Last Updated on January 19, 2024
Baidu is not the only search engine new brands can explore when generating leads or traffic within the Chinese digital landscape. Sogou stands out as a notable alternative, offering unique opportunities to enhance your brand’s exposure within the local market.
Read along as we explore the different ways you can utilize the Sogou search engine and other insights that will help improve your digital marketing strategy for Chinese users.
What is Sogou Used For?
Sogou debuted in the Chinese search engine market in 2004. Since then, the platform has been known for its unique algorithm called the Sogou Rank index and its SERP layout.
Primarily, it allows users to conduct online searches to find information across the web. Since it’s a Chinese search engine platform, it processes the queries in the local language, particularly in its simplified form.
Sogou users can search public accounts, images, videos, and other landing pages based on the keywords they have entered. With its AI and natural language processing advancements, the web browser provides enhanced search experiences, including more accurate and context-aware search results.
Besides standard web content, this Chinese search engine indexes a variety of content. In fact, Sogou launched Zhihu Search function in 2014, along with being the default search engine for platforms like QQ.
What are the differences between the Sogou and Baidu Search Engines?
Baidu is a slightly older search engine than the Sogou browser, launched in 2000. Its app has a more extensive user base of 663 million monthly active visitors. This Chinese search engine uses a domain credibility system to rank websites, influencing how results are displayed in SERPs.
Meanwhile, Sogou holds a smaller market share, and its popularity is only followed by the success of its Sogou Pinyin input software.
The Sogou web browser may not prioritize its own services as heavily as Baidu, but the platform still provides relevant search results. It’s also a subsidiary of Tencent, which means the site has access to services offered by the company, like WeChat.
And since Sogou partnered with other sites like Zhihu and Bing, it has more content variety and search result relevance on these platforms. Meanwhile, Baidu Search tends to rely more on its own extensive database and services.
5 Effective Ways to Use Sogou in your Marketing Strategy
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tailored for Sogou
Sogou SEO metrics highly value website authority, as indicated by its “SogouRank” index. If your business wants to achieve this, you must optimize your site to build high-quality links, correctly use tags, and create original content.
Conducting SEO in Sogou is more than choosing the most popular words in your business niche. As a Chinese search engine, the app also prioritizes websites with content in simplified Chinese language from local domain servers (.cn or .com.cn).
Foreign marketers should also note that title tags are more crucial than meta descriptions when ranking higher in this web browser.
2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Search engine advertising is a popular type of digital paid promotion in China, so it’s not surprising that Sogou provides different ad types for various business needs. Thanks to its strategic partnerships with other platforms, ads from this app can reach a broader audience.
Similar to Baidu, advertisers on this Chinese web browser can access different ad formats. These promotions can appear on channels like Sogou Pinyin Ads (PC & Mobile Banner) and Brand Zone.
Bidding on Sogou ads only works through PPC, so it only charges when a user clicks on your promotional content.
3. Integration with WeChat
Since the same company is a subsidiary of the two platforms, Sogou remains the default search engine that can index WeChat content. This integration allows the local web browser to leverage a wide range of data from China’s largest social media platform, with a user base of over 1.3 billion to date.
The fact that Sogou has access to WeChat’s vast data pool enables it to personalize search results more effectively. This partnership also gives the browser an edge over its major Chinese search engine market rivals, like Baidu and Bing.
4. Content Marketing with a Localized Approach
Adding relevant phrases or simply translating content is not enough to lure Sogou’s user base into clicking your website. If you want real traffic and possible conversions, you must create culturally relevant and engaging content to resonate with your target audience.
It can include articles, videos, or infographics that cater to local interests and preferences. Remember that the browser can detect language variations and trends, so ensure you’re up-to-date with industry news in China.
5. Use of Sogou’s AI Capabilities
Sogou’s commitment to AI is evident in its focus on natural language processing. In fact, the company has been gaining recognition worldwide for utilizing this technology in different innovations.
Based on the recent development of this Chinese browser, it’s clear that the company aims to evolve from a search engine to a question-answering service using AI. It indicates potential for advanced marketing applications, such as personalized content delivery or improved user interaction.
Other Sogou Products, Partnerships, and Investments
- Qihoo Deal Attempt
In 2013, Chinese internet security company Qihoo, which operated its own search engine, considered purchasing Sogou for $1.4 billion. However, this acquisition did not materialize, leading Qihoo to rebrand its search engine and redirect it to Haosou.
- Zhihu Collaboration
You may not know, but Sogou is an investor in the leading Q&A platform in China called Zhihu. It was launched in 2014, and ever since then, this Chinese web browser has been its default search engine.
- Microsoft Partnership
In 2016, Sogou collaborated with Microsoft. This partnership aims to integrate Bing into the Chinese browser to enhance English language search capabilities.
- Sogou Pinyin
More than a search browser, Sogou is also famous for developing a Chinese input method editor. It boasts a penetration rate of over 80% and has a user base of more than 300 million.
- Voice Search
Sogou has established itself as a leader in voice search technology within China, providing advanced voice recognition capabilities. The integration of this technology can significantly impact the way search results are generated in its browser. It enhances user interaction with digital devices, allowing for more natural and convenient search experiences.
Who owns the Sogou search engine?
Sohu.com, a leading internet company in China, primarily owns Sogou. However, in 2021, the local search engine completed its merger with the country’s tech giant, Tencent Holdings.
This ownership structure places Sogou at the intersection of two major players in China’s internet industry. Not only does it benefit from Sohu’s established web presence but also Tencent’s extensive resources and technological expertise.
Is the Sogou browser strictly regulated like Baidu?
Like Baidu and other browsers in China, Sogou is subject to strict regulatory permissions from the local government. These regulations are part of the country’s broader internet governance framework, which includes content monitoring, censorship, advertising, and data privacy laws.
As such, the Sogou browser must comply with these regulations, impacting aspects like search result filtering, content accessibility, and user data management.
Your Trusted Search Engine Partner in China!
From its integrated AI capabilities to its strategic partnerships, the unique advantages offered by Sogou open up vast opportunities for targeted and effective brand promotion. However, navigating China’s intricate digital marketing landscape can be challenging, especially for a foreign brand. This is where collaborating with an expert becomes invaluable.
At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand these challenges and specialize in turning them into opportunities. Our team is equipped with the expertise and experience necessary to tailor a strategy that maximizes the potential of Sogou for your brand.
We offer comprehensive services to empower your SEO & SEM strategies in China. From crafting compelling marketing campaigns to harnessing the power of social media, we provide the digital solutions you need to thrive. Contact us today, and let’s start working together!