17/04/2024

By admin*

Explore China’s Digital Market 2024 SEO Ultimate Guide

The scale of China’s digital market in 2022 is approximately 50.2 trillion CNY, a 10.3% year-on-year increase. SEO has proven to be the most cost-effective marketing method in the long term. In this article, we’ll discuss the successful SEO strategies that help you expand your business in the China digital market.

Catlog

  1. China’s digital market- Background

1.1 The scale and growth trends of China’s digital market

1.2 Key digital platforms and industries

  1. Keyword Research and Optimization

2.1 Analyze and select keywords related to the Chinese digital market

2.2 Optimization strategies for target keywords

2.3 Use localized keyword optimization to improve search engine rankings

  1. Website Content Optimization

3.1 The impact of content quality on SEO

3.2 Content preferences and trends in China’s digital market

3.3 Leverage social media content to improve user experience and search engine rankings

  1. Technical Optimization and Website Structure

4.1 Website loading speed and mobile optimization

4.2 Website structure optimization and internal link building

4.3 SEO-friendly URL structure and sitemap

  1. Mobile Optimization and Localization Strategy

5.1 The popularity of mobile devices in China’s digital market

5.2 The importance of mobile user experience

5.3 Implementation and case analysis of localized SEO strategies

  1. Monitoring and Analysis

6.1 SEO KPI setting

6.2 Monitoring tools

In conclusion

 

 

1. China’s digital market- Background

 

1.1 The scale and growth trends of China’s digital market

According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology Data, the scale of China’s digital market industrialization will be approximately 9.2 trillion CNY(1.31 trillion USD) in 2022, an increase of 9.5% year over year, while the scale of industrial digitalization will be as high as 41 trillion CNY, an increase of 10.22% year over year.

China digital market

1.2 Key digital platforms and industries

There are many different platforms in China, Which are also relatively independent of each other.

Platforms:

Search engine

Baidu is the predominant search engine in China, often likened to Google. It has a market share of more than 70%, offering 360 search engines, Sogou search, etc.

 

China Digital Market

Social media platforms

 

WeChat: The most widely-used messaging application in the country, owned by Tencent, WeChat is more like a super app, where you can make payments, contact friends, book train/flight/movie tickets, call a cab, watch videos, online webinars, etc.,

WeChat video channel: Douyin and Kuaishou’s algorithms are based on user interests, while WeChat video accounts’ algorithms are based on users’ social relationships. WeChat video connects public and private traffic, which increased eightfold from 2022 to 2023.

Weibo: A microblogging platform commonly referred to as China’s version of X.

Douyin: Known as the local counterpart of TikTok, Douyin shares a similar purpose of hosting short-form video content and live shows.

Kuaishou: Another short-form video content application, Kuaishou primarily targets rural markets in China, distinguishing itself from Douyin.

XiaoHongShu: Translated as “Little Red Book” or simply “RED,” Xiaohongshu is a social networking and e-commerce platform.

Bilibili: It calls itself the ’ Generation Z paradise’ full of Pan-2D content, not just including animation and comics, but also some long study videos, from free courses from IT languages to finance.

 

Digital Industries:

Digital industrialization (i.e., information and communication industry)

-Electronic information manufacturing industry

-Telecommunications

-Software and information technology services industry

-Internet industry, etc.

Industrial digitalization (the increased output and efficiency improvement brought about by the application of digital technology in traditional industries)

-Industrial Internet

-Intelligent manufacturing

Internet of Vehicles

-Platform economy

-Autopilot

-AI

-Internet of Things, etc.

Industrial digitalization plays a significant part, reaching 41 trillion CNY in 2022.

 

 

2. Keyword Research and Optimization

 

2.1 Analyze and select keywords related to the Chinese digital market

If you are entering the Chinese market for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of the keywords for your products and services in the local context becomes extremely important.

Firstly, you can comprehensively localize your products/services and use the successful keywords from your Google search engine as a reference for Chinese SEO.

Notably, Chinese is characterized by its conciseness and rich meanings per character. Sometimes, there may be several English keywords but only 1-2 localized Chinese keywords.

Secondly, it is crucial to reference competitors and other industry players for their keyword choices. By observing their performance in the SEO market and adjusting your keyword selection based on your development stage, you can avoid pitfalls in China’s digital market.

 

2.2 Optimization strategies for target keywords

Baidu search engine functions like Google, but there are considerable differences between the two in the actual SEO process. For example, Google Console displays the CTR of keywords on the dashboard, allowing your SEO team to see the conversion status of some keywords intuitively. This is not available in the Baidu analysis tool Baidu Statistics.

In this case, an experienced local team will be critical.

 

Some insights:

* Be prepared for long-term optimization. The results of SEO will appear in 6-9 months.

*If the keyword competition in your industry is fierce, you can start with long-tail keywords first, and trying to pursue excessive SEO in the pursuit of short-term quick rankings will quickly lead to trouble.

 

2.3 Use localized keyword optimization to improve search engine rankings

 

Although China is the world’s 2nd largest economy, its land area exceeds that of the United States. The degree of economic development, people’s education level, and cultural and industrial concentration in various regions in China vary considerably. Targeting and segmenting localized optimization content in critical areas/cities will positively help improve your website’s local rankings.

 

Some insights:

*Do a brand/industry/audience analysis before trying more niche localization. Targeted, more granular localization rather than one-size-fits-all.

*Pay attention to cultural entry points and communicate more with your local team/vendor to avoid unnecessary loss of reputation due to cultural differences. When you do it well, it will leave a good impression in the local area.

 

 

3. Website Content Optimization

 

3.1 The impact of content quality on SEO

 

Similar to Google, Baidu prefers original content with clear structure and good logic. The Chinese characters of SEO articles should not be too short or too long. The appropriate content length should be around 400-1000 Chinese characters, with a minimum of 200 Chinese characters.

 

Some insights:

*Place keywords appropriately in the content, but avoid keyword stuffing.

*Maintaining a healthy update frequency is equally essential.

 

3.2 Content preferences and trends in China’s digital market

China’s digital market has diversified preferences for content. Video content, including short and live video content led by Douyin and Kuaishou, is increasingly popular.

Over 1 billion users watch short videos for more than 2.5 hours daily.

Chinese also favor social media, technology and internet, gaming, and e-commerce content (KOL insights).

 

Some insights:

*When doing SEO, fully consider the presentation form of the content on the mobile end to obtain better results.

*While China’s digital market content shows a trend of diversification, there is also a trend of entertainment. This is obvious in the B2C industry and is also worth considering for B2B brands.

 

3.3 Leverage social media content to improve user experience and search engine rankings

 

China’s various social media platforms are independent of each other. For example, WeChat and Baidu, the content you publish on WeChat cannot be searched on Baidu, and vice versa.

Brands can establish corresponding social media platform accounts to reach the same group and expose the brand to potential users from multiple angles. You can even use some third-party accounts to create some noise online so potential users can hear your name before they want to know more about you.

 

 

4. Technical Optimization and Website Structure

 

4.1 Website loading speed and mobile optimization

China’s Great Firewall technology prevents many people from properly accessing websites with servers located abroad, such as Google and YouTube. Some websites use plug-ins to allow Chinese visitors to access their foreign websites normally, but the access speed and stability are often not ideal.

A better approach is to buy a server/virtual server in mainland China or Hong Kong. This will not only significantly improve the accessibility of your website but also reduce the server response time during the first visit and make it more friendly to SEO.

Due to the advent of the mobile era, people spend more and more time on mobile terminals. When you are doing SEO, ensure that the mobile terminal display is also considered.

 

4.2 Website structure optimization and internal link building

Baidu prefers a concise, clear website structure and appropriate internal links.

If your website has too many layers and its structure is too complex, it will be more difficult and take longer for Baidu to include it.

It’s also essential to ensure that each page links to other pages. This will allow your visitors to link internally to other related pages, deepening their impression and understanding of you.

 

Some insights:

*Try to have a manageable number of internal links pointing to one page simultaneously to avoid being judged as cheating.

*If your webpage does not have much content or has an unconventional structure, please consult your local service team for solutions to improve it.

*If your website is large, you can selectively localize it.

 

4.3 SEO-friendly URL structure and sitemap

A friendly URL structure is fundamental. Like the structure of your website, your URL should be set in manageable layers.

Using Chinese Pinyin or English words in the URL has no essential impact on the inclusion.

However, you should avoid using Chinese characters and other special symbols directly in the URL.

Unlike Google, Baidu needs to manually submit the site map to the root directory to inform Spider that you have updated the website as soon as possible. This action needs to be done when you start SEO. Your website manager or local technical team must help you with this step.

 

 

5. Mobile Optimization and Localization Strategy

 

5.1 The popularity of mobile devices in China’s digital market

Smartphones are highly used in China. As of September 2023, the number of monthly active users of China Mobile Internet had exceeded 1.224 billion, and the average monthly usage time of the entire network was close to 160 hours.

As B2C brands fully embrace the mobile era, China’s B2B digital market has also begun to deploy on the mobile side. Although the main source of MQL for most B2B brands is still PC, roadshow, webinar, and other modes, these digital marketing methods tend to tilt toward mobile.

 

Some insights:

*This will be a lovely fruit if your product/service is suitable for mobile platforms (such as video platforms).

*Actively try different platforms/channels; you never know what surprises China’s platforms can bring you.

 

5.2 The importance of mobile user experience

After investigating the top six search engines in China, we found that the primary purpose of people using the PC side is to browse web pages and websites needed for work and study, while the purpose of using the mobile side of the search engine is to watch some work and learn related short videos.

Another interesting fact is that the popularity of short videos and short dramas, as well as the rapid development of the service industry, are subtly changing people’s way of thinking and behavioral habits. People are more inclined to obtain information effortlessly, and their expectations for waiting time are getting shorter and shorter. If a short video cannot grab the viewer’s attention in the first 3 seconds, it will be mercilessly passed over.

 

Some insights:

*Keep your mobile end always accessible and reduce loading time.

*Maintain a clean and tidy layout that conforms to Chinese reading habits to improve the experience of your potential users.

 

5.3 Implementation and case analysis of localized SEO strategies

Click Here to check the related case study

 

 

6. Monitoring and Analysis

 

6.1 SEO KPI setting

When you decide to start doing SEO in China, set reasonable KPIs to measure your input and output. You can communicate with your local team to develop a reasonable KPI. Since the SEO effect performance time is 6-12 months, you can set KPIs according to short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals.

 

For example:

*In the early stage, more emphasis is placed on the infrastructure construction of the website, access fluency, and stability.

*In the mid-term, focus on the website’s traffic and keyword rankings within a period.

*In the later stage, more emphasis will be placed on the website’s overall traffic and ranking stability, as well as the conversion situation.

 

6.2 Monitoring tools

China’s main SEO monitoring and analysis tool is Baidu Statistics, a product of the Baidu platform. It allows users to view information such as changes in website traffic and duration.

 

 

In conclusion:

Baidu search engine still occupies an irreplaceable position among MQL sources.

An effective SEO strategy is the key to the long-term success of international brands in China. It can not only bring healthy organic traffic but also save large marketing costs in the long run. Manage it reasonably, and it can become an important part of your success in China’s digital market.

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