China internet has never been open to connect. Internet giants have been building their own digital ecosystems, with the purpose of keeping visitors to stay on their web properties, instead of sending them to competitors website. Guided by mindset, Taobao blocked Baidu’s robots in 2009, Ctrip sued Qunar for scraping their users comments 2011, Taobao blocked links shared from Wechat in 2013. The recent one is Wechat disallow search engine spiders to crawl its content except its sister company Sogou.
Wechat Disallow Search Engine Robots
Starting from the beginning, Wechat has been positioned as closed social network. It’s not surprising to see Wechat disallow search engine to crawl its content and display them to the public. That’s the main reason we can see their robots.txt setting is disallowing search engine robots to crawl contents except wiki, Q&A, debug sections.
Wechat Subscriber Account Content Are Indexed Heavily By Sogou in Wechat Section
However with its prosperous growth of Wechat’s subscriber accounts, which are created by media, key opinion leaders and brands, Wechat has become another dynamic content generator. Content creators have the need to amplify their influence to public and would love to see their contents found on search engine’s result page. However the only search engine fitting into this is Sogou, the 3rd largest search engine partially owned by Tencent. By sharing data via API, Wechat subscriber account contents are displayed on the section of Wechat on Sogou, with sub search tabs of articles and subscriber accounts. By simply typing the popular term of Fast & Furious 7(速度与激情7) on the Wechat Search Section on Sogou, we got 11,408 listings, with data of content shared, time of released and location of the account.
Only a Fraction of Wechat Subscriber Contents Are Indexed by Sogou Web Search
Compared with 11,408 Wechat Subscriber Account contents related to Fast & Furious 7 (速度与激情7) found on Wechat Search section on Sogou, there are only 172 content indexed on Sogou Web Search section, not to mention the content from 2013 and 2015. This indicates the database of web search section and Wechat search section are still working on their own.
Fewer Wechat Subscriber Contents are Indexed by Baidu
Only 87 Wechat Subscriber contents are indexed by Baidu, however they are more update to date, (Mostly in Mar. 2015) than those indexed by Sogou Web Search. This shows Baidu didn’t scrape the Wechat content from the search engine results listings on Sogou Web Search, but from other sources, possibly from links. But without data of article shared, viewed, location from Wechat, it’s still too early to say the social and search are integrating.
Kun has 10 years digital marketing experiences in Europe and China. His expertise includes SEO, Social Media, PPC and mobile marketing. He manages the strategy and business development of Jademond Digital. Pior to Jademond, he played provital roles in search marketing agency in Hong Kong, mobile marketing agencies in China and online video portal in Europe.
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