If China is your target market, your website should be visible in Baidu. With a market share of 75%, Baidu is the most important search engine in China. Google has a low relevance in China (market share of 2%).
In this article you will find out what is important when doing search engine optimization for Baidu and how you can achieve high ranking positions.
These are the basics that you should take into account when planning your website for China.
- Language: All content and metatags should be written in Simplified Chinese characters.
- Top-level domain (TLD): Baidu favors .cn over all other TLDs.
- Web hosting: In addition, Baidu favors websites that are hosted in China.
- Censorship: Baidu de-indexes all pages that contain words from the blacklist of the Chinese government.
Baidu On-Page SEO
- URL structure: URLs should be descriptive and in Pinyin (phonetic system for transcribing Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet).
- Title tags and meta descriptions: These tags should be individual for every page and contain relevant keywords. The character limit is 80 characters for titles and 200 characters for descriptions.
- Meta keywords: For Baidu, meta keywords are still relevant. It is recommended to add 3-5 keywords per page.
- Heading tags: Every page should have exactly one H1 tag that describes the page and contains a relevant keyword.
- Images: When using images it is important to give them a descriptive file name and to add an ALT tag.
- Internal linking: Baidu attaches great importance to keyword rich anchor texts and recommends using a breadcrumbs navigation.
- Metatag directives: Baidu supports canonical tags, nofollow tags and noarchive tags as well as link tags pointing to the mobile version of the website. The hreflang tag, however, is currently not supported by Baidu. In addition, Baidu respects the commands in the robots.txt file.
- HTTPS: Whereas HTTPS is an official ranking factor in Google, Baidu provides only limited support for HTTPS. Thus you should use the HTTP protocol for your Chinese website.
Baidu Off-Site Factors
Similar to other search engines, backlinks and social visibility are relevant ranking factors in Baidu. You should pay attention to the following specific requirements for Baidu.
- Backlinks: Like for other search engines, the quality of links is more important than the quantity. Baidu likes keyword rich anchor texts. In addition, you should focus on building links from other Chinese websites.
- Social Media: In order to make your website shareable on Chinese social networks, like for example Sina Weibo, it is recommended to implement the Baidu share button.
Baidu provides the following SEO tools.
- Baidu Keyword Research Tool: With the Baidu keyword tool you can find the keywords that are relevant for your website in China (similar to Google AdWords keyword planner).
- Baidu Webmaster Tools: Baidu Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console and allows you to monitor and manage the indexing of your website in Baidu.
- Trend Tools: Baidu provides two tools that are comparable to Google Trends, providing helpful resources for keyword research and content planning: Baidu Feng Yun Bang and Baidu Index.
Take all the factors listed above into account to achieve good SEO ranking positions in China. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email.