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SEO For China: Part 1

Thanhtu Dao // Last Updated: 01 September 2015

Today’s Baidu has dominated the Chinese online search results services since 2007 and has now become much more than a search engine. Like Google Baidu has evolved into a large internet ecosystem with a wide array of services and products including their own web search, pay-per-click advertising, web mapping application, news search, image search, video search, question-and-answer, web analytics, web browser, and web-based wiki. Baidu is by far the most popular search engine in China. The benefits of optimizing Chinese websites for Baidu are obvious.

It's dominance to the huge Chinese market holds a new challenge and opportunity for websites and SEO companies.

To penetrate the Chinese market and improve your rankings in Baidu, you have to first learn the key differences between how Baidu and Google evaluate and index websites.

Baidu versus Google: Key Differences

Baidu is constantly improving their services, but they are still far behind companies like Google when it comes to the technology that evaluates and indexes the most relevant and authoritative content.

However they are advancing rapidly so it definitely would not hurt to additionally apply the same SEO rules to Baidu that you would for Google and in the long run it will be effective as Baidu catches up with their technology because your sites will already be prepared.

The table below shows the important factors for an effective SEO plan on Baidu and how they differ from Google.

 

 

Google

Baidu

Page title

Major

Major

Meta Description

Minor

Major

Meta Keywords

None

Major

Heading tags

Medium

Major

Alt tags

Minor

Major

Internal anchor text

Minor

Medium

External anchor text

Major

Medium

Quantity of Inbound Links

Medium

Major

Quantity of outbound links

Major

Minor

Sitemap

Medium

Medium

Sitespeed

Minor

Major

 

Baidu’s 2015 updated new ranking algorithm:

  1. Title tag and key words density hold a very important in SEO on Google or on Baidu, the Title of the page have included the key word is a big help for ranking in Baidu. Most of SEO tools also work with Chinese website, such as SEO quake, Ahref, or you can also check which keywords are performing well by using Baidu’s tool or Baidu Live keyword.
  2. Not only Google, Baidu attaches more and more importance to originality of the website or content, if your website or content are 100% created by your idea or you own the copyright, then they will place the content higher for related keywords search even your site doesn't have many external links. It is enough to show if originality and relevance are there.
  3. Regarding external links, Baidu also focus on the origin and the content quality of that. This is actually not a new thing for SEO or different from Google, a high quality link can beat hundreds of low quality external links. And the more the external links’ content is related to your site, or your “Optimize keyword” the more ranking you get from Baidu. The situation is the same as with Google that it is important to control external links quantity and quality very well. The best way to control it on Baidu is using Baidu Webmaster tools (you can learn more how to use them at the link). But you have to make sure to access to a crawlable link structure that lets baiduspiders browse the pathways of a website, in order to find all of the pages on a website. Otherwise, great content, good keyword targeting, and smart marketing don't make any difference at all if the spiders can't reach those pages in the first place
  4. Title tag changing needs time to be verified and should be patient after making any change. Baidu has a delay just like other search engines and needs time to “read and digest”. If you don’t see any changing in your rank, even you are very confident about your progress on keywords, don’t think of finding a new word immediately because by that way you put your site in “pending” status all the time, and no way it can get index. Baidu is a bit slower than Google in its updating.
  5. Snaphots are the cache for Baidu and nn important webpage has many snapshots which are kept in the Baidu database, and Baidu will keep it update them regularly. In a particular situation, the search engine system may actually choose a snapshot which is older than the current one as a gauge of relevance, but it doesn’t have any impact on Baidu search rankings or your site has been degraded by Baidu.

Briefly, a snapshot update is associated with important content updating, that’s to say, it has nothing with Baidu weight and punishment. So Baidu says that webmasters needn’t care much about the time of snapshot.

The truth is, if your Baidu snapshot is not the latest date, no one would like to exchange links with you or if you changed your host would be a reason to get your Baidu snapshot step back.

I hope those basic knowledge can help you make the first step in Baidu SEO. Good luck!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thanhtu
Dao

Focusing on SEO since 2012, Tu has a rich experience in online marketing she employs for the great benefit of Seirim's clients. Adding to that role she now also assists with Project Management and leads Website Quality Testing, including User Experience and Performance testing.

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