Baidu currently dominates the search engine market in China, with a share of around 70%. This means that businesses involved in digital marketing to China should give serious attention to how to best optimise their websites for this popular search engine.
Optimising a site for Baidu helps to make it more visible and more easily found by Chinese audiences. It has quite a number of similarities to optimising for Google in Australia, and some rather stark differences as well.
One of the main similarities to Google is that regularly updated and high-quality content is vital, and increases the chance of better ranking, as does ensuring your site does not have any duplicate or plagiarised content.
Some of the differences to western search engines revolve around the use of language, backlinks, keywords and phrases, as well as site hosting, censorship and design.
Baidu China SEO tips
Here are a few tips for how you can optimise your site for Baidu.
Just as we might dislike sites here that use poor English or badly translated content, the same is true for China. It’s not good enough to simply use a translation widget to convert an English-language site into another language. Instead make sure to get someone with a good grasp of the nuances of Chinese language and culture involved in the development of your site from the start.
- Keywords and phrases:
While keywords don’t hold the same sway they once did for Google and other western search engines, with Baidu they are still a strong ranking factor. So make sure to do good keyword research and include them in title tags, meta descriptions, headers and content. It’s important that your keywords and search phrases are in popular use by your target audiences, and that they fit with your site’s overall content and describe your brand.
- Title tags and descriptions:
As for keywords, these tools are also still in use in the west, but they are more of a ranking factor for Baidu than Google. Make sure yours provide an accurate description of webpage content and are inviting enough to encourage users to visit your site.
- Loading times:
No one likes a slow-loading site, and Chinese internet users are no exception! The best way to ensure faster loading times for Chinese websites is to have them hosted on mainland China. To do so with your website you will need an ICP (Internet Content Provider) licence and number to avoid your site being blocked.
- Link building:
Backlinks are another ranking factor with Baidu. Quality as well as quantity is important in this regard, so the important thing here is to ensure your links are high quality and relevant.
Key things to avoid doing
There are few things to avoid as well, including:
- Links to foreign sites, as this could slow down your pages.
- Links to sites blocked in China such as Facebook and Twitter. Make use of China’s social media platforms instead, such as Sina Weibo.
- Topics, statements and words that are banned or could be considered controversial in China.
Optimising your website for Baidu might be essential for marketing in China successfully, but it is no simple matter. If you need assistance with any aspect of online marketing to China, contact our experienced bilingual marketing team.