin. The trick is to use simplified Chinese characters, but make sure you hire professional translators and Chinese marketing experts to go through the translated copy to make sure everything is in place. Baidu takes poorly-translated transcripts seriously and sometimes penalizes websites for using bad translations.

4. Increase Content Delivery Speed

It goes without saying that everyone is restless: check out this fearful statistic. More than 57% of users will abandon a webpage if it takes over 3 seconds to load. So how does one improve upon content delivery speeds when the country is as enormous as China, and the Great Firewall of China is in place? Solution: implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This enables the closest server to be invoked instead of the actual hosting site of the website, making the content delivery speeds dramatically faster. The most recommended CDN (that gels with Baidu) is Cloudflare.

5. Coming Up with a Keyword Strategy

Now that you’ve got an idea about search engine marketing in China to learn about optimizing! As efficient and successful Baidu is, it requires a very high keyword density, almost 12% higher than your typical search engine. At the same time, remember that quality trumps quantity, so ensure there is no keyword stuffing, which is what happens when a brand uses the fabricated placement of keywords for a high keyword density.

6. Keep Blocked Content Out

Keep in mind that Baidu’s official web crawler, Baiduspider is on the lookout for anything offensive on the websites. So before you launch anything on a Chinese server, make sure to hire a local marketing professional who will scan your ads/pages to ensure there is nothing aggressive. What is not offensive to you may be offensive to another, especially when it’s a different country altogether. Make sure it doesn’t contain blacklisted keywords, aggressive comments, sensitive content, pornography, or anything politically incoherent. All it takes is one offensive word to be shut down by Baidu. To avoid Baiduspider from blocking you, provide HTML alternatives of JavaScript, iFrame, and Flash content. If you have any outbound links to foreign websites, remove them. Replace them with industry-relevant Chinese sites that will help promote your brand.

7. Localizing Social Media

You must know your audience: if your landing pages have links to social media accounts of Instagram, Google Maps, Twitter, or Facebook, remove them. These repurposed landing pages for the Chinese market must be linked to their Chinese equivalents. WeChat, Sina Weibo, Youku, and Baidu Maps would be a relevant fix. Tough as it may seem at first, search engine marketing in China is not as bad as it seems.

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