Search Engine Optimization for Baidu

Introduction

Baidu is most popular search engine in China. Google China is second to Baidu. Lots of Internet marketers in the West do not know much about Baidu, and assume its’ ranking algorithm is similar to Google China. It is purely based on the assumption that when it can beat Google in a large market, its’ ranking algorithm should be comparable to Google. Unfortunately, it is wrong. Baidu’s search result is mixed up with lots of paid links and natural links. It is difficult to distinguish them. In addition, the natural ranking algorithm is not very sophisticated and many spamming and illogical results can be found. According to a study by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) in year end of 2006, Chinese users perceived that Google’s search relevancy is much better than Baidu.

Why Baidu can be No.1 in China?

If its’ ranking algorithm is much inferior to Google, how come Baidu can be more popular in China market? There are 4 possible reasons I can think of:

1. According to CNNIC, Google China has server down time and frustrated users.

2. Baidu is developed by local Chinese, driven by patriotism and language friendliness, general Chinese users tend to use Baidu.

3. Baidu was established before Google entered into China market. Thus, Baidu has first mover advantage.

4. Baidu is famous for its’ strong MP3 search and lots of young internet users are searching for songs in MP3 format daily.

However, CNNIC also revealed that white-collar urban professional in major China cities, and citizens with overseas study background tend to use and love using Google China. Usually, their spending power is much higher, and Google China has advantage in this niche.

Optimization Tips

1. Title and Meta Tags

Like Google, Title tag is also very important. Unlike Google, Meta description and Meta keywords tags are still very useful in improving ranking in Baidu. As always, we do recommend clients add meaningful Meta description and keyword tags because they are still important for some popular localized search engines.

2. Content

It is similar to other popular search engines. Your website copies should have keywords you want to optimize. The higher the keyword density, the better is the result. If your keyword density is too high, it can adversely affect search engine rankings in other search engines, however. Therefore, we recommend 6-12% for Baidu optimization.

3. Linking

Unlike Google, Baidu does not have a sophisticated algorithm to determine link relevancy and link quality. Quantity seems more important than link quality. Incorporating keywords in internal anchor text has some positive effect on Baidu ranking.

4. Content Language

Since Baidu is developed in Mainland China, if your site has simplified Chinese, you are easier to get exposure in Baidu.

People may also wonder if English keywords are used in China. From our experience, it really depends on your industry and targeted visitors. For example, English keywords are used by high income office workers, manufacturing and trading firms, or banking professional. If your target is general mass market, Chinese keywords are dominant in frequency of use.

5. Alt Tag

Alt tag with keywords incorporated into Alt text is good for Baidu optimization. However, it is not advised to stuff too many keywords inside.

6. Server

If your site is mainly targeted for Mainland China, we recommend you hosting your site in Mainland China. It helps your Baidu ranking significantly.

It is not essential to get .com.cn or .cn domain names, however.

7. Geographical Market

China is a very big company. Internet marketers are difficult to target every province and city of China. You must determine the location of your high value customers. If they are mainly based in Mainland China, your site should use simplified Chinese. If you are targeting Hong Kong and Taiwan, your site should use traditional Chinese.

Of course, it does no harm if you include both Chinese versions. If the wordings can be more localized to the city or province you target for, it can yield better conversion rate.

Also, Baidu is only popular in Mainland China, particularly in the northern part. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, Baidu is an insignificant search engine player.

Author:.

Jimsun Lui is in charge of SEO projects of Agog Digital Marketing Strategy Ltd, a search engine optimization company provides professional English and Chinese SEO services. He also manages his own search engine optimization portal in Chinese.

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Have a question for Nick?

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Anita Cameron
28th May 2015 4:35pm
Does Baidu have a free report of registered keyword searches similar to that of Google Statistics, which reports on registered keywords and their statistics are tracked free of charge?

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