• Breakthrough Media Team

5 Key Basics for Marketing in China - Part III

3.SEO: Search Engine Optimisation

Examples: Technical SEO optimisation, Content marketing, community building, digital marketing

Platforms: Baidu.com, Sogou and 360

Feasibility for SMEs: low

SEO (search engine optimisation) is perhaps one of the first strategies companies must consider when it is trying to launch itself in the Chinese market. Although the road to the front page of any search engine is a long journey, it can be significantly shortened when you have optimised key words and accordingly brand your product to the Chinese market.

The basics of SEO optimisation can be broken into 5 stages:

1. Research – use the vast amount of data and analytics to research and identify the key words

2. Structure and ranking – develop a keyword structure and ranking for each of your landing pages

3. Building links – employ various content and digital marketers to improve links and write relevant articles about your brand or product

4. Analyse ranking and search results – look at what gives your brand the most traction over time and during seasonal periods

5. Iterate the process continuously – for small SMEs, it is suggested that you iterate this process at least once a week, initially, after you reach the top 2 pages of your key searches – you can maintain that traffic by creating specific content and linking it to your brand very fortnightly.

Challenges for overseas clients in the Chinese SEO space

The basics of the SEO processes on platforms like baidu is similar to that of google.com or bing.com or yahoo.com – the fundamental difference is in the indexing weights which baidu ranks certain sites. For instance, Wikipedia.com is perhaps one of the best ways for companies traditionally to gain indexing recognition amongst search engines: google.com, bing.com or yahoo.com, however many of these sites, like Wikipedia is blocked in China, meaning that even if you have a Wikipedia page – its ability to be index is very limited.

Another major issue which I see with many of our overseas clients is that the e-commerce or shopping sites tend to dominate the first page. Recently, we ran a campaign for one of our clients within the Australia food and wine industry. We ran analytics on two particular sectors with key words: Australian Wine (“澳大利亚红酒”) and Australia Honey (澳大利亚蜂蜜) – the results from all the major search engines all revealed a distinct and vast difference between the two sectors.

The SEO landscape is China is often dominated by sellers rather than the company themselves. This gives very limited power for the company trying to enter the Chinese market to control its branding, price points and engagement amongst its consumers. Much of the influence is endowed to influencers and commentators.

Western companies and SMEs attempting to enter China will often struggle to generate organic growth despite having content creators. However, even if you don’t do anything try the following three strategies and you will be surprised on the result even after a short time.

1. If you have a Chinese branch office: have a website with .cn – THEN HAND OVER THE DAY TO DAY OPERATIONs of the website to your Chinese peers.

2. If you don’t have a Chinese office, at least have a Chinese subsection on your website – if you are targeting Chinese customers

3. Focus on 1-2 products within your brand – I have helped clients double of their revenue, within 6 month, from 1 single product – PS make it premium!

If you have any queries about the strategies I have listed. Please feel free to contact me directly at molly.xiao@btmedia.co

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