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China SEO: SEO Link Building & Optimisation for Chinese search engines

April 13, 2017 |   Dandan Cheng

Chinese search engine optimisation is indispensable to your digital presence in China and should be one of your company’s top priorities to tap into Chinese online demand. As a key part of the search engine ranking and optimisation strategy, website link building involves both internal and external links. Both types of links play an important role for website authority building and website ranking.

When we advise clients on their China SEO link building strategy, we recommend a focus on relevance, richness, stability and security. In this paper, we will specifically share with you how to build up effective links under this strategy for Chinese search engines to achieve the optimal results.


Internal links – Fully utilise the resources within the website

Internal links are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. You may already know that external links can improve the weight and the ranking of the site. But did you know that internal SEO link building is also beneficial for website SEO optimisation? The primary functions of internal links are as follows:

  • They speed up the site for search engine indexing

    Search engine spiders are given the task of crawling through websites for indexing purposes. It is their job to jump from one link to another to ensure that websites are indexed for search engine approval. Having a good internal link structure will help the spiders crawl your site easier, speeding up indexing and raising your profile on the search engines.
  • Optimise weight and ranking of the website

    A link signals search engines a vote.  Similar to an external link being a vote of confidence from another website, an internal link gives a nod of approval from inside your site which is then acknowledged by the search engines. Internal links which point to the core pages of a Chinese website will both highlight the more important pages on your website and help to signal the focus of that page with links. The search engine will then tend to increase the weight and ranking of those pages as they are considered as the most important pages of your Chinese website.
  • Improve the user browsing experience

    Providing recommended links to high-quality content on a specific page helps the user locate more useful information and improve their browsing experience. The more high-quality internal links being deployed on your website, the greater the chances of the page being clicked, and the more your site's traffic will improve.

Compared to external links, the quality of internal links is easier to control. And of course, there is no additional cost for internal linking, making it a very cost-effective way of approaching the topic of marketing. So how do you build up the internal links for your website? The following four tips are particularly helpful in allowing you to build up your links for both user and search engine satisfaction:

  • Relevance is key

    Search engines crawl the site to simulate a search user’s browsing path. Because of this, website optimisation should always be focused first on the user experience, followed by the search engine. Keep this in mind when planning the content as relevance is crucial for internal link building. When you add an internal link, the first thing to consider is the connection between the anchor text and the link page – they need to be highly related. Think of it from a browser’s perspective. If you are a visitor, will you click on the recommended link to the content?
  • Organise links to various pages

    Have a plan when you set up the page; don’t just link all the internal links back to your homepage. Doing this will do nothing to improve your site ranking and weight; in fact, it can do more harm than good. When the search engine spiders crawl different anchor texts on your website, they can become very confused as to the main topic of the page if all the links are back to your homepage. This can reduce the value of your site and affect your search engine status negatively.
  • Control the number of internal links

    While SEO link building is essential, having an excessive number of internal links will affect the efficiency of the search engine and may even be considered as keyword cheating. Over the long-term, the weighting of your website will be reduced, and you will appear lower down in the search engine results. As a guide, it is always best to limit the internal links to between 3-5 for informational or blog post type of pages.
  • Accurately set up anchor texts

    For the keyword ranking, accurate anchor text setting plays a vital role. Make sure the relevance is obvious between the anchor text and the keyword of the linked page. As an example, if you wanted to increase ranking for two completely different keywords - keyword A and keyword B - it is wrong to set them both individually as anchor text linking back to the homepage. Best practice is well constructed anchor text based on the focused content of the current page linking back to a page with relevant keywords.

External links – a fast gateway to improve the index speed, ranking and weight of your website

External links are hyperlinks that target a domain source other than the one it features on. It is one of the best ways you can improve the index speed, ranking and weight of your website. Also, it is a good way to attract more targeted traffic to your site.

In recent years, the algorithm of search engines has become more and more intelligent with even more restrictions placed on external links. Then how to effectively build up external links? Keep these following important principles in mind:

  • Focus on the relevance

    Relevance is the key element for search engines to determine the quality of the links. If you maintain the good connection, it will not only benefit your strategy on search engines, but also increase your reputation and see an upsurge in traffic from the targeted customer segments.
  • External links coming from a website with high authority has more SEO value

    External links demonstrate the worth of your website from the perspective of other websites. The more quality, high authority websites that link to your site, the better, and the more likely search engines will consider to increase the weight of your site. As part of our best practices in SEO, we will analyse your website and recommend external sites with tremendous relevancy and authority to build up a quality partnership with your business.
  • Avoid purchasing or launching a large number of external links simultaneously

    If a website shows an increase of external links over a short period, the links will be judged as non-natural links or spam. In order to aid your search engine ranking, maintain a gradual process for external link building.
  • Keep the diversity and quantity

    Unlike overseas websites relying on just a few external sites with a great deal of authority to increase ranking, in addition to link quality, for the China SEO environment we also recommend diversity and quantity for successful external link building. The number of different domains is also very relevant to effectiveness of link building. For example, 50 links from 50 different domains is better than 500 links from the same domain.

Currently, the main channels for external link building are divided into three channels: 

  • Exchange related industry links with prime websites
  • Purchase links directly from relevant, high-quality industry websites
  • Publish superior content and links on external forums, blogs and other communities. And win the back links to your website

Continuous efforts on external link building in all of these areas will help your website achieve greater authority and ranking within the Chinese search engines.

As an example, we recently finished a project for one of the world’s leading brands in the travel industry. We opted to select 12 keywords upon which we further built the external link building strategy. In three months, we improved the website to be within top 3 organic search results in Baidu around these keywords. As a result, higher relevance was achieved between the website and the external websites selected. The ultimate result is phenomenal. Not only the website generated the substantially more high quality traffic, but also it showed a rise in Baidu authority from 2 to 3.

Thankfully there are some professional China SEO tools such as webmaster tools, Sinorbis platform which can help you monitor your link structure and traffic.

With the help of our professional tools and agency assistance, you can better understand how to build up or further optimise your Chinese website and also discover the fact that website link construction will bring long-term, stable improvements and targeted organic traffic to your organisation.

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