You need to rely on Chinese keyword research tools when you want to use search marketing to promote your products to China. Keyword research sounds easy but building up a comprehensive keyword database for your specific industry that is easy to maintain and extend requires more than just downloading the csv file from your Google Keyword Tool, especially when it comes to a language you are not very familiar with.
There are a bunch of handy tools that can get you started in Chinese keyword research, and today I’m going to put up a list of keyword tools you can use in different stages of your search marketing campaigns.
- Baidu Keyword Tool is integrated with Baidu’s pay-per-click advertising platform Baidu PPC Phoenix Nest, or shortened to Baidu PPC, which means it requires a valid Baidu PPC account to use it.
- Google Adwords Keyword Tool – I bet you know it well, or you can…okay I seriously bet you know it well.
- Baidu Index is a keyword trending tool officially offered by Baidu and available to the public. One thing to note is that the number it gives to each search query is not the daily search volume, but a figure calculated based on the real daily search volume on all Baidu’s search products including web search, image search and video search, and user and media attention. Based on statistics we have observed, the real search volume is usually around 1.6 to 2.0 times the Baidu index figure. We had an early post that talks about how to use Baidu Index for keyword research purpose.
- Google Trends China
- Google Insights China
Baidu Top Searches (Baidu Feng Yun Bang in Chinese pinyin) offers a comprehensive list of top search queries that cover many industries. The data is very helpful for you to learn interesting yet valuable facts like how user intents have shifted in your specific industry over the time. I remember Google used to offer a similar service called Google Rebang, and has shut it down.
Weibo Search is the search tool offered by Sina Weibo. It monitors the content, topics and searches on Weibo and offers hot keyword lists for 6 major categories, including general, entertainment, people, news ,finance and sports. If you are from the media industry, it is a gold mine.
The dropdown keyword suggestions are offered by many search engines including Google and Baidu, which can be another good source for popular keywords.
Extracting the dropdown keyword suggestions one by one manually is easy but it requires a little background knowledge on HTTP and programming to do it automatically. Taking Baidu for example, if you look at the HTTP request and response information using HttpFox in Firefox, you will find the data can be got by using a simple GET method.
For the query “NBA”:
The HTTP request sent to Baidu’s server is
The HOST is “suggestion.baidu.com”
And the returned content is in JSON format, which contains the related search queries that we want:
You can use the method to extract the keyword suggestions from Google too, as the logic behind is the same.
Long-tail keywords are hard or sometimes impossible to predict so they can be only “come up with” after visitors already use that keyword to find your website. Popular Chinese web analytics tools include CNZZ, Baidu Analytics and of course, Google Analytics, all of which track the organic search information of your website.
There are also third party tools that can tell you what keywords your competitors are ranking for. In the English search marketing world there are SEMRush, KeywordSpy, and SpyFu, while when it comes to Chinese keyword research, the best competitor analysis tool is Aizhan, which targets Baidu specifically and free.
And finally, what’s your secret weapon for keyword research?
- Use Baidu Index for Chinese Keyword Research
- The Complete List of Baidu Search URL Parameters
- Ryan’s SEOmoz Article List
- Keyword or Brand That is the Question for a Domain
- Mobile SEO for Baidu – Rules, Tools and Best Practices
- Chinese Proper Noun Lexicon: Baidu has it, Google not
- Add Ignored Chinese Search Engines to Google Analytics