Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Hong Kong, What Is their Relationship?
With 21.1% share of the world’s Internet users, Hong Kong has an unmissable online presence. The Internet is tightly integrated into people’s daily lives, and Chinese search engine portals are a popular starting point for people in Hong Kong to access information about traveling, studying, investing,
shopping and working overseas. SEO is, therefore, an important consideration for foreign companies to consider in driving traffic and reaching Chinese consumers. However, the way Chinese search engines crawl and index website pages differs from the SEO algorithms we are accustomed to in the West. This article will walk you through important steps to improve your SEO visibility, and help you understand the role that web hosting plays in developing a successful SEO strategy for Hong Kong.
What’s the Overview of SEO in Hong Kong?
So what is SEO? The most popular search engine portals in Hong Kong are Baidu (approx 54% market share), 360 (28%) and Sugou (14%). The aesthetics of Chinese search engines mirrors the appearance of their counterparts in the West, including a similar array of search filters for images, videos, maps, and news. Search engines in Hong Kong have the same goal as those abroad, and that is to provide relevant results to users, and reward content with a strong track record of user engagement. On-site SEO factors including keyword density, backlinks, bounce rate, and time-on-page are important SEO factors in Hong Kong. While Baidu introduced English language search results in 2011 through a partnership with Bing, Chinese characters remain the first choice for Chinese netizens to search and digest online information.
One area in which Chinese search engines differ to overseas counterparts is the indexing of mobile design. Chinese search engines are unable to register responsive mobile design. This being the case, site owners need to upload two separate sitemaps to Chinese search engines to be indexed: one sitemap for mobile and one sitemap for PC.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN LAUNCHING AN EFFECTIVE SEO STRATEGY IN HONGKONG?
Some factors to consider when search engine optimization is your core strategy:
SEO is earned over time, and is determined by a wide range of factors that are constantly changing, and differ across search engines.
Website page rank is not calculated in isolation. Competition with other websites for the same key word phrases will determine a website’s page rank.
It is generally unwise to target too many keyword phrases on a single web page. Instead group keywords in to tight themes, and create targeted SEO landing pages that provide the information the person is looking for.
Research is essential. It is important to dive deep in to what your competitors are doing, and to carefully choose which keywords and phrases are to be targeted.
SEO is technically free, in that you don’t pay for adverts. That said, it can be very time intensive, and time is money.
SEO should not be considered a ‘one time thing’. The Internet is very competitive space. When an SEO campaign achieves high page rank, stopping there will allow competitors to gradually catch up and overtake. Even working with one of the best SEO companies in Hong Kong won’t necessarily guarantee that you will stay in the first position for very long, unless you keep moving with the competition.
Offsite optimization is important but many people ask where to focus effort. The short answer is that we recommend targeting high quality inbound links, rather than a large number of links.
A page’s Meta Title, Meta Description, and URL play a significant role in driving click-throughs from the search engine results page. It is important to customize accordingly.
It is important to consider how customers use search engines, and whether or not location is a factor.
ICP Certification, what does it entails?
In order to deploy your website on a China-based web hosting server or CDN, you first need to obtain a Chinese ICP License. An ICP (Internet Content Provider) License is a registration number that allows a website to operate on a hosting server or Content Delivery Network (CDN) node located in China, and is a mandatory legal requirement set by the Chinese Government. The requirements for acquiring an ICP License are relatively high and international companies without a business registration in Hong Kong are not eligible to obtain an ICP License.
How do I Host my Website in Hong Kong?
If obtaining an ICP License for your website is not feasible, you can look at minimizing problems associated with slow page speed by hosting your website in Hong Kong. By leveraging servers in close proximity to the Mainland, companies can reduce latency and improve the overall load speed for users in China. This strategy will also bring minor benefits to your China SEO rankings based on page speed.
Which Website Building Platforms are available in Hongkong?
Popular international website building platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, Wix, Strikingly and Shopify are all accessible in China. However if you are using a website builder with integrated web hosting, you will need to check that they provide a web hosting option for China. Shopify and Wix for example cannot be integrated with China-based web hosting, and are not recommended for the China market. WordPress is one of the most popular options for building a website in China. WordPress can be used as a website builder and hosted on a third-party web hosting provider in China, including Alibaba Cloud. Consider hosting in Hong Kong WordPress is the most popular website building option in China Get an ICP License to host your website on a China-based server/CDN ICP
Why do I need Page Speed?
How do I bypass Domain Squatters?
The final reason to strongly consider hosting your website in Hong Kong – and to purchase a Chinese domain name as early as possible – is to prevent other parties from acting on your behalf. Under China’s first to file policy, any Chinese party with an ICP License can purchase an available domain name and link to their China-based web hosting account. If the party – known as a domain squatter – has the appropriate domain name linked to a Chinabased hosting server, the site is likely to appear prominently in the results pages on Chinese search engines.
Domain squatters are thereby able to drive valuable online traffic to their website that could be otherwise flowing to your site. This can subsequently lead to negative branding repercussions for your business. A number of foreign companies are facing a costly uphill battle to remove parties with their business name featuring prominently on the results pages of Chinese search engines. Gucci, for example, has sought legal action to seize control of more than 100 domain names in China. Although only currently available in Chinese-language, Baidu does offer a Brand Protection portal to troubleshoot potential domain name abuse.
In order to minimize competition from other parties posing under your company name in the search engine results, it is recommended that you purchase numerous domain combinations of your business name. Purchasing a Chinese domain (.cn) is relatively straightforward, and requires only passport identification. A Chinese domain name application takes approximately 2-3 days to process. If possible, hosting your website in Mainland China will also help to mitigate the threat of domain squatters by boosting your own website’s search engine visibility. Page speed is critical for ranking webpages Mitigate the threat of domain squatters.
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