Baidu algorithm update: Baidu Money Plant


“Money Plant algorithm” is the latest anti-cheating algorithm developed by Baidu, and it has been updating until now, but the change is much smaller than in the beginning.  It’s regarded by many SEOers as a Chinese version of Google panda.

Official Description

It is claimed by Baidu that algorithm is designed to discover and punish hyperlinks business, both selling and buying as well as other ways of hyperlinks cheating.

As it’s name, “Money Plant” implicates that it will “purify” the content Baidu scrawls.

money plant botanicThis algorithm is a death penalty to

  1. link farms
  2. sites with cheating links
  3. link trading sites and the links from them

In one word, it is a tailor made algorithm for “black hat Baidu SEOers”.

Typical spam link site

Typical spam link site


The announcement from Baidu about the ugrade of Money Plant ,on July.19.2013 Baidu Money Plant would upgrade from 1.0 to 2.0, further proves that.

Once a site is discovered and regarded as a site trying to cheat Baidu via spam links and low-quality content, it will suffer the maximum punishment from Baidu. The punishments those site will suffer are

  • more strict filteration which will greatly slow down the submission of the site to Baidu and the update of the site
  • stronger punshiment than other cheating behavior which will cost webmasters longer time and more effort to recover those pages
  • stop giving power to those page having purchased links (especially those links from portals and local news sites) , or even punish those pages

Real Money Plant

What’s above is the official explanation of Baidu, and now it’s the time to knock off the bureaucratic explanation and come back to the real world.

There are two keywords in Baidu’s announcement: link and quality.

And the questions here are

  • What is the definition of link problem by Baidu?
  • What is the definition of low quality content by Baidu?

1. Problem Link

In fact, those links that Baidu punishes this time are mostly highly spammy links, instead of all the links on forums, blogs, comments as some SEOers said.

As what we learnt from test of mine and other SEOers’, the following types of links are very likely to be punished harder by Baidu:

  • hidden anchor text and links
  • anchor text irrelevant to the topic of the page
  • deceiving jump, redirect, doorway pages for black SEO
  • automatic spamming link

What’s more important is:

Increase of the on-site optimization importance

Those website who get good positions on Baidu while rely a lot on external links have mostly lost their position. But not all of them lose positions.

In fact, only those sites use most basic and common SEO methods to build backlinks, especially purchasing friendly link, blogroll links. However, those links in the comments, support blogs are not punished, even they are links purely and obviously for optimized page. For example, a page with 10 links from one blog to it everyday can have a better position than others.

On the contrary, those sites who focuses on the on-site optimization don’t decrease and many of them got better positions.

1. Links from big website still work

Although Baidu emphasize many time that those purchased links, especially those links from portals and local media sites, will get punished, the truth is that’s half true. It’s half true because now all the portals including sohu, sina, qq,  netease and media sites such as Pclady begin to refuse to accept advertorial publications and delete previous advertorials. On the other side, those links from these sites still help after we tried them, yet not so helpful to SEO as before.  Regarding the ROI, it is much worse than before.

2. Low quality content

Quality content is a point brought up by Baidu in all its algorithm updates. While after testing, we’ve discovered that meaningless accumulation of keywords, massive ads, malicious code are the real targets of Money Plant. H0wever, copied content are not really punished by Baidu, but still get minus than before. If you want to use copied content for support blogs, you will see it still works without punishment. Quantity is still important!


Common solution

It really depends on the condition of the website, but the main problems are usually the same. So we can have the general solutions to tackle the problem:

  • lower keyword density, the density of keywords that Baidu thinks is natural has dropped from 6% to about 1%
  • report to the complaints center of Baidu
  • diversify internal links. It was very popular before to put links to the homepage on all the innerpage while now if Baidu cannot find any link between innerpages, that’ll be a problem.
  • delete problem links, especially exchanged links. Problem links from other sites can infect your own site.


A little thought

The English name of the algorithm has a totally different implication from its Chinese. Money Plant, is there even 0.001% of chance that Lee ,boss of Baidu who has studied and worked in the US for about 8 years, doesn’t know how to check the English name of the algorithm? Otherwise, he is very “Baidu”, MONEY FIRST!

This time Baidu shoots a big cash cow for those big sites even like Sina and netease. Now SEOer can hardly pay them to get links and thus get good result. This will convert many companies into Baidu SEM clients. According to the result of my obervation, there’ve been more and more manual intervention in the organic results, especially those Baidu SEM clients who get good positions while doing no SEO.