How to Market Your Brand On Baidu

If you’ve been thinking about selling to the Chinese consumers in mainland China you probably have consider doing some SEM on Baidu to increase brand awareness and sells.

This is especially true if you’re a B2B or service based business where social channels such as WeChat, Weibo, Douyin may not be the most ideal way of reaching your potential customers or buyers.

But there is a problem when it comes to SEM in China…

The biggest search engine in the world Google is banned in China, rather Baidu is the dominate search engine and Baidu is not Google. Yes, they’re both search engines and there are definitely similarities between Baidu and Google but SEM game in China fundamentally different.

In this guide we’re going to get in-depth about Baidu search marketing, what’s the same, what’s different, and what’s working right now.

What is SEM

There is a common misunderstanding when it comes to the idea of SEM. I’m not talking just about Baidu SEM or Google SEM but the concept of SEM in general. Most people believe that SEO is the same as SEM which is not exactly true.

SEM stands for search engine marketing and SEO is one way to market a search engine, the other is paid search marketing.

The second most common misunderstanding of SEM is that people and brands tent to associate it only with search engines such as Baidu, 360, Sogou in China and Google, Yahoo, Bind outside of China.

However, search marketing just referral to marketing based on the behavior of a user actively searching for something. This could be a product, information, or a service.

And this bevaior is not only limited to search engines, when people search for a product on TMall, JD, Amazon that would also be consider as SEM.And other more social platforms such as Little Red Book, YouTube, Youku with search functionality will also be consider to be SEM.

SEO vs Paid Search

SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization is a marketing tactic focus on increasing “organic” visibility or ranking on search engines results. Where paid search advertising is a way to actively advertise based on popular and commercial search terms.

Both Baidu and Google has products that allow you to tap into their search results and actively advertise on various of search terms. With Baidu it is call Tuiguang (百度推广), and with Google it is called Adwords

The biggest difference between SEO and paid search is that with SEO you’ll generally paid SEO experts to use various of tactics to get your website to rank for a certain keyword or keywords that you believe has commercial value to your business. This process can take several months or even years to see any significant results but once you rank for the desire keywords you’ll generally stay on top unless there is a major change in algorithm or your competitor has out rank you.

Paid search on the other hand, you’ll see results right away as long as you’re welling to paid for it. However, the downside is as soon as you stop paying advertisement you will no longer appear on top of the search results.

The other key difference is with the paid search there will often have a small “广告(Ad)” tag beside your paid search result where with organic that tag does not appear. With savvy web browser who are away of the difference between paid search results vs organic (SEO) result will usually trust the organic result.

The Key Players in China Search Marketing

360, Soguo and Baidu are really the only 3 players you should care about in China with Baidu dominating the marketing with 68.5% market share and 360 acting as Bing of China with 14.2% marketing share. Google surprising has a market share but only 2.3%.

How People Interact with Search Engines in China

The reason why SEO or ranking on “Google” in around the world for the past 8 to 10 years has been so popular is that SEO is probably one of the best forms of inbound marketing out there.

So, instead of spending millions of dollars creating fancy video or flash commercials to entice the user to buy your product or use your service, SEO is a form of intent based marketing.

When a user goes on Google or Baidu their ultimate goal is to find an answer to their problem!

Searchers Do not Want Information, They want Solution and Answers.

Contrary to popular belief, most people uses search engines to find solutions and not information. Most searches are done to find a product, service, or solution. Even when people are actively searches for information for research purpose they’re still looking for solutions to a problem they are looking to solve.

Most people do not go on search engines to read books, they don’t even actually even search for news. Keep this in mind because it is critical to being successful with search marketing in China

A searcher types their question (A.K.A search query) into the search engine and the search engines search their vast database of billions of websites and find a list of best match results for the searcher’s query. And that, in a nutshell, is how searcher interacts with search engines.

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