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This Week’s Guest:
For those of us in the United States, it can be hard to imagine life without Google — but for the 1.4 billion people who live in China, where Google doesn’t work at all, that’s the norm. Instead of Google, a search engine called Baidu has about 65% of the search engine market share in China. Similarly, instead of our familiar Facebook, China is hooked on WeChat, with over 700 million people using it (most of them daily).
Today’s guest, Allen Qu, is an expert in these important (but, in the United States, lesser-known) platforms in online marketing. He’s the CEO of Netconcepts China, which may give you some insight into how I know him; he was one of my employees at the original Netconcepts, which I founded. Allen now has more than 200 employees across four offices, and is a professor of online marketing at Beihang University. In our conversation today, he goes into great depth on marketing on Baidu and the functions and uses of WeChat.
Find Out More About Allen Here:
In This Episode:
- [01:24] – Allen talks about what people need to know about optimizing for Baidu.
- [04:35] – Allen explains that Baidu has generally followed in Google’s footsteps, even in terms of naming their algorithm updates.
- [05:49] – Why is Baidu so important for the Asian market? In his answer, Allen explains that Baidu is mostly for China, where Google doesn’t work at all. He then lists the other major search engines in China.
- [07:12] – We learn about optimizing SEO for Baidu versus Sogou.
- [08:51] – Allen talks about the locations of his offices and the number of staff. He then digs more deeply into the agency, discussing whether he helps clients in other parts of Asia and talks about the kinds of services they offer.
- [12:37] – Allen discusses the agency’s content writing, then he and Stephan talk about Baidu once more following in Google’s footsteps in that it prefers original content.
- [14:11] – Is there a big problem with scraper sites in China?
- [14:27] – Stephan dives into the topic of duplicate content, bringing up the possibility of technical issues creating duplicate content on a site. Allen talks about how Baidu addresses this.
- [15:51] – Allen talks about the Baidu Webmaster Center, describing what it offers and explaining that he recommends using it.
- [17:05] – Link building is getting less and less important on Baidu, Allen explains.
- [19:05] – On Baidu, do you get penalized for low-quality links, or do they just not help? Allen answers, then he talks about the role of high-quality links in ranking on Baidu.
- [20:34] – Allen reveals that Baidu has vertical search engines like Google does (meaning Google Images, Google Shopping, etc.).
- [21:31] – Baidu manually publishes lists of good and low-quality sites, Allen explains.
- [22:12] – Is there a spokesperson at Baidu for webmasters?
- [23:18] – Allen talks about some of the conferences for online marketing in China.
- [24:55] – Allen mentions a few of his agency’s most impressive SEO clients.
- [26:20] – We shift from SEO to social, with Stephan and Allen discussing WeChat, the primary social channel for people in China. Allen goes into depth in describing the various aspects of WeChat, which covers an amazing amount of uses.
- [30:30] – Allen talks about the sorts of campaigns he would do for clients on WeChat.
- [32:36] – We learn more about the HTML5 games that Allen has mentioned using in campaigns on WeChat. Stephan points out that these sound similar to some tests on Facebook.
- [34:50] – What does going viral look like in terms of WeChat? In his answer, Allen mentions that around 700 million people use WeChat, and 80% of those use it daily.
- [36:06] – Allen talks about the most successful campaign (measured in terms of the number of forwards) he’s done for a client.
- [36:57] – We move from WeChat to Baidu paid search. Stephan asks Allen whether Google’s structure for paid ads is replicated on Baidu, and what some strategies are for optimizing Baidu advertising.
- [39:32] – Baidu’s equivalent to Google AdWords is called the Phoenix Nest.
- [40:14] – Allen discusses strategies and tactics for paid advertising campaigns on Baidu.
- [41:34] – Stephan and Allen begin discussing ad spend, in terms of how much Allen’s agency manages and how much the agency charges by percentage (which tends to be lower than in the US).
- [43:09] – If Allen takes over a new account that has been spending a lot on Baidu already, is he able to save them money by optimizing their campaigns? He answers, then mentions what he might adjust when taking over a new account.
- [44:50] – Stephan brings up the concept of dayparting, which he explains to listeners who may not be familiar with the term.
- [45:21] – We go back to Baidu from an SEO perspective, with Allen bringing up mobile optimization as an SEO strategy. He then addresses whether he thinks Baidu will keep treating this differently from Google.
- [48:14] – Stephan steps into clarify: Allen is saying that one of the most important things from an optimization standpoint on Baidu is creating a mobile-optimized website.
- [48:57] – Are there any other optimization tactics that Allen wants to mention?
- [49:22] – Stephan and Allen discuss how Baidu finds and ranks content.
- [50:19] – Stephan brings up the topic of reputation problems, discussing some ways of dealing with these issues on Google. Allen then talks about how ORM (online reputation management) works on Baidu.
- [52:28] – Allen talks about the typical cost and length of time involved in ORM. He then shares the cost range of working with his agency for other services.
- [54:10] – How can listeners get in touch with Allen? On LinkedIn, by email, or on WeChat: @allenqu.
Links and Resources:
Allen Qu on Twitter
Google Knowledge Graph
Google Search Console
Baidu Webmaster Tools
Search Marketing Expo (SMX)
Baidu Phoenix Nest
ORM (online reputation management)
Kenton Hutcherson on Marketing Speak