When we know that Baidu is the number 1 search engine in China with almost 70% of the market share, it’s clearly the place where you want to be seen on the Chinese Internet. And obviously on the first or second page ! Nonetheless it will not work like the typical Google that we all know. To increase your ranking, you will need fullfill more than the condition we are used to. This is where the SEO gets important.

The main differences between the Chinese search engine and the Western one, is that compared to Google, Baidu doesn’t have the technology that evaluates and indexes the most interesting and relevant informations. Therefore, we will advise you to apply the same SEO rules to Baidu that you’re used to do on Google. China will eventually catch up at this point in the near future so it will be already something you know when the time comes.

So what you need to be able to do for your on-line business is to gain ranking on Baidu and have the maximum exposure on the digital market. And for this, you have to use SEO to win popularity on the Web.

 

The Chinese Internet, a different world

Because of the censorship of the Chinese government, a lot of foreign websites are being punished by being put in the last pages of Baidu. To avoid that, you firstly need to submit your site to Baidu. Without this permission, you have no chance to get indexed in the 1st search engine of the country. To do so, start by following this link. It’s also necessary to submit a site map to help them to find all your web pages. Follow this link to get the chance to. To finish on the structural point of view, you have to use a different htlm code than normally. The two platforms to use are UTF-8 or GB2312. But the first one is better considering it caters any language in the world.

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After having your site on the Chinese Internet, we advise you to use the Chinese characters. Most of the Chinese still don’t speak English or very little and won’t take the time to use a translator, thus it is greatly appreciated by the population to have a site in their language. Baidu uses only simple Chinese characters that everyone in China can understand and share the same search engine. With all the different dialect within China, Baidu had the intelligence of using several different characters for the same keyword. Therefore, foreign company just need simplified traditional Chinese characters to hope rising in the Baidu ranking. It also indexes « Pin-Yin ». The Baidu doesn’t index English words (or it’s mostly inaccurate) so they allows users to write how the symbol sound phonetically.

Some tips to be well-ranked

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Google has been banned from the country last year and since, Baidu has been more powerful than ever. It almost got the monopoly of the market. Failing in China with 2% of share, Google is out of the picture. However, Bing has been particularly clever by creating a partnership with Baidu and insure that some of their results will also appear in Baidu’s result. Therefore, if your English website is on the top 3 on Bing and your Chinese simplified one is as well, your visibility will be extremely prevalent in the Chinese market. So what are you waiting for ? Say yes to Bing.

One of the things you need to know to succeed in your SEO  is that unlike Google, Baidu places significant importance on meta data. For example Meta description and Meta keywords but also Title tags and H1, H2 and Alt tags. Those information are really important to Baidu’s spiders. You need to have them imperatively and be sure that it is translated into simple Chinese and well-written.

If you want a good ranking, you should also be aware of the keyword density (around 6% to 10%), anchor words on internal links (in other words a click able link to go from one of your page to another), an easy navigation with a clear hierarchy, no flash or JavaScript because it won’t work with Baidu, same as Frame and iFrame that is better to minimize. We also advise you to keep the most important content at the top of you page because Baidu’s spiders have a lack of connectivity and will only crawl the first 100k or 120 kilobytes of your page. Last but not the least, you should keep refreshing your content.

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When it comes to the location of your website, you should host it on a Chinese server. Also having a Chinese extension domain name (like .cn or com.cn) is helpful. Baidu prefer this but it’s not necessary to be ranked in a good position. As for the keyword performance, check The Baidu Index or The Baidu Live keyword feed to see which one are the best to use.

If you want to increase the number of visitor on your site, you have to diversify the location across the internet. By that you can add new posts to Baidu News Protocol, promote your brand on Chinese website as much as possible by posting news, use simple Chinese character again and submit pages of your site to Baidu Social Bookmarking Tool.

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The more others sites linking to your site is really important on the ranking factor. Still, you need to know that the quality of links doesn’t matter that much, at least on the SEO point of view but the quantity does though. Also, having inbound links from well-ranking, reputable and relevant Chinese site is a plus. Outbound isn’t that important. As a last tip, you should use a Pay-Per-Click strategy.

The best solution for you in order to promote your brand the right way is to use experts in the SEO help to help you. Our team of SEO/SEM experts will be able to help you design a top grade SEO/SEM marketing campaign to raise your visibility on the Chinese internet.

Further readings :

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