10 mistakes to avoid when building SEO in China
SEO is essential for a website in China. But there are mistakes people make too often, and that can severely hinder your ranking on Chinese search engines, mainly Baidu. Here are the 10 most frequent mistakes made when building SEO in China for cosmetics.
Bad tag and bad Meta description
One of the most important thing to do is to check the tags of websites. Tags are the identifiers that will allow a search engine, so an Internet user, find you. If you don’t have the right tags, people will never find your site, or you will appear on page 2 or more of the search engines (and we know that people usually stop their searches after the first page).
The most important tag is the title tag. Search engines value this tag a lot. It is the one that will be displayed on the search engine, so the first thing Internet user will see when they enter their search. If the title tag is not attractive or doesn’t explain the content of the website, people won’t click-through to your website.
The Meta description is the little sentence that is below the title. It’s the second thing Internet users will see. We usually rely a lot on what we can see in this description. It will influenced our decision to go or not to go to the website. Same thing as for the title tag, if it’s not attractive enough, searchers won’t visit the website.
Not enough backlinks
Backlinks are very important also for building SEO in China: Search engines like when an article cite its sources. If you cite something without telling where you got it, the search engines won’t “like” your websites and could block you or not put you on the first results. Backlinks will secure your website, also they will give you more views to your articles. If you write an article and link back to another article on your site, the reader will click through to read this article. This will increase your website traffic and your sites popularity on Internet. So you have to put more backlinks, when possible, but they have to be relevant: Baidu likes good backlinks.
There are tools to assess your sites backlinks like seo.chinaz.com. Here you can see the trust rank of Chairman Migo on Google and Baidu. As well as how old the website is…Happy birthday (a few weeks late), would that still work?
While Chairman Migo has a rank 2 on Google, it has a trust rank of 0 on Baidu. So what’s the problem here?
The website is hosted in Singapor (新加坡). Baidu took a snapshot of the website on February 26 and has indexed, so far, 32 domain names talking about the website. Surprisingly, 360.com has found 67 domain names. In addition, only 73 pages have been crawled by the leader of the search engines in China. Not enough to improve the trust rank of the website. There should be many more domain name pointing to the website as well as more WebPages appearing on Baidu. The more there are, the better, after all (see below about the pages).
No trusted sites in BL
However, if you put a lot of backlinks but the backlinks’ sites are not trustworthy, it will be almost worthless. Indeed, if you make a backlink in an untrustworthy site, it will be useless. You want to increase the reliability of your website by putting backlinks from a website that is reliable. Trusted sites will please the search engines, and people will rely on what you write because you take your information from famous or trustworthy websites.
So what you want is a website seen as “trustworthy”. Typically it will be well-established website like government, or like shown above with Xinhua.net, online journals.
Long loading times
Long loading times will discourage your user. They will quit your site, or not come back. A very important thing if you want to have traffic on your website is to favour the user experience. A great user experience will make the user loyal, he/she will want to come back to your website and eventually share your website with friends or relatives. A long loading time makes for a bad user experience because netizens, especially Chinese, expect fast websites. Besides, Chinese are not very loyal to brands and like to have access to a wide range of product offers. Since they do, if a website takes too long to load they will simply go elsewhere, to another website with a shorter loading time.
A long loading time has two main causes:
- -As a foreign company, you have localized your website outside of China or Hongkong. Since China has put up the Great Firewall every websites loading time outside of China has increased.
- -You have backlinks pointing to foreign websites. Here again, the loading time is penalized by the number of backlinks pointing to websites localized outside of China.
A website that is hardly scrollable by Baidu’s Spider
Baidu’s Spider is a program that is allowed to visit pages on the Internet, and it built information into Baidu’s index. This can allow users to find your site when they are searching on Baidu. If a website is hardly scrollable by Baidu spiders, it will be poorly referenced; therefore ranked poorly on its keywords. A “bad” website in this matter is a website that contains a lot of flash animation for instance. Baidu has problems crawling this type of content.
So having a website that doesn’t appear on Baidu’s results is not a good thing. Here is some advice about Baidu’s Spider.
Bad identification of keywords
Keywords are the words that will identify a site. Keywords will also resume your page, the most important thing contained in your website, what is going to attract Internet users. Keywords can be done wrong: if there is not enough keywords, the website will hardly figure in the search result page. If the keywords are not well chosen, they won’t represent the website, and people won’t visit your website. You have to identify the best keywords for your site. For this you have to ask yourself the right questions such as:
- -Do those keywords describe your company, services and cosmetics product offer well?
- -Are these keywords often used by netizens to find product offer similar to yours?
- -Are there a lot of competitors on those keywords?
Baidu webmaster tools and SEO experts can help you create a good keyword strategy for your website.
Having a whole website copied from another one or done with Google Translate
If a whole website is copied from another one, Baidu will see it, and won’t let your website appear on the search results. So, sorry but no coping of your nice Western website about cosmetics, it takes more than that! Moreover, a website copied from another one will be identify by the Internet users, and they won’t appreciate it. People and search engines like trustworthy websites where they can find information made by the owner of the website. If your website is done by Google Translate, the results will be poor. Indeed we know that Google translations often make no sense and we have to work on it after to make sense of the translation. The search engines and people don’t like when a website is not translated well, it shows negligence, and they will find another website that is comprehensible.
No updated content
If there is always the same thing on your website, it will be replaced in Baidu search by updated content on other websites. You have to keep content up-to-date because it will bring traffic to your website, and won’t let your content become stale. People and search engines both like updated content, which also shows that your site is reliable because you spend time on it.
As you see above, on a query about cosmetics (化妆品), it can penalize you very quickly, having content less than a month old and you are already put down to the bottom of the second page with a website that hasn’t had any update for more than 6 months! In addition, content on Baidu services often takes precedence over “normal content”.
Not enough pages
On Baidu the trust rank of a website is based on its number of pages, the bigger the better and vice-versa. Indeed you want a big site because it will appear on the top of the search results, and will be consider a trustworthy site in reason of the large traffic there is on your website. Its the same thing with updated content: if you have only old publications and very few of them the site won’t be able to attract a large number of Internet users.
Putting links from your websites in blocked sites
There are a lot of sites blocked in China including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Putting links from blocked sites will make the engine rank you as an untrustworthy sites because you want to encourage people to use these sites that are blocked in China for particular reasons. Another thing: it will be useless to put these links because the Chinese Internet user won’t be able to access these websites and it will be useless content. You have to verify that the website links are not blocked in China, because it will penalize you in terms of ranking as well as users since they will not like to have useless content.
Conclusion about building SEO in China
Chinese SEO is different from Western SEO and has to be undertaken with caution. Because of the Great Firewall of China, it is a very different world with its own rules. Avoiding these 10 mistakes puts you on the right track for ranking on the first page of Baidu! A good SEO in China campaign is one thing that companies and advertising agencies must understand to have a good visibility on the Chinese internet.
About the Author:
Olivier Verot is the founder of Gentlemen Marketing Agency, which is an agency based in Shanghai that focuses on Chinese travelers and tourism. Fluent in Mandarin and exploring the various Chinese digital Strategies, he helps tourism companies to develop their China strategy. Thanks to his analyzes of Chinese consumers’ behavior, he has been recognized as an expert on the subject of marketing in China and tourism.