In this chapter of our Asia digital strategy guide for Startups and Small Businesses, we focus on how you can generate new traffic and revenue from organic search traffic to enable your business to rely less on paid marketing strategies in the longer term.
What Search Engines to Optimise for in Asia?
For the majority of SEO strategies in Asia, the main objective will be to improve visibility in Google, unless you are looking to increase organic search visibility in China, South Korea and Japan.
In China your SEO strategy will mainly need to focus for optimising your website on Baidu, in South Korea you will need to consider how to optimise your website for both Google and Naver and in Japan you will need to optimise your website for Yahoo and Google
For the majority of this chapter we will focus mainly on the core strategy elements that need to be considered to optimise your website on Google
Creating an Extensive SEO Keyword Strategy
Identifying the most relevant keywords that are searched for in your target countries is one of the most important tasks to do at the beginning of any keyword strategy. If you are looking to target multiple countries in Asia then you should look to identify monthly search volume per country and per language.
Keyword research should be done following languages if you intend to target the following countries/SARs:
- China: Simplified Chinese & English
- Taiwan: Traditional Chinese
- Hong Kong: Traditional Chinese & English
- Thailand: Thai & English
- Vietnam: Vietnamese
- Malaysia: English & Malay
- Singapore: English & Simplified Chinese
- Indonesia: Indonesian & English
- The Philippines: English
To identify the main keyword groups to target by monthly search volume and to also identify any seasonal fluctuations in search volume we recommend using keywordtool.io, as this provides the most comprehensive data by language and by country, whilst also providing data for the last 12 months to analyse an seasonal fluctuations for the keyword groups you are researching.
Technical SEO elements for good SEO visibility in Asia
If your business is targeting one or more countries in Asia then it’s likely that it may need to target more than one language. Conducting a thorough keyword strategy in the potential target languages will help you decide whether you need to have a website with multiple languages targeting the countries and regions you plan to market to.
If your website is in multiple languages and targeting multiple territories then you need to think about the following key elements for good SEO performance:
- Are you making sure your content is written in all languages uniquely? Rather than translating from one of the languages, such as English.
- Do you have separate URLs for separate languages and country specific targeted content?
- Are you using telling search engines which websites or sections of your website are to target specific countries in for people searching in specific languages
These are 3 crucial requirements for the technical SEO setup of your website if you are going to acquire organic search traffic in multiple languages and multiple countries.
To ensure you achieve these 3 crucial requirements you need to:
- Have native writers producing your target keyword optimised in different languages from the start
- Have a technical setup on a .com domain or on separate country specific top level domains that allow you to serve different URL sections for different languages content and for different countries
- Ensure you use Href Lang code configuration across your website to tell search engines which URL page version is relevant to each target country and language
SEO Strategy Considerations for China
The main on-page SEO content best practices for Baidu are very similar to Google. The key differences for an SEO strategy for China is related to specific technical SEO elements that are unique to specific search engines in China. For example, for Baidu SEO there are certain elements you should look to configure via Baidu Webmaster Tools and certain specific code you should include in your website to help Baidu crawl and index pages more effectively.
If you haven’t already we’d recommend reading Chapter 2 of this guide that list some key things to consider when setting up a website to target China
You can find out more about what to consider as part for a specific marketing strategy for China by downloading our China Marketing Guide
Creating Content that is Useful for Searchers in your industry
If you are implementing an SEO strategy for your website in Asia for the first time then you may find the amount of organic search traffic you are driving to your website is quite low and many competitor websites may have higher rankings if they have been around for longer.
So, in order to start gaining more traffic from organic search, one of the best areas of SEO strategy to focus on is to create informative content that helps to provide certain information and address specific questions that potential customers in your industry may ask.
Insights from keyword research software can be gained to understand what questions are being searched for that are relevant to the products and services you offer. So once you know what these questions are you can create content such as guides, articles and FAQs sections on your website and then your content can start ranking for these questions and related themes.
Like the content for product and service related parts of your website you need to make sure guide and article based content contains various keywords and is written by a native of the language. The content is being produced in and should look to usurp any other similar content competitors may have in terms of insight and quality.
Having an “always on” content strategy with writers for your business producing regular high quality content should be a priority for your business if you wish to keep gaining increased amounts of traffic and customers from organic search.
SEO Performance and Contribution Expectations for Your Business
No matter where in the world you are targeting your marketing efforts, gaining growth from increased organic search (SEO) traffic is something that will take time to achieve and it’s likely that you will not see significant growth in this channel for at least 6 months after starting to implement any SEO strategy.
Part of the growth in organic search traffic is likely to come from brand focused search queries, so this means your total organic traffic growth may depend on how much other brand focused marketing you are running at any given time in terms of how quickly growth in organic search traffic can happen because more brand focused marketing will increase the overall search volume for your brand and therefore the amount of impressions that your website appears on the search result listings for.
You must also think about the role of organic search in relation to your overall marketing funnel, as people using a search engine, going through the search query process and clicking on organic search results to different websites are often more likely to be in a “research” phase, meaning they are more likely to enter the top of a sales funnel initially rather than be at stage where they are ready to make a purchase decision.
With this in mind it means you need to make sure you are recognising the full value that organic search is contributing at an earlier stage of a customer lifecycle in terms of conversions. This means you need to be aware of and measuring assisted conversions that come from organic search traffic in particular, as a common scenario may be that users in a research phase using a non-brand search query find a particular page or article on your website but do not convert on the first visit and they return a second time or maybe more times through other channels such as direct traffic (such as a bookmark) or perhaps another organic search via a brand search query.
How Long Does It Take for SEO to be a Success?
When implementing an SEO strategy to grow organic traffic to your business in Asia, typically you can expect to start seeing more significant growth within 4 to 8 months however it depends on a number of factors such as:
- The level of SEO work implemented on your website to date
- How easy it is to make optimisation enhancements on your website
- The size of your website
- How competitive your industry in terms of how many websites conducting SEO strategies on their websites and the quality of those strategies
- How competitive is it in your target countries in the organic search results for the industry keyword groups that you are targeting to gain improved visibility for
- How big and well known your brand is