With an 80.33% market share as of Oct 2022, Baidu is China’s No.1 leading search engine. So that all your SEO effort should be on Baidu, which can give you immediate SERPs results and increase your chances of ranking high in search results.

Before optimizing your site for Baidu, you need to understand how it operates and get the hang of the Baidu SEO Tool to do keyword research.

This article will guide you through building an effective Baidu SEO strategy that delivers.


Step 1: Familiarize with Baidu’s SERP (Search Engine Result Page)

Baidu and Google share some similarities, but they also have some differences.

Baidu’s search engine result page is divided into two columns. The left contains the most relevant results, and the right features related results. Just like Google, paid-for ads can appear on both columns.

However, unlike Google, Baidu tends to prioritize paid results rather than organic results, as well as prioritizes its own websites.

Baidu's SERP (Search Engine Result Page)
Baidu's SERP (Search Engine Result Page)

On Baidu, rich snippets take up much more space than on Google, which means that, unlike Google, there’s much less room for high-ranking, organic search results on Baidu, as paid results tend to dominate the available space.

Baidu also prioritizes its own websites, such as Baidu Baike - Baidu’s answer to Wikipedia, Baidu Tieba - Baidu’s answer to Reddit, and Baidu Zhidao - Baidu’s answer to Quora.

Thus, rankings your content organically on Baidu can be very tricky.

Next, look closer at Baidu’s SERP. You’ll notice that some sites have a small ‘V’ icon attached to their SERP snippet. The ‘V’ icon refers to Baidu’s domain credibility system - websites with a ‘V’ badge are trusted and verified by Baidu. If you wish to get a ‘V’ badge for your website, you must apply to be verified by Baidu and pay a yearly fee to keep it.

Baidu's domain credibility system
Baidu's domain credibility system

Although these badges do not directly influence a site’s ranking on Baidu, they do optimize click-through rates, as the sites with ‘V’ can appear more trustworthy to users.


Step 2: Setting up a Chinese-hosted Website and Stay Compliant

Baidu SEO takes time, and staying compliant with Chinese Laws is the foundation of success. Getting a Chinese-hosted website and an ICP Filing or ICP License for your site is essential, as it’s the entrance ticket to long-term stability and doing well with Baidu SEO in China. Near-china CDN, or hosting solution, works great temporarily in China but will only last for a while. Brands and companies with excellent SEO and SEM are equipped with ICP Filing and other proper permits.

Baidu prioritizes Chinese websites — both in terms of .cn domain names and websites with a Chinese host. Your Baidu SEO strategy is unlikely to work if you don’t have one. And you also need an ICP Filing before launching, to get your website verified by the MIIT of China.

For example, Nike has a separate domain for China - nike.cn, which is equipped with an ICP Filing. So when people in China search “Nike” on Baidu, nike.cn is ranked No. 1, not nike.com, and we can expect most of the traffic will land on nike.cn. This means tesla.cn is indexed on Baidu, rather than nike.com.

Stay Compliant with the Chinese laws. Nike's ICP Number
Stay Compliant with the Chinese laws. Nike's ICP Number

Baidu prioritizes Chinese websites because of the Great Firewall of China, which is built to monitor online information. The Chinese government fully controls what content can be accessible to the audience inside the Firewall. If the content or the site owner does not fit the requirement, the site can be quickly taken down or blocked. So try to avoid getting around with the Firewall because your site can be easily blocked if it’s not compliant, and you won’t be given any warning or notice before getting blocked.

The Chinese government also has outlined five obligations companies must follow when hosting their live websites. You have to be careful sticking to it without making any mistakes. If you need someone to give you free guidance on censorship, reach out to us. Our team has been in this space for 10+ years, and we will be happy to help you.


Step 3: Localization: Chinese Version of Your Site for Baidu

Baidu doesn’t index non-Chinese sites well. When western brands come to China, the first thing they do is to have their site and content fully localized. This doesn’t just refer to translating the content into Chinese. You also need to have the content, and the technologies fit into the culture of the Chinese audience.

For example, when Sam’s Club comes to China, their name, site, and SERP are all Chinese. They also use WeChat Mini Program to help customers make online orders and checkout offline. If you are unfamiliar, WeChat is a “super app” that does video chats, messaging, streaming, and payments.

Localization: Sam's Club site in China
Localization: Sam's Club site in China

Also, for your Baidu SEO to work on a technical level, you will need to ensure your keywords are in Mandarin and can be recognized by Baidu as well as understood by the Chinese audience. You’ll need the help of a native speaker to get this right instead of using online translation tools.


Step 4: Optimize for Mobile

According to the 2022 Statistical Report on the Development of China’s Internet by CNNIC, China’s netizens surfed the Internet for 29.5 hours per week, and 99.6% of netizens used mobile phones to surf the Internet! This means you must go mobile first: make sure your site is mobile-friendly to get better SEO results on Baidu.

If you don’t have a custom mobile site, you should customize your desktop site using Baidu’s Site App feature, which will optimize it for mobile in a few simple steps. If you already have one, make sure Baidu can recognize it by adding the necessary meta tags.


Step 5: Register a Baidu Account

You need to have a Baidu account to develop your SEO strategy. Go to Baidu’s registration page, right-click on the page and select ‘Translate to English,’ then fill in the registration form. Remember to verify your account via your mobile number.

However, sometimes international users might need help receiving the verification code, especially if you don’t have a Chinese phone number. In that case, you can always contact us. We can open a Baidu account for you on your behalf and walk you through the process. Meanwhile, we can also bring your company, product, and service into full compliance with Chinese law.


Step 6: Use Baidu Webmaster Tools

Baidu Webmaster Tools is Baidu’s answer to the Google Search Console. It’s the official management platform on Baidu. After submitting your website to it, Baidu’s spider will crawl and index it more effectively.

You can access Baidu Webmaster Tools straight from your Baidu account, so you need to set up a Baidu account first. If you cannot open a Baidu account, we can help you create one.


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Contact us to learn more about our Baidu SEO service. We’ll get you to the front page of Baidu without all the hassle!


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