8 Tips for APAC SEO

8 Quick APAC SEO Tips

First of all, we should clarify here that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for APAC SEO! Every country is potentially different in special ways, right down to the most prominent search engine in use and the way to say the type of product you’re selling. The following  8 APAC SEO tips are a general checklist to make sure you cover all the stages required before launch. And as you may already know, 8 is a commonly considered to be a lucky number throughout most of Asia!

For instance, “mainland” China, and South Korea are wildly divergent from other APAC countries, due to S.K.’s unique, super-fast internet infrastructure and backstory and China’s very particular censorship laws and the way that web hosts self-censor their hosted content. Additionally, all APAC countries require diverging languages to be employed (even those that speak and write a form of Mandarin sometimes have differing characters sets and phrases in use). China’s search engine of note is Baidu, while South Korea’s is Naver and Russia’s is Yandex (Did you think it would be Google, Yahoo or Bing?). SEO is thus bound to be different in each APAC country you target, including, among other things, content localization.

8 Quick APAC SEO Tips

  1. Host your site in that country (for legal and speed reasons).
  2. Offer main content in the local language.
  3. Research the key national search engine(s).
  4. Research local history & geopolitical relations.
  5. Adhere to local censorship laws.
  6. Make Hreflang tags consistent w/target region’s language & dialect.
  7. Use the key social media tools of the target country.
  8. Research country-friendly content marketing approaches & select from those.

Getting your target region content strategy up to speed is essential before writing. Keep in mind the above 8 tips to make sure you not only are speaking their language, but that you come off as culturally authentic and knowledgeable in your industry.

It’s worth noting that brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Walmart, and countless other hot-selling brands in Asian countries typically register and use a local-language brand name. It eases adoption by taking the tongue-twister phenomenon out of local word-of-mouth. That goes double for SEO. How do you search for a brand you can’t even say, much less spell?

If you have additional questions or comments on these APAC SEO tips, feel free to leave a comment below. All comment questions get free answers! But if you are thinking of trying it out soon, you can contact us for consulting help, too.

 

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Mark Brimm

Mark Brimm is founder and Marketing Director @ 123interface.com and author of AdWords University and The SEO Instinct.

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  • Danny Williams

    Interesting read! I’m planning to launch a business in Asia. I won’t disclose the country here but it’s one of the APAC countries you in fact mentioned. Some of these made sense to me, others I had no idea about.

    I’d like to know discuss if you think your outfit could help.

    Thanks for the info!

    • Let’s talk, Danny! I’ll give you a buzz at your email address on file and we can go from there.

  • Bryan Smith

    Thanks for the tips. I just launched a site in one of the APAC countries. China precisely, I’m looking to get an SEO expert to help optimized the site. I may have to share these tips with anyone I hire.

    • Besides the points in this post, you might want to just make sure they understand your brand in its original context. It would probably be best to hire a West-savvy branding outfit that could “translate” your brand into local mores and values, as well, to act as your PM for the content and SEO.

  • Ben Vincent

    Ouch! I made the mistake already! I hosted in a different country, not even an APAC country. I wish I read this earlier. I’ve been looking to get some basic SEO tips like this. Please can I change my host now or is it too late?

    • Ben, the good news is there’s always an out. You only have something to gain from here, and nothing to lose. You can simply have your host or web dev expert move the site to the new location and then issue a set of simplistic 301 redirects via wildcards to forward any existing inbound links to your existing site’s pages. It should be possible to get Google to redirect those links to another country’s google index. Make sure you register the site with the appropriate authorities. Your foreign host should help you with that. From there, you’ll just want to be cautious about how you produce content and why.

    • You can copy your content, css, plugins and plugin settings and use that to model the intended look and feel while a skilled bi-lingual developer tries to accomodate that. Your SEO is going to be the biggest issue and inevitably you may have to change CSS and have a slightly different feel. You want to interview the content people, branding person and SEO thoroughly to see how familiar they are with how your brand’s original positioning dynamics, expectations on quality content strategy and SEO quality control. Good luck!

  • Thanks for the tips. Currently I’m not located in any of the APAC countries but I’m planning to launch an online store that will require 85% traffic from China and South Korea and I’m really keen on putting a good effort on SEO to get the required traffic. In this case, since I’m targeting traffic from two countries, how do I go about the hosting?

    • Hosting should be set up on a local server and typically you’ll need to do some registration which the host will make available. It’s just that many assume their website will be just as searchable as in their own host country. Not so. Each site needs to be country-hosted. In SK it’s also a matter of net speed. Every other SK hosted site is so fast compared to foreign sites.

      • Thanks for prompt response. I will have to go back to my drawing board.

    • Make sure the SEO knows Baidu and China’s censored topics list intimately. In SK, sppedy loads and entertaining video content is key. The hosts can walk you through their own proceedures from there…but compare the top 10 before buying.

  • Rita Patel

    What an insightful post. Who said I have any knowledge about different SEO approach in each APAC country? I rarely know about this. I still have a long way to go then.. Thanks so much for revealing..

  • Randy Veillon

    Fascinating read on APAC marketing. Anyone starting SEO efforts in Asian countries should start here for these great tips!