This week more on SEO in China from an interview with Matt Cutts and Jianfei. Also Chinese firewall news that shows that even Baidu can be affected and surprise, even more restrictions on the Internet, this time for gamers.
Matt Cutts and Jianfei Chinese Interview
In the last installment I referred to Fili’s article on Chinese SEO. Zac from Chinamyhosting.com did an interview with Google’s Matt Cutts and his Chinese web spam engineer Jianfei.
Besides topics that have been covered before in many places there were some interesting China specific questions and answers.
The first one about Google’s dropping market share, from 33% last year to currently 25.3%, according to CNNIC.
Jianfei: For the market share, let’s refer the statement from Kaifu Lee, the president of Google China office. “To some extent, the survey could have some errors. Different users have different frequencies of using search engines. People may use search engines 10 times a day, while other people may use search engines once a day. Simple sampling methods may not show the real traffic of different search engines.
I understand the answer and where it’s coming from. It’s no fun to see your market share decline in one of the biggest internet markets when your market share everywhere else in the world is growing.
One of the pitfalls of the internet in China is that there are hardly independent metrics available about the market shares of the search engines. CNNIC is a government agency for instance.
I’m in the process of doing some independent open source research and what I have found till now is that CNNIC’s numbers come close to the reality, maybe even over estimating Google’s market share. More about this in a later article once I have crunched even more stats.
Another question from the interview relates to the differences between Chinese and English site SEO.
Jianfei: One main difference between Chinese site SEO and English site SEO is the set of queries they are working on. For example, “viagra” is one of the most spammy queries for English, while ringtone is a more spammy query for Chinese. Another difference is that almost all mid- or large-sized Chinese domains have blogs, which is not the case for other languages.
The only thing I can conclude here is that the average user is young and hence more interested in the latest ringtones.
Online Gamers Age Penalty
There are about 31 million online gamers in China according to the latest statistics. If it’s up to the regulators those under 18 will get less points in their preferred game the longer they play. After 3 hours restrictions kick in.
Gamers under the age of 18 will receive full points in their online world only for the first three hours of play, which the government has deemed as the limit for the “healthy” amount of time to be glued to the Internet.
If young gamers choose to stay on-line, they will get half the normal points for the next two hours. Any gaming after five hours of play will not recoup any points.
The official Xinhua news agency said that most online games encouraged players to play longer by rewarding them with more credits and virtual goods.
“The system will only target minors who lack the self-discipline to control their playing time,” Xinhua quoted Kou Xiaowei, an official with the State Press and Publication Administration, as saying.
Next to that, all gamers will have to register with their ID card. This will have its effect on the gaming industry. Some say the number of under aged gamers is just 10%, others estimate it to be higher. It does show, and that accounts for much of the online world here in China, that the bottom line of your business can be affected overnight by the government.
Baidu Japan Blocked
Baidu recently opened up its search engine in Japan and it was quickly discovered that a lot of the traffic was adult related, originating from the Chinese mainland. I reported about this last time and wrote:
The question will be, will Baidu get blocked in China or will they start censoring their search results in Japan?
Only 2 weeks later Baidu Japan is blocked in China.
Last but not least a small snippet from the aforementioned SEO interview for the Cuttlets out there. Matt loves Chinese food. Just so you know:) There are things he doesn’t like and Raj wrote more about Matt’s aversion to paid links.
Some other noteworthy articles if you have the time:
- Yahoo launched launched Club, the Chinese version of Groups but stripped down.
- There are rumours that Google will invest in Chinese/Israeli browser Maxthon. The rumor is later denied but Google is on a buying spree lately and they need a better distribution in China as their market share is lacking. It’s a rumor to keep an eye on.
- Google was caught using Sohu’s dictionary for it’s new Pinyin editor (romanized Chinese input method) and apologized on it’s Chinese blog.
- A Dutch company intends to ride on the popularity wave of Baidu and has squatted several domain name extensions, like Baidu.tv and some more. (hattip to China Herald)
Gemme van Hasselt is an Internet Marketing Consultant, living in Shanghai, and owner of the China Directory.