In a market like China, with a unique culture and a crazy affinity with things like numerology, the subtleties one needs to take care of in marketing are very high. Considerations to combination of colors in website design, use of lucky numbers etc. can be equally powerful to your other technical efforts. Moreover, the online tools that are used in China and celebrities who have power over everyday customers are also different from the rest of the world. Thus, you need to make adjustments in your web practices and you need to advertise yourself to newer avenues if you are to create a ripple in the Chinese market. These guidelines outline cultural and social factors that effect SEO for Baidu.
Chinese have a strong symbolic association with colors. The color red represents happiness and luck, gold represents fortune, green represents infidelity and bad luck and yellow is associated with eroticism. Since colors are easily translated to meanings, you will increase your appeal and effectiveness if you could match the theme/message of your site/product with corresponding colors. Avoid colors that translate into opposite or offensive meaning.
Moreover, Chinese people have a strong belief in numerology. They believe in lucky numbers and love numbers that sound positive upon pronunciation – phone numbers sounding like money being sold for millions being an example. So, you will increase your click-ability by just changing the title of your post from ‘4 things to consider before buying a kitchen sink’ to ‘3 things to consider….’ (4 being an unlucky number and 3 being a lucky one).
China has got its own social media sites with millions of active users. Social platforms like WeChat, Tencent QQ, Weibo host thriving communities and discussion boards. Thus, it is a must for any business to have an effective presence across all Chinese social media platforms and capitalize on the promotional and referral capabilities of these mediums. Having presence on these apps, which are a rich source of organic traffic and an appropriate platform for free advertisement, help with search engine rankings as the search engines take it as a sign of endorsement and legitimacy. Creating business account on WeChat and having an active handle on other platforms while getting them regularly updated in the Chinese language will help you win confidence and trust of the Chinese people.
QR codes are immensely popular with the Chinese people and they use it as a primary method for online verification. These code offer solution for online payment, check ins among others and since they were introduced by WeChat pay and AliPay, Chinese people, who do not normally tip in restaurants, have been tipping significantly ever since. Use QR codes for logins to your site, registrations, payments etc. to develop instant rapport with the audience that is already affixed to using these.
Performing the basics of SEO and online marketing right will not suffice if you do not have people with strong online following and influence promoting your product to their legion of admirers and followers. Since China has its own blogosphere and social media, make sure to get your products endorsed by people who are active and popular in these circles. Reach out to active bloggers and convince them to write about your products and promote them. You can barter other online services in exchange and even pay them if their reader base is huge. Find out social media influencers with interests matching your products and get them to advertise your services for faster acceptability and wider reach.
The number of inbound links to your site is a huge ranking factor for Baidu regardless of the quality of links. So, get your site and page URLs listed in as many places as you can. Strike a link exchange deal with bloggers and other sites because link stuffing, inbound and outbound, is not a worry. We, however, discourage such practices and urge you to create quality inbound links because the search engine considerations might change anytime soon.
For the most useful dos and don’ts in developing your China centric digital strategies for 2017 and beyond, you can find the articles of this series of posts here:
It is great working with such a dedicated and competent team in this ever changing space and I would highly recommend Michael and his work.