Baidu is the king of Chinese search engines, with over 1.1 billion devices. Its name, like Google’s, is a word that means “constant search for the ideal.” However, the two have substantial SEO disparities. You’ll also need to adjust if you want to be found online.
Before we get started, keep in mind that Baidu’s supremacy has been challenged in recent years. In August 2015, they had an 87 percent market share, but by May 2019, it had decreased to 66 percent. Shenma and Sogou, two newcomers, are gaining traction. Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company, owns Shenma. Meanwhile, Sogou is responsible for Tencent’s WeChat search function.
Chinese shoppers also frequently bypass search engines in favour of virtual marketplaces such as Tmall and JD.com. According to estimates, 70% of Chinese marketers spend their lead generating budget on social media sites.
It’s critical to keep an eye on the changing scene as the race for Chinese clicks heats up. Baidu, on the other hand, should remain the cornerstone of your Chinese search strategy. Are you ready to begin? Here’s all you should know about Baidu SEO.
- DOMAIN NAME
Baidu prioritises China. It favours .cn domains, Chinese-based servers, and links from Chinese-based websites. As a result, getting an Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence is a smart option. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has issued them. They also permit the operation of websites hosted on domestic (Chinese) servers. However, the website must be owned by a Chinese corporation that is lawfully registered.
Even though the fact that .cn domain names consistently score higher on Baidu, you don’t have to give up if you don’t have one. If your.com and.net websites are accessible from and optimised for China, they will still be rated.
Even if you need to have your documentation in order first, getting a Chinese-hosted website is recommended. The red tape surrounding these licences often discourages businesses. However, obtaining top Baidu results and increasing web traffic is well worth the effort.
- BAIDU WEBMASTER TOOLS
The official traffic management platform for Chinese website managers is Baidu Webmaster Tools. It has a wide range of features, including dead-link detection and speed assessments. The software also provides metrics that are exclusively available from Baidu. In addition, webmasters and Baidu have a two-way communication channel.
It is recommended that you use Baidu Webmaster Tools to submit your website. This aids the Baidu spider in accurately indexing your material. Additionally, it provides you with useful tools for monitoring and optimising the performance of your website. It’s only available in Chinese, however registering as a user is free.
- BAIDU TRUST SYSTEM
The Baidu Trust System gives users of the Baidu search engine a sense of trustworthiness. It uses badges to show a numbered level of trust next to search results. Baidu sells badges that can be purchased. There’s no official word on whether they have an impact on Baidu SEO. However, experience suggests that they can have a significant impact.
Investing in Baidu badges is recommended to give internet users confidence in your site. They can also assist in lowering bounce rates, which will improve your ranking and organic click-through rates.
4. MOBILE OPTIMIZATION
Mobile phones are used by 98 percent of Chinese internet users. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly will be transcoded by Baidu. What exactly does this imply? It will adjust the layout of your page based on what Baidu thinks to be best practice. The transcoded pages will be available on Baidu’s website.
To stay in control, use “_applicable-device_” meta tags, which allow Baidu to distinguish between desktop and mobile pages and avoid transcoding. Also, make mobile-first design a priority.
5. STRUCTURED DATA SNIPPETS
In comparison to Google, Baidu search results pages often feature significantly more structured data snippets. Structured data is therefore extremely helpful when optimising for Baidu SEO. This information can be submitted through Baidu Open, a service that allows webmasters to develop their SERP widgets.
It is suggested that you provide structured data to Baidu Open. If you want to rank for rich snippets, this should be very important for you. Baidu Webmaster Tools only allows you to apply for a small number of rich snippets.
7. BAIDU’S OWNED CONTENT
Baidu gives a lot of weight to content from its own platforms. For brands and certain keyword topics, this can be difficult. The good news is that most Baidu platforms allow businesses to submit content, allowing them to communicate with people in an indirect manner. They’re also regarded as reliable sources of information.
Creating content on Baidu platforms is regarded as a smart strategy to get noticed. Begin by creating a Baike company page. Examine the possible outcomes for your target keywords. Also, look for terms with less competition on Baidu’s platforms.
8. SERP LAYOUT
The layout of the Baidu search engine results page differs from that of Google.
On page 1, Baidu services and rich snippets might consume up to 70% of the area. This means that organic search results will take up a lot less space. Even if you have a high ranking, you may only appear on page 2.
Targeting long-tail keywords, where rich snippets are less common, is recommended.
9. KEYWORD RESEARCH
Keyword research is an important aspect of ranking on Baidu, just as it is on Google. However, don’t rely on Google’s Keyword Planner because it lacks comprehensive data for China. Instead, utilise a third-party service like Baidu Keyword Planner or Dragon Metrics to find Chinese keywords. Translating keywords from other languages into Chinese isn’t going to help you locate the best keywords to target.
International keyword research is recommended to assist you to target the most relevant terms for your Chinese audience (and any other market, for that matter).
10. CONTENT FRESHNESS
The freshness of content is a ranking signal for Baidu. This means that for Google, releasing new information regularly is increasingly vital. However, all content must adhere to China’s censorship regulations. All anti-government rhetoric, pornographic content, and gambling-related materials are prohibited.
This may prove to be more difficult than you believe. Due to their political overtones, even seemingly innocent words, such as ‘toad’ and ‘rubber duck,’ are prohibited. Similarly, an innocent photo of sunbathers or even piglets could result in your website being blacklisted due to excessive skin exposure. To be sure you don’t accidentally offend the censors, do some research. If you’re unsure, leave it out.
It is recommended that new stuff be published at least twice a month. However, keep an eye out for new censorship rulings. Alternatively, you can send your content to a Baidu representative for censorship approval.
Baidu SEO should be the first priority in any Chinese search strategy. It takes time and effort, but the payoff is well worth the effort. However, keep a watch on Baidu’s competitors. In the Chinese search, we may be entering a new, more competitive period. Keeping up with the latest trends and optimising your content for these sites will help you stay ahead of the pack.