What is baidu coms

China is becoming more and more important as a market for German companies. SEO expert Marcus Pentzek from the UDG United Digital Group explains how companies can optimize their websites for the Baidu search engine.

By Marcus Pentzek, Teamlead SEO at UDG United Digital Group

China's middle class is growing - and with it the desire for high-quality goods and the potential for companies from the West to sell their products and services there. However, being a well-known brand is not enough to do good business. Chinese brands have long recognized what consumers value. A competition begins for the attention of the more than one hundred million wealthy Chinese of the middle and upper classes.
One of the fields in which this battle is being waged is China's largest search engine: Baidu. With a total of 1.16 billion hits per month, Baidu is one of the most popular websites; not just in China, but worldwide. For comparison: Google.de registers 940 million and Google.com 15 billion hits per month.

The first impression

At first glance, Baidu is the same as any other search engine: After submitting the search query, a list of websites appears whose content matches the query. A small excerpt (snippet) is displayed for each hit, which is enriched with a few meta-information. There are also rich snippets with images.

As with Google and Bing, there are ads above the search results, from which Baidu generates a large part of its revenue. In addition to the hits, there is additional information or shopping ads. And like any other search engine, Baidu tries to use different ranking criteria to offer its users the right information for their query and thus the best experience.

In one respect, however, Baidu differs significantly from the western competition: The search engine meets the requirements of the Chinese government and is therefore - in contrast to Google, which is blocked by the state's own firewall - unrestrictedly accessible.

Because while in Germany only individual, specific websites are blocked, the Chinese government blocks blanket content from companies that it classifies as "dangerous". The check requires a lot of computing effort and means that foreign websites in China sometimes load more slowly.

6 Tips for Search Engine Optimization for Baidu

1. Ensure accessibility

When optimizing for Baidu as well as for Google or Bing, SEOs should use content elements that the respective search engine can easily record and evaluate. Storing content in Flash, Silverlight, pictures or films is rather counterproductive. Baidu does not currently evaluate JavaScript either.
Baidu would also have the technical capabilities to recognize text on images and in videos (OCR), to interpret image elements (pattern recognition) and to read and evaluate audio from MP3, WAV or film files as well as Javascript. However, this is currently not being implemented. Important content should therefore also appear in the text of the website.

2. Pay attention to accessibility and speed

In China, not all websites can be accessed at the same speed. In particular, websites that are hosted on servers outside of China often struggle with long loading times. But even Chinese servers don't have to be the fastest per se. Just like in Europe or America, there are hosting providers that are better equipped and less performant.

The range of websites is already immense in China. A website that performs in China definitely has advantages. A website that is generally not available in China will not be able to work out any rankings on Baidu.

A high-performance hosting in China - or a content delivery network that can also deliver high-performance in China, is therefore mandatory.

3. Consider OnPage factors

In China, too, websites are built with HTML and Baidu also uses the interpretation of the individual elements. The most important are, similar to Google, Title, Meta-Description, H1 and H2. In addition, until recently, Baidu's meta keywords were also used for ranking evaluations.
HTML5 is not yet an issue, but should be taken into account when reprogramming websites, as it can be used in the near future as a tool for interpreting and distinguishing between the important and unimportant contents of Baidu.

4. Use Mandarin as the language

The predominant language in China is standard Chinese, called "Mandarin" in the West. Although other languages ​​and dialects are spoken in the country, users usually search in Mandarin and all Chinese brands publish content online in the official language only. The content of a website that is supposed to be successful on Baidu - and thus in China - must be written in Mandarin.

5. Generate backlinks from local sites

Baidu also uses the ranking factor "backlinks" presented by Google with a complex inheritance scheme of the link juice, which is similar to the pagerank. When building links for Chinese websites, it should be noted that it has a positive effect to be linked from Chinese websites. Link strategies with links from foreign cultures and language areas are even less effective in SEO for Baidu than in Google.
Baidu is also paying more and more attention to link quality - albeit not as effectively as Google. At the top of the Baidu hits are websites that are linked to high quality. Nevertheless, a website that collects a lot of low-quality signals (for example via social media, forums or blogs) can also play a decisive role in the Baidu search results. This depends primarily on the competitive situation. If the main competitors are also linked from high-quality sources, a website will have to have links of the same quality in order to be able to keep up.
A balanced, natural and high-quality backlink portfolio from Chinese sources is therefore essential for good rankings in contested topics.

6. Offer high quality content

Basically, it goes without saying: A website that wants to play a leading role needs appropriate and first-class content. But search engines have not always been good at distinguishing high quality from low quality content. Even today it is often not the best content, but the one with the most keywords that is rewarded.
But the market is on the move: Baidu refines its search algorithm every year with numerous small and a few large communicated updates. Like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, the company researches deep learning and artificial intelligence. Baidu has built one of the best speech recognition algorithms and can deal with the peculiarities of the Chinese language much better than Google and Bing have been able to do so far.

Outlook: Competition for Baidu is growing

In the future, China SEO may be more than just Baidu. In the past few years so.com, the search engine of the Internet group 360, has developed into a serious player with almost 56 million page views per month, while competitor Sogou.com holds a similar market share.

With the competition, the pressure on Baidu grows to stay on the ball and deliver even higher quality search results in order to prevent users from migrating to the competition.