Baidu SEO: How to rank on China’s largest search engine? Thumbnail

Baidu SEO: How to rank on China’s largest search engine?

baidu seo

China is a huge market with a population of over 1.3 billion people. Out of this mammoth 1.3 billion approximately 160 million chinese consumers have purchased a product or service and this number is rising very rapidly. Baidu has over 83% of the China search market and serves 4 times the number of queries of the nearest competitor. Baidu is the search giant of China. If you are looking to market your products in China you need to take notice of Baidu and how to use Baidu to get your products and site in front of the right people.

Baidu is very different to other prominent search engines such as Google or Bing. When looking to promote your site and rank on Baidu you need to approach SEO in a very different way to the other search engines.


Get a local Chinese domain and host your site in China

If you are looking to have any prominent presence in China and Baidu you must get a local Chinese domain, either a .cn or Make sure your URL is in PinYin rather than English (PinYin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into Latin script).  The Chinese market trust PinYin and local Chinese domains much more than foreign domains.

You can register your Chinese domain name here -

You can use SINO hosting to host your Chinese site in China -


Keyword Research

Just like any other SEO campaign you would run for Google or Bing you must also do keyword research when optimizing for Baidu. It works in a similar way with looking at keywords that have high search volumes and relatively low traffic. Here are two tools by Baidu that shows just that - and

Baidu also have a tool which is part of their Paid Search product. You can use this tool when looking for keyword to taregt from a PPC perspective. You can use this for SEO for Baidu as well. Here is the tool:


baidu keyword research


Translate your site to simplified Chinese

You must translate your page into simplified Chinese/Mandarin. This is extremely crucial to building out an effective campaign in the China market. Ensure the translation is done by a human who is competent in the Chinese language. Don’t use any automated translating services like Google Translate. Make sure the page is translated properly and communicates to the Chinese in a clear and effective manner.

If you are promoting certain products or services to the Chinese market you can simply create a Chinese translated landing page as opposed to translating your entire site.

This comes straight out of the horses mouth (Baidu) – “There is an 85% drop off rate on Baidu, when users hit a page in English.  If you provide a Mandarin landing page, you have a much better chance of campaign conversions.”


Baidu SEO – On Page

Baidu concentrates quite heavily on meta tags. Make sure you have them all filled in. Ensure you have a keyword rich title tag with your main targeted keywords as H1 and Hs as well as alt attributes for images. Also use the keywords tag as this is important for Baidu. This is very different to Google as they never used the keyword tag as a ranking factor.

Another on page SEO factor is unique content. Much like Google, Baidu rewards unique quality content. Make sure it is  Baidu crawlers want to get as much information as quickly as possible so make sure your most important content is higher above the fold as possible. A well known international SEO, Bill Hunt wrote regarding Baidu SEO, “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.”

It is also important to remember that China censors their content so be careful what you are putting on your site that you want to rnak on Baidu. Make sure there is nothing adult or gambling related. Many social networks have also been banned such as Facebook and Youtube.


Baidu SEO – Off Page

Just like at Google Baidu also look at off page SEO factors. Link building is a strong Baido ranking factor however they look at purely the quantity of links instead of both the quantity and quality. This opens Baidu up for potential SPAM which may be an issue as they penetrate into other markets. Link building within the Chinese market is important and will help with Baidu rankings. Build links from similar and industry related Chinese sites to show Baidu that you are important in the industry to the Chinese people.

Anchor text is also used at Baidu as a ranking factor. Make sure you develop and implement campaigns that encourage keyword rich anchor text. Remember keywords will be in Chinese so ensure your anchor text is too. Baidu does not put as much weight into anchor text as Google but it is definitely a factor.

Here is a great table from Code That which shows the difference in on page and off page ranking factors between Google and Baidu.


baidu ranking factors


Baidu PPC to keep rankings

Baidu have 3 different advertising products that they offer. They are:

  • Paid Search
  • Banner Ads (Baidu Content Network)
  • Brand Zone
Spending money using any of these Baidu products will help with rankings and Baidu SEO. It has been known that you may potentially lose organic Baidu rankings if you previously used one of these paid products and then stopped.
Paid Search is similar to Google Adwords. It works on a Pay Per Click model at a keyword level. Internationally focused keywords have very low competition so the cost per clicks are much lower than at Google. For example if you run a tourism site in Australia looking to attract Chinese tourists you you could use Baidu’s paid search and pay relatively low CPC for highly targeted traffic.


baidu paid search
Banner Ads are served throughout Baidu’s content network. Baidu has a network of over 300,000 websites and offers advertising banner advertising opportunities that can contain:

  • imagery
  • flash
  • text
  • interactivity


Average CPC for Baidu Banner Ads is $0.20.
Brand Zone is used by Blue Chip companies to gain more presence and exposure. Here is an example of Air China who purchased the Baidu Brand Zone product. You can see the different components that are included:
  • Title,
  • Description with in-text links,
  • Brand logo,
  • Category links,
  • Image (which is animated but could also have launched a video in the banner frame).
As you can see the next search result is a full 450 pixels below which gives Air China massive exposure above the fold.


baidu brand zone


Read more about Baidu’s products on their Baidu International site

Submit your site to Baidu search engine

This is a really simple tip and should be done once you have created your Chinese site, hosted in China, on a Chinese domain with unique and perfect simplified Chinese/Mandarin. Submit your site to the Baidu search engine so you can be crawled and indexed by the Baidu Bot.
Here is where to submit your site:


An extra tip to this is to submit any news content you may have to Baidu News. This is great for Press Releases and other news coverage.


Much like Google you can also submit your sitemap. This will help Baidu crawl your entire site and index it.



Overall Baidu is a very different beast to other search engines like Bing or Google. It also has dominant market share in a country where their culture is very different to the English world however if you are looking to market and penetrate the Chinese market you will  need to think about ranking on Baidu and using their products. If you follow the above Baidu SEO best practices you should set yourself up for strong ranking in China’s biggest search engine.


Other Resources

For more information about Baidu and Baidu SEO & SEM follow @BaiduEnglish. This is aTwitter account I have created to help people learn more about Baidu as a website and search engines as well as learn how to better optimize their sites for Baidu.

Feel free to ask me questions by commenting on this post, asking a question on the right hand side question widget or by tweet me at @BaiduEnglish

Alaister Low

About the Author

has written 28 articles on SEOmistry.

Alaister is the creator of SEOmistry. He is a SEO and Online Marketing web strategist. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

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7 responses to "Baidu SEO: How to rank on China’s largest search engine?"

  • [...] Baidu SEO – How to rank on China’s largest search engine? 1 Upvotes Discuss Flag Submitted 1 min ago Alaister Low SEO Comments [...]

  • Quora says:

    Is Baidu ever planning to go global and challenge Google in search?…

    Yeh Baidu have offices in Singapore Australia, UK and USA. These offices currently work on getting paid customers for those 3 reasons. They are targeting overseas businesses who may want to tap into the huge Chinese market. Baidu is a very different se…

  • Everyone should try using Baidu once in awhile. Same for Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Most SEO is targeted toward Google rules. That’s fine, but even if you don’t do SEO, and are merely a web user, or content producer, it is very useful to search on multiple search engines now and then!

    There is a lot of English language content indexed by Baidu. I submitted my (non-pinyin, non-cn domain) blog sites to Baidu awhile ago. It was very easy. I don’t know if it makes much difference in traffic, as I’m not selling anything. But Baidu does a good job of indexing my URLs, keeping everything up to date and looking the way I want, even though I’m merely a casual blogger.

    Thank you, Alaister, for an excellent post on an infrequently covered but important subject!

  • Thank you Alaister for this post. I was interested in Baidu how it works but never found the time to explore it. It’s not my priority as at the moment we don’t plan to work on Chinese market but this really gave me good info in case that oppertunity arrives. Anyway, very good article. I will definately share it!

  • Sam says:

    Thanks Alaister for the tips, it has been very informative. From your experience, how do you think Baidu ranks the inbound links, as it was suggested, quantity is preferred over quality.

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