How will the world of search engine optimization changes in 2019? It’s time to take our annual look at what’s ahead for SEO, SEM and Social Media in 2019. What SEO strategies and tactics will work and help you earn more revenue in 2019? 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 west need to learn and play by the rules set by Baidu if they want to have at developing a  winning Chinese SEO strategy.

One of the biggest changes in the China SEO landscape is that Chinese search engines have begun to pay attention to the content quality more than ever before according to Baidu’s new 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.

Understand Your Audience & User Intent

Does your audience prefer text? Images? Video? Audio. Knowing this will all be more important than ever in 2019.

You need to understand what Chinese people are expecting to find when they query a word or phrase and you have to give them the 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 a wrong audience, it won’t grow the business in China.

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.

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 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. 

Mobile Usage Continues to Increase: Be Mobile Friendly

As of June 2017, China had over 724 million mobile Internet users, which accounted for 96.3 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 2019.

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.