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China without Google: Time to optimise for Baidu

Chinese search engine Baidu is the undisputed market leader when it comes to search in China – and following Google’s closure of its Chinese website, its market share is likely to rise. Organisations attempting to reach the 380 million Chinese internet users should already be targeting Baidu but it is now even more important to ensure your website is indexed by – and ranking well in – Baidu.

Here are a few key factors to consider when conducting SEO for Baidu.

1. Get the language right: Use Simplified Chinese

There are several variations of the Chinese language, but Simplified (or Mandarin) is the official language of the People’s Republic of China and therefore Baidu – so use it!

2. Do not scrimp on keywords

No surprises there! Make sure your keywords appear in every element of the page. Utilise the title and description tags to help both the search engines and users to understand what your page is about and reinforce your message by including the important keywords in the copy, anchor text links and alt tags.

Your keyword research should be done using Baidu’s own keyword tools to ensure you are targeting the most effective terms.

3. Focus on quality links, rather than quantity

Baidu places value on the quality of the websites linking to you, rather than the quantity so focus your attention on attracting relevant, good quality links. Naturally it is links from Chinese websites and sources that will carry the most value.

4. Use native speakers

Just like any multilingual SEO activity, you will get the best results if a native speaker is involved in the optimisation process. This will ensure that your content, keywords and links are relevant and appropriate for the Chinese audience you are targeting.

5. Host your website in China

Although websites hosted outside China will still rank in Baidu, the search engine does favour websites hosted in the country. This will just give you an extra advantage in the competition for ranking positions.

6. Avoid Flash and JavaScript

Baidu cannot recognise Flash and JavaScript files, so stick to text if you want to be sure your content will be indexed.

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Gemma Houghton

Director of Marketing at Webcertain
Gemma has worked in international search marketing for over ten years and is Director of Marketing at Webcertain, overseeing all marketing activities for the Group. She also organises and programmes Webcertain's International Search Summit, a search marketing conference focusing on international and multilingual online marketing which runs across Europe and the US. Gemma holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Diploma in Management and Leadership from the Chartered Management Institute, and a BA joint honours degree in French and German.

4 Responses to China without Google: Time to optimise for Baidu

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  2. Monica says:

    Having browsed through quite a number of Chinese websites, it would seem Chinese websites love flashing things. So even if it is terrible to have flash and javascript on websites, some sort of balance must be achieved so that your website LOOKS like a Chinese website, which is a lot different from Western websites.

  3. Monica – no need for flash to achieve that! You are correct – busy websites are very popular in Asia. It’s one of the reasons given for Google’s lack of success in Korea.

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