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International SEO for Baidu

Elisabeth De Cannière

Author: Elisabeth De Cannière
Global Account Manager, LanguageWire
LinkedIn

Illustration of a laptop showing Baidu search engine homepage

Baidu is a must when creating content for the East Asian market.

Google is not always the king of search engines.

If you’re creating web content for the East Asian market, then you’ll know that optimising for Baidu is a must. Although Google remains the most widely used search engine globally, Baidu is the most popular search engine in China.

Baidu is a major player in China, but not across the global search arena. Baidu accounts for less than 2% of the global search market. However, 99% of Baidu’s revenue is generated in China, and given its large population, Baidu searches will contribute to significant website traffic.

If your business is targeting the Chinese market, it’s vital that you know how to optimise your website for Baidu to reach the Chinese audience.

Bar chart to show Search engine market share % in China

Search engine market share in China, source: Statista (2020)

Differences between Google and Baidu

Although there are significant similarities between Google and Baidu, there are distinct differences that will impact your SEO strategy.

Whilst Google remains globally focussed, Baidu is focussed on the Chinese market, and adheres to all of the local regulations and censorship laws.

This affects Baidu SEO. For example, Baidu favours websites that are hosted in China. Baidu also requires an Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence. Without one, your site will not rank very high on Baidu. To obtain an ICP, a Chinese phone number and address will be required for verification.

Read on for more insights on how to increase your SEO on the Baidu search engine.

Optimising your website for Baidu

To help you improve your SEO strategy for Baidu, here are some useful points to consider when optimising your website and selecting keywords.

Websites with more words per page rank better on Baidu.

The Baidu crawler may not be able to recognise your topic in a text with less than 300 words. On the other hand, it may not crawl through all 2,000 words on a webpage. Therefore, use between 300 and 1,000 words a page, and ensure that your most important content is in the first paragraphs of the page.

Use simplified Chinese for websites listed on Baidu

If your website is in simplified Chinese, it will rank higher than websites in traditional Chinese or other dialects. English keywords will not rank at all.

Your homepage is important

Your website’s Baidu ranking is primarily based on the home page.

Ad content wins with Baidu

Baidu favours ads, which is why the first page on a Baidu search is filled with sponsored content. This differs from Google, which still mainly displays organic content. However, Baidu users tend to prefer organic content and often skip through the first page of search results. Take this into account when you perform your keyword research, and don’t be alarmed when your website is not shown on the first page of Baidu.

Research your keywords well

Keywords are a significant ranking factor in Baidu. Use Baidu Webmaster Tools to find the best keyword alternatives.

Use long-tail keywords

Baidu displays non-organic results (ads and Baidu’s own websites) together with search results, often with very few visual differences. Long-tail keywords are a more successful way to lead people to your website. If you are worried about not generating enough traffic when using only long-tail keywords, remember that you are targeting a region with a population of more than 1.4 billion.

Place your keywords at the top of your website page

The Baidu crawler bot is not as powerful as Google and may miss keywords that feature at the bottom of your website page.

Work with a team of global content experts

Make sure to collaborate with SEO specialists, professional linguists, and native Chinese speakers to research, select, and translate keywords.

Conclusion

Achieving your desired SEO results is challenging, especially when it comes to optimising your website and selecting keywords for different markets, different search engines, and multiple languages. The above tips will give you a good start to a successful ranking on Baidu. To take your Baidu SEO strategy to the next level, it’s advisable to collaborate with a team of global content experts that are not only SEO specialists but also website translation and localisation experts. This will ensure that your web content is translated and optimised by SEO experts using SEO best practice.

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