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The NBH Guide: 10 steps to succeed with Baidu SEO
Insights | Jun 2022

Intro

Companies, especially within B2B think it’s a challenge to reach the Chinese market, what platforms are there, and which ones to prioritize?

In this guide, we will talk Baidu! In the West, we talk Google and the term “let’s google it” has become normalized. Maybe you think this is a standard fraise all over the world? But like everything else in China’s digital world, everything works a little bit differently.

Baidu is China’s largest and most used search engine. Baidu can easily be described as “China’s Google”. If you take a quick look, there are many similarities, partly in appearance, but also in functions, such as maps, videos, images, etc. In terms of search engine and SEO there are a lot of differences.

What is Baidu?

In China, unless you have a VPN to break through the firewall, Baidu is the first search engine of choice and the 6th largest operator in the world, according to StatCounter 2021. Baidu is not only the first choice due to limited options, Baidu also has a high level of trust among its users.

Baidu Vs. Google – SEO

As we mentioned earlier, at the first glance, Google and Baidu seem to be similar. One might think that your Google strategy might work just as well for Baidu, but that is not the case.

The SEO for Baidu simply works differently. So how to optimize your Baidu SEO? NBH will guide you through the 10 most important steps (without ranking).

1. Domain

Baidu ranks the Chinese domains higher in the search result than the global domains. Use a Chinese domain, either .cn or .cn.com.

To get an even better result, also add a keyword to your domain name, to indicate what your website is all about.

2. Host your website in mainland China

To get a faster loading speed and a high user experience, we recommend hosting your website in China. The great firewall slows down the speed of externally hosted websites.

3. ICP license

Websites that are hosted in China need an ICP license (internet content provider). The ICP license can be purchased from the Chinese government and it’s important to display it in the footer of the website.

When it comes to different licensing, there is a major difference between Baidu and Google.

Google does not require any license to get indexed and climb the ranking results.

Baidu also indexes sites that don’t have an ICP license but it prioritized China-hosted sites, and to get a Chinese-hosted website the ICP license is required.

4. Crawling

Baidu script is not as advanced as Google’s. So, you can forget JavaScript and flash, Baidu simply can’t crawl it. Instead, we recommend using HTML static pages.

5. Use the right language

Baidu only index Simplified Chinese. Chinese users prefer using the Chinese language when searching on Baidu, even though they search for international topics. The use of Chinese language will gain the trust of your customers and clients.

6. Meta tags  

Unlike Google, Baidu uses meta tags as an important ranking factor. Choose a meta description that contains at least two keywords and a branded term. You can use up to 78 meta descriptions in Chinese characters.

So, make sure to optimize your meta description, meta image tags, meta keywords, heading tags, and other tags that you find important.

7. Links

Baidu prioritizes backlinks from domestic websites higher than external websites. Make sure to use internal links in order to get a better result, and use many of them, the more the better!

8. Mobile using

In China, people prefer using mobiles, therefore it is important to make sure that your website also is optimized for mobile use. Baidu’s mobile reach is over 1 billion active users, so mobile-friendly is important in order to deliver a great customer experience.

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook

9. Be updated with your content

As always, make sure to always deliver fresh content! Not only for your followers but also for better ranking at Baidu, updated content sends a signal to Baidu and the chances for better ranking are higher. Keep your content alive, publish new articles, pictures, and videos, and make sure that your existing content also is up to date.

10. Optimize your SEO by using Baidu’s own site

Baidu owns several websites and unlike Google, Baidu chooses to prioritize them high in the search field than external websites. Pages that often comes up when scrolling on Baidu are:

  • Baike  (Baidu’s answer to Wikipedia)
  • Tieba (Online discussion forum, similar to Reddit)
  • Zhidao (Question and answer platform, a lot like Quora)

To optimize your SEO it is recommended to also be seen at these sites. Like, Google, it is good to have updated info on Wikipedia, for better ranking. This is the same for China, one way to optimize SEO is to be on Baike (China’s Wikipedia), especially since Baidu owns that site.

To summarize – Why succeed on Baidu?

To get started with Baidu, there are simply a lot of steps to be aware of, not least licenses and documents. But keep in mind that Baidu has over 1.1 billion users and billions of searches per month. Baidu is the leading search engine on the market.

If you take a closer look at Baidu’s app, there are 580 million activated users, so make sure that your website is mobile-friendly!

To succeed in China a Baidu strategy is a must-have!

NBH has years of expertise in working with digital marketing in China. Our expertise is available in both Europe and China.

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