International Keyword Research: The Engines - Part 2
In our last article, we touched upon the subject of alternative search engines used in different countries and some of their differences. Today, we’ll wrap up our engines section by addressing the second largest of them all, and last but not least, the almighty Google itself.
If we take into account the total population of China, we can already tell Baidu is going to be a biggie. This search engine not only serves one of the most populous countries on the planet, it also serves a market with countless business opportunities to boot. First of all, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Censorship. It’s a known fact that China holds a tight grip on what can and cannot be seen online, and Baidu has made sure to comply with all these rules and regulations to keep itself in the domestic search engine lead. That also means that from a business perspective, one has to be very careful when planning a SEO strategy. Anything out of line will be automatically omitted from the search results, leading to a subsequent loss of money and time. Make sure to have first hand information of what restrictions may be applied to the particular product or service you wish to sell before going forward.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as Baidu has a far simpler search algorithm compared to other engines, and it’s mainly governed by how much you spend on advertising. Yep, it’s that simple. No juggling of strange words, specific content insertion, or oddly distributed landing pages. You just have to break the bank and you’re good to go.
Currently the largest and most popular search engine in the world by a huge margin, Google dominates the western hemisphere unchallenged. Optimizing for Google is always a must for any business, because tapping into the sheer amount of users it has will generally be worthwhile regardless of the product or service.
The Google search algorithm undergoes constant expansion and improvement, so there’s no silver bullet to make a page float to the top due to its evolving nature. However, there are a few things that we know the algorithm likes, such as being linked by other pages (Google considers that trustworthy), avoiding hidden pages only designated for crawlers (Considered deceptive) , and using brief, accurate, and descriptive titles for every page. The Google crawler also ignores images with text on them, so those should be avoided as much as possible, and adding a contextual menu for easy navigation is also considered positive, since it allows users to hop directly to their desired page, and keeps sites from artificially inflating page impressions and advertisement revenue.
From here on, it’s pretty much going down a rabbit hole of trial and error, analyzing results, educated guesses, and perhaps even a bit of superstition. Needless to say, there are plenty of experts out there that can make a website much more Google friendly, so if the time is tight and the money is right, unleashing the professionals on a website can be worth every penny.