Other posts in the series: Yandex, Naver
Doing SEO in China is possible thanks to the Baidu search engine .
The Chinese market is an extremely attractive market. A country that has 1,300 million inhabitants and that 83% of them use Baidu to search for information is an extremely attractive place to position itself.
Of course, many websites may not have any interest in appearing in this search engine, but its SEO power is undeniable.
For this reason, in this article we are going to learn how SEO can be done on Baidu and what its differences are with Google.
In addition, my goal is to explain and try to fully understand this complex world of SEO in a country as unique as China.
Baidu was founded in 2000 and is part of a well-known Chinese technology company.
Obviously, the main reason why it has been so successful in China is because of its almost perfect optimization to the Chinese language.
Also, as you can imagine, it is the largest indexer of Chinese websites in the world and is solely focused on providing the best results to the population of the Asian country.
Baidu, as well as Google and Yandex , offers many other services besides its search engine and most of its income is obtained from the ads that are displayed in the SERP's and on the ad platform.
To understand the main differences between Baidu vs Google, it is necessary to understand the progress of its algorithms.
Baidu launched its Pomegranate update with the aim of improving its algorithm, benefiting the pages that presented higher quality content in 2013, two years after Google did it with the Panda Update.
This is a clear proof that yes, maybe Baidu is not optimized enough, however it has very interesting things to show.
Links are one of the most important ranking factors for Google today.
In Baidu, links from China are valued much more than links from foreign countries, therefore, if you have a Chinese website, it is best to get links within the territory.
This is one of the first differences that we find with Google, which is much more international and gives a lot of importance to links in general, and not so much to their location.
Baidu still places a lot of importance on ALT tags. In the world of SEO in Google this is still important, yes, but at the same time it is not a factor that will limit the traffic of your website.
If you optimize your images for Baidu well, you may be able to get traffic through Baidu Image much more easily than using Google.
The age of the domain, as well as with Yandex , is a very important positioning factor. The older the domain, the more authority it will have.
This is something that also happens in Google, however for Yandex and Baidu this is a much more important factor.
Baidu favors websites that regularly publish content, plain and simple. On Google, this is not quite the case and you may not publish content for a long time and still continue to rise in the keywords that interest you.
If you are about to start your website on Baidu , I recommend you publish quality content very often, at least during the first year.
For Baidu, meta tags or meta tags are still fundamental, unlike Google, which has not considered them an SEO factor for several years.
I also wanted to point out that due to the restricted nature of the Chinese language (or perhaps because of its special nature), searching for keywords is also different.
For that you can use tools like the Baidu Keyword Tool and the Baidu Index to find trends.
If you have explored the Baidu tools I mentioned above you will see that they do not have SSL certificates.
The use of HTTPS in China has been very, very gradual and still, most web pages have not adopted the use of these certificates.
Apart from the fact that it is very difficult to distinguish between ads and organic results, one of the most interesting differences that Baidu has with Google is the use of its ads.
As we know, making ads on Google belongs to the SEM world and has no relation to SEO positioning in the sense that if you make ads it will not have any impact on your organic positioning.
In Baidu , the fact of placing ads benefits your organic positioning. We don't know to what extent, but it does.
Baidu is tougher with its duplicate content policies and heavily penalizes websites that do so.
Google's efforts have been far superior in terms of understanding these two programming languages while Baidu has had a hard time understanding them.
Moreover, it is recommended not even to use them because they can harm your positioning.
Google has a better control of the penalties and a better application of them.
If your website gets penalized on Baidu it pretty much means you've lost all your work. The chances of recovering from that penalty are very low.
Due to the above, Black Hat SEO strategies and negative SEO attacks are much more common within Baidu.
As with Google, the SERP's and their structure will depend directly on the search that is carried out.
For example , if we search for a location, we will surely obtain a map and if we do a transactional search, we will surely find advertisements.
(Special thanks to Simon from Dragon Metrics for helping with the post and contributing some of the images in the post. More on Baidu SEO )
In addition to the fact that we do not understand anything because it is in Chinese, as we can see in the clarifications, the first thing that appears are ads , then Baidu Map , something similar to Google Maps.
Later a single organic result followed by Baidu Open , Baidu Image , more organic results, Baidu Baike , more organic and finally ads.
All this on the first page.
As you will have seen in the example, it is extremely important to register for the other services offered by Baidu: Open, Baike, Map, etc.
Baidu Baike is equivalent to the Chinese Wikipedia and Baidu Open is a platform that allows you to create SERP Widgets that is, rich text snippets.
Like what happens with Yandex , Baidu has several similarities with Google, however, the differences are also clearly seen.
Let's hope that Google doesn't end up like Baidu , with many ads and other SERP's that cloud the organic results of the first page and which, like it or not, do not fairly reflect the real interest of the user.
It is notorious to clarify (since I have not done so throughout the post) that there are too many cultural differences that have led Baidu to be different from Google and that is also why the Chinese population has become accustomed to its use.
The language barrier and understanding of it is what has empowered Baidu, let's just hope they follow the right path towards optimization.