Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for China

Optimising for Baidu

This article was written in 2010, and so things have no doubt moved on a pace since then.

How do you optimise your website for search engine users in China? Baidu has the largest share of search engine traffic in China (70%-80%), with Google way behind with around 5%, so if you sell in China it is important that you rank well in Baidu. If your site is also important to Western internet users then you won’t want your Baidu SEO activity to do anything to impact its effectiveness elsewhere.

I have recently done some research into Baidu, as I am currently building a website that will need good Chinese Search Engine ranking, but found it difficult to differentiate between sound, proven advice and the hypothetical, anecdotal kind of evidence found in forums  that is difficult to substantiate. In addition, much of the information I found was written a couple of years ago – this is a huge time in the internet search engine world, and so much could have changed to render any advice irrelevant today.

So, what do you do? From the research I have done there do appear to be a few important points….

Baidu Search Engine Hints and Tips

  1. Baidu attaches importance to a lot of the same things as Google (e.g. URL structure, page titles, header tags), therefore if you have addressed these points on your website already then you should be wll on the way to getting well ranked in Baidu too;
  2. The Baidu Search Engine is not as effective as Google in working out the quality value of links, and so more emphasis is placed on quantity of inbound links rather than where those links come from. This could be an issue if you only have a certain budget / time available for link building for your site – do you focus your efforts on finding fewer, higher-quality links to suit Google, or do you just go for quantitity to rank better on Baidu? I would go for the quality route as, over time, Baidu is bound to put effort into delivering higher relevance SERPs to protect its market share;
  3. Baidu still attaches ranking relevance to META Description and META Keywords, whereas Google no longer does. So, if you haven’t bothered with these in your pages it might be worth taking another look;
  4. Baidu is sensitive to the use of certain words and phrases (such as adult content and words on the government block list) that might get your entire site removed from their index;
  5. Baidu isn’t just for Chinese language websites. Your website will still be indexed by Baidu if it is in English, but it’s worth knowing that most Chinese Baidu users will search in Chinese, therefore incorporating simple Chinese into your web pages will be a good thing;
  6. Baidu won’t necessarily find and index your website on its own. The best method of submitting urls to Baidu is to go via Baidu Webmaster Tools. Yoast SEO also offers a way to connect your site to Baidu.
  7. Advantage may be gained by hosting your website within China, but this may also impact its search-engine visibility and performance elsewhere in the world;

We’ll add anything else as we find it. Please give us your own tips too!

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Categories: SEO Hints and Tips

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