One UK chippy has caused quite a stir among Chinese tourists. The owner Robert Savvides was baffled by the influx of Chinese people for a couple of years until he realised that the power of international SEO can aid many small UK businesses.
An interesting news feature emerged on the BBC News website last week.
It's a quaint story about a sea-facing Brighton chippy enjoying an influx of Chinese diners...
For a couple of years the owner of The Regency Seafood restaurant couldn't understand why so many Chinese people couldn't get enough of his battered cod.
What's the attraction?
Robert Savvides, although grateful, was also rather confused, so asked some of his dinners what they loved about the place?
As you'll see in the video, a famous Chinese chef visited the restaurant, enjoyed the food and wrote a sterling review on his personal blog.
We've been unable to locate the exact review, but another blog post is currently doing very well in the Chinese search results. Here's the blog:
Naturally, what does every holidaymaker do before they board a plane? They do a little research around the attractions, tourist hotspots and most importantly, they want to find out about local food!
So when Chinese people search in Mandarin for "best restaurant in Brighton" via Google.com.uk or baidu.com, webpages about this charming little chip shop top the search results.
Here's the top result in Google.com.uk
And the result for "Regency Restaurant" in Baidu.com:
The restaurant is clinching the top spots in the SERPS due to a variety of Google's ranking factors, unbeknownto Mr Savvides.
But the important element of this story is that international SEO can help many UK businesses to benefit from the growing Chinese tourist market. This could be a lucrative opportunity for the smaller business failing to compete with the bigger brands here in the UK.
The Chinese Market
So why else are his dinners predominantly Chinese?
Well, more and more Chinese holidaymakers are setting their hearts on the UK, which will see an enormous econimical benefit. Britain already welcomes 149,000 Chinese holidaymakers a year, which is relatively low compared with the 1.1m who travelled to France in 2012.
Therefore, it is estimated that the UK misses out on millions of Chinese tourists, costing the UK economy an estimated £1.2bn in annual spend. So there is still some way to go, but the trend looks set to continue.
In one study, the data showed that Chinese tourists are the biggest spenders abroad. Chinese tourism spending has increased almost eightfold in 12 years, up from US$13bn.
There's no denying that China is a big growth market. As more Chinese people decide to holiday here, it will be a good investment to make your business visible to this audience. This is an opportunity not to be missed.
Which types of business can benefit?
The types of businesses that will appeal to potential overseas travellers will be those related to the tourist and travel sector, such as:
- And leisure
These are the types of things that everyone researches before booking their holiday, so I advise that you take stock of your online property to see which areas need to be reviewed to make them accessible on the somewhat tricky territory of the Chinese internet.
How can digital marketing help?
The global nature of digital marketing and SEO can help to expose your business to the growing Chinese UK tourist market.
The internet in China has been colloquially nick-named "The Great Firewall" so it wasn't a surprise when the freedom of the net report 2012 ranked China's internet as one of the most restricted in the world.
Google is not blocked entirely, but users who search for banned words are blocked from Google for 90 seconds.
According to an article written by Henry Fong, CEO of Yodo1, "China probably has more social media users than Facebook has in the entire world combined". China has several very active social networks, yet they're not those used by the West.
Liang says this isn't a hindrance, as the video has shown you. With our in house knowledge, we can put together the right strategy to:
- Identify and utilise the right digital channels to put your business in front of 538m users.
- Help you overcome the cultural differences to communicate with the audience.
- Take advantage of the "great firewall" whilst other companies are yet to explore ways around it.
- Pin point the right bloggers with Google authorship and authority.
- How to respect censorship laws but at the same time penetrate the market.
The growing number of overseas visitors is definitely something that the small business should consider because, as we've seen from this seaside chippy, even the most unsuspecting business may be pleasantly surprised.