Measuring and Tracking Your Baidu SEM Results

As with all marketing strategy and tactics setting and measuring KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will different from business to business and campaign to campaign. Here we’ll provide a more universal list that you can add or subtract to fit you’re Baidu SEM campaign objective and overall strategy.

Universal SEO KPIS

Every month you’ll want to track and measure at least a few of these universal SEO KPIs to identify weaknesses and refine your SEO strategy and tactics accordingly.

Organic Traffic: Obviously you’ll want to measure organic traffic which are traffic coming from the keywords you ranked for on Baidu or other search engines. If you’re new to SEO expect the increase to be gradual by very small for the first 6 to 12 months, but as you work on your SEO you’ll begin to see more dramatic increase in terms of organic traffic.

Direct Traffic: Direct traffic are traffic coming from a user entering your website URL directly into the browser, this can be offline referral traffic or most often return visits.

Referral Traffic: Referral traffic can be traffic coming from other website linking to you or social media link to your website.  This metric will allow you to compare traffic and optimize according to where you’re getting the most referral traffics.

Bounce Rate: Contrary to popular belief having a high bounce rate is not necessary a bad thing. Bounce rate is a measurement of how often people visits your website and leave without visiting any other page. Most search engine expects a high bounce rate because the goal of a search engine is assisting and direct people to the information they’re looking for.

Information website such as news sites will want a low bounce rate because they want you to stay on their site for as long as you’re welling to and consumer their content. For most business site you’ll usually want a low bounce rate because you want to move the user down the sales pipeline and this will usually be multiple page process.

Session Time: Session time measure how long an average user stays on your website without either leaving or closing their browser. This is a good metric to look at for engagement and to judge whether people are actually consuming your content and find them valuable.

New vs Return Visits: In the beginning you’ll probably not get a large percentage of return visit but as traffic grows on your website, you’ll begin to see a lot of more return visits. This is another great metrics to measure whether your content is relevant and useful to the audience. A high return visit is usually a good sign of people enjoying the content you have on your website.

Number of Pages That Gets At least 1 Visit: This metric is not talked about often but it is important to see the number of pages that has at least 1 visit from the search engine. This will tell you how many of your pages are indexed by Baidu or other search engines in China.

Conversion Ratio: Unless you’re a SEO geek, the reason you’re doing SEO is to move the middle. While all the metrics we’ve mention so far are important and will give you a good idea on whether your SEO and content strategy are work, ultimately you want to convert that traffic to paying customers.

Conversion ratio is the metric you’ll want to set to measure the percentage of search engine traffic converting to either a phone call, fill out a contact form, subscribed to your Wechat, requested a demo, made a purchase, or downloaded a white paper. Ideally the conversion ratio will be different based on your website, industry, your sales copy and what your selling but it is good to aim for at least a 4% conversion ratio.

Revenue and Sales: While measuring and getting metrics for sales and revenue is harder from SEO but I can be done. The challenge however is to setup multi touch tracking which can be very difficult especially in China.

Measuring Results from Different Search Engines in China

Pretty much all China SEO guide out there only focuses only on Baidu… I get it Baidu is the most popular and has the largest market share

Tools for Tracking and Measuring SEO in China

Now that you know what to look for let’s see what tools you can use to track and measure your SEO KPIs in China.

Google Analytics

Yes, you can use Google Analytics in China for whatever reason you’ll just have to turn off the remarketing and PPC parts of your analytics tracking cold. We’ve written a full guide on How to Use Google Analytics in China. If you’re using Google Tag Manger to manage Google analytics then you’ll definitely want to separate the two because Tag Manger does not work in China.

That being said, while you can use Google Analytics in China, you cannot really access the actually Analytics Reporting Interface is not accessible without using a VPN. There has also been reports that GA’s tracking code and reports are not 100% reliable within China but to be honest which tracking system is 100% reliable anywhere.   

One more thing to keep in mind about Google if you’re an enterprise and SEO is a core strategy for you in China. The free Google Analytics version limits certain features in order to unlock all features you’ll have to pay about $150,000/year to use Google Analytics 360.

Baidu Tongji (Baidu Analytics)

There is of course a Baidu version of Google Analytics in China it’s called Baidu Tongji. Yes, it is more liable then Google Analytics as it does belong to Baidu and it has the advantage to reporting detail data from Baidu PPC and provide more accurate demographics data. Google Analytics simply cannot do that because Google don’t own Baidu PPC.

The downside to using Baidu Tongji is that it only has a Chinese interface which shouldn’t be a problem if you have someone who are Chinese but can report in English or your language. The other downside is that overall Google Analytics is a far more superiors product than Baidu Tongji. This is why most local Chinese website uses GA as their one of their analytics tools.

Which Tool Should You Use

Honestly, you can use both and you should use both. There is no rule or restriction to using both Baidu Tongji and Google Analytics. You may be wondering why not just stick to Baidu Tongji since it is more reliable and more accurate. The reason is Google Analytics is bar far a far more superior product compares to Baidu Tongji. This why most local Chinese website are using Google Analytics as part of their tracking solution.

Besides there is no harm in using both so why not use both?

Baidu and Other Chinese Search Engine Webmaster Tools

Apart from setting up Google Analytics and Baidu Tongji for tracking and measuring, you’ll also want to set up an account on each search engine’s webmaster tools in China as they will provide you with insights on your page index, crawling error, keyword ranking, etc… much like Google’s Webmaster tool.

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