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Old 06-12-2006   #1
klown
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SEO in China

I'm currently working on doing SEO for some sites which are targeting asian markets especially China. I was wondering if you could tell me where i might find info regarding what the engines here like sina, and baidu want. Anything regarding SEO in asia expecially china would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 06-16-2006   #2
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Are the sites that your Optmising for in English or Chinese?
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Old 06-16-2006   #3
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I just got back from the China Search Marketing Tour and speaking at SES Nanjing in March - what specifically do you need to know?

I can tell you this: almost everything (including "organic" listings) is for sale in China, if you know who to talk to. I don't think Google sells organics there, but the Chinese ones mostly do.

SEO in China is mostly SEM.

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Old 06-16-2006   #4
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haha... leave it to the chinese to exploit "natural" listings

I'm chinese and worked for 2 very chinese companies... and I have to say.... I'm not surprised.
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Old 06-16-2006   #5
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Intresting although not surprising I'm glad its been verified tho lol.
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Old 06-17-2006   #6
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My current site is in English and Chinese as is my next one. So i'll be optimizing for both if possible. I was wondering if there is some place on the web where i might find info regarding optimization for the asian based web sources.

Or if optimization isnt needed, do i just need to do a nomal chinese style meeting with the people at baidu, or sina? IE meet, greet, dinner with lots of alcohol, and a KTV with some beautiful women (truly a standard chinese meeting! Business can be very enjoyable here)? Or maybe just a normal paypal type pay off to their search engine for a high listing.
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Old 06-17-2006   #7
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Actually, just contact them about paid inclusion and advertsing, then go from there.

Remember, Google is still very popular in China for business and research searches (Baidu is more for recreational searching) so if you need Google listings, then you still have to do optimization.

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Last edited by mcanerin : 06-17-2006 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 06-19-2006   #8
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The reason why I ask if the optimisation will be done in English ore Chinese is that,

The search technology for Chinese Text is different from English search.
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Old 06-20-2006   #9
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Quote:
The reason why I ask if the optimisation will be done in English ore Chinese is that,
Do you know where there is a resource optimizing sites online for chinese? I expect google would basically follow the same rules for chinese site optimization do you know what if anything is different

Quote:
Remember, Google is still very popular in China for business and research searches (Baidu is more for recreational searching) so if you need Google listings, then you still have to do optimization.
I asked one of my co-workers which se she uses and she said google. She says that baidu went to crap after they stopped showing so many places to download mp3's and movies directly from them.
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Old 06-20-2006   #10
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there are differences in the symantec vocabulary of the two languages.

For example
Keyword steming google can distinguish run, running, ran as being similar.
I do not think that type of matching is available for chinese. And also when two chinese characters like the word "airplane" is join together creating a new word are some of the differences between chinese and english optimisation.
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Old 06-20-2006   #11
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thats more a difference in language. Are there specific differences in optimization?

Obviously google is going to read it in the local local language but what effect with that have on how i should optimize it differently. Should i do something else in the page title or what?
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Old 08-29-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanerin
I just got back from the China Search Marketing Tour and speaking at SES Nanjing in March - what specifically do you need to know?
How was the China SM Tour? Is there a thread discussing it? Would love to hear what you guys got up to.
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Old 08-20-2007   #13
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Re: SEO in China

My big question for SEO for Chinese-based sites is related to the character set. The URLs for many Chinese sites are the Chinese-word equivalent written in the Latin alphabet (like baidu.com). So the URL is in the Latin alphabet, but the content of the website, including the metatags, are all written in the Chinese character set. Is there a commonly accepted approach for SEOing a site where the content is in the Chinese character set? Is it just basically the same as one would do in English, but the URL itself is discounted as a component in the search equation as it is in the Latin alphabet? Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 08-20-2007   #14
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Re: SEO in China

How familiar do you think the average Chinese Internet user is with the Latin alphabet that they use in domain names? As an example, in English getting desklamp.com as your URL would get your some direct type-in traffic as a "keyword.com". Since global domain names are in the Latin alphabet, languages like Chinese and Japanese with a different character set have to convert a word into the Latin alphabet equivalent for such their URL identity. Could you buy the Latin alphabet equivalent of desklamp.com in Chinese, and expect type-in traffic? Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 08-21-2007   #15
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Re: SEO in China

Quote:
Originally Posted by phaithful View Post
haha... leave it to the chinese to exploit "natural" listings

I'm chinese and worked for 2 very chinese companies... and I have to say.... I'm not surprised.
I love your quote. 1 year later that is. So true. (I'm Taiwanese - they just do things differently over there)
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Old 08-24-2007   #16
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Re: SEO in China

Quote:
Could you buy the Latin alphabet equivalent of desklamp.com in Chinese, and expect type-in traffic?
I'm open to being corrected, but I would say probably not. Here's why:

1. There is a way to get Chinese and other non-latin characters in URLs. You can register an IDN. However, this is actually a hack, and the actual URL is in latin characters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interna...ed_domain_name). I don't think it would for SEO purposes due to how the URL is fed to the crawler.

2. This leaves phonetic URLs, like Baidu, etc. Personally, I've never seen anyone in China do this type of type in. In general, due to the fact that there are so many different dialects and similar sounds, I don't think it would be nearly as effective as it in in English. It's one of the issues with a symbolic language as opposed to a phonetic one. For example the characters 你好 are pronounced as "ni hao" in Mandarin and "ho ma" in Cantonese. Therefore using characters phonetically is a very iffy idea at best.

3. One exception to this may be numbers. A url like 888.com would be very good to have in China (the sound of the number 8 sounds like "profit" in all Chinese dialects I'm familiar with"). Likewise, 444.com would be very unlucky ("4" sounds like "death"). This pronunciation is far more consistent between dialects, to the point where many Chinese use numbers during text messages, like we would use l8r for "later", but they use a lot more numbers and can come up with a lot more words this way, saving themselves precious keystrokes.

4. None of this really helps with type-in traffic, just easily memorable domains. I honestly think it would not work - it's just not part of how they have learned how to use the internet. Chinese are far more likely to click on a link or do a search than to guess at a domain name, in my experience.

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Old 08-25-2007   #17
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Re: SEO in China

Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful response mcanerin, I appreciate it. What you said echoes what I supposed myself, and makes a lot of sense. Thanks again for your time giving such a specific response.

Lobo
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Old 09-04-2007   #18
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Re: SEO in China

I have a similar problem to the member who started this thread. An Australian based prospective client (who's main audience(s) are in China, Vietnam and Korea) have asked me to come up with some recommendations for those markets. Their current site uses English throughout - they are a language college.

I need to emulate local search to see who their main search competitors are for their keywords in those markets. I can't find an open proxy to let me do this. I've been told open proxies are a problem anyway in China.

Would searchers in the local market search for them and their services using English or local dialect?

Can you think of any other way I could find out who ranks highly for their search terms locally in Asia, so I can research the search strategies of these competitor sites?
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Old 12-31-2007   #19
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Re: SEO in China

I am new to the forum, but a veteran of Asian SEO/SEM for a number of years. I just started a new company that is a partner agency for Baidu and now works holistically with small to multinational concerns in the Asian market. I am also a professor at a University in South China where I run a digital Interns program and lecture on Culture, Media and Language...

Ian and I respectfully don't agree on a lot of things:

I meet regularly with the folks at Baidu and they are good people just trying to get a grip on a huge jump in business, searches and data management as well as International relationships. Just prior to the New Year I spoke with their new director of International accounts and am impressed by the strides made to open up to the west and to address issues like the "anything is for sale" myth....

You can buy what appears to be organic listings in Baidu by bid, just as you do with Yahoo and others--even Google highlights your organic text for 10,000 USD a month in adwords expenditures. It is highly unlikely that you will buy-off or karaoke off individual brass for a top listing...It is done by paying the company for the listing: Alibaba, for example, gets special highlighting because they drop in excess of 50,000 USD a month for that service..

Ian is wrong about phonetic listings: Chinese will often type in the pinyin (romanized term) for the word being searched and many companies optimize for this...We do...For example: aolinpike is the romanized version of Olympics (奥林匹克) and will yield you Olympic results in Google China, Badiu or elsewhere...

Nihao 你好 is Li Hao (Lay HO)in the other dialect of Cantonese, not Ho ma...Hao ma means "OK?" ..Virtually everyone here who uses the Internet uses Manadarin search queries unless, of course, looking for a Cantonese specific item....The folks in Taiwan use a slightly different system, so knowing treating that as a separate market is a good idea... Anyone who can use the Internet must know Pinyin to be able to communicate ....A lot of older Chinese do not know Pinyin and therefore avoid the net...

Some pointers:

1.Get some Chinese keywords in our tags and on the page if you want to optimize for the market...
2. Get native speakers to assist you. I say speakers (plural) because Northerners use different search query terms than do southerners and the cultural gap is much larger here than in any other country I know....We have several translators from various provices...
3.Use an intermediary company to make your buys with Baidu: the costs will be cheaper in the long run...Any company that says they must charge you a set-up fee as required by Baidu is lying and likely not an authorized re-seller...You can set up your own account with them, but a lack of Chinese knowledge will make your job a bit harder...And be ware you will have to pay in advance until you get a track record...
4. Check out information on Punycode and make it part of your strategy for the future.

It is the wild west here in many areas and SEO has a very bad reputation, not because of Sina and Baidu, but because of unethical marketers promising big results and pretending to know the market here..That is the reality of some business deals here (and in the west too)...I think you will see lots of continued tightening up by Portals and ISPs here in the very near future....
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Old 01-01-2008   #20
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Re: SEO in China

"This leaves phonetic URLs, like Baidu, etc. Personally, I've never seen anyone in China do this type of type in. .

Phonectic URLs are used all the time: aolinpike is the Pinyin (romanized sound of characters) for Olympics: Check out the search results in Google.cn...My company optimizes for this on many websites...The challenge is regional specific language: The North uses different keywords than does the South or Taiwan (they use a completely different system)....

"In general, due to the fact that there are so many different dialects and similar sounds, I don't think it would be nearly as effective as it in in English. It's one of the issues with a symbolic language as opposed to a phonetic one. For example the characters 你好 are pronounced as "ni hao" in Mandarin and "ho ma" in Cantonese. Therefore using characters phonetically is a very iffy idea at best."

你好 means hello in Manadarin ...It is pronounced Li Hao (Lee Ho) in Cantonese...Hao Ma (好吗) is a question: "OK?" and all users of the Internet know how to use Pinyin: it is essential to communication on the web...Many users search using Pinyin as well as characters...Hao de (好的) means Good/OK/Acceptable: check out the list of companies that use the pinyin term: PINYIN

"I asked one of my co-workers which se she uses and she said google. She says that baidu went to crap after they stopped showing so many places to download mp3's and movies directly from them."
80% of all Mp3 searches and 65% of ALL searches are done on Baidu...Baidu is in the process of setting up branded MP3 player skins for various artists and companies and looking to get rid of the IP bad boy image...

"thats more a difference in language. Are there specific differences in optimization? "

We optimize basically the same way for Baidu, but add in Chinese keywords in the tags and text...We have hundreds of top non-paid/organic listings in Baidu...

"I can tell you this: almost everything (including "organic" listings) is for sale in China, if you know who to talk to. I don't think Google sells organics there, but the Chinese ones mostly do.

SEO in China is mostly SEM"

Baidu sells top listings in the same way Yahoo and some others do (even Google adds bold text to your results for a spend of 10,000 USD or more a month)....Some companies have other proprietary boldings, like alibaba.com, because they spend in excess of 50,000 USD a month with Baidu... They run a business...


"Would searchers in the local market search for them and their services using English or local dialect?"

Searches are generally broad and regionally specific....Have a good translation team from both ends of China do your keywords and DO treat Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong as separate markets...We use translators from 6 provinces...

Use a Baidu partner for your ad purchases: Don't let anyone tell you there is a set-up fee, other than pay up front, for Baidu...The reason for an agent is to smooth interface with the company and the control panels...They have just started an International Sales office...I met with the new director for several hours before New Years and think things are going to get a lot easier, but having someone on the ground here can only help...

Lon
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