It’s hard to believe that Baidu SEO is still important in 2022, but the reality is that it is still a vital part of doing business in China. Even though other search engines and social media platforms are becoming more popular, Baidu is likely to remain the dominant player in China for the foreseeable future. This means companies doing business in China must make sure their websites are optimized for Baidu if they want to enjoy the full benefits of the Chinese market.
Baidu SEO Benefits
- Reputation Management
- Credibility as a company
Baidu Data tells us, that research is step 1 of the purchasing process in China
Chinese internet users look for information about what they are going to buy on the internet and they complete the purchase only when they are perfectly convinced by the information they found…on Baidu
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Mainland Chinese are highly connected users. According to statistics, the number of Chinese Internet users reached 829 million at the end of December 2018, with an increase of 56.53 million new Internet users and an Internet penetration rate of 59.6%. Two years later, during the first quarter of 2020, about 904 million people had access to the internet in China.
As social media platforms and online marketplaces become tighter and tighter, selling products online in China without doing digital marketing through Chinese social media and Baidu is now impossible. Chinese people don’t buy unknown brands, they want to be sure of buying good-quality products since many scandals have disrupted Chinese faith in companies’ behaviors.
What does Baidu data tell us about consumers trends:
- Consumption in low-tier markets is growing. Baidu App saw an increase in use in those cities and particularly for Industries such as Healthcare, entertainment, and finance.
- Consumers are getting younger with an emphasis on Luxury goods, health & the environment.
- Consumers are getting more and more cautious when shopping resulting from an increase in search time online.
The main takeaway from those data is that the biggest consumer segment is changing: Millennials now have more purchasing power, they are willing to buy more expensive items but they are also buying smarter.
One could think that the popularity of social media & live streaming with Millenials & Z has made Baidu and Baidu SEO obsolete but these data are showing us this is not the case, in fact, quite the contrary. Baidu is more than ever the place to get information.
In short, don’t ditch Baid SEO from your marketing strategy in China because chances are consumers will find you through a Baidu Search rather than on Douyin Hot Page.
Western businesses in China must localize
China is well known for its numerous population and the complexity of its culture and language, which is one of the most difficult in the world. Another element companies have to take into consideration is internet censorship. It is indeed crucial that companies learn cultural and social aspects before entering the complicated Chinese market.
Many factors have to be taken seriously: the language, the political economy, the customs, and the culture; all need to be well understood by foreign businessmen before investing important resources in China. It is also important to check out the activities of your competitors in order to avoid bad surprises.
So, once a company has checked all the above-mentioned aspects can start to consider developing a digital strategy tailored for the Chinese market. The initial phase of this strategy must always include the creation of a Chinese website, which has to be adapted to Chinese taste and expectations (in general are very high). Only after having set up a website, a company can start the implementation of an SEO strategy.
Baidu = #1 Chinese search engines
Google is blocked in China but it’s also not a popular search engine in the country anyway.
If we talk about Search Engines Optimization (SEO) in China, we need to mention Baidu. By March 2019, Baidu has 1.1 billion mobile users and processes 3.3 billion queries per day. About 80% of the market shares.
In addition, Google is blocked in China, then if you want to do SEO, Baidu is surely your best choice to get organic traffic (as well as paid one)
Baidu.com Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix and Traffic by Alexa
Baidu was created in 2000 and ranks first in popularity among all Chinese search engines. According to Alexa, it is the 4th most visited website in the world. It has at its disposal around 740 million web pages, 80 million images, and 10 million multimedia files. It accounts for 12.3% of the world’s search engine market share (ranking second after Google) and for 70% of China’s search engine market.
Baidu SEO: Ranking Factors
Companies must understand that ranking high on Baidu can take a long time. Indeed doing SEO on Baidu requires as much patience as doing SEO on google. A company will need an average of 6 months to rank on a dozen of keywords. It may seem like a long time to wait before seeing anything happens, but keep in mind that SEO should be 1 part of your digital marketing strategy in China and that SEO results are long-lasting, more organic, and seen as more trustworthy by consumers.
1. Help your Baidu Seo effort with a Website designed for China
100% Chinese-written websites
Baidu only analyses and collects websites in mandarin languages and therefore gives priority to websites written in Chinese. Your Chinese audience does not understand English so one important point is to have a website written in simplified Chinese characters.
To have a website in Chinese doesn’t mean translating it by using cheap software that only works well for one or two words. If companies want to translate their website into Chinese, it is important to hire a translation services agency that can understand perfectly all the subtleties of the Chinese language.
Please note, that you mainland Chinese do not use traditional characters but simplified Chinese characters.
Keep in mind that Baidu only exists in Mandarin and has an extremely precise Chinese keyword algorithm.
In addition, the website should be hosted in China, as Baidu gives an organic ranking priority if that is the case. Websites hosted outside of China, in fact, suffer from slow load times.
2. Links and main body content served through a CDN
3. Work on your Landing pages and home page
While Google ranks web pages primarily by relevance, Baidu emphasizes the design and content of the website’s home page.
- simple search interface
- Intuitive menu
- Title tags
- Relevant image and alt naming.
- Eventually a Baidu map
- Optimize the loading time
- Avoid Chinese Characters for your URL
4. Keywords’ relevance to Baidu SEO
Baidu prioritizes sites with the exact search keyword in titles rather than on the actual content. Using relevant keywords is not only key to ranking but also to bringing the right traffic through organic search to your website.
Here, we need to point out that Baidu SEO takes time and money for obtaining good results, and as we explained, the right choice of keywords is essential for a successful SEO strategy. What are the current trends in China? What are Chinese people interested in? All these questions matter in your research.
As experts in Chinese marketing, we can deliver the best value proposition and help you to gain a good position in the market.
5. Content Marketing and Social Media: Vital for Baidu SEO
There are two more relevant factors to be considered for your Baidu SEO:
- Original Chinese Content: Chinese Search engines do not like duplicate content. Come up with your own content/blog article. Originals pictures, for instance, will rank on Baidu images. Original content will definitely boost your website Baidu Authority.
- High-quality content: This one is key to keeping readers interested and avoiding increasing bounced rates as it would impact your Baidu authority.
- Content Freshness: Posting regular content shows Baidu that your blog is well and alive which in return gives it a ranking/health score bonus. News-worthy articles will be found on Baidu News and so on. Fresh content will find a place in the Baidu ecosystem.
- Content mapping & Internal Linking: map out your content before even getting started starting from the core keyword you’ve chosen. Setting up a hierarchical website structure will not only help you plan out your content but also link your content properly within your website.
- Sensitive content is to be avoided at all costs: don’t undermine your Baidu SEO effort by creating contentious content. For instance, don’t take the risk of torpedoing your domain authority with adult content and politics
Once your website and content get enough traction, make sure to invest in community building and community management through keyword-based search forum and UGC Chinese/ Baidu channel ( Zhihu, Baidu News, Baidu Zhidao, Baidu Tongji, Baidu Tieba, Baidu Wenku, etc.
In turn, you can invest in these channels to boost your own pages/articles through external linking. Although they won’t be seen as quality links compared to backlinks from sites like newspapers, for instance, they will still help you grow your domain authority and domain rating.
6. Linking is crucial for your Baidu SEO Strategy
Your domain rating and domain authority are impacted heavily by your linking strategy. Meaning that both your internal linking and backlinks strategy will have impactful results on your Baidu ranking.
- Internal links: strengthens your main pages with relevant links on less important pages.
- Backlinks: Ideally your content is interesting enough to get natural backlinks from other content providers but you may need a boost from time to time to help a page win a few positions. To get natural backlinks, tackle hot topics and share them on social media platforms for instance. Build a network of journalists and online media, 3rd party websites, etc that would be willing to link to your website. Or hire an agency like ours that already has such a network for your link building. Be aware of spam links, they can be detrimental to your domain authority, link building is not as simple as buying links to obscure digital companies and commenting on random travel sites. Prefers a few quality links to many “spam links”.
- Video platform: It’s another way to improve your content visibility and get free “quality” backlinks. Use video platforms to publish video content where you’ll link your page, and link the video to your page as well?
7. Chinese Users want a Mobile-Friendly Devices website, and so does Baidu
Having relevant keywords and great Chinese content is good and all, but with a population mainly scrolling the internet through mobile devices, you can be certain that Baidu’s algorithm has evolved to include websites that are optimized for their mobile search app in its ranking factors.
By the way, the Baidu Mobile search app has captured nearly 95% of the Chinese search engine market shares on mobile. The desktop version of your website should be optimized as well obviously!
8. Bonus tips & Baidu SEO tools
SEO is a game of optimization, and for that webmaster tools are key, your google SEO tools may unfortunately not be super useful for Baidu. Instead of using rank tracking tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs, you may go for accuranker for instance.
To be successful with Baidu SEO, both foreign sites and Chinese sites have to be able to track and measure their actions. Obviously, you’ll be using the Baidu SEO tools such as Baidu analytics one (google analytics Chinese counterpart) to track your Baidu traffic and so on, and the Baidu Keyword planner (google ads keyword planner) which will help you find the relevant keyword.
9. Company Identity
Like Google, Baidu likes a figure of authority that can be trusted. Create a full profile on your website and on an online channel for your company/brands with information such as your business address.
In conclusion “Why is it crucial to use Baidu SEO for your business in China?”
Mainland China is a market full of potential for local and western companies tho it’s a fast-paced business environment. Everyone also knows that great opportunities hide great challenges. How can you win in such a competitive market? Where can you find advantages over so many competitors?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question but you should know that investing in digital marketing is the key to success nowadays in China. And among all the digital marketing tools you can use in China, SEO on Baidu is one of the most important.
Build your brand awareness, and invest in Baidu SEO.
We are A Baidu SEO agency
Need a Chinese search strategy and increase your organic traffic? contact us, and ask about our SEO services for mainland China as well as our effective marketing tactic, we are internet marketing experts for China.
We have been in the market for more than a decade and have a deep understanding of the digital culture of the country.
Whether you are in real estate looking for lead generation, or cosmetics wanting to improve your reputation and level of trust with Chinese consumers, we have solutions for you!