Baidu, the most popular search engine in China, 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.
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 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
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 via mobile, 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:
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.
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 quality, when you build links.
6. Use metatags
Good metatag hygiene also applies in China. Make sure your metatag 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 adds 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.
SEO takes times and money everywhere. But China has a particularly competitive SEO environment. Still, there is great demand for certain products and service. With smart SEO strategy, and a long term outlook, you can improve your Chinese website’s Baidu ranking. Sinorbis offers a range of SEO foundation and SEO management services to clients who would like support improving their website’s Chinese SEO ranking.