Top 20 Baidu SEO Secrets (For Advanced Marketers)

Any company wishing to set up in China must take into consideration the implementation of a suitable SEO strategy. With over 800 million Chinese Internet Users fond of e-commerce and the use of social networks, the competition is fierce and it is difficult to find a place in the rankings of Baidu.

With 71.5% of market share in 2018 on search engine in China Baidu is undeniably the first Chinese search engine. That is the reason why every company that wants to involve in the Chinese market must take into account improving their Baidu SEO strategy.

Baidu is not Google (but this you already know it right?)

Adopting the same SEO strategy for Baidu as for Google, isn’t a good idea, in fact despite their similarities, the Chinese search engines own some secrets, and these are important for establishing relevant and effective actions.

By studying the different SEO tools of Baidu, the content and design optimization of a website, as well as the factors influencing the algorithm of Baidu we will reveal 20 secrets of the mechanism of Baidu SEO

20 BAIDU SEO SECRETS

1 – HOSTING IN CHINA (basic but need to repeat)

A first important thing for a good SEO on Baidu is to be hosted in Mainland China, why? because of the Speed and user experiences.

What users (and baidu boots) should do when they see that?

Website hosting 

To gain visibility and ranking on the SERP Baidu, it is preferable that the website is hosted in China, because if Google does not take into account the country of hosting of the website it is not the case of Baidu (which is due to the Great Firewall). 

Moreover, being hosted in Mainland China, it is easier for Baidu to read the pages of the website and thus optimize the user experience (because it is faster), which is why these sites are favored.

Hosting is more and more important for SEO

ICP Licence (better to have one)

However, to be able to be hosted in China, you must hold an Internet Content Provider license (ICP) and for that, you must already have a Chinese business license. This is not mandatory, however it will make the whole SEO process way easier.

If you do not have a Chinese business license, you should preferably host the website in locations such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and so on. Being closer to Mainland China, this will prevent big loss in terms of Baidu ranking even though it will not be as fast as Mainland China.

Without ICP license it is possible , just harder (or more expensive)

If you are really ambitious and do not want to be shut down, better to get one.

If you are on e-Commerce Site, you have to get ICP e-Commerce (just harder to get)

Questions about your Domain Name …

The domain name is not that important, in fact, Baidu used to rank « .cn » website higher than other websites, but it is NOT TRUE anyomre

Avoid having different domains for the same website as this practice generates Baidu penalties on rankings.

Contact in China

Baidu also rank higher companies that already established « real » contact in China, meaning that they either have an office in China or a contact/ agent that customer can call or meet in China, and have a PPC account with verifed company /contact

Baidu SEO TOOLS

2 – BAIDU WEBMASTER TOOL

Baidu has created a tool allowing the website designer to manage the presence of their site on the Baidu SERP. This platform gives access to data such as the performance of your site, which optimizes the performance of your site. To do so, Baidu webmaster offers you several tools for example: submit your content to Baidu so that it is indexed optimally, optimizing your website for mobile, conduct security test for website etc.

3 – BAIDU KEYWORD PLANNER

Baidu Keyword planner is the Chinese version of Google Adwords, this tool goes together with Baidu index, a tool that provides many information on keywords for companies wishing to invest in ads like PPC. The operation is quite simple, we search for a keyword and Baidu keyword planner gives access to other relevant keywords through average daily search volume on computer support as well as mobile support, the competition level of a keyword and the estimation of a bid price for a top keyword. It is also possible to substitute Baidu Keyword Planner with other tools like Zhangzhang (meaning « webmaster »), Aizhan (more focused on long tail keyword) or Ciku (meaning « inventory »), trying different sites of keyword research may also be a smart technique to evaluate keyword popularity and competition.

4 – BAIDU FENG YUN BANG 

Baidu Feng Yun Bang is the Chinese version of Google Trend, which allows at a glance to get an idea of what is happening on the internet and therefore to be inspired on popular key words. The site allows on the homepage to have access to the news according to key words, according to places or according to categories of domain (fashion, finance, travel, technology, …).

In addition, the tools used to analyze data by province / city allow you to get into the details of recent events and trends in development.

5 – BAIDU INDEX 

Baidu index provides access to very practical tools for optimization of SEO strategy including keyword research. It is possible to access keyword popularity and relevancy studies, all illustrated by a bubble chart (the size indicating the popularity of the keyword and its color represents the search trend of that word).

Baidu Index also allows you to have access to the searched keywords before the studied keyword, and the sought keywords after the studied keyword (this is what is called respectively the “source keyword” and the “destination keyword” “).

With Baidu Index you also have access to relevant new keyword appearances with your own keyword and tracking the popularity of these new keywords.

Linked to this, it is also possible to graphically analyze the trend of keywords and compare these trends according to location criteria: provinces or cities in China for example or social criteria such as age or gender.

In sum, Baidu index is a tool that effectively contributes to the development of SEO strategy for a company.

DISPLAY 

6 – IMPORTANCE OF SITE’S HOMEPAGE 

Baidu places much more importance on the homepage of the websites than on the internal pages, it is therefore essential to optimize the homepage to improve your organic SERP ranking.

7 – SIMPLIFIED CHINESE 

Because baidu is ineffective at reading foreign languages, it is important to favor simplified Chinese when creating your site. The reading of the site by baidu will be more effective and will generate a content of an optimal quality with a better rendering. This will also increase traffic on the website.

8 – CONTENT DISTRIBUTION

Because Baidu indexes web pages quite quickly, it is important that keywords and important content be placed at the top of the page (home page and internal page). The company may focus on the content, the body of text and key words rather than the design of the pages (which would take longer to load). This goes hand in hand with the frequent renewal of content.

9 – FRESH CONTENT

Recent and frequently updated website content are those most often valued by the Baidu algorithm. The freshness of the content of the websites influences the ranking of the website in the SERPs of Baidu. Moreover, the more recent the site, the more the newness of the content influences the ranking. Fresh content also relies on making sure that your content is engaging to users.

10 – CENSORSHIP CONTENT

To have a high ranking on the SERP Baidu, it is obvious that we must pay attention to the content of the website. Because China is known to censor “sensitive” content (against government, content reserved for adults, inappropriate). It is therefore important to be careful that the content is not subject to censorship.

Especially since the content considered as inappropriate in China does not necessarily correspond to Western criteria.

11 – MAKE PEOPLE INTERESTED IN YOUR CONTENT

Baidu’s algorithm takes into account the passage time of each user on a web page. That is to say that if a user stays a few seconds on the pages, it is that it does not necessarily correspond to his expectations and this will influence the ranking of this site in the SERP.

Because the number of available website is constantly increasing, information more and more abundant, it is key to know how to hold the attention of users. For that, you have to know how to give the relevant information in a clear and precise message.

12 – MAKE YOUR CONTENT UNIQUE

This might be obvious but your content must be yours, original, unique. But it also means that it is important to be responsive to other sites that can do what is called “content scraping” and that may penalize your site if you lack of vigilance.

13 – LONG TAIL KEYWORDS (IMPORTANT IN 2019)

For the strategy it is important to think of “long tail keyword”, unlike the classic keyword, they are much longer and therefore generate less traffic on the pages. However they can generate quality traffic, and as they are less sought on the search engine, they give more chance to small structures (like startups) who are often very low on the SERP for very popular keywords.

Long tail keywords are a good way to stand out against the strong competition on highly exploited search engines like Baidu.

Moreover, choosing long tail keyword for a pay per click advertising strategy is smart because the costs are obviously more accessible because these words are less exploited.

14 – META TAGS 

If the meta tag has little influence on Google’s SERP ranking, they are important when setting up an SEO on page strategy on the baidu search engine.

Logical … Yes I know, but need to be said

Which therefore requires to integrate relevant keywords in titles, body text and images when designing the website in HTML code. 

INFLUENCE BAIDU ALGORITHM

15 – SERP AND RICH SNIPPETS

While Baidu and Google SERPs were largely similar in the past, Baidu has distinguished itself in recent years by adding rich snippets to enrich the SERP. These snippets are most of the time the property of Baidu and it is not uncommon that the first page is mostly constitute of Baidu’s rich snippets. This might be one of the reason SEO strategy in China must be correctly build.  

Baidu’s SERP displays organic results (link or rich snippets), ads, search-related content, and more.

Baidu has different forms of rich snippets, among those are frequently used:

  • Baidu News : is the information channel of Baidu (it is the Chinese version of Google News), it uses the content from other websites to allow users to find every informations in the same place.
  • Baidu Baike: who represents the Chinese version of Wikipedia
  • Baidu Music: allows users to search and listen to music directly from the Baidu search page
  • Baidu Map: allows directly to have a preview of the location on a map, or the desired route.
  • Baidu Zhidao : which is a question / answer site, it is a good site to answer questions (but it is also a good tool for optimizing an SEO strategy).
  • Baidu Images 
  • Baidu Tieba : which are communities gathered around forums and questions and/ or topics.
  • Qunar 2: (Simplified Chinese: 去哪 人 meaning “Where to go?”) Allows you to book trips directly from the Baidu result page

It is also possible to find rich snippets that Baidu (unofficially) designed for some big companies that are partners with them.

These Baidu properties are very useful for users but they are also part of what makes Baidu SEO strategy such a challenge. That’s why it’s important to see how these rich snippets can affect your business (through your keywords) : A booking service for travel will be impacted differently than a video tutorial site for example. So when doing your research about keywords, you should check the space that are still available once the rich snippets displayed.

16 – BAIDU TRUST  (More important than EVER)

Baidu trust Is a service of Baidu that allows to verify the level of reliability of a website. The service gives different level ranging from V1 to V3. This is what we called a Blockchain-as-a-service. 

Websites wishing to benefit from this trust and confidence label must apply to Baidu to have their site verified. 

Obtaining this certification improves the ranking on the SERP, the image of the site and also makes it possible to increase the time of passage on the site of the users.

17 – BACKLINKS (the weak point of Baidu)

To gain traffic on a website and climb in ranking on the Baidu SERP, the consideration of backlinks is important. 

To be effective on the search engine of Baidu, it is necessary to value the quality backlinks (quality content, unique, entertaining, on an optimized web page) but especially favored the sites in simplified Chinese. Baidu’s algorithm favors Chinese sites over foreign sites. You have to be creating backlinks looks natural otherwise abusive linkspaming could lead to penalties from Baidu.

Backlinks Quantity Matter

However the amount of these backlinks is also important in the establishment of SERP ranking, so you must find the right balance to get quality backlinks but also to have enough for these to have an influence on your ranking.

Backlinks are the base of Any SEO campaign in China

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18 – MONEY PLANT ALGORITHM 绿萝

Just like the “Pomegranate Algorithm” the Money plant Algorithm aims to encourage websites to optimize their customer experience to gain places in the SERP ranking. 

However this algorithm is aimed at the websites practicing the so-called “linkspaming” which consists of posting links to blogs, forums, websites that have no connection with the content of the web page.

19 – POMEGRANATE

Pomegranate Algorithm is one of the reasons why the design of a website needs to be optimized and designed for the customer experience. This algorithm is aimed at sites that degrade this experience with the over-use of advertising, or by using advertisements that are considered “pure” content on the website. These websites will be penalized in the rankings on the Baidu search result pages.

20 – ICE BUCKET ALGORITHM AND MOBILE OPTIMIZATION

Another condition to be properly classified on baidu is to have a website properly optimized for use on the phone.

The Ice Bucket algorithm has been set up in this way, meaning that web sites that are too slow for phone use will be penalized in their rankings, sites that can not be used on the phone will be sanctioned by the algorithm. The algorithm is aimed at pages that are blocked by ads, or that can not open without downloading an application etc.

China is pursuing its economic development, and the e-business is evolving with. For the good SEO of a website in China Baidu can’t be avoided. Although having a good knowledge on Google SEO is a good start taking into account the specificity of the Chinese search engine is key to successfully cope with a strong rising competition.

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4 thoughts on “Top 20 Baidu SEO Secrets (For Advanced Marketers)”

  1. Pingback: What Foreign Brands Should Know about Marketing to China - SEO China Agency

  2. Baidu stronger than Google for me
    Ernie, the text analysis software developed by artificial intelligence researchers in the Chinese search engine, has proven to be more effective than Bert, its American equivalent. Baidu, the Chinese search engine, has just won a small victory on Google in the field of artificial intelligence. Glue’s test, the test considered to be the most effective for evaluating the capabilities of a human language comprehension system, its text analysis software called “Ernie” proved to be more effective than that of its competitor. American. At Google we were however very proud of Bert, a new natural language processing software unveiled last year. With the aim of better handling Internet users’ requests, American researchers have trained neural networks by masking certain words in order to improve their ability to understand the general context. The “MIT Technology Review” explains how their colleagues from Baidu used the same approach by adapting it and hiding several characters at the same time. In Chinese indeed the ideograms can have very different meanings depending on the sentences. And surprisingly, the researchers found that Ernie was also very effective at understanding English. Glue even gave him a score exceeding 90 out of 100 for the first time when the average person gets 87.

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