Although Google is the most popular search engine in the world, this is not the case in China. Only about 16% of Chinese netizens search the web via Google. The favorite search engine in China is Baidu, which occupies more than 60% of the market share among Chinese search engines. So if you want to enter the Chinese market and increase traffic and awareness for your website, you need to understand Baidu and approach SEO in a different way.
If you want to enter the Chinese market and increase traffic and awareness for your website, you need to understand Baidu and approach SEO in a different way.
The Unique Landscape in Baidu SEO
- Under government control
Baidu has close relations with the Chinese government and respects the rules of censorship. Baidu is strict with violence, pornographic content and anti-government articles. For example, when “Ferrari” was referred to in a scandal involving a government official’s family member, more censorship of “Ferrari” occurred.
- Imitating the West
Just like China is well-known for counterfeiting, Baidu is also good at imitating: Baidu Zhidao is just like Yahoo Answers; Baidu Baike is Chinese Wikipedia; Baidu Map works similarly to Google Maps.
- Making money
Compared with Google, which is a bit more about sharing information, Baidu tries to earn as much money as possible. The price per click on Baidu is 4 times that of Google.com.hk. In addition, Baidu always puts the search results of its own network sites above others. For example, when you search on Baidu, the first results are Baidu PPC, then Baidu Baike, Baidu Zhidao, Baidu Picture or Baidu Tieba. In addition, the first 11 results are usually Baidu PPC (pay per click).
Different Techniques from Google SEO
- Host service: Baidu gives a big priority to the websites hosted in China. If you want your website to rank highly in mainland China, you need to make sure that your domain is hosted on a local top level domain.cn or .com.cn.
- Title tag and Meta: Baidu puts a heavy weight on the title tag, Meta Keywords and Meta Description. Optimising the title tag will help position your website even if the content is illogical. As Meta keywords and Meta description are both important in overall ranking, they should be optimised with relevant and high performing keywords.
- Linking: Compared with Google, Baidu lacks the technology to determine link quality. Baidu gives more weight to the quantity of links than to the quality. Usually, Baidu will list websites which have more back links higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
- Language: Baidu gives more weight to the websites written 100% in Chinese. Baidu only indexes simplified Chinese characters. Using the right language will increase your chances of being clicked on. In addition, Baidu does have a feature called “Pin-Yin”(Chinese official phonetic system). So you may also have to take into account this feature when optimising your site.
Baidu is constantly improving their services to catch up to its competitors such as Google. It would be beneficial to understand how Baidu SEO operates and the differences between Baidu SEO and Google SEO. With the landscape constantly changing, it is important to use SEO experts who fully understand how to promote your website to the Chinese market.
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