How to Determine Your China SEO Link Building Strategies

There are three major factors that determines your ranking on Baidu, one is the so call on page factor which we covered in-depth in the second chapter: Understanding Baidu SEO Algorithm.

The other two factor is content and building blacklinks. In fact, a majority of all your Baidu SEO effort will be to attract and build blacklinks for your website.

In this chapter of mastering Baidu SEM in China, we’re going to go over one of the key fundamental driver of SEO success on Baidu and other search engines in China, backlinks.

What The Heck is Link Building

With Baidu SEO the idea of backlink is when an external website or social platform creates a link to your website which is also why backlinks are often refer to as “eternal links” or “inbound links”.

In order for search engine to determine your website is ranking for a particular keyword, it look for eternal signs that signal your webpage is relevant to the keyword and of quality. And the best way to do that is to look whether other cool, awesome and relevant website votes for your website by linking to you.

These “backlinks” are then picked up by the search engine’s crawler and assigned an value which is sometimes refer to as link juice.

Here’s how it looks in action:

Link juice is really the search engine’s algorithm trying to determine whether a backlink(vote) is a good, bad, or fraud vote. The more good votes your site get the better you’re going to rank for a particular keyword.

How a search engine determines backlink value will vary from search engines to search engines, Baidu will have a different way of valuing backlinks than Google but generally speaking most search engine will look for the following criteria to determine the value of a backlink.

How Baidu and China Search Engines Assign Values to Links

While no one will fully understand the exact proprietary metric or measurement that Baidu and other Chinese search engine uses to determine to backlink quality, here are the few rule of thumb that we stick to when creating a backlink profile in China.

Other Sites Hosted in China

I should come to no surprise to you that Baidu and all other Chinese search engines value internal link from another mainland Chinese site more than external linking from a foreign website hosted outside of China.

This is because, for one it is unlikely that foreign website will be able to find Chinese site due to Google being restricted in China and the Great Firewall, so from Baidu and other Chinese search engine’s perspective it doesn’t make much sense if your site will attract a lot of foreign none Chinese links.

Second, getting links from other authority and highly trusted China hosted website will be a high indication of dedication and relevance to China’s market.

This is not to say that all foreign link is useless as it will highly depend on the source of the link but for the most part if you’re planning to do SEO in China or on Baidu we recommend following a China-based external link strategy.

Relevant Websites or Content

You can get backlinks from any site and Baidu will pick it up. However, getting backlinks from website that are relevant website with relevant content will be valued by Baidu a lot more.

Simplified Chinese Anchor Text

Anchor text is keywords used to link to an external website and pretty much all search engines consider anchor text keywords a strong single for ranking. The only difference with Baidu and search engines in China are put even more emphasis on Simplified Chinese anchor text, traditional Chinese and other language anchor text are not as useful in China.  Here is an example of a traditional Chinese anchor text.

Link from Trusted Domain

Google uses domain authority to measure the strength of the incoming links to your website and Baidu uses their domain credibility system. Again trusted China-based domain are going to carry more weight than a trusted foreign-hosted domain.

Link Freshness

Baidu really likes fresh content and fresh links by continuously getting the new link and the fresh link is a strong signal to the search engine that your website is growing, updating, and staying relevant. 

The Current State of Baidu Link Building

Unfortunately, Baidu is not quite as sophisticated as Google when it comes determining link quality and whether they are spam links created by bots or natural links. This means in China for the time being the use “Blackhat SEO”  still highly prevalent as they’re still very effective.

Many SEO companies in are still using Blackhat techniques for SEO ranking on Google. They use tactics such as

  1. Auto-posting spammy contents with an anchor text link on weibo (microblog) platform such as Sina, Tianya, and Sohu.
  2. Leaving a link on forums and discussion form.
  3. Using reciprocal linking strategy, where you link to my website and I’ll link back to your website.
  4. Posting naked (none-anchor text) and none-active links in various of a Chinese website. Even though these links are not active meaning you cannot click on them, they’re still picking up by Baidu’s crawler and are considered for ranking.

Now you’re probably wondering if Blackhat link strategies are still working and it is cheaper because they’re automated by bots is there any good reason to use more expensive Whitehat natural link strategies?

That’s a great question and we believe that there is for two reasons:

  1. Since Baidu’s Algorithm is a few years behind Google is extremely good at weeding out spammy link and putting emphasis on content quality. You can bet that Baidu is moving in the same direction as Google and will eventually implement similar Algorithms to combat spamming and unnatural links.

You may be thinking “I will just change when the algorithm hits”, sure that’s how most people though before Google Panda hit then everyone panic because now their site is nowhere.

  • Spammy tactics may get you ranking but won’t fit your user experience because ultimately your business, product and service are design for people and not for search engines. If your content is useless and not engaging chance are they’re not going to come back to your site again or purchase your product or service.

How to Build Backlinks the Right Way in China for Long Term Success

While there are many tactics and strategies you can use to build a quality backlink profile for Baidu, here are 7 ways to attract and get quality backlinks.

1 Manual “Outreach” Link Building

Outreaching for link is probably the most popular way to build links for any search engines. This can be Guess Posting, Paid PR Article, Paid Press Release, Paid Link Insert, Paid Sponsorship Link, Submitting Sites to Directories, etc…

2 Self-Created Content

While some of the self-created no can be borderline Blackhat SEO tactics in China and are usually consider the lowest of value to Baidu and other Chinese search engines but they can still make an impact if you mix it in with a

These self-created contents including creating micro blog posts on weibo, inserting link in forum profile, signature, and leaving links in comments. Search engines do penalize using these links too aggressively and are consider spammy but with the current Baidu Algorithm you can still mix in a little bit of this type of link building tactics as long as you balance it out with a lot of the other tactics mentioned below.

3 Internal Cross-Linking

This is not the same as reciprocal link trading Blackhat technique where you put a bunch of people who is welling to link to your site as long as you link to their in the footer of your website. This is where you create natural internal linking from one article or one page on your website to another.

The key is to be natural, you do not want to link one article to another just because you want to SEO your website. Baidu and any other search engine like to look for natural human behavior because that’s what creates good user experience and keeps using coming back to use the search engine.

4 Use Industry Research Reports

Industry research is a great link bait to get other relevant credibly links to your website. Because in-depth industry research and data is really rare to come by on the internet people will naturally reference your page if they find it useful or insightful. This form of link bait works better in B2B space more so than B2C space for obvious reasons.

5 Newsjacking

This is tricky to pull off unless you have a dedicated content team for your SEO that is agile. The idea is simple but hard to pull off, in order for this to work you have to be very in tune with what’s happening in your industry and be the first to post about it.

You want to be paying attention to Weibo and Toutiao and watch for anything that is trending who your target market will likely care about and get your writers to pump out a blog post really quickly. This is not going to be your 3000 words article but rather 500 – 800 words simple quick news update.

6 Link Baiting with Viral Contents.

There are a lot of content on the internet and is growing by the second. The problem however is that most of the content on the internet is well… garbage. Content at are right, insightful or extremely useful are rare and people will naturally link to them.

Keep in mind that content does not have to be informative or education, funny, emotional, entertaining or controversial contents can be extremely viral and attract a lot of links back to your website.

7 Expert Interviews

Round up a 5 or 6 expert in your industry and interview them on a common topic that your target market will be interested in then create a post or page with their opinion on the topic you’ve chosen. This is great way to have other people to sort of write your content for you but ultimately these kinds of expert round up interview content also attracts a lot of links.

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