Unique international trends require a unique marketing approach

It’s that time of the year! That time of year when we all agonizingly optimize for holiday shopping behavior, do our best to navigate complicated family dynamics and read countless end-of-year lists.

SEL reporter Amy Gesenhues recently summarized the annual release of Google’s “Year in Search” for 2017, and there were some interesting takeaways. (Not the least of which was that the “Malika Haqq and Ronnie Magro” query didn’t make the Top 10 Searches Overall list — admittedly, I have no idea who those people are, but their names sure are fun to say!)

Lists of this nature are intended to be simple, fun, and (to be candid) easy press hits. But there’s actually an important and applicable lesson to be distilled here, too. These “Year in Search” lists are representative of the searching populace; the lists communicate the interests of the collective audience. There certainly was no shortage of compelling stories in 2017, but the subjects included in Gesenhues’s piece are what drove the most engagement in this country.

Of course, as digital marketers, we’re obsessed with targeting and often dismiss any characteristics of the “collective audience” as irrelevant to our sophisticated efforts. But in fact, the clear message that this peek-into-the-collective communicates is the value of targeting.

Yandex, Russia’s leading search engine (and my employer), recently released its own version of the “Year in Search” — and there is very little overlap with Google’s. This may not be shocking to you, but if it’s common knowledge that the trends in one market may be vastly different than those in another, then why do so many advertisers apply the same approach across markets?

More and more American companies are expanding their target audiences to incorporate the international consumer. Of course, there are more potential customers outside of the US than within, so the allure is understandable. But each international market is unique, and your marketing strategies need to reflect the differences.

Below is Yandex’s 2017 Year in Search. Don’t forget to compare with Google’s list here!

Events

    St. Petersburg metro terrorist attackBlue Whale Game and social network death groups“Matilda” film scandalIntroduction of fines for vehicles lacking a studded-tire signAnti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) activitiesCoxsackievirus in TurkeySevere storm in MoscowRelics of St. Nicholas in MoscowRohingya persecution in MyanmarOpening of Zaryadye Park in Moscow

Men

    Dima BilanAndrey MalakhovArmen DzhigarkhanyanКirill SerebrennikovFace (Ivan Dryomin)Anatoliy PashininEmmanuel MacronYuri DudVladimir KuzminDmitry Borisov

Women

    Maria MaksakovaYuliya SamoylovaDiana ShuryginaDana BorisovaAnastasia VolochkovaAnastasia ShubskayaRavshana KurkovaNatalia ShkulevaTatiana TarasovaBrigitte Macron

Things and Phenomena

    CryptocurrencyFidget SpinneriPhone XSamsung Galaxy S8iPhone 8Yandex’s AI assistant AliceRap battlesUpdated Nokia 3310BlockchainNew 200 and 2,000 rouble notes

Sports

    Ice hockey World ChampionshipConfederations CupRussian Football ChampionshipMayweather vs. McGregor fightKontinental Hockey League ChampionshipChampions LeagueEmelianenko vs. Mitrione fightWorld Cup 2018Russia-Spain matchRussia-Portugal match

Films

    ItDespicable Me 3Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2VikingPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesThe Last WarriorThe Fate of the FuriousTransformers: The Last KnightAttractionSpider-Man: Homecoming

Foreign TV Series

    Game of ThronesGrechankaSherlockRiverdaleThe Walking DeadSupernaturalSkamTabooThe FlashTwin Peaks

Memes

    Eshkere (“Esketit”)Zhdun (“The one who waits”)Eto fiasko, bratan (“This is a fiasco, bro”)Cevapcici Na donyshke (“Just a little”) Easy-easy, real talk, think about itTak, blyat (“What the!!!”)HypeVinishko-tyan (term used for a hipster-like youth subculture)Ave Maria! Deus Vult!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

How we hacked the Baidu link submission script for better indexation

It is no secret that the Baidu Link Submission Script is an effective tool for surfacing links that are not quite visible to Baidu spiders. In Baidu’s own words (translated from Chinese):

The JavaScript snippet pushes links to Baidu directly; it serves all platforms, as well as both desktop and mobile devices. Your page is discovered by Baidu the moment of its first page view, which accelerates the progress of new content discovery.

By inserting the snippet into the source code of pages that you want Baidu to discover and index, it pushes the URL of the current page to Baidu automatically.

Baidu Link Submission Script

How the script works

The script simply checks the protocol of your page and selectively downloads a JavaScript (JS) file from Baidu. It copies the script in the file and creates a node of <script> on your page. The copied script then takes the URL of the current page, plus the referrer URL of the page, as the parameters when requesting a GIF file (a 1×1 pixel GIF for carrying the parameters) from Baidu.

Every time a visitor browses the page, the script is executed and Baidu will be notified. For example, if you were to drive a considerable amount of traffic to the pages, Baidu would know how important and popular the content is.

As you can see, the code snippet is straightforward and open to other configurations. For example, you may use it as an impression-tracking pixel. That gives us reason to believe that it won’t get high priority at Baidu. To be honest, we don’t think this will improve your ranking on Baidu. However, it does help the indexation of your site to some extent.

How we improved it

As a veteran of SEO, you may have noticed that submitting the URL of the current page does not follow the best practices, because:

the URL may not be the canonical URL you want the engine to index.the script makes an extra request which is unnecessary and potentially slows down the page load speed.furthermore, those two JS files are static and are mostly identical, except the URL of the GIF you are requesting.

In order to tackle those issues, my colleague Woody Chai and I have tweaked the Baidu script a bit. See the code snippet below.

The improved Baidu Link Submission Script by Merkle

In the code snippet above, we added a step to check if the canonical directive exists and hard-copied the script by merging those two JS files. Now, we can push the canonical URL to Baidu by only one HTTP(S) request.

Last thoughts

In this example of the improved Baidu Link Submission Script, we have demonstrated how we can make the script Baidu gave us more SEO-friendly. There is one thing you should keep in mind: The scripts (including the URL of the GIFs Baidu put in those JS files) may be changed in the future, though it hasn’t changed since day one. If you find any 404s of those resources, or any sign that the script is lagging the page load speed, you should go back to Baidu Webmaster Tools for updated solutions.

Code snippet

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

What SEOs need to know about Baidu in 2017

The first half 2017 was stressful for Baidu, which witnessed a recession in active advertisers and stagnant revenue. Nonetheless, we see the search giant putting a huge amount of resources into AI and into building China’s web ecosystem.

If you are in the business of inbound marketing to the Chinese market, this article is for you. I have wrapped up the most significant updates and tips officially given by Baidu Webmaster Tools (BWT) in the list below. Ready? Let’s get started.

Baidu MIP ramping up

Mobile Instant Pages (MIP) have reached several milestones in the first six months of 2017:

5,400 websites have built and submitted their MIP pages.Over 1 billion mobile pages are now on MIP.Every day, there are hundreds of millions of clicks to MIP pages from Baidu Search.

Moreover, MIP now has 215 components built for public use. The response time of the MIP cache has been optimized with speed increases of 50 percent or faster. And MIP now has enabled mip-install-serviceworker for offline caching.

In June, I spoke with Junjie Wang, the owner of Baidu MIP, at the Baidu VIP Conference in Shanghai. He explained that MIP, despite being a derived version of Google’s AMP, is optimized for the internet users in China who use different browsers and different browsing behaviors from those in the West. Baidu and Google have collaborated for a faster web; in fact, Baidu helped Google set up its AMP CDN in China.

Baidu has indexed a considerable number of AMP pages, although these don’t display the lightning icon in Baidu’s search results the way MIP pages do (see screen shot below). For sites only serving the audience from Mainland China, I would recommend you deploy MIP instead of AMP.

The Flash icon for MIP results on Baidu SERP

HTTPS

The other improvement Baidu is driving in China is the secure web. Baidu Webmaster Tools launched a new feature of HTTPS Site Authentication in May that allows HTTPS sites to have a better presence on Baidu SERPs.

Previously, when HTTPS pages weren’t well supported, Baidu didn’t know whether to index a non-secure page or a secure page. Sites had to build two versions with different protocols to have a better result in indexation. Now, once you have been through this authentication, only secure pages of your website will be indexed and presented on the SERPs.

Authenticate an HTTPs site in Baidu Webmaster Tools

PWA and Lavas

PWA (Progressive Web Apps) for Baidu have finally arrived! Just like Google’s PWA, the Baidu version of PWA can have features like Desktop Icon, Full-screen Browsing, Offline Caches and Push Messages.

A “Hello World” of Lavas PWA

In order to help developers build their PWA instance effectively, Baidu has launched a framework based on Vue as a solution and named it Lavas. With Lavas, you will have a set of templates that accelerate your development and deployment.

Algorithm: Hurricane

Content scraping is undoubtedly the greatest threat to content marketers in China’s internet. While Baidu is still testing its Original Content Protection feature with a few selected websites, they released an algorithm update, code-named Hurricane, which is taking on those websites with a majority of scraped content.

You will probably also find the copyright tag in Baidu Image Search results. This tag is meant to encourage content marketers to generate more original images and graphics.

The Copyright tag on Baidu Image Search

Crawler

In order to better understand what the page will look like to users, Baidu started testing its new spider with page-rendering capabilities in March. Now, the search engine has two new spiders in function.

For desktop version:

Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Baiduspider-render/2.0; +http://www.baidu.com/search/spider.html)

For mobile version:

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 9_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/601.1.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.0 Mobile/13B143 Safari/601.1 (compatible; Baiduspider-render/2.0; +http://www.baidu.com/search/spider.html)

It is easy to check if the IP is from a real Baidu bot. You can do host in Linux or ns lookup in Windows. See below:

nslookup for verifying the Baidu Spider

Baidu Mobile Search UX Whitepaper for Advertising 2.0

In mid-June, Baidu released its new UX Whitepaper for Mobile Search (v1.0 was released in March earlier this year). In it, Baidu published detailed mobile advertising guidelines. According to the whitepaper, the following types of ads will lead to a Baidu penalty:

    Pornography, seductive, gambling and other ads prohibited by lawsAds with scam and fraud messagesContent with app-wall or auto-redirect to app storesAds with massive size or large proportion of a pageAds covering content with layersAds near the buttons on a pageAuto-play video adsAds between article heading and body textAds between the body text and pagination

An example of an ad that would trigger the penalty from Baidu

SEO tips, straight from Baidu

In addition to the updates above, Baidu has also recently provided some SEO-specific guidance through its Webmaster Tools platform. I’ve summarized some of the most important advice below.

Page size/URL length

Baidu says your page size (the HTML) should not be larger than 128 KB. Pages using binary image data to convert to HTML can easily make the page size above 128 KB, and this is causing issues for the Baidu spider attempting to parse the page. In fact, if you have a page that is too big, it is best practice (for Baidu SEO) to implement pagination. Another tip is to avoid adding unnecessary code into your output in case it overflows.

In addition to page size, URL length is playing a critical role in pages being indexed. At Merkle, we’ve observed that clean and short URLs are getting indexed more quickly and are ranking higher. The recommended URL length is 76 characters, excluding the protocol. Hence, when adopting a URL convention, you need to avoid using Chinese characters in your URL, as the transcode will make those URLs much longer than it looks in Chinese characters.

404 pages/deleting pages

In May, Baidu posted an article on how to manage 404 pages (Chinese language). Handling 404 pages is different (and more complicated) in Baidu than in Google or Bing. Here is the suggested course of action:

    If you have website pages that no longer exist or that you need to delete, the first thing you need to do is to confirm that those pages are indexed by Baidu. You can search for the URL on Baidu or check your web analytics tools.The next step is to set the status code to 404 for those URLs. Of course, those URLs should not be disallowed in your robots.txt.Now, compile these pages into an XML or TXT file and make sure every single URL in this file is set to 404.Submit it to Baidu Webmaster Tools. The de-indexation will take effect in two to three days. Once the pages are no longer in the index, delete the XML or TXT you submitted.

Submit 404 files in Baidu Webmaster Tools.

Alternatively, if you want to delete a folder or a set of URLs beginning with a string, you can submit the pattern to Baidu Webmaster Tools. This pattern must end with a slash (/) or a question mark (?) — e.g., http://www.example.com/404page? or http://www.example.com/404folder/.

Avoid cheap domains

If you are running your business on a top-level domain (TLD) such as .top or .win, you need to be aware that your site may look spammy to Baudi.

Other spammy TLDs include, but are not limited to, .bid, .pw, .party and .science. Those domains are cheap. Therefore, they look fishy to Baidu.

TLDAnnual Fee
(1st-Time Buy)
TLDAnnual Fee
(1st-Time Buy)
.top¥8.tech¥12.win¥8.site¥12.bid¥8.market¥16.pw¥8.pub¥16.online¥9.video¥16.website¥9.wang¥16.club¥9.party¥18.space¥9.trade¥18

Domains under $3 per year

According to Baidu (Chinese language), these cheap TLDs are low priority for indexation. If you insist on using such a domain, you must verify it with Baidu Webmaster Tools so that it can be regarded as a legitimate site.

Baidu cache

For the first time, Baidu explained how cached pages (known as “Baidu snapshots”) work (Chinese language). Cached pages are generated when Baidu crawls the page and adds it to the index (or updates the indexed version). How fresh your cached page is will depend on your site’s crawl frequency, which can vary from several minutes up to a month (depending on the site).

If you’ve blocked Baidu’s spider from your .js and .css resources, or if you use relative URLs in your HTML, the snapshot will look odd and unformatted. If you want to have the snapshot deleted, you can report an inappropriately cached page.

Report inappropriate cache for deletion.

Launching a new site

The last tip I’m sharing is how to give Baidu a stunning first impression when launching a new website.

You may only have a handful of pages at launch, or perhaps you have lots of pages that are low in quality (short/empty or with duplicate content). Unfortunately, this is a disaster to Baidu. Having a robust, high-quality website at launch shows Baidu that you know how to organize your content and provide reliable information. If you fail to make a good “first impression,” Baidu then allocates fewer resources crawling your site in the future — and consequently, it is difficult to win back their trust.

To solve this problem, Baidu suggests (Chinese language) disallowing the website during the UAT (User Acceptance Test) or Invite-only period.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Going global: Common sense considerations too commonly ignored

The profession of a paid advertising specialist is one of circular efforts; any declaration of success is met with a request for greater efficiency, expanded reach or fine-tuned creative.

Around and around we go.

When tasked with the “expansion” objective, instincts and common practice most often lead to a keyword review. We sift through synonyms, misspellings, secondary definitions and search query reports in an effort of laborious discovery. Keywords are the foundation of our paid advertising, and keyword review is always healthy practice, but too many hours are exhausted hunting keywords with minimal yield at the expense of the lowest-hanging expansion fruit of them all: actual expansion.

The global internet audience is almost 3.7 billion, less than 10 percent of which calls the US home. So if you’ve achieved profitable efficiency in your primary market, it may be time to open your doors to some of the remaining 90+ percent.

Assess the market potential and viability

While there are over 200 countries to consider, all markets certainly aren’t created equal. InternetWorldStats’ recent data ranks the top 10 markets by size as follows:

CountryPopulationInternet PopulationInternet PenetrationChina1,388,232,693731,434,54752.7%India1,342,512,706462,124,98934.4%United States326,474,013286,942,36287.9%Brazil211,243,220139,111,18565.9%Indonesia263,510,146132,700,00050.4%Japan126,045,211118,453,59594.0%Russia143,375,006104,553,69172.9%Nigeria191,835,93693,591,17448.8%Germany80,636,12471,727,55189.0%Mexico130,222,81569,915,21953.7%

Of course, just because a market has a high number of users doesn’t mean it’s a good match for your expansion efforts. The most basic of qualifying questions to ask is: Does in-market demand exist? And if not, can it be created? In addition to common sense, there’s no shortage of tools that can be used to identify current demand and interests by segmenting search behavior by country.

Localize (or localise) the offering

Far too often, companies attempt to enter foreign markets with the same product/website that has proven to be successful in the US. In the US market, we spend hours meticulously considering the differences in mobile behavior vs. desktop, men vs. women, West Coast vs. East Coast — but when it comes to a foreign market, we often move with reckless haste. It makes zero sense.

Of course, your site needs to be served in the language of the new market, but the user experience must also satisfy audience expectations. Three examples of too-common international expansion blunders that are easily amendable:

Calendars. In European markets, a calendar should be presented with Monday as the first day of the week, and the format for writing dates is Day/Month/Year.Currency. Prices should always be displayed in the value and currency local to the market.Payment processing. Be sure to include the locally preferred method of payment and the applicable fields in your checkout.

Local digital landscape

Once the expansion market(s) has been identified, the local digital landscape must be reviewed. Sure, Google, Facebook and Twitter are global channels that more often than not have majority market share, even in international markets; but, in several of the world’s largest internet markets, local alternatives hold majority share of the key advertising platforms.

According to StatCounter, the Chinese search scene is dominated by local providers Baidu, Shenma and Haosou (formerly Qihoo 360), with Baidu owning just over 76 percent of the market.

In Russia, the local options, Yandex and Vkontake, have long been the market leaders in search and social, respectively.

And for the Japanese, Yahoo Japan has long been a significant presence.

China, Russia and Japan represent three of the seven largest internet audiences in the world; advertisers that elect to ignore local market dynamics will fail to maximize potential, rendering the expansion effort haphazard.

Speak the language

The most basic principle of advertising is that the consumer must be able to comprehend the message. As fundamental as it may sound, if you’re moving into a new international market, you must be prepared to speak the language of your new target audience — and machine translations will not suffice.

The advertiser that relies on machine translations to localize ads not only risks confusing the consumer, but also damaging the very brand he or she is tasked with promoting. In an era when both search engines and users prioritize trust, there is nothing that hurts the credibility of an ad quicker than the grammatical nonsense often achieved via machine translations.

Accurately translating successful English language campaigns into a new native language campaign isn’t thorough enough. Words can carry different meanings and connotations in a new market, and common inflection and acceptable tone must be appreciated.

In the US, we love to tell consumers to “Act fast!,” “Buy now!” and “Click Here!,” but many global markets will find such an approach to be offensive and off-putting.

Take the time to either work with a native speaker or research in-market options. In Russia, Yandex will actually translate ads and conduct keyword research at no cost; many of the international markets recognize the barriers of entry and offer expedition services.

In-market targeting

When entering a new international market, all vetted targeting practices need to be reconsidered. User demographics vary by market, so gender, age and device splits should all be examined. For example, it’s been several years since Google announced that searches from mobile had surpassed desktop “in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” And while it’s certainly safe to consider the move to mobile a macro trend, markets mature at different rates and with unique permutations. According to StatCounter, Nigeria is overwhelmingly mobile, while Russia sees the inverse.

Additional areas of targeting crucial to international success are geo and time targeting. An objective of all advertisers is to deliver ads when and where the consumer is most likely to convert. Consider that the work week in Israel is Sunday through Thursday; in Spain, the midday siesta impacts search activity; Russia has 11 time zones; in Singapore, 100 percent of the population lives in urban areas. These are all examples of market characteristics that should factor into the construction of international ad campaigns.

If you’re just advertising in the United States, there are literally billions of potential customers you’re missing out on. Many of the above are obvious — but often overlooked — considerations, and attention to the obvious will greatly improve your chances of being successful on the international stage.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

2016 was a coming-of-age year for Baidu SEO; why you should invest in 2017

Recently, I attended Baidu’s annual search conference for agency partners in Beijing. One of the premier search events in China for SEO professionals, the conference was hosted by engineers from Baidu’s core search and Webmaster Tools teams.

The agenda covered Baidu’s eco-empowerment strategy, its Mobile Instant Page (MIP) project and a wrap-up of the 2016 algorithm updates. The event made it clear to me that 2016 was the year Baidu SEO came into its own. If you aren’t already investing in Baidu SEO, 2017 is your year to start.

The eco-empowerment

The concept of eco-empowerment was introduced by Dai Tan, Baidu’s Chief Architect of Search. With search, Baidu wants every practitioner in the internet ecosystem to have better efficiencies in production, execution and monetization. In order to fulfill eco-empowerment, Baidu needs to provide relevant technology and form a mechanism for the ecosystem, supported by two pillars: page load speed and HTTPS.

Every half-second delay in page loading will cost you 3 percent of user visits. This is why Baidu moved quickly to follow Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) feature with the MIP project (Chinese language). At the same time, security is a critical factor to an engine’s reputation in a market where site hijacks, spams and PII data leaks are rampant. In May 2015, Baidu launched Not Set, which is its own version of Not Provided.

The main accomplishment in the mechanism of Baidu Search is in the release of Spider 3.0 (Chinese language), which was launched in early 2016, dramatically increasing the speed of URL discovery and indexing. As a result, crawl speed has increased by 80 percent, and Baidu is now capable of indexing trillions of web pages in real time. The Divine Domain project planned for mid-2017 promises to further boost indexing speed.

The Baidu Mobile Instant Page (MIP) Project

Mobile Instant Page is a bold name. Even Google’s AMP only claims to be “accelerated.” The results speak for themselves. As reported in the Conference, more than 2,800 sites have implemented MIP, reducing load time by 30 to 80 percent and subsequently increasing landing page clicks from 5 to 30 percent.

The technology and structure of MIP are very similar to Google’s AMP; even the page code is virtually identical. And just as AMP has been a controversial idea in the SEO world since its launch, so is Baidu’s MIP within the Great Firewall of China. Convincing webmasters to adopt this new technology has been a challenge, given the sacrifice of page flexibility in favor of improved loading speed and ranking signals.

Baidu has been fighting its way through obstacles, having learned valuable lessons from AMP’s rollout. A channel has been added in Baidu Webmaster Tools for page submissions. An open-source project is now on GitHub. A tutorial provides quick training for programmers. An integrated development environment (IDE) and an online validator are published. Themes are available for popular content management system (CMS) platforms like WordPress. Most importantly, the “Flashy” icon is now attached to all MIP results on the Baidu mobile search engine results page (SERP).

By December 2016, three months after MIP’s release, Baidu had already indexed more than 900 million MIP pages.

An MIP result entry with the MIP icon on the mobile SERP of Baidu

The anniversary of the MIP Project

You may see Baidu MIP as a copycat of Google AMP. But there are nuances. First, Baidu MIP is using scripts to maintain compatibility with mobile browsers other than Chrome or Safari in China. In addition, MIP pages put JavaScript before the ending </body> tag, while in AMP, you still put scripts between <head> and </head>. Both MIP and AMP only allow asynchronous scripts, but it doesn’t make a big difference, because neither approach will delay the page rendering.

Baidu’s localization and globalization

Since Google retreated from China in 2006, the only two G-products that remain functional in that market are Google Maps and Google Translate. Mobile internet users are unable to access the AMP in mainland China.

Many people believe that if Google hadn’t been expatriated, Baidu would not have its dominant power in the search market. However, even when Google search was still in China, its market share never exceeded Baidu’s. And Bing, which is still in China, isn’t challenging Baidu at all.

When it comes to other players like QQ and MSN Messenger,  only those engines that are customized for local markets (or work with the government) will have the chance to win the battle against Baidu.

A map of the world showing the real-time activity of Baidu search, on a screen in the lobby of Baidu Building in Beijing

Baidu’s ambition is not confined to China. Alliances with partners like Merkle in other regions are helping Baidu to learn about other markets and expand business reach. If you still see Google as a threat to Baidu, you may be wrong. A better term, “frenemy,” may better describe their relationship.

Now, through Google’s DoubleClick for Search, you are able to bid for Baidu pay-per-click (PPC) ads. On the other side, Baidu is actively working with Google on the alignment of AMP-MIP and developing standards for Progressive Web Apps. And finally, Baidu intends to adopt the Schema.org data structure in 2017, having already documented the Schema.org markup support in the MIP specification.

The 2016 algorithm updates

Anti-app-fraud, Ice Bucket, Skynet and Blue-sky are the four main algorithm updates made by Baidu in the second half of 2016, and in almost every month, there was a negative update.

While the “Chinternet” environment is getting more complicated, Baidu is investing a significant amount of effort to protect and improve the ecosystem they have defined:

Code Name Targets of Penalty

Green RadishLink spam, link trade, comment spam, hacked web pagesPomegranateLow-quality pages with pop-ups and massive adsAnti-app-fraud (this update doesn’t have a codename)Mobile pages that lure/deceive users of downloading marketplace apps (Google Play isn’t accessible in China)Ice BucketFor mobile pages only; app-gate for contents, app-links, popup ads interrupting UX, ads of adults/porn/gamblingSkynetMalicious mobile pages with PII leak risksBlue-skyDirectories for sale, content spam

In late 2016, there has been a drop in discussions around indexing in the Chinese webmaster communities. This seems to signal that Baidu can now better identify pages with low quality.

From the other angle, it is evident that Baidu has a clear view that the mobile-first web is transitioning into a mobile-only web. Apart from the core project of MIP, three out of four algorithm updates are aiming for mobile pages.

Closing thoughts and recommendations on Baidu SEO in 2017

Historically, SEO strategies and investments were second-tier priorities for brands in China. Too many paid ads appeared on the SERP, where organic links had limited exposure, leaving little opportunity for SEO. Additionally, leadership had no idea of how long they would be in their roles. They wanted quick success and shortcuts, suggesting paid search is the best way out.

Things are changing. Due to regulations and the release of China’s Internet Ad Law, Baidu cut down the number of sponsored results in the main column of the SERP from “up to 10” to “no more than 5.” With some exceptions where larger ad formats are served, users will see a much cleaner SERP with fewer ads.

Obviously, it is a positive change for SEOs because paid traffic and organic traffic play a zero-sum game. Organic results now have more viewability with fewer sponsored links overhead.

As my colleague, Adam Audette, wrote in Merkle’s Dossier, your SEO effort is critical and will account for 30–50 percent of traffic online. As such, I offer the following recommendations for your 2017 SEO strategy in China.

    If you haven’t used Baidu Webmaster Tools (aka Baidu Zhanzhang), you should sign up immediately. It provides the only eligible data source for SEO and a set of exclusive features, such as brand/site name protection and site link management. (Unfortunately, the interface is Chinese language only).Site speed and security are increasingly important for your pages indexing and ranking. Page optimization and load speed should receive more focus and budget allocation. Implementing HTTPS should be considered.For media and publishers, an aggressive inventory setup will probably lead to penalties from the engines. Development on native ads inventory could be a cure, following the new internet advertising law of China, published in September 2016.Brands with rich content or a firm content strategy should focus on their mobile site. A responsive site may not be adequate in 2017. Adopting MIP should be a priority.Technical SEO has returned. The gap of knowledge and technology between engines in and out of the Great Firewall is shrinking. Technologies used for Google and other global engines will be soon adopted by Baidu and other local engines. An early implementation on the leading-edge technologies like the structured data markup, MIP and Progressive Web Apps (PWA) will emerge in next a couple of years.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

7 lessons to jump-start your digital marketing in Asia

About a year and a half ago, I relocated from California to Singapore to take on the challenge of marketing SurveyMonkey’s portfolio of products across Asia. Living and working in a new region, I’ve been learning new ways of marketing, communicating and relating to different cultures.

While my new role consisted of online marketing, offline promotions and some business development, my initial focus was on search engine marketing, since this was the area I knew best.

For the most part, international SEO/SEM is an effort that one can do without ever getting on a plane; however, my ramp-up time was incredibly accelerated by a total immersion in a new target market. If Asia is on your marketing roadmap or near-term horizon, I hope I can smooth  your learning curve with this list of my top seven eye-opening discoveries.

1. Hyperlocal language optimization may be necessary

Before arriving in Asia, I had known that both Indonesia and Malaysia speak a language that in English we called “Bahasa.” I had assumed this was a similar scenario to both Mexico and Argentina speaking Spanish. Instead, what I learned is that “Bahasa” is just a Sanskrit word for “language.”

While the Indonesian and Malaysian languages have similarities, they are absolutely not the same in vocabulary or pronunciation. Not realizing that, I created Indonesian content that was supposed to work for Malaysia and only discovered my error once this new content utterly failed in Malaysia.

Key lesson: If you are optimizing for Malaysia and Indonesia, you can’t get away with just Bahasa landing pages; you need to actually have different translations for each country.

2. When it comes to language targeting, know your demographic

After learning that I needed to target Malaysia independently of Indonesia, I created Malay-specific content. Once I did not see my desired growth from this content, I grilled Malaysian friends and contacts, only to discover that the demographic I sought (tech savvy and urban) possibly did not even speak Malay.

Malay is the official language, and it’s used in the halls of government and in Malay communities, but other ethnicities speak the languages of their own heritage, like Tamil and Mandarin Chinese. Additionally, Malaysia was a British colony until the Second World War, so as a result, English is widely spoken everywhere.

Key lesson: Depending on your desired demographics, you might be able to just skip Malay entirely for Malaysia and just use English content.

3. A single country can have many different languages and dialects

Multiple Chinese languages fall under the umbrella of what the Western world calls the language of Chinese. In fact, there are many dialects that divide speakers, even within the same language.

Mandarin is the official Chinese language of China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The province of Guangdong, the manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, and the special regions of Hong Kong and Macau speak Cantonese.

Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Key lesson: When it comes to writing for landing pages or ad copy, there isn’t a tremendous amount of difference between the largest dialects, but always use a local copywriter. A Hong Konger should write Hong Kong-targeted copy, a Beijinger should write copy for Beijing and similar large metropolitan Chinese cities.

 4. Not everyone uses the same alphabet

Within the Chinese language, there are also two different sets of characters (or what we call the “alphabet” in English). China and Singapore use a simplified set of characters that have fewer strokes and are easier to write. Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan use traditional characters.

Readers of simplified Chinese characters might have a hard time understanding text written in traditional text. Think of it like an English speaker trying to read a Scandinavian language. It looks almost familiar, but you aren’t really sure how to pronounce the words.

When creating copy for Taiwan, I discovered that a Singaporean schooled in simplified characters could not really help with proofreading of traditional characters written for Taiwan.

Key lesson: You need to have different pages and ad copy to target regions that use different characters. One set of Chinese writing will not work for all Chinese readers.

5. Different payment options may be required for e-commerce

Aside from the obvious issues of foreign currency, selling goods or services online is completely different from the way it is done in the West.

There are vast amounts of wealthy potential customers who just do not have credit or debit cards. As a result, many companies create options for cash payments in convenience stores or accept Cash On Delivery. Additionally, not all credit cards are approved for overseas usage. As a result, the credit card penetration rates of a particular target country do not tell the full story on market size.

Luckily, I have both US and local credit cards, so I can usually navigate around e-commerce roadblocks, but it is amazing how many times I have run into an issue where a specific credit card is not accepted.

Key lesson: Carefully think through payment issues before marketing a product. An easy workaround is to use a payment gateway like PayPal or Alipay (Alibaba’s payment company) which add more options for accepting payments than just what you can get with implementing a payment gateway.

6. You must account for a wider range of income levels

Socioeconomic standing has a massive impact on the size of any product’s addressable market. For example, many people in Asia don’t earn enough in a month to buy even the cheapest smartphone, unlike in more developed countries where a basic smartphone could be bought for the amount of money earned with a week’s worth of minimum wage.

Furthermore, smartphone ownership in Asia is not a guarantee that there is actually a data plan attached to the phone due to affordability or cell reception. Many lower-income smartphone users only use the internet features on their phone when they get WiFi or have a need to purchase a time-limited data plan.

While Singapore has some of the fastest data speeds in the world, I have seen data speeds vary widely, even in large cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Jakarta, which rendered my smartphone and data plans worthless for actually using the web.

Key lesson: Take income levels of potential customers into account when considering how and where they might discover your websites or click on your ads.

7. Think “mobile-first” when building apps and websites

As has been much discussed, much of Asia is mobile-first, and Android is the dominant operating system simply because it is less expensive. When building campaigns and assets for Asia, always consider a mobile-first experience — and when you need to choose, build apps for Android. Given the limited data plans and sometimes even small memory space on lower end phones, apps should be as small as possible.

From my experience, responsive and mobile web experiences are not as commonplace in Asia as they are in other parts of the world, which actually gives you an advantage if you prioritize mobile experiences.

Key lesson: From my experience, Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm in Asia isn’t as prevalent as it is in the US; however, optimize for mobile anyway, since this is how users will access your sites.

Final thoughts

Most of the Asian marketing insights I gleaned over my time in Singapore, I might never have internalized (or, at a minimum, believed) if someone had shared them with me before moving overseas. I made and continue to make many missteps based on assumptions I had marketing to a culture without actually understanding it.

My actual list of lessons from Asia is endless, but hopefully, these high-level learnings can save you some wasted effort and misspent budgets.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Global SEO: A huge opportunity + 5 tips for success

Did you know that only one-seventh of the world’s population speaks English? And only about 340 million speak it as their first language (source: Ethnologue). That leaves more than six billion people who won’t get the message if you have the English-only mindset.

If you sell a product or service that’s available worldwide, localizing your content online can be a massive opportunity, especially if your website is close to maxing out its current SEO potential. SaaS is a good example of an industry that can benefit from this; they can serve customers around the world at no extra cost.

Well-known online marketer Neil Patel claims to have increased his traffic by 47 percent by translating his blog into multiple languages. When you think about how big the world market is, those kinds of results aren’t unreasonable to expect.

For the purpose of this article, I’m talking about going international for SEO, but the same opportunity applies across paid search and social media.

There are two ways to target international queries for SEO:

    Through simple multilingual targeting. This means making an alternative version of your website in another language. This will cover that language in its entirety, across all geos. For example, you may have a Spanish version of your website at es.website.com with the tag: hreflang=”es” (Not sure what hreflang is? Read up on it here).Through international geotargeting. This means making alternative versions of your website based on the region. You don’t necessarily have to translate your website to another language to target other regions. You can have a default (x-default) English website, with alternatives in Canada (en-ca) and the UK (en-gb). Or you can have a default English website, with Spanish alternatives in Mexico (es-mx) and Spain (es-es).

Check out the source code of Freelancer.com if you’d like to see an example of a website that goes all out with internationalization.

From personal experience, I know that going global is a massive opportunity for SEOs. I’m Canadian, and I ran a very profitable e-commerce website by ranking it for terms that would have been impossible to compete for in the US but were relatively easy to rank for with a .ca domain. That being said, throwing up a bunch of international versions of your website most likely won’t have the impact you hoped for.

Just like most things in life, in order to reap the benefits, you need to do it right. Here are five considerations you should consider if you’d like to benefit from global SEO:

1. Have you done your research?

Are you sure that your product or service is wanted in other regions or languages? It’s vital that you do your homework before you decide what your game plan is. A good starting place is to look at the Location and Language tabs under Geo in Google Analytics.

What countries and languages are converting right now? You may be surprised to see a country like Romania converting well, while bigger countries like Germany are near the bottom. Don’t assume that bigger is better!

Also, take a peek at your competitors to see what languages or regions they’re targeting. An easy way to do this is to look for the hreflang tags in the source code of their website. You can also pop their website into SEMrush and look for highlighted countries to find regions they’re ranking in.

If you’d like some more hot tips, SEER has put together a fantastic guide on creating an international SEO strategy. Doing good research up front can be the difference between a successful international SEO campaign and a big flop.

2. Is your website ready?

Before you go international, ensure that your current website is optimized for search. It’s relatively easy to translate a website that’s properly formatted and ready to go.

You don’t want to duplicate errors across new pages or localized CMS installations; that just multiplies the work you’ll have to do to fix them. Cross your t’s and dot your i’s with your current website before you consider internationalization. (If you’re just beginning to learn SEO, I’d stick to one language until you get some traction and learn the ropes.)

If your website is up to snuff, think about how you want to structure your website for international content. The main decision you have to make for each language/country is ccTLDs vs. subdirectories vs. subdomains. SEMrush has put together the best guide I’ve found on this topic, so take a look.

Also if you don’t have the resources to translate your entire website, it’s not a necessity. Here at AgencyAnalytics, we’ve decided to create a single landing page — that includes all key info — which we can replicate easily across our target languages. (See our Dutch landing page as an example.) It allows us to target valuable SEO keywords in many languages and gives us a good landing page for PPC.

3. Can you find the right people?

You know the on-page SEO basics, right? TL;DR: Build your page around one main topic, include semantically related keywords throughout the copy, and ensure that your meta data is optimized.

This process is just as important in other languages as it is in English. If you pick keywords that don’t have enough search volume or that you can’t possibly compete for, you won’t drive traffic to the website.

Obviously, you won’t be able to write and use your SEO expertise in every language. This means you’ll need to hire an agency which specializes in search-optimized translation or find the right translators.

Don’t assume that translators are as knowledgeable as you are. When I post translation jobs, I ensure that they have experience doing keyword research, understand the basics of SEO and have the ability to translate an AdWords campaign. Seeing as you don’t speak those languages, it’s important to find the right translators or agencies who will get the job done right.

Also give some thought to customer support. You’re going to be getting new customers in a variety of new languages and locations. Some customer support apps like Zendesk have machine translations, or you can configure the API at Gengo to work with your support platform. If you offer phone support, you may have to hire support in other languages or make it clear on your website that support is only in English.

4. Are you only looking at Google?

If so, it’s a big mistake. While Google is the world’s most popular search engine, there are many other players out there.

Some of the most populous countries in the world favor other search engines: China has Baidu, Russia has Yandex, South Korea has Naver, and Yahoo has a 40-percent market share in Japan.

Image source: Webcertain

There are three main reasons I bring up alternative search engines:

    You have to ensure that your translators do keyword research on the proper platform. For example, if you’re looking to market to consumers in Russia, ensure that Yandex Wordstat is used instead of the Google Keyword Planner.Each search engine runs on a different algorithm, which means that they have different ranking factors. Do your research on any search engine you plan to rank on. Some may still have a recommended keyword percentage in content, some still use meta keywords, and others count social signals as a ranking factor.Ensure that you’re marking up your website correctly. While Google and Yandex support hreflang annotation to determine what version of the page to serve, Bing does not. The same may apply for other search engines.

5. How are you going to build links?

A word of warning: Building more pages splits up the link equity to your website, which can actually hurt your rankings. If you expect to double your traffic by translating a 1,000-product e-commerce site and adding a link at the top, you’re in for a surprise. You can end up losing traffic to your website.

This varies from site to site, but have a solid link strategy in place before you duplicate your entire website. Find ways to build links from the country or language you’re localizing to in order to see good results. Maybe think about using your translators to do some link building for your new pages.

This also ties into the ccTLDs vs. subdirectories vs. subdomains debate. If you have the resources, starting with a new ccTLD will be harder to rank in the beginning, but it may pay off in the end. Otherwise, you can leverage your current domain authority by making landing pages for other languages and countries via subdirectories.

Conclusion

When you think about the potential, going global with SEO may be your biggest opportunity to gain more traffic and sales. It can be a tricky proposition, especially for large websites, but the return on investment can be enormous if you pull it off correctly.

Take my five considerations into account, read all you can on international and multilingual SEO, and get cracking!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

International PPC: How to deal with currency fluctuations

One issue I’ve seen with international PPC is how to keep track of your spend and ROI abroad compared to at home. When setting up billing, you can either choose to use the target market currency or use your home currency. There are pros and cons to both, though I don’t intend to discuss them too much here, as most advertisers would have already made a decision a long time ago.

What is critical is that regardless of the currency you select, Google’s (and maybe Bing’s) internal auction is converted to USD in order for AdRank to be calculated. So without actually changing your bids abroad, you are bidding more and less aggressively based on currency fluctuations and competitor currencies.

Below, I’ll share a dashboard that we use for international PPC clients at Brainlabs (my employer) to track these movements and make adjustments where necessary.

This Google Sheets dashboard has all the currency information you will ever need to take back to your PPC reporting. Use this sheet to help keep currency conversions simple and up-to-date. There’s a brief explanation of how it works at the end of the article, along with a bit of code for those of you who want to convert currencies in JavaScript.

There are many reasons you may need currency data. Here are a few we thought of:

1. Improve your analysis and compare performance across markets

When analyzing your business across markets, it’s difficult to compare cost-related metrics unless everything is the same currency.

You might also want to check out the volatility of a currency before moving into a new market, especially if you’re going to need to convert money to make payments — if the exchange rate changes by 10 percent over the course of a month, you may end up paying much more at the end of the month than you would have at the start.

2. Use for reporting and billing

Like many of our clients, you may do the majority of your business in the country in which you’re based but have branched out to do some international business, too. Whether your operations are digital or otherwise, it’s usually preferable to have these international ventures use the local currency. For AdWords, this means setting up a different account in a different currency and getting billed for it at the end of the month in this currency.

It also makes reporting a bit of a nightmare — if you’re advertising in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas and Bermuda, you have to manually look up the exchange rate for each of these each day just to know how much you’re spending. Using a currency conversion function makes this automatic, keeping the exchange rate current, so that you always know your total spend in US dollars.

3. Bespoke paid-for currency conversion software can be expensive

Currency conversion software can cost anything from $5 to $1,000 a month, depending on how heavy your usage is, how frequently you want rates to update and how flexible you want to be with the currencies you use. In general, the more recent and accurate you want your data to be, the more you are going to pay.

Back in 2011, Google had its own finance service that retrieved exchange rates (and other financial data) for free, making it easy to perform currency conversions in scripts. The service itself has now been deprecated, but a method to access this data lives on through the GOOGLEFINANCE function in Google Sheets.

The Brainlabs Currency Converter

Now to the Brainlabs Currency Converter dashboard.

To use it, click on the File menu, and then “Make a copy….” Save the copy to your Google Drive, and then it’s ready to use.

The sheet has four pages:

The Current Exchange Rate sheet. This is a table of the current exchange rates between various currencies, updated by Google every three to 20 minutes. Feel free to add in any currencies you are interested in; you can look up their three-letter currency code here. If for some reason it’s not providing you with the exchange rate, it could be that GOOGLEFINANCE doesn’t support exchange rates for that currency.The Detailed Exchange Breakdown sheet. This is for looking more deeply into the exchange rate trends — how much has it changed over the last month? Over the last year? After choosing a lookback window, it gives you the exchange rates at close for each day, as well as graphing them and giving you the highest, lowest and average values in that time. If you want this detailed breakdown for several different currencies at once, you can duplicate the sheet and have a different conversion on each copy. To use, just enter a lookback window in days in cell B1 (or custom start and end dates in cells B2 and B3), then the three-letter code for the currency you’re converting FROM in B4, and TO in B5.The Exchange Rate To Single Currency sheet. This sheet gives you a slightly less detailed look at the exchange rate to a single currency. Alter any of the red boxes to get exchange rates from many different currencies to just one, with the current exchange rate alongside the average, maximum and minimum exchange rates for a given time period.The Useful Date Formulae sheet. A little bonus — this sheet contains some formulae for date periods you may want to use in the detailed exchange breakdown. These correspond to some of the date windows used in AdWords — useful if you’re in SEM and are using it to convert currencies.

If you’re more technically inclined and would like to implement currency conversion in code, here’s a JavaScript template to get you started:

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

5 dos and don'ts of managing a new international PPC account

You’re a US-based PPC manager, and you’ve just been tasked with overseeing an international account for the first time. What do you do?

If you’re like many, the thought of managing international accounts gives you the sweats, but there’s also probably some part of you that’s intrigued.

Either way, taking on international accounts can definitely add some serious skills to your overall experience.

So the question is: How do you boldly go where you’ve never gone before?

In this post, I’ll walk you through a few dos and don’ts when tackling your first international PPC account.

1. DO treat the international account as a new client

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at your company or with your client for 10 years — the minute they ask you to manage their international account, you’re a newbie. And it’s time to start researching.

Go through the same process you would if you were onboarding a new client or getting to know a new employer. For my agency, that means a thorough interview process.

The key is to know that this is not a copy-and-paste job. Culture, volume, conversion rates and cost per acquisition all vary per location, and the strategies do, too.

For example, one client of ours who was successful in advertising webinars in the US via PPC wouldn’t even entertain the idea in Europe, as the sales process was completely different due to cultural differences.

2. DO consider brand recognition internationally

Flagship regions tend to do better with branded campaigns; it makes sense if a company launched in the US 20 years ago that it has more brand power than its international counterpart that’s only five years old.

In these cases, you’ll often allocate more of your budget to non-brand campaigns internationally to better preserve the overall budget and start to build awareness around the products or services themselves.

And speaking of brand, one thing to establish early on is if there are brand guidelines globally, or if you need to start creating them. Things like colors, logo usage and so on help set the stage for what’s “on brand” when you’re creating ads.

3. DO find out what PPC channels work globally

Much of this is trial and error, and it includes tapping into historical wins and losses of the advertising account plus understanding the advertising guidelines for the country you’re operating in.

For example, remarketing for one of our clients with locations in Europe and India has produced less-than-stellar results, while the US market relies on it heavily.

A lot of times, you’ll try what has worked best in your region on another market, like India, just to see if it sticks, and if it doesn’t, you now have a better understanding of the landscape in that country.

4. DON’T bet on your current landing page strategy

Just because your landing page strategy works well for a US market does not mean it will work in other markets. Obviously, there are language differences, but there are also cultural differences that impact persuasion and user experience.

For example, longer landing pages tend to work well for one of our UK clients, but not so for the US market. Again, a lot of what you’ll do is offer an initial strategy to your international team based on what you know works, and rely on the expertise of those who know their market best to tweak it, and then test, test, test.

5. DON’T expect the same results

If the international arm of the business is currently converting at one percent and expects you to boost that up to five percent, like the US is enjoying, set realistic expectations.

There are a lot of factors to consider when understanding conversion rates, including the budgets allocated to the international accounts, so it’s important to educate your global teams early on.

In sum, international PPC can be exciting and rewarding for global companies, but there are a lot of moving parts. If you have the opportunity, go ahead and broaden your horizons with international PPC. The lessons learned in your journey will benefit both your own skill set and the company at large.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

The Globalization Of Local Holidays: China’s Singles' Day Catches On In US

Christmas. Hannukah. Kwanzaa. Festivus. As e-commerce retailers are in the throes of prime holiday shopping bidding wars, there may be a case to add even more holidays to our plans.

If you’re a marketer, you probably took note of the news that November 11, China’s Singles’ Day, broke worldwide sales records with $14.3 billion in gross sales — equivalent to seven times the volume Cyber Monday generated in 2014.

We were curious about the impact this Chinese event may have had on our US stats, so data scientists at Bing Ads (my employer) dug into the numbers. The information they found tells three significant stories:

1. Cross-Border Search And E-Commerce Know No Boundaries

Singles’ Day is an event specific to China, yet it is making inroads in the US, as Chinese living in the US or Chinese Americans also embrace the shopping holiday.

In recent years, the US exported a shopping event specific to our country, Black Friday, to the United Kingdom. Black Friday is now firmly established as part of the British retail calendar.

How To Take Action

China’s Singles’ Day is a day of shopping much like our Cyber Monday. Because of the general nature of the holiday (any retail is desired!), all retail search marketers in the US can experiment with promotions to a targeted location where a higher population of Chinese Americans live. These cities include:

San Francisco, CA (21 percent of population)Honolulu, HI (10 percent of population)Oakland, CA (9 percent of population)San Jose, CA (7 percent of population)New York City, NY (6 percent of population)Plano, TX (5 percent of population)

For many of us search marketers, this may be the first time we’ve willfully targeted Plano, Texas (which is a suburb of Dallas).

2. CTR Spiked On China’s Singles’ Day On Bing Ads

Do we really need a bigger lead-in to holiday spending? It doesn’t matter — China’s Singles’ Day brings it regardless.

CTR on Bing Ads increased 54 percent to 82 percent on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12. This is an increase on the same level as traditional US holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

How To Take Action

Actively plan for China’s Singles’ Day in 2016, with US offers, deals and events targeted to Chinese Americans. This shopping day falls on a Friday next year, which could mean higher CTR for entertainment such as movies, restaurants and shows.

3. Bing Queries Related To China’s Singles’ Day Grew 28% Year Over Year

For the first time this year, Vivian Li, Bing Ads’ Senior Data Scientist and a Chinese American, received email promotions around the holiday.

“I think that US advertisers who also have a presence in China are getting smart about reaching the Chinese audience in the US. Since they are very attuned to the day in China, it’s making them think about the potential here. These advertisers have an advantage over others who are less aware,” said Li.

How To Take Action

The advantage of selling in the United States is that the population is incredibly diverse and brings with it cultural events and celebrations from all over the world. China’s Singles’ Day growth in the US is an indication of the potential for adding retail holidays from other countries to your calendar. Diwali for the Indian American community would be another example.

Create a calendar that accommodates the major holidays worldwide, and implement a strategy that targets relevant populations at the right time.

In Summary

This year, Singles’ Day was heavily promoted by Alibaba, the Chinese online marketplace similar to Amazon. Bing saw a spike in queries for the term “Alibaba,” where deep discounts and deals were offered for the special shopping day.

In the absence of a single marketplace in the US that would dominate Singles’ Day sales, this shopping day is free game for all retailers.

Did you see any uptick in sales on Nov. 11 and 12 this year? We’d love to hear about it.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.