Getting Started With Baidu SEO
Baidu is not Google, and the search engine game in China is also vastly different than the rest of the world.
For one it is true that Chinese consumers don’t actively use search engines as much in China compare to the rest of the world. However, since China has the largest population in the world search results on Baidu are still going to be pretty significant and it is definitely worth investing in depending on your strategy in China.
Second, how Baidu and Google display results which is commonly referred to as SERP(Search Engine Result Page) are different. Which means you’ll have to think about your content and SEO strategy very differently in China.
The Difference Between Baidu SEO and Google SEO.
Link Click – When you click on a Baidu SERP result a new window is open rather than redirecting you away from Baidu SERP results page. This is very common in China and often internet browser will have many tabs open because most website in China forces a new tab rather than redirecting the user on the existing tab.
Thumbnails – Google SERP results are usually all text but with Baidu SERP results you’ll see a lot of thumbnails best the text. This makes a huge difference when thinking about ranking for Baidu because most people will look at the image first before reading any text.
Adult Content – Baidu does not allow any adult contents as it is prohibited by the Chinese government.
Ad Tags: For the most part, the small “Ad” tag is pretty easy to spot and once you saw it you’ll know which results are ads which are not. With Baidu, it is not so clear. Baidu does support but it is really hard to the definition with all the other character around you.
Mobile Search – Because the idea of responsive design for the website does not exact in China and all search engines are ultimately still website or web app Baidu actually have a separate mobile search URL which is m.baidu.com.
Rich Snippets – Rich snippets on Baidu are much more common than Google, although most of the Rich Snippets are going to be from Baidu’s own properties. Also unlike Google where most Rich Snippets are going to contain single thumbnail on Baidu Rich Snippets can be a lot more dynamic and interactive.
Where Google uses schemas from schame.org to gather information for its Rich Snippets, on Baidu webmaster must submit and applied for Rich Snippets using Baidu 数据开放 Platform or as a paid promotion as a premium Baidu partner.
Baidu’s Properties – Unlike Google, you’ll not likely get results from Google’s own products & properties from search results unless you’re actively searching for Google products. On Baidu, 70% of the first page results are going to be owned by Baidu which is one of the biggest reason why SEO is more difficult in China. Here is an article on all the Baidu properties we wrote a while back.
V3 Trust Badge – Like Google with their Domain Authority system that helps Google to determine to rank on SERP. Baidu has something similar call domain credibility system. However, many SEO experts in China are not 100% clear on whether it will actually affect your SERP ranking on Baidu or not.
On top of that, unlike Google’s Domain Authority system, the domain credibility system can be purchased for a fee from Baidu. Once the fee is paid Baidu will issue your site with a yellow V3 Trust badge which has proven to help with CTR (click-through rate) and builds trust with Baidu searchers.
How Search Engines Find, Index and Rank Your Website on Baidu
If you have internet you’ve probably used a search engine before, but have you ever wonder how the search engine find your website and know what your website is about?
You see… the way all search engine find, index and rank your website is fundamentally the same across the world. While Baidu may priorities certain ranking factor differently than Google but it still uses the same process to find and rank your website.
Every single second Baidu sends out millions of robots called crawlers across the visible world wide web we calls the internet. The crawler has one job and that is to find and gather any new websites, contents, and media (images and video) and send them back to the search engine.
Once this information is brought back to the search engine, they are, categorized, ranked and finally stored into a gigantic database by the search engine using it’s algorithms. This way when a new searcher is looking for say information on “Baidu SEO” the search engine will fetch the most relevant results from its database and serve it to that searcher.
And that, in a nutshell, is how all search engine works.
Great, so all I need to do is to make sure my website is crawlable and rank able to the search engines to succeed?
Well… not exactly.
Each search engine may have a slightly different way of a ranking website that changes over time called Ranking Algorithms. For example back in the old days Google would favorite keyword density and pages with higher keyword density will rank better.
This resulted in everyone gaming Google algorithm by keyword stuffing their pages to trick Google into ranking them for a particular search term. It got so bad that there were many pages ranked as the top result on Google with useless and pointless content that no human being will read.
So Google change it’s ranking algorithm to punish anyone who keyword stuff their pages without actually providing relevant and quality content.
Baidu Algorithm works similar to that of Google except it is a few years behind. In the next chapter, we’ll get in-depth on how you can use Baidu search algorithm to favorite your brand.