This article on website optimisation in China is another in our simple basic “what is” series written for beginners or novices. It is not an indepth, tech dissertation. However, we will ring the changes a little in this article by taking a quick look at the history of optimisation.
Optimising for search is no longer a case of black magic or voodoo. Search bots now rate UX as a factor, so should you. SEO = Search Experience Optimisation
- SEO has had a long and chequered history
- Google launched PENGUIN in 2012 to close down Black Hat SEO
- Search bots read content similar to humans
- Bicyu’s Search Experience Optimisation combines Tech + Content
Uengager: Search Experience Optimisation-SEO
Since Google introduced PENGUIN its search and destroy black hat SEO, search engines have only become smarter. The days of using a hot keyword- such as sex- when it had no relationship to your site, just to fool the search engine are gone. Google search etal are now revenue driven and if your site doesn’t contribute to their bottom line it is not going to see daylight.
In the beginning
SEO has had a rocky ride and murky history, from hocus pocus black magic to a highly sophisticated tech science.
The Internet “evolved” over time from as far back as the 19th century. British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented The World Wide Web [WWW] as we know it, in 1990.
The first recognisable operating systems were Apple and Microsoft. Circa 1992 Windows 3, later, Win 95 were popular.
Yahoo was born in 1994.
1995 the most popular search engine was AltaVista, serving 19 million daily visitors by 1966 when E-mail was born.
ICQ a global chat app launched in 1996. The Web looked much as it does today. 1998 a weird name, Google, launched. For many search engines, and this section, that was the end.
SEO- Brief History
SEO emerged as a Web tool in 1997.
Businesses quickly learnt to manipulate the Web to position their brand higher.
Soon SEO began to flourish as tech / scientific purists created “SEO best practices’ in Web design and development by focussing on understanding the Web and search engines.
As long as humans have stalked the earth, there have been some who have attempted to game or cheat the systems.Bicyu.com
Some, realising search engines were easily fooled, [as well as naive humans] became known as “Black Hats,” using tricks to artificially create top listings.
This ran contrary to the scientific / tech community, known as “White Hats.”
However, as many people fell victim to Back Hats, SEO gained a bad rap.
Search and adverting became a major part of Google’s income. As search manipulation became rampant Google declared “war” on Black Hatters in 2012. The “Penguin” upgraded Google’s search bots making them smarter. This lowered the rankings of Black Hat SEO sites.
The Content UX-plosion
The Web matured, grew. Content became more than just black and white text with a few images. Social Media and mobile ushered in a new, dynamic, varied, interactive form of Web content.
Early to mid 2000’s, marketers began to rethink their emphasis on manipulating search engines alone, its limitations and benefits. The idea of writing and using interesting, varied content gained traction.
Content marketing was born. SEO had shed much of its wild west image and was a respected science.
Google refined its bots so they could “read” a webpage with much the same intent and understanding as you or I.
Google now discerns if a page is useful, interesting, relevant to the searcher.
Did what it said on the lid.
Lived up to its technical SEO.
Aligned with search terms users queried.
Remember, ads and search is a major source of Google’s income. Any drop in search users would seriously hurt their revenue. Consequently they made it harder to write rubbish and still rank well.Bicyu.com
The NEW SEO-
Search Experience Optimisation.
User experience became a buzz word, tech and content joined hands to form a new optimisation, Search Experience Optimisation- or SEO. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Today’s Web is a busy, cluttered space. Marketers realise that to win customers hearts, mind and wallets, to survive, they MUST look at giving better service and fulfilling searchers needs and exceptions.
In short, provide superior UX- user experience.
Uengager and Search Optimisation – UX
We developed Uengager in China, to simplify users visits on Chinese sites.
In China the name to watch and understand is Baidu, a Googlesque creature, blending Google with “Chinese characteristics.” Baidu can be difficult to work with. Many Chinese companies prefer to outsource their Baidu SEO.
Search Engines and User Experience
Today’s search bots focus on *content.
Gaming or spamming the system is a fool’s game.
Focus on content means – does your site do what it says on the lid- the Title and Description?
In other words, if you say you are writing about growing bright red tomatoes from seed, this is your title and description, is your content also about that?
If it isn’t, users will hit the back button- you have not tricked them into visiting and getting an extra click because too many back buttons and search engines start demoting your site.
In short, what you write in your meta tags should be a fair and accurate description of what your site is about- the content.
Remember the bots creed:
“relevance, importance, usefulness accuracy.”Bicyu.com
A good rule of thumb:
“write your content first, make it meaningful, relevant and useful to the searcher.
THEN write your Title and Description meta tags- based on your content.“
Technology is not just a marketing tool in China. [or anywhere]Bicyu.com
From a search engines view point it seems that if a word, or phrase, is contained in the URL, the document title, the top level headlines, then it’s probably important. Even more so, if other pages link to this document using link texts that also contain that word. This adds social proof to the mix. These factors likely combine to influence whether the search bot thinks it should show your page, and if so, in what position.
Websites are like users, relatively unique, different sizes, levels of complexity.
Your 5 page gardening site is different to a global insurance site.
The latter may span over 100 pages, many internal and external links, questionnaires, downloadable forms, PDF, white papers.
It may have been developed at the dawn of technology, built up over decades of additions and addons.
Possibly its infrastructure is groaning at the seams, a nightmare to work on. Even bigger nightmare for users to navigate.
Getting lost, going in loops- it’s frustrating and annoying for them.
Costly for you.
On huge sites- it happens.
So, whilst most of this artice refers to small to medium size buinsesses and websites large, complex corporate sites are not forgotten.
Uengager is well experienced in working with multi national organisations.
Please engage with me, Everlyne for a free, frank, no strings attached apraisal.
The bottom line
As a business you will understand the concept and importance of: “the bottom line.”
But it is equally important to your users, your consumers also.
Time is money-for you – and customers
They don’t want to waste it figuring out how to use your site.
There are many SaaS apps you can add to your page.
Watch visitors achieve their aim quickly and smoothly.
A superior User Experience isn’t just good for them, it’s good for you too. A friendly first time user welcome and induction strengthens your brand, increases customer retention rates, builds customer love and loyalty.
How can Uengager help you use MarTech in China?
Baidu Optimisation – SEM
Baidu may look like Google or Bing, but under the hood it is a different beast. Eg: Baidu still recognises keywords.
When most people think of website optimisation they tend to associate it with SEO. Setting off arm bells. Rightly so.
However, it is important not to confuse the name- which became synonymous with cheats, liars and crooks, with the actual scientific process.
But if we look at it from the perspective of CEO -Customer Experience Optimisation- then it begins to make sense to ensure your website performs at its best. Yes?
Many companies believe they take it seriously, but oft just “pay lip service” by limiting it to their customer support staff.
But, to be successful in China, or anywhere, a brand needs to portray a unified image and message throughout its total consumer interaction.
That means having the entire staff on board, from the cleaning lady to delivery drivers down to the C Suite and CEO- maybe you!
It must be company wide- or not at all.
Talk to Everlyne about a training or update program tailored to your team, your budget, your needs.
Social Media; WeChat, Weibo
Chinese use social media for almost all everyday situations from booking tickets, paying accounts, ride hailing, shopping, travel, entertainment news and relaxation.
Mobile is the GOTO medium of choice, WeChat the current platform of choice.
Social Media could be your main branding, sales CRM and data tool in China. Introduction to WeChat Operation.~
Marketing, like many things in China is in a state of constant flux. It is difficult for in house teams to stay ahead or even up to date. Uengager can help.
Hello, Nihao, I’m Everlyne, I began Uengager as a SaaS MarTech company back in 2017. I am also a key note speaker, lecturer and KOL on MarTech in China.
In 2003 I co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bicyu / Aim2D. I am CEO of both companies, facing customers.
I love to talk about and help people understand the amazing ways MarTech and SaaS can work to strengthen your business engagement with Chinese consumers, so please, drop me a line below, or give me a call.