With Baidu being China’s biggest search engine and dominating the Chinese internet market, it pays to know what you’re dealing with when marketing to China via website. We dispel some of the myths around Baidu, and provide some tips for optimising your site for a Chinese audience.
The myths and misconceptions
- Baidu is really just like Google
According to some SEO experts, Baidu is actually very different from Google. For example, it has been less friendly towards SEO, and has also been inclined to delete pages for unspecified ‘suspicious activities’. Other differences include that it mixes up organic and paid search rather than separating them out, and that indexing tends to be slower.
However, it appears that Baidu is making some amends following a recent ‘self-criticism’ that it conducted. This is now in its guidelines, and is leading towards clearer standards for SEO.
- You cannot use Baidu without a .cn domain
There appears to be no real evidence that sites with a .cn extension will rank higher than .com or .net, or that a .cn extension influences Baidu crawling. Whether you decide to purchase a .cn domain or not is up to you, but in any case, your business will need to be incorporated in mainland China if you wish to do so.
- Being listed on Baidu could affect Google rankings
Some site owners have been concerned that using Baidu would affect their rankings with Google, but there is no evidence for this. The two are completely separate.
- SEO in China is largely the same as in Australia or the US
SEO in China is quite different from here – especially in light of China’s Golden Shield Project – which is more often known by the self-explanatory name of ‘The Great Firewall of China’. This giant firewall has several methods of filtering, which can slow down your page load in China.
Tips for optimising your site for China
- Create a Chinese website that is separate from your Australian site.
- Make your website name short and easy to remember.
- Host your site in mainland China.
- Publish your pages in Simplified Chinese language.
- Gear your site towards your audience – if it does not provide real value for Chinese users, it will not rank well and could even get blocked.
- Consider using paid advertising for better results in China.
- Be cautious about what you post. It’s important to understand that what might be considered harmless here could be offensive in China. This requires taking time to understand the cultural differences between our two nations.
Our China marketing team can help you to optimise your website for a Chinese market and for Baidu and other search engines. Give us a call to find out more.