SEO for the Chinese Market in 2015 – Optimising Your Site for Baidu
With a population of 1.34 billion and more than 680 million people with internet access, China is certainly a market that’s worth tapping into
As the Chinese economy continues to grow their online market becomes increasingly valuable. For the last five years marketers have been salivating at the prospect of tapping into this giant market, and it’s easy to see why with the online shopping market in China being predicted to be worth $1.8 trillion US!
But how many of these marketers have succeeded? Let’s look at what’s required to succeed in the Chinese online market.
Getting Over The Great Firewall of China
This means that in order to penetrate the Great Firewall you must possess:
- a Chinese address which is listed on your site
- an ICP Licence from China’s Ministry of Industry and Technology
- well written Chinese content which is free of any blacklisted keywords
Optimising your site for Baidu
Baidu works in a very similar way to Google, and as such websites with original content, which avoid duplication and which use canonicals where necessary will benefit greatly in the SERPs. Quality is of the utmost importance, so make sure that your translator has impeccable grammar and a flare for writing. Pages should in general have at least 300 words – remeber Pandas come from China, so you don’t want thin content. Title tags should contain no more than 35 simplified Chinese characters, or 70 Romanised characters.
Meta Descriptions and Keywords are still a ranking factor
You should optimise your Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords for keyword insertion rather than just click-through-rate. Your Meta Keywords should not take up more than 100 characters and your pages should aim to target 3-5 keywords. Baidu is not as stringent with regard to keyword density, so you may still see marketers describing their keyword density being as high as 3-4% etc as keyword density may still be a ranking factor.
Don’t Use robots.txt files or subdomains
Baidu has a dislike for robots.txt files so any information which you would normally put into your robots file, you should try to add into your .htaccess file instead.
Baidu prefers websites to sit on one domain, so avoid using sub domains or multiple domains. Try instead to use separate categories on your website to separate your content. Also shorter domains are often favored by Baidu, so choose carefully when selecting the domain you wish to use. Just as with Google, TLDs (top-level-domains) are favored so try to choose a .com, .cn, or .net domain if possible.
Page loading speed
The loading speed of your webpages is a big ranking factor for Baidu. This is possibly as a consequence of 3G internet speeds in China quite often being poor. Make sure your site is light, well optmised, and has good hosting.
As with all of the major search engines, links and anchor text are the most influential ranking factors. Attaining high quality links from authoritative and trusted websites is the most effective way of achieving high rankings in the SERPs, along with keyword specific anchor text.
Ranking a site on Baidu isn’t going to be easy, especially if Chinese is not your first language. However for any talented online marketer the benefits of building a well optimised site on the other side of the Great Firewall are going to be enormous – especially for those who start now and have their site ranking in 2018!
Anyone else thinking of creating a site to target the Chinese market? Leave your comments below!