Search engine marketing is one of the leading ways to put your business in front of millions of internet users, and Chinese search engine marketing should be a top priority for Chinese digital marketing solutions.

Although Western businesses have more experience using platforms such as Google and Bing, there is a range of Chinese search engine platforms that reach the majority of Chinese users for businesses to choose to market on. Better yet, they are not just geared for Chinese websites but can be used by any online company with the right adjustments in SEO techniques.

Learn more about the landscape of Chinese search engine platforms with the experts at YIVA Digital and push the global outreach of your brand into new marketing frontiers.

The Rise of the Chinese Search Engine

While Chinese search engine marketing may be different than Western platforms and strategies, Chinese tech has contributed to the advancement of search engines globally.

 “Robin” Li Yanhong, a billionaire in China, created a system known as RankDex in 1996 that changed the way major search engines today rank websites. RankDex utilized link analysis factors to identify the importance of a web page based on the number of other pages linking to it. Robin Li, along with Eric Xu, went on to co-found the largest search engine in China, Baidu, which utilizes RankDex as a primary ranking factor.

Backed by ad venue and strong governmental support which helped its search results clear many hurdles of China’s Great Firewall, Baidu quickly became a leading Chinese search engine in the early millennium. Yet as Chinese users of online and now mobile search engines have reached beyond 900 million users, the search engine market shares are divided between 4 big names: Baidu, Sogou, 360 Search, and Shenma.

This translates to more options and greater opportunities for Western companies to reach Chinese people during digital marketing strategies as more than 83% of China’s internet users accessed Chinese search engines. Utilizing search engines for research and trend discovery are key components of Chinese users, offering an introduction into Western products and services that take the time to develop Chinese digital marketing solutions.

Search Engine Platforms to Know About for Chinese Digital Marketing 

China’s search engine market has reached over $15 billion and more than 750 million Chinese users accessed a Chinese search engine by March 2020. Knowing which platforms to use and how to target the right Chinese audience can be the difference in Chinese digital marketing, especially as mobile search engines and the use of mobile devices by consumers becomes more competitive and popular in China.

 Take a quick look at the Chinese search engine platforms with the greatest market shares in China.

1. Baidu

With over 70% of the market shares in China, Baidu is the leading Chinese search engine platform among consumers and advertisers alike. Similar to SEO practices to Western platforms such as Google, Baidu relies on SEO and SEM to rank search results and users can check their performance with analytical systems.

Another key feature of Baidu is PPC ads, yet unlike Western platforms, these are less easy to distinguish from organic results. Thus, there are several options for businesses to drive traffic, boost leads, and generate conversions through both paid and unpaid digital marketing strategies while improving overall website ranking. As China’s largest search engine, Baidu is the perfect starting place for Western companies eager to begin their entrance to the Chinese digital market.

2. Sogou 

Sohu is an internet company that provides many internet services from news to games and advertising. Sohu also created Sogou, the second largest Chinese search engine on the market and backed by tech giant Tencent in 2013. Tencent provided Sogou one of its most competitive features among search engines in China: mobile search engine capability. One of the most popular social media platforms, WeChat is owned by Tencent and through the acquisition Sogou has the ability to trawl through public posts, articles, and messages on WeChat, opening up reach to over 1 billion WeChat users.

Moreover, in 2016, Sogou began cooperation with Microsoft’s Bing to provide English search results to Chinese internet users. The initial target of this partnership was academic research internet users and Sogou launched ‘Sogou English Search’ and ‘Sogou Scholar Search’ as part of this initiative.

3. 360 Search

Qihoo 360 is one of the biggest internet companies in China known for web browsers and cybersecurity. As many computers have Qihoo 360 preinstalled and businesses recommend using the platform for enhanced security, 360 Search has become an excellent choice for B2B marketing.

Appearing on the 360 browser ensures that your brand is seen as trustworthy and authentic as the Chinese search engine uses advanced cybersecurity technology to block malicious sites. Moreover, the cost of CPC campaigns tends to be lower and less competitive than other search engine platforms in China, providing better ROI on campaigns.

4. Shenma

Arriving in April 2014, Shenma is the mobile-exclusive Chinese search engine. Alibaba and UC Wed jointly own this search engine which provides useful services for businesses seeking to direct consumers to product pages on T-Mall or Taobao. This Chinese search engine is geared towards apps and shopping.

Further, it is only accessible on mobile devices. The platform has gained a lot of attention in a short amount of time and is expected to continue its growth. Shenma has been quick to develop new features and enhance its marketing capabilities.

5. Google and Bing

Most Western consumers use Google and Bing for search engine needs, but these platforms have had a rough time navigating the Chinese market. Google has been disadvantaged by the Chinese language and often runs into problems with the Great Firewall of China. One solution has been the move to Hong Kong to help remove some of the barriers users in China faced when accessing the platform. However, market shares for Google remain low, especially compared to the competition with other Chinese search engines.

Bing has also experienced problems maintaining a presence in the Chinese market and market shares remain low at 2.58%.

Take Advantage of One of the Largest Search Engine Markets

Optimizing digital market techniques for use on a Chinese search engine platform puts a brand in front of millions of internet users, many platforms also capitalizing on the trend of mobile search preference. Just as learning the unique marketing tools of Western platforms help companies target the right audience in the Western world, knowing the type of Chinese consumer and their preferred Chinese search engine leads to greater engagement and conversion success for online business.

Consult with the Chinese marketing experts at YIVA Digital and find the Chinese search engine that best fits your international goals.