China is a world within the world
How does the Chinese world work ? Baidu is the first search engine of China, it has been made by Chinese and is used only by Chinese. When it has first been established, the novelty of Baidu was its accuracy to read the chinese characters. Being able to read one word for 2 characters and without any space between words was very special by the time and Baidu used to have one step ahead of Google on this language skill. It is one of the reason why Baidu worked in China, because it understood Chinese and their terms of communication. Their close relation with government helped a lot as well.
The collaboration with the government
Baidu has always been in cahoots with the Chinese governement. They accepted to cooperate, respect the rules imposed, especially those concerning the censorship. The deal was to let them grow and prosper if they were regularly suppressing censored results like pornographic or other more atypical subject and also opinion that weren’t in agreement with the politic of the government. Regularly, new-censored words appear on the Web most of the time correlated with the domestic politics or the informations coming from abroad.
Even if Google was there before Baidu and had more time to collaborate, they couldn’t match the severe regulation of the chinese government. Therefore, Google was very early one of the victim of the Chinese censorship. This decision was obviously in favour of the domestic competitor and in fact, Baidu.
Even if they tried to make a nice exit in Hong Kong in 2009, the government didn’t appreciated the buzz and decided to censored it. Still now, Google.cn is redirecting directly to Google.com.hk and is slow, when it is accessible from mainland China ! And yet, the website respects the same rules as Baidu and follow strictly what the government ask.
Baidu, Google’s « clone »
Chinese are particularly good at copying and Baidu doesn’t make any exception. Google being such a good innovator, Baidu simply copied most of its website idea. Google likes to surprise and innovate when Baidu has its own knowledge field and prefers to let the population develop itself. Here are some copycat :
Yahoo Answers = Baidu Zhidao
Google Actu = Baidu Actu
Google Maps = Baidu Maps
Google Shopping = Baidu Shopping
Wikipedia = Baike
However it appears to develop its own set of new features like the Baidu Brand Zone,
It is a Baidu-exclusive feature where a brand, for a steep price can be at the top of the first page and use multimedia content at the same time. However you had better think twice before booking your own Baidu Brand Zone : 11000 euros per month to keep one running.
The bottom line here is this : Will Baidu keep differenciating itself or will it just become a Chinese Google?
Two different mentality
Google is typically American, they encourage sharing informations, entrepreneurs, creative and unique content, relevant information and diversity. They want the best result for their users.
Baidu, on the contrary, wants to earn the maximum amount of money as quick as possible. If you search on their engine, you will find all their network ranked first. Baike, Baidu Zhidao, Baidu Tieba and then the other website. When you are looking for commercial requests, the first page and part of the second page will be Baidu PPC (pay per click). It is a policy of cash flow first and informations after. The price of a click on Baidu is also very high, to have a comparaison, it is 4 times more than on Google.com.hk
In simple word, Baidu will be focusing mainly on Chinese when Google.com.hk wants to be more international. When you are doing a SEO strategy, Baidu makes Chinese websites a priority and references only a few foreign websites. While Google.com.hk will take everyone into account, as fair as it should be.
Indeed, Baidu gives a bonus to websites that are hosted in China and a malus to other, Google won’t. Baidu will take into account the meta description of website, Google won’t or way much less. Baidu does not accept social links except if it is its own forums, Google will do it much more. Baidu won’t hesitate to influence some pages more than others and fake some results, Google will never do it even it is Google Bombing. Baidu also give priority to its homepage and didn’t develop Penguin or Panda algorithm, it appreciates keyword’s repetition while Google give a malus on it. To conclude, black hat techniques of the 2000’ work still pretty well on Baidu but doesn’t really make a difference on Google.
Some tips if you want to succeed on Baidu
You need to think like a Chinese. Therefore, your website has to be hosted in China and everything must be in Chinese, therefore, don’t forget the forbidden words you can’t use. It is important that you understand the necessity of backlinks, and only backlinks. Don’t hesitate to be agressive on the acquisitions of links. If you choose less competitive keywords, you have more chances to appear on the first pages of the search engine without publicity. Nevertheless, you should set up a limited campaign of Pay Per Click to get the Trustrank bonus that Baidu gives for that.
There is a huge competition in China, so being ranked in the top first web-pages is difficult. Having a SEO strategy in China is not easy but our services can help you to accomplish that and increase your visibility. In this territory, Baidu is the favorite search engine of Chinese people today. And even if there is a strong wave of complain from the Chinese geek community, We think, my Chinese partner and I, that Baidu Empire is not ready to fall. There is no serious challenger to rival.
If you need more information on the SEO strategy on Baidu, you should check those articles :
To dig deeper into Baidu SEO go there :
- Our SEO news are there
- Our SEO solutions for your brand are here
- An example of what can be achieved via a successful SEO marketing campaign