If you were to personally visit another country to market your brand and sell your products, you would expect to familiarise yourself with local customs, marketing and sales techniques, and government rules and regulations. These same principles also apply to digital marketing.

Multilingual SEO is a key part of this. Here’s a look at what it entails, and the factors you need to consider when marketing online to China.

What is multilingual SEO?

Multilingual SEO (search engine optimisation) involves optimising a website for the markets you are targeting. This helps to ensure that local search engines can crawl the site and understand what it is about, and rank it in search engine results pages for when people go online and search.

It’s essential to use a localised SEO approach when marketing overseas. In the case of China, you would need to optimise your strategy for the country’s dominant search engine, which is Baidu.

How to go about it

Some commentators consider that a multilingual approach involves striking a balance between SEO and brand strategies, although it’s not an exact science. What is certain is that the strategies you use to market to China will need to be different from those you employ in Australia.

Some of the factors to consider in this include:

  • Local customs and competitors

As well as understanding the preferences and behaviour of your target markets, it’s also vital to become familiar with local customs, preferred payment methods, and regulations. You should also get to know the competition; this includes the number of competitors as well as their products, pricing structures, marketing approaches and so on.

  • Online presence

You need to develop a Chinese-language website that is optimised for Baidu. It’s important to use the services of someone well-versed in English and Chinese languages. Relying on an online translation tool such as Google Translate can mean you miss the subtleties, and fail to fully engage your audience.

As well as language recognition, other considerations for your website include:

  • Site structure, URLs, layout and navigability.
  • Search terms and patterns peculiar to China.
  • Keyword and search term densities.
  • Titles and meta descriptions.
  • Link building strategies.
  • Other online strategies, such as mobile marketing and social media marketing through local platforms such as Weibo, WeChat and Dajie.
  • Altering and adapting not just your SEO for China, but also the messages you give out so they are appropriate for your target markets.

As the barriers to trade between countries break down, it will become increasingly important for Australian businesses to adapt their digital marketing strategies accordingly.

If you need professional assistance with SEO and SEM in China, get in contact with our bilingual marketing team. We have been working with businesses on developing multilingual SEO strategies for a number of years, and have specific expertise with Baidu.

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