How to launch a SEO campaign in Hong Kong?
There are some differences when it comes to improve the organic performances of a website in Hong Kong, compared to the approach we can set-up for a website that will only target the Western market. Let’s explore those differences that should be taken into consideration if you want to improve your visibility in the “Pearl of the Orient”.
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Hong Kongers still use Bing & Yahoo
Doing SEO in France is maybe more straightforward than in Hong Kong. As you can see below, Google is roughly 93% market shares in France, according to StatCounter. Working on a French website, mainly means optimising for Google since other search engines are not widely used.
In Hong Kong, the situation is a little bit different. Even if the gap does not seems so high compared to France, Yahoo and Bing are more used by Internet users. Google still dominates with nearly 85% market shares, but there are more opportunities to create traffic from other search engines.
If you have websites targeting the Hong Kong market, it recommended to have them in mind, because they can create some visits. You will need to make sure that the optimisations you are implementing are compliant with Yahoo/Bing and Baidu, especially if you have pages in Mandarin (Simplified Chinese).
Lastly, you might want to follow the indexing of your pages and bear in mind that Google will index your pages in a faster way, compared to Baidu for instance, so make sure that your websites are validated for each Webmaster Tools.
Hong Kong is multilingual
Hong Kong people speak Cantonese and English but many can talk Mandarin, either because they learnt it or because they are Mainland Chinese living in Hong Kong.
However, Chinese involves two main written languages, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. In short, Traditional Chinese (TC) will be used in Hong Kong but Simplified Chinese (SC) is more spread, in Mainland China.
If you have spent some time in Hong Kong, even a few days, you’ve probably noticed this multicultural environment and it impacts the way people are searching on the web. If you look at Google Hong Kong, you might have noticed that there are 3 local versions of the search engine.
As you can see above, Google offers a version in Simplified Chinese (green box), in Traditional Chinese (blue one). This impacts search results since Google will push results based on the language used by the searcher, in order to provide a better user-experience.
The key here is to have a translated site in each language and to set-up a proper multilingual SEO strategy in order improve your visibility across the different local versions. Moreover, note that keywords have different search volumes. For instance, some keywords in Traditional Chinese will be more trendy than their correspondences in English, therefore, having your pages translated and optimised for SEO, are mandatory if you want to increase your organic reach.
China is only few minutes away
Mainland China is only few minutes away from Hong Kong and as stated above, people are using Mandarin/Simplified Chinese to search for information. There are also many companies in Hong Kong that are targeting the Chinese market so there are two things to know here:
- Baidu is leading the search engines market shares in China.
- There are also other search engines with interesting market shares.
If you want to get more exposure in China, then you will have to optimise your site by taking into consideration the search engines above. Chinese SEO can be a bit different and it is important to have somebody on-board who knows how to optimise a website in Simplified Chinese.
Working in search engine optimisation in Hong Kong is quite challenging because of the difference in terms of culture, languages, search engines and the fact that Mainland China is a key focus for most brands here but if you take them into consideration, you should be able to get more exposure in Hong Kong and in Mainland China.
If you’re interested about digital marketing in Hong Kong, have a look at the article we’ve posted on Hong Kong Business, it might gives you more details about this particular topic.