Baidu is, in China, the equivalent of what Google is in the rest of the world – that is, the most important and most used search engine of all. Specifically, Baidu manages over 83% of the Asian giant’s searches and must therefore be considered of primary importance in the context of a digital marketing strategy that also touches these markets.
However, it is unthinkable to assume that the same positioning logic that applies to Google, Bing or Yahoo will work equally well on Badoo. On the contrary, the Chinese search engine is very different and consequently it will be essential to study an ad hoc strategy for the SEO of products, brands and services.
Let’s find out how to do it together .
First of all, it is necessary that the site to be promoted is supported on a local Chinese domain and on an “on-site” hosting. You will therefore have to rely on domains ending in .cn or .com.cn and the URL will have to respect the official Pinyn system for transcribing Chinese characters into Latin. Why is it essential? Especially since Baidu tends to better position these local domains than any other foreign domain.
Secondly, the correct positioning issues on the engine will be sought , as we would do for Google or any other search engine normally used. As always, it will be advisable to research the amount of traffic for the various keywords and evaluate their competition .
Once the positioning keys have been established, these will be translated into Mandarin / Simplified Chinese : this is an essential step to create a correct and effective positioning on Baidu . At this stage, let’s avoid Google Translate or similar tools and instead rely on a real- life translator , possibly an expert. Similarly, we don’t think that an English positioning key can still be successful on Baidu because, in fact, the same search engine explains that as many as 85% of the Chinese audience would leave the page.
Another parameter to take into consideration concerns Badu’s on-page SEO : in fact, this engine focuses a lot on metatags , and it is therefore advisable that they are fully and correctly compiled. As always, the title must contain the positioning keywords, but the same attention must be paid to H1, H2 and image tags (including ALT). Attention: the keywords metatag must also be developed because Baidu, unlike Google, still uses it as a ranking factor.
However, just like Google, Baidu also considers it very important that the pages to be placed contain unique and original content, never copied, and always of quality . Although its crawler is not as sophisticated as that of the Mountain View company, it will still try to quickly steal the information that interests it and that we therefore recommend placing in the first lines of the document .
As SEO expert Bill Hunt also confirmed , “Due to poor connectivity, Baidu’s crawler wants to get as much content as it can, and often only crawls the first 100 / 120k of content on a page.”
It should also be remembered that claiming to use specific social networks to promote one’s customers in China would be a huge mistake , since both YouTube and Facebook, for example, are banned based on the censorship in force in the Asian country .
A word or two should then be spent on Baidu’s off-page SEO , since it is another factor that can affect positioning: great consideration must therefore be given to link building , which is considered in quantity rather than quality ( that’s the reason this engine is so spammy). Hence, having established this, we suggest obtaining many links from Chinese sites relating to sectors similar to that of the customer you want to position. Naturally, attention will also have to be paid to the anchor text , which is also considered an important ranking factor, especially if used to propose keywords.
While working on positioning, it is recommended to do paid campaigns on the search engine as we would do on Google. In this sense, Baidu offers three different services: Paid Search, Banner and Brand Zone . Among other things, doing PPC on Baidu also favors the organic positioning of the site (unlike Google).
Let’s find out briefly the three PPC services on Baidu:
- Paid Search: similar to Google Adwords, works on a PPC model at the keyword level. International search keywords are favored because they still have very low competition and therefore will be less expensive than Google Adwords.
- Banners: similar to the Google Display Network, they are shown on the entire network of Baidu sites (over 300,000) with advertising formats that can contain text, images, interactive content and even flash.
- Brand Zone: it is essentially used to increase the presence and exposure of companies and consists of ads that contain a title, description with link, logo, categories and images.
The sites to be positioned can then be reported directly to Baidu in such a way as to “force” the passage of the bot. Furthermore, an all-out SEO strategy on this search engine can also include the fact that, on Baidu News , it is possible to present any type of news : therefore, it is possible to present press releases, news, article marketing and even blog posts .
Finally, don’t forget to communicate your sitemap to Baidu , in order to help the robot crawl and index your website.