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Old 09-11-2004   #1
Nacho
 
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Is anyone doing SEO in Asia?

I am very interested in starting to sell to the Asian market. However I have many challanges. First of all, I don't know the language, but this doesn't stop me because I know this market has demand for my products.

Where do I start? How do the search engines differ? Are the search engine's algorithm very different than the U.S.? What about PPC? are there other regional companies other than Overture and Adwords?

Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2004   #2
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Asian SEM

I've done a little work in the Asia Pacfic Region...

The general state of search engines in Asia is like the rest of the world... Yahoo/Google/MSN are the big players. They are also some of the only PPC outlets in the region, although PPC programs are beginning to show up.

There are still quite a few directory-based engines. Certain countries seem to be doing better than others... such as Japan.

China is a huge market! Check out some of the big sites there such as www.sina.com, and others.

Language can be a difficult barrier in this region, with some countries having multiple languages for different regions, etc... Character Encoding can also be a big issue.

My advice would be to start with the English speaking regions, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia... and then contact someone locally, particularly if you don't speak the language...

I know this is kind of all over the place, but if there's anything more specific you'd like to know, I'll do my best to answer it.
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Old 09-13-2004   #3
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Sina, Sohu and Baidu are the big three and seriously rival our big three.

There are a few good translation companies out there... I use UniversalEngine and they have some insight to all aspects.

Get a few pages translated along with creatives and keywords from English campaigns... then just align the terms or add a tip to what the english equivalent is in the tracking code...
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Old 09-14-2004   #4
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Quote:
I am very interested in starting to sell to the Asian market.
That's a bit too vague...that's like saying you want to market your products to Europe. Which specific country and language markets are you considering?

Quote:
I don't know the language, but this doesn't stop me because I know this market has demand for my products.
Well I hope you are able to do customer service in the target languages because some Asian cultures demand a whole lot more hand-holding and attention than what you may be used to. That may be an issue depending on the product/service you're offering.

Quote:
How do the search engines differ?
That depends on what country you're talking about. There are local differences even in the ones you may be familiar with like Google and Yahoo. Most of these differences are language specific. Korean search engines for example are nothing like anything you're probably used to in terms of SERPs.

Quote:
Are the search engine's algorithm very different than the U.S.? What about PPC?
Again, it really depends on what language and country you're targeting. There certainly are regional SEs and there are regional PPC programs outside the Google/Yahoo world.
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Old 09-14-2004   #5
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I agree with you 100%, Bill. I see it the same way for SE marketers new in trying to target the online Hispanic population around the world, but I'm glad they are taking the first step in recognizing it is important to their SEM mix.

What else should I prepare for other than cultural barriers, translating websites and providing excellent customer service? Tell us more about these search engine differences and changes to the algo to provide totally radical SERPs. What regional PPC programs are they (please give us names)?

Thanks!
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Old 09-14-2004   #6
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I have ever tried on optimization in another language like Japanese and Chinese Language. It is the same method on read the text but about natural language technology which google use cannot be understand it at all like English. Optimizing the keyword is same as optimize as english keyword.

I think if you would do you choose hire local company, it may better. because they understand how to copywriting the local language well.

Like , Thai website which I have ever optimized , it is the same.

Last edited by rustybrick : 09-14-2004 at 05:27 PM. Reason: no sig in post body, see http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/faq.php?faq=vb_user_maintain#faq_sigfiles
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Old 09-15-2004   #7
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I have been tageting Japan online since 1994 and over the past few years others as well. As Bill put it, Asia is a big and demanding place. A little effort to do business on their terms goes a long way.

The engines are getting better at handling Japanese and Chinese. With my largest client I get to spend a lot of time with both those languages. The search engines need to segment the characters to determine groupings that create speciifc words. Then they match them to a dictionary database before they can do the normal relevance processing. We are finding there are problems when Japanese combine two forms of writing which is very common in web search.

Japan is the second largest ecommerce market in the world. I just spoke with someone today that planned on using Bablefish to translate their site into Japanese because they did not want to pay a translator to do it properly. As Bill mentioned, Japanese are demanding in terms of what they want to see on a site. The Japanese government has strict regulations about what a company must have on their site in Japan. Japanese are used to seeing this information and look for it on other sites. Terms and conditions are another key element... what recourse do they have.

While many Japanese do speak English, they would prefer to search in Japanese. The default option for Yahoo and Google is "Japanese sites" so unless you have sufficient Japanese to rank well, you are out of luck.

As far as China, we are seeing sites that render well in a mobile browser are doing quite well. I don't remeber the statistic but a very large percentage of Chinese are surfing with mobile phones. I think I heard they are generating almost a billion SMS messages each month. So the market is coming but again, alternative payment forms and adequate language content are required for success.

I would recommend start with a market you feel comfortable with and go slow. You should talk to DHL and FedEx about customs regulations. I recently spoke with a person who did not include an invoice in the package and customs forced the customer to present the invoice before they would deliver the package -- invoice is required to charge import duties. Unless you are selling goods for personal consumption under a certain value the recipeint will be charged import duties -- especially if you ship via the commercial carriers. Many times these are not factored into the price so it makes for unhappy customers. This has a greater impact in Japan since many people belong to buying clubs and will often have 1 person test a site first. There are also a number of "personal import" magazines which review sites on a number of factors. They even go as far as taking a picture of the shipping box and the credit card statement. Negative reviews can really hurt a site starting out in that market.

Whereever you go -- good luck!
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