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Chinese User Behavior for Baidu and Google China

The Google way is to give highly relevant results at the top of the page. Eye scanning on Baidu shows that this strategy isn’t successful in China.

In a test conducted with Chinese subjects, eye scanning on Google.cn was more focused in the upper left hand corner compared to Baidu despite the fact that both search engines have nearly identical page layouts. Baidu users also scrolled down the page more than the Google users, but clicked on less sponsored listings – less than 1% compared to 3% for Google.

In a Google-dominated world, search engine Baidu has turned the tables in China where it commands three times the market share than its rival Google.cn. Baidu’s immense success in the world’s most populous country has several contributing factors, and Enquiro’s recent study takes a look at the differences in user interaction.

On Baidu, less than 45% of all clicks took place in the first 3 organic listings. This was much less focused than Google.cn where over 70% of all clicks took place on the top 2 organic results alone. Baidu pages also had significantly longer reading times – an average of 55 seconds – compared to 30 seconds on Google.cn.

The new research was conducted by Enquiro, a research company which specializes in eye tracking usability testing and measures search experiences.

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Elmer W. Cagape is an SEO consultant based in Hong Kong. Into Seinfeld, Toad the Wet Sprocket, space exploration, comedy films, digital marketing and travel. Follow him on Twitter (@elmercagape).

16 thoughts on “Chinese User Behavior for Baidu and Google China

  1. proson

    oh, interesting fact. thank you

    by the way,Elmer, I have some questions for you in general search or internet marketing field.

    1.) can you tell me how's the search engine market & viral marketing looks like in hong kong and in china. (since I am not in the field but preparing to enter. I personal think, it is a huge business. These days everyone got a website, and the point is, a company has a website doesn't mean they can do the promotion!

    2.) you may think I am silly to post a question here but the fact is, search engine marketing requires time & effort to learn it properly. There is so many myths and misconception around on how to get a website ranks first page on Google, for example, and some of the business man in hong kong is afraid of getting their ads on Search engines, or even try out some new viral marketing. I don't know about you In internet world if you don't response about the fast enough, you are going to left far far behind.

    anyway, enjoy to come here and talk to you.

    and thanks for your input!

    Reply
  2. Elmer W. Cagape Post author

    1) There are definitely players in the field right now. You can check them when you try searching for "seo hong kong"; they're what you see in paid and organic search. On how they work, I am not sure. I met a managing director recently and when he asked for SEO solutions, an "SEO" company offered him CMS product. In China, it's even harder to see the trend not only because I can't read Chinese chars but also because the landscape is different (search engine market, censorship, search result formats, etc) from elsewhere.

    You can read my post about why Google struggles in China and you'll see some insights into China search landscape.

    2) Maybe because of these myths these unsuspecting businessmen are having different ideas of what search engine marketing means and how it works.

    Thanks for your comments proson, I appreciate your visit always.

    Elmer

    Reply
  3. J-MA

    Interesting. Sounds like that in this side of the world that people are still getting to grips with the search engine industry. What would you say is the buggest sector who acknowledges SEO/SEM?

    The travel and finance sectors have always been on top of it, but all sectors are starting to recognise the importance of online to their business now.

    Reply
  4. Derek

    The Chinese I know up here in Beijing use their relationships more than the west…SEO is not as important over here. I generally advise clients to spend more time and energy on link building and web marketing…creating the relationships rather than SE rankings

    Reply
  5. J-Ma

    I couldnt agree more. Clients do not see the bigger pitcure, many are obsess of their deam rankings and must rank no1 for what is their key term. This term maybe give them traffic but quite possibly totally unrelevent traffic and gives them no value at all in terms of revenue.

    They must look at the bigger pitcure and understand that the tail is out there.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Baidu Closing Search Engine Advertising Bid Ranking System

  7. http://ww.physiquebo

    Ours is in internet related business. All our sales are generated online. To us, traffic is more important that being ranked high. We do invest in sponsored listings too but as you point out Baidu users are not much influenced, we need to change our strategy for chinese readers.

    Reply
  8. Health Beds

    This Chinese behavior becomes relevant only because in a Google-dominated world, search engine Baidu has turned the tables in China. And China is a market one ignores at his own folly and risk.

    Reply
  9. Website Design Coron

    As management students we were made to understand the dynamics of an exceptional environment in which business can operate. The Baidu example and the Chinese behaviour would make a fine case study.

    Reply

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