Besides the issue with language among non-Chinese speakers, optimizing for Baidu can be a tough one since it doesn’t necessarily apply the same knowledge we know with Google and other search engines.
So it’s always nice to see inputs coming from an expert in this field, and these tips are consistent and in line with other industry information available. These tips are from a Baidu specialist named Anita.
- Domain name should be relevant to China — .com, .cn or .com.cn are all recommended. Same as with many other countries where relevance makes sense, optimizing for Baidu is the other way of saying reaching out to the China market. Having a China top level domain is a positive sign.
- Hosting should be in Hong Kong or China. There are many types of hosting these days (cloud, virtual private server, etc) but in this context, I believe it is hosting the website physically in Hong Kong or China. I heard some unpleasant experience with hosting in China, but if this is a key to better visibility in Baidu, by all means do it. After all, it is theoretically more accessible to the target market if the website is hosted within the area.
- Prepare the ICP (Internet Content Provider) license for your website to be hosted in China. Like other sites that operate in China, we observe that text similar to 京ICP证12345678号 found at the bottom of the page. This is the ICP license that can be obtained through an authorized agent. If you are hosting your site in Hong Kong, this requirement is not needed.
- Language should be Simplified Chinese. Just like the domain name and hosting, language should also cater to the Chinese people who read mostly in content rendered in Simplified Chinese.
- Avoid placing any controversial content that may run foul with the Chinese government. So instead of brushing with sensitive political content which is probably not our website’s main purpose, let’s just focus on the business side.
- Gather links from websites related to your site. Baidu used to favor volume of links over quality but those days are over. Links could come from partner sites, third-party comparison sites or those within the same industry.
- Link building only from Simplified Chinese websites counts. So unless someone is at least familiar with the language, do not trust their link building service could improve your Baidu SEO efforts.
- Publish original content. Do not copy content from other sites. Your website may share the same topic but not content found elsewhere.
- Do PPC campaign in Baidu. This helps uncover the right Chinese keywords to optimize for your site.
- Promote your website in Chinese social networks. Weibo, the Chinese equivalent for Twitter, appears on Baidu search results.
- If your website has underwent a revamp, it will take at least one month for Baidu to index new pages.
- Baidu does not honor old domains higher than new ones just as Google does. Baidu looks at how much traffic it brings as a barometer for likely success.
- The 301 redirection may not work the same way for Baidu. According to Anita:
“I have used 301 redirection from xxxx.com to www.xxxx.com, one day www.xxxx.com has been in Baidu sandbox, all the rankings of www.xxxx.com disappeared. However, the rankings of xxxx.com has still been there.”