6 Tips to Boost your SEO in China

It is well-known how Asia is a fundamental region to consider when targeting luxury consumers and China is probably the most relevant country for it. According to the latest study by Zenith, Asia’s biggest economy is currently the most advanced digital market for luxury advertising.

luxury adspend by medium

As seen in the graph above, search accounts for over 13 percent of the overall ad spend in China, with display and all other digital spend together accounting for almost 60 percent of overall advertising spend.

Considering SEO an essential part of a luxury brand’s digital strategy, we compile 6 key tips that will help you boost your SEO rankings in China:

  1. Using Baidu’s tools

Baidu is the search engine for excellence in China. If you want to achieve a successful SEO strategy and reach to your target audience in China, playing by Baidu’s rules is key. Just like Google, Baidu has their own versions of Google Shopping, Maps, Google My Business and including their own webmaster tools. To dominate the search results, it is suggested to use Baidu’s versions to help increase brand awareness.

  1. Make sure that the website doesn’t rely on JavaScript

Even though there has been a high demand for JavaScript-based websites as it has a fast loading speed, if you want to target your customers in China, do not bet only on it. This is an issue for Baidu since it’s still quite an old-school crawler that is less complex than Google and still doesn’t understand JavaScript. It is recommended to create websites that render in HTML and CSS instead.

  1. Localisation is key

Having content in simplified Chinese is important as it’s obvious that Mandarin is the main language in China. Baidu favours simplified Chinese characters above traditional Chinese content.

It is essential to localise the content but, also, optimising the title tags and meta description in Chinese is important too. However, when developing a site, Chinese Pinyin should be used in the URLs instead of Chinese characters.

  1. Page speed is a ranking factor

Before Google announced that page speed was a ranking factor, Baidu had this rule set up a long time before. Improving the page speed not only enhances the user experience but also helps lead to improvement in website conversions.

  1. Backlinks are important

Backlinks are used to highly influence the search results of a site. It is best to have Chinese backlinks pointing to the site to boost SEO in China instead of having other international backlinks. A bonus recommendation is to have your anchor text matching the keywords that are relevant to the linked resource. Baidu values this in order to ensure that the backlinks are actually relevant and not fake.

  1. Using .cn domain extensions

If you have a company in China, it is ideal to get a .cn (country code in China) extension as Baidu will highly rank the site. To get the domain, there is a long process of getting this extension as it would require showing your website’s registration to the hosting, which essentially means having a physical address in the country. Getting an ICP license is important if you are planning to sell in China. If you don’t have the license, the government can shut down your website. We recommend partnering with a Chinese internet company to obtain the license in case you are missing the physical address for your site.

It is also recommended to not create subdomains such as blog.xyz.cn. Instead, it is better to host a blog for instance at the top level domain.

If you would like to receive advice on how to establish your online strategy in China, please get in touch.