If you want to find something online you ‘Google it’, right? Whilst here in the UK (and 80% of the world, actually) we may do that, someone in China would be far more likely to ‘Baidu it’. If you are considering expanding your website to international markets and focusing on SEO, you should be aware of some of the other major search engines used around the world. Here’s a guide to those countries and the respective search engines that command a bigger slice of the search cake than Google.
China – Baidu
There were 731 million internet users in China at the last count and Baidu currently commands a 75% share of the search market. That’s a lot of potential traffic. Google is currently banned in China and has been since 2010 as the majority of the nation look to Baidu to search online. If you are looking to trade online in China, you need to focus your SEO strategy on cracking Baidu.
Founded in 2000, Baidu is a search platform which on the surface looks and feels extremely similar to Google, returning local search results, images, articles, maps and more. Baidu also owns a number of additional platforms, like Baike, its own version of Wikipedia. These platforms are also served in search results, presenting plenty of opportunity for optimisation. It may sound obvious but it is worth mentioning, if you want to target the Chinese market on Baidu, you’ll need a website that is translated into Chinese.
Baidu has its own set of Web Master tools which can be used to improve your site’s search performance and it also has a keyword planner much like Google’s to carry out your keyword research. All of these tools are accessible by creating a free Baidu account. The Baidu algorithm is just as secretive and complex as Google’s, but here are two key, known ranking factors which may sound familiar:
- Relevancy – matching search queries to the most relevant content
- Popularity – sites with links from authoritative sources are favoured
Russia – Yandex
Google’s significant competitor in Russia is a search engine called Yandex. Yandex claims around 54% of all internet searches in the country which currently has over 100 million internet users and is also a popular search engine in countries such as Turkey. Search results on Yandex are extremely localised, serving different results to people in different regions. It is also personalised due to the majority of searches coming from logged in email users from its Mail.Ru service.
Yandex has its own set of rules when it comes to rankings and as a Russian founded search engine, it is known to favour .ru domains. For the best results, your site will need to be translated and use Russian Cyrillic text. Yandex also provides its own set of Web Master Tools and a Keyword Planner to help you understand how your site is performing in search results and research your target keywords. Learning how to use these tools will be integral to the success of your SEO efforts in Russia.
These search engines have their own algorithms and whilst SEO techniques and best practice used for Google will still apply, if you expanding to international markets, you should take the time to learn about the search engines used in that country because as we can see it may not always be Google.