Baidu is the master search engine in China
After the pull out of Google in China, Baidu became the favorite search engine in China holding 61% of the market share. Therefore if you are considering opening a business in the Middle Kingdom, it is essential to optimize your ranking in the SERP (Search Engine Response Page). Baidu’s of course, but also the SERP of 360 or Sogou. Nevertheless, Baidu function like no other and is very different from his counterpart, Google.
SEO guidelines are more than welcome if you find yourself in this position. there are special characteristic to achieve. If you want to fill up Baidu’s criteria and standards : creation of quality and quantity content, implementation of links and not forgetting how annoying censorship can be in the country.
What is the content requirement needed ?
Baidu has a strict content policy. It penalizes websites that have duplicate content. Therefore, it is necessary to erase double and irrelevant information but also to have as many pages as possible because Baidu gives bonus to those website. Nevertheless, those pages need to to have a minimum of 300 words each. Don’t hesitate to insert internal link, Baidu will think that the content is rich and frequently uploaded.
Moreover, it is mandatory to use simplified Chinese character if you want to be able to reach your target. Only 1% of the population is capable of reading and understanding perfectly English. All content should be written in Mandarin. Don’t forget that there are multiple dialects and meanings for a single character so you should be cautious. About the meta descriptions, Baidu is still old school and keeps on using description as a key factor in the result. The best solution will be to include a keyword or two next to brand terms and stay in a limit of 78 simplified Chinese characters.
Just like Google, only 70 characters are recommended when you choose a title. However, what you might not know is that in Chinese, two characters are equivalent to one word so the limit will be around 35-40 characters which include the keywords as well. Keywords that are very important on Baidu’s SEO. It is a critical factor for the ranking on Baidu. All pages must include 3 to 5 keywords phrases. Baidu algorithm is very basic, so use ALT attribute for your images, it is an important factor of ranking.
To finish, your site must be hosted in China. To optimize the navigation and get a bonus from Baidu, you have no other choice. This is how the government controls informations on Internet.
What are the technical requirement needed ?
Baidu has some strange standards. It does not accept website that use robots.txt. Therefore you should leave this function out. Also, it is not interested in multiple domains and sub-domains are not accepted. If you want to use a multilingual website, or another domain, you should not include it in your Chinese version but create another website.
Chinese are over a billion, half of them use Internet… 24/7 ! The speed is another factor used in ranking so try to optimize your website speed. Moreover, we don’t recommend you to use iFrames for important content. Baidu usually don’t download all the content (again because of the speed) and it has a lot of difficulty to track iFrames such as JS and Flash.
To build link, internal and external, you should include keywords with anchor text. Because if Baidu is ahead in something, it is the quantity and quality of inbound link thanks to its algorithm. So don’t hesitate to put a lot of links high quality links and link building but even low-quality one.