The Chinese consumer market has millions of eager spenders (770.4 million, according to Goldman Sachs’ data), and the majority of their spending habits are online shopping for food and clothing products, according to a Deloitte report. In fact, Deloitte predicts that by 2019, China’s e-retail share is going to take up 50 per cent of the market.  

Fortunately for Australian business owners, China just so happens to be our country’s biggest trading partner, valued at over $155 billion in 2015, according to Austrade. However, this doesn’t necessarily give Australian businesses a leg up on the competition – you’ve got to cut through a lot of noise to reach consumers.

If only you knew how to crack digital marketing in China…

Baidu has 61.6 per cent of the market whereas Google only has 29 per cent.

Digital marketing differences: Baidu SEO

The first thing you need to know about digital marketing in China is the search engine you’ll be optimising for, because it’s not Google – it’s Baidu.

Baidu is similar to Google in that it is a search engine offering image search, book search, maps, mobile search, etc., however, Baidu has 61.6 per cent of the market whereas Google only has 29 per cent, according to Reuters data.

As such, your SEO strategy in Australia will be different than China, so here are three things to consider to start shaping your Baidu SEO strategy.

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1. Avoid censored topics

Censorship in China could hurt your SEO strategy if you aren’t careful.

As much as China loves Western culture, they’re also afraid of it – some topics are even considered ‘dangerous’. That’s why the government has recently cracked down on content coming through the “Great Firewall”. Therefore, censorship of the Chinese internet can destroy a company’s digital marketing efforts, if the website isn’t kicked off the internet entirely.

One the biggest topics to avoid is criticism of China’s government. No matter what your product or service is, be sure to avoid political commentary and anything that looks like criticism in general.

For high optimisation Baidu favours new over evergreen content, but it’s best to tackle topics that won’t cause controversy in China. Before you publish anything, do your research to ensure the topic won’t be censored.

2. Carefully consider your keywords

Don’t try to translate on your own – get a professional to help.

Now that you know what not to talk about, let’s discuss how you can put together a keyword strategy that will get you seen. Just like your SEO strategy for Australia, you need to consider primary, secondary and long-tail keywords. To help you find the words that are going to rank, use Baidu tools like Trend Analysis and Demand Map to see what your competitors in China are ranking with.

This process should give you a lengthy list of words that you can filter based on your needs. When determining the competitiveness of the keywords look for results between 1-5 million as this is your competitive sweet spot. Anything higher or lower will not be worth pursuing.

It’s important to note here that you should not rely on Google Translate to convert Chinese to English – the tool is too basic and will result in inaccurate data. You will therefore need to hire a native Chinese speaker for the most complete results.

3. Make sure it’s mobile

If your site isn’t mobile you will not rank well.

Remember how we told you China is about to make up 50 per cent of the e-retail market? That means it will be incredibly important for you to ensure all of your content can be read on a mobile device.

Additionally, you want to make sure your site loads quickly, anything longer than just a few seconds will steer people to another site – that means you’re going to want a local host (like in Hong Kong) and a fairly basic site.

Despite the challenge of understanding a completely different digital marketing world, it would be foolish to shy away from the Chinese market. Partner with the team at Techwitty, and we can help you develop a digital marketing strategy that will rank with the best of them.

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