If you plan to market your products and services directly to Chinese consumers it is essential to have your site listed in Baidu, China’s number one search engine. By various estimates, 60-70% of all searches in China are done via Baidu and having your site achieve high ranking there should become an important part of your marketing strategy.
In this post, I’ve pulled in some resources on how to improve your ranking and what factors affect your site’s placements in the search results.
Submitting your site to Baidu
Submitting your site to Baidu is an important thing to do if your site doesn’t appear in the Baidu’s search engine, i.e., it is not indexed yet. Without submitting your site, the Baidu spiders (computer bots that scour the internet) may not find you and your site will not get indexed.
You can submit your site to Baidu’s open source platform at: http://open.baidu.com
Submitting a sitemap
Like Google, submitting a sitemap to Baidu helps them to find all of the pages on your site.
Their platform for sitemap submission is found at:
Simplified Chinese is the only language that Baidu will recognize. In order to be properly indexed, your website should be written in it. See my other post on translating your website.
Keywords are important in Google, but they are still carry more weight in Baidu. While Google is slowly moving away from its dependence on keywords and anchor text, Baidu still considers these very important.
There is a banned list of keywords that mainly have to do with politics, military, controversial events in Chinese history and even gambling. Never use any of the words on it if you don’t want to run the risk of getting your website banned as well.
Due to frequent connectivity problems, Baidu’s crawlers won’t index pages that are too deep in your hierarchy. Keep your website’s architecture flat and accessible.
Quantity over Quality
Google’s frequent updates have ensured that SEO specialists understand the importance of the quality of links over the number of links pointing to their websites. Baidu hasn’t reached that level of sophistication yet – quantity is still more important. Obviously, that means that there are many opportunities for link spamming.
However, over the last year, Baidu has been updating its algorithms to punish lower quality sites.
Anchor text should of course be in Chinese. They should also match the keywords being used on your website. Baidu is quite strict about this and may penalize sites where the anchor text and keywords are not in sync.
Baidu still relies heavily on meta tags to determine relevance so ensure that your meta tags are optimized. This also includes meta keywords tag since Baidu uses them to some extent still.
Local Domain & Hosting
In comparison to Google, Baidu attaches a not insignificant bonus to .com.cn / .cn domains and websites hosted within the Great Firewall.
China’s .cn domains are administered by the Ministry of Information. This means that unlike buying a typical .com domain, .cn registrations will be manually (as in, by a human) reviewed. There are also licenses you will have to apply for. If you have ever dealt with the government, you know this can take time.