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Baidu SEO: How to rank on Baidu's SERPs

November 1, 2022 |   Elizabeth De Jesus

Baidu, the most popular Chinese search engine, doesn’t explain its website ranking rules. Baidu SEO, like China SEO in general, is a particularly opaque art. However, there is an industry of digital experts in China that monitor and test the relative performance of websites to track changes Chinese SEO indexing rules. We’ve gathered an up-to-date list of Baidu SEO best practice to help. Follow the steps below to make sure that when Baidu’s web crawling spider, Baiduspider, comes to your site, you’re ready to get your website ranking on Baidu's SERP.

Baidu SEO essentials

1. Secure an ICP

If you want to rank well on Baidu, it’s important to have an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license. The license, issued by Chinese authorities, let’s you to legally host your website on China’s mainland, so it loads faster and can be indexed by Chinese search engines.

So, what can you do if you’re not eligible for an ICP? If you can’t get one, you can still have a high-performing website in China. The Sinorbis Experience Platform combines several tech solutions to allow clients to create a high-performing website visible within China. Exactly how we do it is a Sinorbis secret, but it means you can integrate a robust, owned channel into your campaigns and social channels.

2. Make sure your content is in simplified Chinese

Not only does Baidu not like romanised characters, but it also prefers simplified Chinese over traditional Chinese as Baidu is for a mainland Chinese, mandarin speaking audience, so it is important to localise your website to your Chinese audience. While you're at it, make sure you include your data privacy policy in simplified Chinese before collecting any personal information.

3. Make sure your website is mobile responsive

Baidu increasingly preferences mobile-responsive websites. If you’re using our Sinorbis platform, your website is automatically mobile-responsive. If not, it’s important to spend the time and money making sure you have adapted your website for mobile. The majority of China’s internet traffic happens from mobile searches, so a website’s mobile performance is also critical to the user experience.

4. Use keywords (strategically)

Keyword strategy should be built into your website’s architecture as well as content. We outline how to generate keywords as well as keyword filtering strategy in other posts. But, in general, your keyword filtering will involve:

Initial filtering

The keywords you pick need to be appropriate to the services and products offered by your website. Chasing Baidu “buzz words” could earn you traffic in the short term, but is unlikely to lead to conversions. Baiduspider has evolved to spot keyword stuffing and punish offending websites.

  • Identify one to three keywords that best summarize the services of your China website.
  • List synonyms for you selected keywords.
  • Identify keywords in your “upper-level” category – the main headings for the products or services on your website.
  • List all keywords relevant to all products, brands or services available on the website, and explore those of related services.
  • Find out as many long tail keywords relevant to these keywords as possible.
  • Identify the keywords in search habits of target audience.


You then need to pick the words with Baidu SEO value. Review how much traffic these different search terms earn. It also important to consider your production constraints. Content is time consuming, and expensive, to produce.

Popularity versus potential

There’s an art to balancing how you prioritise your target keywords. Popular keyword searches for your product are also likely to be highly competitive, making them harder to ‘own’. You will need to also pick less competitive keywords. If you’re just starting your China SEO journey, around 80% of your keywords should be low competition and 20% should be high competition. As you start to build authority, you can shift this ratio.

Keyword placement

Not all SEO bots are equal. It’s worth structuring articles and content so important keywords sit close to the top, to help less-powerful crawlers, and then are repeated throughout.

5. Build quality links

It’s not just keyword stuffing that raises Baiduspider red flags. Other Black Hat SEO tactics are also on the radar. So focus on quality, over quantity, when you build links. Efficient external link development speeds up the indexing and improves the ranking of the website. The key is relevancy, authority and diversity: external links should be highly relevant to the content on your site, from websites with high authority, and from a high number of different domains. One of the best ways to boost your site’s authority quickly is to link to your main English website or a partner’s website.

6. Use metatags

Good metatag hygiene also applies in China. Make sure your meta descriptions are unique, accurate, click-worthy and 78 Chinese characters or less. If you can include your keyword, even better.

7. Make sure your website loads quickly

Baiduspider, like internet users in general, penalises slow websites (and so do users!). Consider the size of the images you use, get rid of ads or other site-slowing add-ons, and focus on creating a clean, clear user experience. A fast-loading China website is one of the most important steps to get right.

8. Leverage Baidu's proprietary platforms

One thing that makes China’s online ecosystem so unique is that the local search engines feature a variety of proprietary platforms. For Baidu these include Baidu News for current events, Baidu Baike for encyclopaedic knowledge similar to Wikipedia, Baidu Q&A for community-driven inquiries akin to Quora, and Baidu Tieba for forum-style discussions reminiscent of Reddit. Users can find information from all these channels in Baidu’s search engine results; for example, they can discuss related topics on Baidu Q&A and Baidu Tieba or they can find online documents that have been shared on Baidu Wenku. When searching for related keywords on Baidu, results from these various channels and portals will appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). For local SEO, Baidu Maps plays a crucial role to increase visibility, similar to the significance of Google Maps to rank on Google.

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9. Use localised Chinese domains

Moreover, the landscape of domain preferences on Baidu's SERPs is witnessing a notable shift. While .com domains traditionally dominated the rankings, there's a rising trend in the popularity and effectiveness of localised Chinese domains, such as .cn and This shift, as highlighted by the Search Engine Journal, suggests the increasing importance of showcasing content that is specifically crafted for and targeted at the Chinese market, potentially influencing Baidu's ranking factors to favour these localised domains.


Emerging technologies and user behaviour patterns are set to significantly influence the evolution of Baidu SEO, with Baidu making considerable investments in areas such artificial intelligence with their ERNIE bot set to be China’s answer to ChatGPT. These advancements can influence a potential shift in the development of SEO strategies as Baidu’s algorithm continues to evolve. Navigating the competitive landscape of SEO in China requires both time and financial resources, yet the demand for certain products and services remains high. By adopting a smart SEO strategy with a long-term perspective, businesses can enhance their Chinese website's ranking on Baidu. Sinorbis, recognising these challenges and opportunities, offers a comprehensive suite of China SEO services, to support clients in improving their Chinese SEO rankings and navigating the complexities of the market.

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