Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the need of the hour for anyone who wants to make it to the first page results of internet searches.
Good SEO can massively boost your ranking on search engines and help increase the rate of growth of your business.
Google is the most commonly used search-engine all around the globe, all thanks to the wide range of services it offers.
Over 63,000 searches are performed on Google every second, which rounds up to around 5.6 billion searches per day.
However, the western search engine giant “Google” isn’t very common for the people of China.
Only 2.9% of the searches conducted in China are done on Google, making it one of the least favorite search engines in the country.
You could blame the Great Firewall of China for barring a major part of Google. However, it wasn’t in a strong position before the wall was put in place either.
If not Google, Who?
Baidu is also known as China’s very own version of Google. While it could just be called a clone of Google, there’s much more to it when you scratch the surface.
Today, Baidu is the leading search engine in China, controlling over 70% of searches in the country.
If you’re a business owner, looking to expand your online presence in China, it’s only wise to get your hands on a few Baidu SEO tips in 2020.
Baidu – Emperor of Online Searches in China
Robin Li and Eric Xu founded the Chinese search giant in the year 2000, which has, since then, never stopped growing and improving to offer a better user experience.
Baidu is optimized to understand and resolve searches in Chinese text. It is entirely China-specific and has the longest index of Chinese web pages in the world.
Optimizing content for Baidu with the same approach as Google wouldn’t really be of any real value.
Baidu SEO presents inescapable challenges such as those related to complex language issues, cultural differences, censorship, etc., which cannot be tackled with the tools of Google.
Baidu is not just restricted to searches but also offers an array of other services like music and video platforms, a Wikipedia clone with more than 13 million articles, translation services, a web browser, an Android-based mobile operating system, and even self-driving cars. And that’s not all!
Baidu SEO in China Tips 2020
Confused about what Baidu is looking for?
Below are some tips to help you prepare for Baidu SEO.
Mandarin is a Must
In simple words, Baidu is the Master of Mandarin.
It understands the language better than any other search engine, all thanks to its focus on being the best in Mainland China. This is the primary reason why other language content doesn’t make it to the first page.
Use an all-Chinese website if you want to boost your business in the Red Dragon.
Use Baidu Services to Boost Online Growth
Baidu’s properties cover up a major part of the SERPs. However, you can use this for your welfare as well.
You can use this feature in Baidu SEO to make yourself known even before your all-Chinese website is ready!
For example, creating a Baidu Baike page (Baidu’s version of Wikipedia) of your company is an excellent option. If verified, your company name is sure to pop-up every time someone searches for your company.
This works even if your official website doesn’t get indexed at all!
The Homepage is the Home Run
Designing an excellent homepage should be of top-most priority for anyone looking to crack SEO in China.
While Google looks for relevance, Baidu looks at the first page of the website. It prioritizes the homepage of a website more than its other pages.
Therefore, if you want to rank on a keyword, you’ve got to design the best homepage you can.
The Title is the Key(word)!
Your page title can make or break your content’s value.
Blame it on the Natural Language Processing (NLP) of Baidu, which is still lagging way behind that of Google.
For Baidu SEO in China, understand that the search engine looks out for the exact keyword searched in the title of the page, so you better have it there.
While this is old school, it also makes it easier for you to rank your website. Just put in those keywords in the title of your content and you’re one step closer to ranking higher.
Don’t forget the K.I.S.S. rule! (Keep It Short and Simple)
Let the SPIDER consume you!
Not an actual one, of course.
Baidu Spider is the name of Baidu’s crawler. It is basically the automated search engine program of the search engine.
You can speed up the indexing process of a website as a part of Baidu SEO by feeding your homepage to its link submission tool. Baidu prioritizes links submitted like this.
Switch to HTTPS to Hit The Top Position Strongly
Baidu switched to prioritizing HTTPS webpages more than HTTP webpages since the latter half of 2018.
Many websites on China’s search giant are yet to make this switch. So, in implementing Baidu SEO, you could be one step ahead by changing your security certificate beforehand.
Black Hat is Black Death!
Baidu SEO Thunder Algorithm, launched last year, was similar to Black Death for tricksters using Black Hat method for ranking.
Source: Caliber Pulse
The new algorithm is heavily penalizing websites that try to cheat and manipulate rankings. Avoid the following if you don’t want to lose your ranking on Baidu forever.
- Heavy Keyword Density and Invisible Text
- Re-directing to other website or page
- Links of sites with irrelevant content
Kryptonite for Websites
All efforts are sure to go to waste if the path ahead is not planned.
There are some things you should strictly refrain from if you want to do rank on Baidu. These aspects are sure to kill your website if you plan to target and SEO in China.
- Anti-government speech
- Inapt adult content
- Content related to gambling
- Any cultural-sensitive information
- Poor quality content
Features of Baidu Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Baidu uses some unique features on its search results pages. Any search conducted on the search engine gives you pages full of rich snippets, better quality, and majorly Chinese content.
However, that’s not just it. There’s much more in store for you on Baidu than what Google SERPs have to offer.
- Baidu’s properties cover up to 70% of the first page.
- The interface is available in Chinese only. (Makes sense when you majorly want to control the Chinese market.)
- Clicking on a link opens a new tab. Therefore, switching back to the results page is not a problem.
- You can find a thumbnail on the right of every result. Unlike Google, Baidu prefers image-heavy results pages.
- There are loads of sponsored results as well. It might be difficult to distinguish between the organic and paid ones.
- While Google uses the same URL for mobile searches, Baidu offers m.baidu.com as the mobile search engine.
“What is different about Baidu than Google?”
Well, the truth to that is in their algorithms.
It can be said that Baidu SEO follows similar principles as of Google, but isn’t as efficient as them in applying them. You could say that it is the same as Google but with a five-year lag.
Google and Baidu SEO are different in some aspects.
Source: QP Software
Here are a few important points to note about the differences between Google and Baidu in China.
- When Google launched the Panda Algorithm in 2011 to tackle poor-quality content, Baidu launched a similar Pomegranate Algorithm two years later for the same purpose.
- After Google came up with a Penguin Algorithm to counter link spam in 2012, Baidu launched a similar Money Plant Algorithm to do the same job approximately one year later.
However, you need to keep a few things in mind if you want to rank on Baidu.
- You need an Internet Content Provider (ICP) to host websites in China.
- Baidu favors and is known to be very biased to China-based websites. Therefore, ranking a foreign website might be a hectic job to do.
- Baidu interprets Chinese text excellently, therefore, provides more accurate results for Chinese queries.
- Plagiarism is intolerable to Baidu. Duplicate content would lead to penalization, which results in loss of value that would take a long time to recover.
- Backlinks from Chinese websites hold more value for a link than backlinks from a foreign website. Hence, choose a China-hosted website that features information in simplified Chinese and uses a Simplified Chinese anchor text.
- Optimizing your image’s alt and plain text is vital if you want to rank on Baidu. It is still not as good as Google at processing images.
- Fresh content is the key to increasing your rank on SERPs. Baidu is much more interested in fresh content than Google. We recommend uploading at least one content piece per month for successful Baidu SEO in China.
- Domain age matters. An old website has more chances of ranking higher than a new domain.
- Meta tags are more helpful for ranking on Baidu than Google. However, this gives way to spams as well.
While it seems to be a load of work to do when thinking about SEO for Baidu, it is definitely worth it. Aim at creating high quality and user-friendly website if you want to successfully rank on Baidu.
Once you’ve achieved this, the vast market of China is all yours in 2020.