China is now a huge online market, indeed there are 570 million Internet users. This attracts the businesses which want to grow abroad. But because of several reasons (language, bureaucracy, censorship), it’s one of most complicated market to target.
And to deliver a message on the chinese Internet, it’s better to use the local and very popular chinese search engine Baidu contrary to Google. Indeed, the market share of Baidu in China is around 80%. www.baidu.com
Baidu is the clear leader even if last August, Qihoo a new player entered the market and take 10% of the market shares. So the best way to succeed in China is to optimise your website for Baidu. If you don’t make that you loose approximately 400 million users.
So how do we do? Here are some advices to start
Chinese language is important
It seems to be obvious, but some people forget it. The official language and the one used and recognised by Baidu is simplified chinese. It is also obvious to say that’s it’s preferable to use a native speaker instead of Google translate to create and review the content of your website. The content has to be accurate and grammatically correct.
The key role of keywords
Like other search engine, Baidu cares about keywords. Contrary to Google, meta descriptions are important with tittle tags as well. If you don’t want penalties from Baidu, it is important that you check that the keywords on-page match the keywords off-page. You have also to use well the keywords tags even if this is not very important for rankings.
Another factor concerning the algorithm of Baidu is the click-through rate (CTR). So in your strategy you have to make actions to encourage the clicks.
And finally, your main tool concerning keywords will be the Baidu’s keyword research tool. It will allow you to have accurate data on what the users of Baidu are searching for.
Focus on domains and hosting
There is often a debate in SEO about local domains and local hosting but as Baidu is chinese so it likes what is chinese. The .cn is really important and also the page load times.
But to get a .cn is a real challenge. A lot of documents are required to obtain it, generally you will have to find a partner or a local agency to take care of that.
Google has a tool named Google’s knowledge graph but Baidu also have its tool “box computing” since 2009. It displays relevant information and data on the search engine result page (SERP) above the main results.
This data is not generated automatically, it have to be submitted specifically to the platform. The tool to do that is Baidu’s Alladin platform. It’s also available for mobile which represents a huge potential in China.
Be part of the Baidu galaxy
Google has a lot of products around its search engine (maps, gmail etc.). It is also the case for Baidu. The chinese search engine also have its own encylopedia (Baike), its Questions and answers website (Zhidao) and its forum platform (Tieba). The thing is that Baidu generally put on the top of the SERP its own applications. So you have to use them to perform well.
Social Media Optimization
The trend now is social, it plays a major role in search. Famous SNS are censored like Facebook or Twitter but recently Baidu made a partnership with Sina Weibo one of the most successful social networks in China. It will allow indexing Weibo posts in Baidu’s results pages.
Other pieces of advice
SEO for Baidu : Use Baidu’s Webmaster tools and submit a site map
Use quantity and quality links.
According to market study, There are not a lot of differences between Google and Baidu SEO. The key fact is to adapt your tactics and follow the specific rules for Baidu. Like that you will increase your chance to make business in this fast growing country.
Writing By Olivier VEROT SEO for Baidu