How will the world of search engine optimization change in 2021? It’s time to take our annual look at what’s ahead for SEO, SEM, and Social Media in 2021. What SEO strategies and tactics will work and help you earn more revenue in 2021? The ultimate goal of SEO is to have your website appear in search engine results for designated keywords that are related to your business.

How is Baidu SEO Different from Google’s?

It’s not a secret that Google has lost its presence in China due to the strict internet regulations. Marketers in the east need to learn the rules set by Baidu if they want to develop a winning Chinese SEO strategy. One of the fundamental factors in the China SEO landscape is that Chinese search engines pay attention to content quality. According to Baidu’s search algorithm Hurricane 2.0, websites identified with low originality, bad content coherence, and poor relevance within the site will be penalized or even banned forever if caught twice.

Millennials spend more time doing online researches in 2021

It’s also fundamental to create high-quality content because beautiful images and gifs as well as engaging storytelling have more possibility to attract the attention of consumers. And considering that nowadays Millenials spend more time than ever doing online researches before purchasing, companies must pay more attention to content.

However, when Millenials (and not only) do online researches they don’t usually visit the company’s websites because they don’t trust very much information provided by the companies that (obviously) want to sell their own products.

Instead, they usually check information about the products on other websites, look for them on articles, blogs, and conversations on Q&A forums. You need to work on these online spaces through SEO to be found by your target.

Understand Your Audience & User Intent

Does your audience prefer text? Images? Video? Audio. Knowing this will all be more important than ever in 2021.

You need to understand what Chinese people are expecting to find when they query a word or phrase because you have to give them the right answer in the simplest way.

The interests, tastes, and preferences of your audience can change more quickly than you think. Even if your Chinese website content is perfectly written and optimized, if it’s done for the wrong audience, it won’t make grow your business in China.

On the contrary, if your site enhances your audience’s journey, you’ll be rewarded by Baidu and your visitor will invest in you. The time is now to stop matching keyword phrases and start making sure that your content comprehensively answers questions your audience is asking via search.

The third tiers cities market is more lucrative in 2021

For many years, companies have invested their resources in first tiers cities, where there is the highest concentration of rich people. Recently, many brands have understood that the market in lower-tier cities has developed because people in these cities are becoming richer.

So, many luxury brands (and not only) began to invest in lower tiers cities to leverage the new purchasing power, especially that of the youngest layer of population, that are more curious about new trends and products.

But even more interesting is to know that according to Baidu’s big data, especially the market of third tier-cities has particularly increased. This factor is very important because highlights the high potentiality of these areas where competition is much less strong.

Localize Social Media

While re-thinking landing pages for the Chinese market, add links to Chinese social media accounts including WeChat, Youku, Sina Weibo, Baidu maps and so on. Brands with an existing Chinese social media presence should incorporate links or QR codes to those sites on webpages. Those without accounts should still add “share” and “like” buttons to shareable content platforms to increase social traffic and crawl speed.

The data showed that WeChat still dominates the social media landscape and using the official account to attract people’s attention has become more difficult. WeChat is the most frequently used tool, preferable over the phone and QQ (another social media/instant messaging platform). To make WeChat an integral part of your China digital marketing strategy, think about more than quality content, consider using WeChat to communicate with prospects, such as creating a QR code for people to easily follow your account or generating a conversation window so visitors can quickly contact you. 

Live streaming and KOCs are the protagonists of 2021

Companies must invest in live streaming if want to build brand awareness

Live streaming is the most powerful tool in this phase of the funnel. Companies that want to attract the attention of their target during the pandemic era should organize live streaming sessions. These “public calls” become more attractive when including the participation of KOLs or KOCs, or for companies that have available even bigger budgets, when are related to important Chinese events and an expensive digital platform like Tmall.

Chinese users during this occasion want to know particular aspects of products and want to listen to well-prepared sellers, not just KOL that want to share their face. So, to organize more attractive events companies must involve the more adapt representant and to study ways for letting feel the users like participating in something that is exclusive. For example, the Palace of Versailles gave an exclusive two hours “VIP tour”, allowing users to virtually visit areas of the palace they cannot normally see in person.

Companies must collaborate with KOCs for creating trust among users

KOCs are Key Opinion Consumers. In western countries are commonly refered as micro-influencers.

These Opinion leaders with a limited amounts of followers have become particularly influent in 2021. Companies that invest in them often obtain higher ROI than when invest in KOLs.

The reason behind such curious results seems to be that KOCs are usually seen as more natural by their target. They talk to a niche that really trust their interest in the products they sell.

Mobile Usage Continues to Increase: in China Be Mobile Friendly

Source: Statista

In March 2019, China had over 897 million mobile Internet users, which accounted for 99,1 percent of the total netizen population, a substantial jump from 90.1 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, the market for Internet advertising was 290.27 billion RMB and mobile ads accounted for 60.29 percent of that number.

More than 95% of internet users in China use a smartphone to connect online. Websites that are not mobile-friendly are given a lower ranking on Baidu and have a higher bounce rate from mobile users. Consider a separate design for a mobile version of the site that packs essential information “above the fold” and minimizes scrolling and text link clicking.

Baidu is trying to attract more advertising dollars by providing mobile-friendly features, such as call extension and enhanced CPC bidding on mobile, which has drawn marketers’ attention. As paid search and other marketing strategies are leading traffic to your mobile site, you need to be serious about evaluating your mobile site performance and prioritize mobile optimization in 2021.

The digital marketing landscape in China changes fast. The trends aren’t going anywhere and will continue to greatly impact China digital marketing in 2019. I hope this article will give you some ideas as you plan out your online marketing program.

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