In a great explanation from Bill Hunt in a Search Engine Land article here – How To Get Into Baidu, The World’s 2nd Largest Search Engine he explains about how to get into the organic listings (in addition to paid ads) within Baidu. Read his explanations below:
Is it true the only way into Baidu is via paid ads?
Six months ago, search marketers would have told you the only way to get exposure in Baidu was to buy your way in. For many popular consumer phrases, as many as the first ten to twenty pages of results were all paid ads, which is why many SEO firms in China charged businesses by the click to get them onto the first page of rankings.
Paid ad dominance is no longer the norm under Baidu’s new platform code named “Phoenix Nest” (a.k.a. “Professional Edition”) which was officially deployed in April. Essentially, Phoenix Nest moved paid search listings from the left side to the right side and the top three listings making SERPs look and feel more like western search engines.
In early September Baidu migrated over 800,000 keywords from their old system into the Phoenix Nest platform. This migration has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of paid results on the left side. Those sites lucky enough to backfill the now open SERPS benefit from significantly increased organic traffic.
In a future article I will dig deeper into the characteristics of Baidu’s paid search platform, but for now I can tell you the new platform is very similar to Google’s with many of the same optimization techniques working equally well on Baidu. Just like Google, Baidu has deployed a quality score mechanism called “Comprehensive Rank Index” focused on improving the overall quality of ads for searchers and advertisers.
How can I improve my organic rankings on Baidu?
The good news is most of the normal on page optimization factors you implement to rank well in Google will also improve your rankings in Baidu. The algorithm is not as sophisticated as Google’s nor does it currently put much weight on inbound links which makes life a lot easier for marketers to make quick changes to their site and start reaping the benefits. Some items that are unique to ranking well in Baidu are:
The site must be in Chinese. The obvious first step to ranking well in organic results is to have content in Chinese. Simplified Chinese is the primary language of Mainland China so it is important to make sure you have used the correct language tags on the site.
The site should be hosted in China. While Baidu has many non-China hosted sites in its database and it is not a requirement to have a .cn domain or be hosted in China, it is a strong recommendation. The main reason for Baidu’s preference for local hosting is due to government firewalls and poor connectivity issues that are common in China. Local hosted sites stand a greater chance of being found and reindexed when they are in China.
Put the most important content at the top of the page. Due to poor connectivity, Baidu’s crawlers want to get as much content as they can and will often simply crawl only the first 100 to 120k of content on a page (remember AltaVista, circa 1998?).
All-Flash sites are a problem. Since marketers could buy their way into Baidu results in the past, many sites did not need to consider the negative implications of Flash only content on their organic search performance. This has been one of the primary reasons many large company sites are having a hard time gaining traction in Baidu’s organic results.
If you are China-ready, look at Baidu’s options to increase market share
The recent changes in Baidu offer a number of opportunities for marketers to maximize their search presence in both paid and organic search. While I am not advocating you jump into the market unprepared, I do strongly suggest you look at the new opportunities with Baidu as a way to expand your market share and sales before your competition does.
To succeed in China it is critical to understand your Chinese consumer, how they use the Internet and how they would engage your products in their local markets. While the opportunities in China are significant, there are still many challenges for Western companies to overcome to be successful. Those ready to embrace these challenges and leverage the new opportunities of Baidu should be on their way to reaping the benefits China has to offer.
If you are interested in advertising (paid ads) in Baidu they have recently introduced an International Support Center in English which can be found here – Baidu International Support Center
The International Support Center also has some great insight into Baidu in general. Here is the information from the ‘About Us’ page:
Founded in 2000, Baidu, a Chinese language search platform, leveraging the booming Chinese Internet and search engine market , has dominated Chinese online ad market in 2007, generating RMB1.74 billion revenue with at 108% growing rate year on year. Respond to hundreds of millions of queries daily, Baidu represent approximately 70% of total online search queries in China. Over 150,000 small and mid-sized Chinese enterprises, large domestic corporations and Chinese divisions or subsidiaries of large multinational corporations have benefited from Baidu’s online search marketing services. Beyond online search, Baidu continues its success in query-based searchable communities with Baidu’s Post Bar (BBS) and Baidu Knows (Answers) representing two of the biggest communities in the world.
There is a lot more than covering topics from paid search, brand links, contextual ads, SEM services and the P4P API.
Check it out via the links below: