Baidu is the most used search engine in China, widely ahead of Google with 70% market share, and only 2% for the US giant. The search engine ranks 5th among the most visited sites in the world and currently has more than 800 million web pages.
From the beginning, Baidu’s positioning was: “Baidu knows Chinese better.” This strategy was efficient since shortly after its IPO at the New York Stock Exchange (Nasdaq) in 2005, the company saw its share climb from 27 to over 122 dollars.
Baidu now offers a wide range of services, such as web searches, image search, music, forums or a Q & A service, for example.
The Chinese search engine is also known for its controversial relationship with the Chinese government, including all Q & A moderated by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security.
SEO on Baidu
SEO on Baidu requires several steps, which may be different from what needs to be done on Google. The notions of trust and notoriety remain essential for companies wishing to enter the Chinese Market and be visible on Baidu.
A Chinese Website Host
It is necessary to opt for a local host, because Baidu favors the websites hosted in China and penalizes those hosted abroad (less fast and more likely to be censored). Several, more or less, tedious steps are required to find a good one.
First, you need to accept the conditions of the Chinese government and obtain an ICP number (a compulsory certificate for any website hosted in mainland China), and that can be complex (physical and legal representation on the spot). A merchant website will also need to get a commercial ICP number, which is hard to get too.
It usually takes a month to get an ICP number through the host.
Choose a Chinese domain name
Your Baidu Trustrank will be higher, so you will be more visible if you opt for a Chinese domain name (extension “. cn” or “. com.cn”). However, they can only be booked by Chinese citizens who have proof of residence in mainland China, then a partnership or assistance must be considered.
Also prefer a domain name written in pinyin rather than in English or in another foreign language. Finally, the secure HTTPS protocol allows better ranking on Baidu.
The V Label
The V-label of a site is displayed on the results page and makes Chinese Internet users more confident towards your website. Those certifications can be obtained from Baidu. The V1 certification costs $65 when the V2 is obtained for about $860. Finally, level V3 can’t be purchased.
These three levels require more or less precise checks by the Baidu teams, on the information and services offered by the company.
Optimization of SEO tags
Like with Google, don’t neglect tags on Baidu. These SEO tags often allow the website to be in the top results of the search engine.
For example, the title tag and the description tag: a relevant article begins with a catchy title. Each page of the site contains a description of its content…
Quality Content and Quantity
Baidu gradually emphasizes more on quality than on quantity. Previously, the more pages you had (content) and the more likely you were to be well referenced by Baidu. Today, the Chinese search engine copies Google’s algorithm to promote quality content.
This includes regular updates of a website and its content (adding new pages and updating the old content regularly).
Focus on HTML
Both internal and external links will help you in many ways.
First, internal links direct users to the right information: it is a way to simplify the navigation on your website and to improve the user experience. The internal links also help you with SEO since they show to Baidu that your content is consistent across the different pages of the website.
External links allow to spread content to a wider audience. Indeed, they redirect Internet users to other information that might interest them.
To optimize those links, make sure that they come from and direct to trusted sites. You must then work to have links. Indeed, the Baidu Lvluo program aims to penalize sites using artificial techniques to obtain links.
Baidu Services for SEO
In addition to the services offered by Baidu such as Baidu Tuiguang (Google AdWords equivalent) and Baidu Tongji (Google Analytics equivalent), there are various products similar to Google’s.
Baidu Zhidao (Baidu Ask)
This Q & A platform works with a point system. A person can ask a question using a virtual sum of money, the selected answer is then rewarded. Questions and answers are checked thoroughly. To have the answers validated, you must own a Baidu Zhidao account with a high level and a maximum number of stars.
Obtaining a link on this type of platform makes it possible to get traffic and has a more or less important impact on your natural referencing. On the other hand, Baidu announced to give less and less weight to the links coming from this platform, which is nonetheless a good way to generate traffic and awareness.
Baidu Baike (Baidu Wiki)
Equivalent to Wikipedia, the platform launched in 2006 has really grown from 2010.
Baidu gives importance to the links of Baike, and it is recommended for a good natural referencing to create a business card (the cards are very verified by Baidu).
Tieba is a community space with thousands of discussion groups created every day on forums. A link on Baidu Tieba is very interesting in terms of traffic.
Baidu Jingyan (Baidu “Experience”)
Baidu Jingyan allows Internet users to post feedback on their experiences.
Getting links from Baidu Jingyan is a great way to increase its natural SEO on Baidu. Like Zhidao or Baike, moderation is strict.
Several other platforms exist (Baidu News, Baidu Video, Baidu Image). The Baidu galaxy also extends to its integrated social sharing system, Baidu Fenxiang, or its rating system for the quality of websites by Internet users, Baidu Koubei. Koubei stars are displayed on the Baidu search results page and are an effective way to increase its reputation among Internet users.
In short, different techniques and strategies make it possible to obtain a good referencing on Baidu. It is also necessary to maintain a good reputation and, why not, to launch viral campaigns on Chinese social networks, such as WeChat and Weibo, in order to amplify this natural referencing.
80% of the SEO work is Inbound Marketing, which means attracting new customers by promoting a site or business without having to search for those customers. This includes quality content.
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