The better the SEO of your website, the better the likelihood of your website receiving a higher ranking on the organic search results of Chinese search engines. By virtue of its cost-effective advantages, website SEO has become one of the major digital channel for companies to build up their brand and attract traffic.
However, there are still some differences between Western and Chinese search engines. For international companies looking to enter the Chinese market, it is important to understand Chinese customer and adapt to the unique online ecosystem.
Whilst working with international companies on digital marketing in China projects, we have recognised a number of common SEO mistakes that are overlooked by businesses. In this article, we’ll run through the eight mistakes to avoid for Chinese search engines, so that you can deploy effective SEO strategies for your website.
Mistake 1: Slow or Unstable Access to Your Website
Your hosting solution is the foundation of your website. The speed and stability of your site are critical to both the user and the search engine spider.
Timing is everything. If a user visits your website and it has not opened within the first 10 seconds, this kind of browsing experience is not acceptable for either the user or the search engine spider. If a search engine spider crawls your site to find that either pages cannot be opened or the site loads slowly, your score will be reduced and this will affect your search engine ranking.
Actually this rule also applies to companies doing business outside of China. But it is even more crucial to international business coming into China due to large barrier of pervasive censorship and surveillance known as the Great Firewall (GFW) of China. Whilst hosting your server in mainland China with ICP license/filing is the most ideal option, you can also host your website in surrounding areas (such as Hong Kong) to improve the site latency if you don’t have legal entity in China to do this kind of set up.
Mistake 2: Neglecting the Power of a Mobile Site
With the rapid rise of mobile phones, 95% of Chinese users access the internet through their mobile. It will be a huge loss for a company to generate traffic and build up their brand if they do not pay enough attention to their mobile users.
Dependent on your situation, you can choose either to set up an independent or responsive Chinese mobile site. Both options better address the mobile user’s experience and help your website to achieve better results on mobile search.
Mistake 3: Failure to Set Up a 301 Redirect
Whilst developing or update your website, it is essential that you set up a 301 redirect. Whether you are adjusting your site structure, moving URLs or making changes to your website extension, setting up a 301 redirect will ensure that you minimise traffic loss. Without setting up this redirect, users will only see a 404 error page when accessing the old URL.
This is also important if your website has a variety of URLs, such as; www.aaa.com, aaa.com, etc. In this case, in order to consolidate website weight into a single stream and standardise the URL format, you will also need to put 301 redirects in place. This helps to improve user experience whilst also improving website weight and traffic generation.
Mistake 4: Long URLs or Lack of Static URLs
Your URL is like the path that leads your user or spider to your site. Just like in life, a long and complicated path isn’t the best option to take. The best practice is to use a static URL with targeted keywords – keeping the URL length as short as possible.
Mistake 5: No TDK (Title, Description, Keyword) Deployment – Or Current Deployment is Not Good for SEO
As the most basic SEO elements, TDK play a crucial role in improving site ranking and weight. Therefore, companies need to deploy effective TDK based on the main business/products.
Aim to select SEO keywords with higher search volume and lower competitiveness and deploy these keywords in the title, description and content. When working on SEO projects for our clients, we will provide effective SEO strategies, including the plan to develop keywords and the best timeline for deploying these keywords into TDK. With effective SEO strategy and execution, companies are able to not only avoid unnecessary change in TDK that will influence your site weight and ranking, but also maximise your SEO results.
Mistake 6: Link Building Doesn’t Fit China SEO Requirements
The importance of link building for SEO in China is far more than that in Western regions. For internal links, it is essential that you focus on the relevance between content as well as the accurate set up of anchor text.
For external links, unlike overseas website that rely on just a few external sites with a great deal of authority to increase their search engine ranking, the Chinese SEO environment requires not only link quality, but also quantity and diversity for successful link building.
If you would like to find out more about Chinese SEO link building, please refer to another blog we published: China SEO: SEO Link Building and Optimisation for Chinese Search Engines.
Mistake 7: Excessive Optimisation
SEO tactics aim to help your site be indexed by search engines in order to achieve a better ranking, however, the main function of your website is to attract your target market and help them understand more about your company and/or products.
When doing SEO, many companies over optimise and forget about the user. Companies may repeat keywords in a single article over and over, however, this makes the article monotonous or difficult to read for the user. Another mistake that is commonly made is focusing on the content quantity – but forgetting about the quality.
It is essential that you find the right balance between appealing to the user whilst also appealing to search engines.
Mistake 8: Lack of Analysis and Review to Adjust Future Plans
In addition to your original SEO strategy and plan, regular analysis and review is critical for further SEO optimisation. By analysing previous results, you will be able to understand which keywords attract the most traffic, which have a higher conversion rate and which pages have a lower bounce rate, etc.
There are also a number of intelligence tools, such as the Sinorbis platform which can help companies monitor both their own sites and that of their competitors. Analysing how competitors optimise their site and reviewing their ranking is essential for your website optimisation.
To address these 8 mistakes is a good start to optimise your website for Chinese search engines. With the help of a professional agency and tools, combined with your continuous website SEO efforts, you can avoid these mistakes whilst help your website to achieve greater authority and ranking on Chinese search engines.