How to create a Baidu SEO strategy for increasing ranking, organic traffic and sales

Whether you operate in the travel industry, higher-education, e-commerce sector or B2B markets, creating a tailor-made Baidu SEO strategy is essential for your Western brand to master in order to succeed in the China market.

What to know about Baidu

Baidu is China’s answer to Google, with more than 800 million Chinese internet users and about 70% of the country’s market share. Its value lies in answering two main questions for Western marketers:

1. How can my Western brand be found by Chinese online customers, and;
2. How can I build a trusted brand in China?

With the right Baidu SEO strategy, Western brands can be easily found by their target Chinese audience. They can also be strongly positioned as a trusted provider of the types of products and services that Chinese customers want (remembering that Western brands are viewed as being desirable and of high-quality in China.)

Like Google, but different

It’s useful to note that Baidu uses different algorithms to Western search engines and operates by targeting unique online behaviours of its Chinese users. It also operates within a distinct culture that goes way beyond a different language, including cultural differences, legalities, user behaviour, technical considerations and censorship. This means that different, highly targeted techniques must be used to build your Western brand sustainably in China’s search engine rankings.

The power of Baidu

Get your Baidu strategy right and you will:

– Increase the volumes of targeted Chinese customers landing on your Chinese website through organic search
– Build your ranking for targeted Chinese keywords on Baidu
– Optimise your web page indexing for visibility and SERPS alike
– Grow quality leads, customer enquiries and those all-important sales.

How to enjoy success on Baidu

With over 800 million Chinese customers currently online, Baidu SEO is an essential channel for long-term, sustainable visibility – and its gains offer permanent benefits. Every Western brand will need to develop a bespoke strategy according to its unique goals, current position and available budget. Depending on its market position, objectives and desired investment (considering the use of other digital marketing channels as part of a holistic strategy) a typical Baidu SEO strategy might capture the following activities:

1. Carry out competitor analysis

By understanding what your competitors are doing, easier decisions can be made about focus areas and routes for gaining competitive advantage and higher placement for certain keywords.

2. Chinese Website development

Western brands will need to develop and localise their Chinese website to ensure that pages are optimised for Baidu SEO. This includes analysing the structure of the website and optimising the UX accordingly for SERPS and human readers alike. (At Market Me China, we use tools to provide instant and rich analysis for targeted improvements and necessary site development.)

3. Chinese Website ‘housekeeping’

Carry out essential SEO ‘housekeeping’ – from removing deleting negative links through to adding header and image tags and optimising URLs. For example, it is important to remove redundant code in the back-end of website pages to improve their weighting (again, our tools identify this automatically and flags up instant fixes.)

4. Develop a Chinese keyword strategy

Assess Chinese keywords, rank them and ensure that keywords are incorporated into branded content correctly and in line with Baidu algorithms. A full content strategy will prioritise content and ensure a regular calendar of rich, varied and value-adding content that is designed with Chinese readers in mind, and which provides solutions to their pain points.

5. Develop a linking strategy

From backlinks to internal links, the right linking strategy and delivery will ensure that Baidu’s search engines can accurately read and rank your content, and build it’s ‘authority’ weighting for your target keywords. Again, this will also grow organic traffic. A sound strategy will factor in the right blend of social media, forums, online Q&A or wikis plus review and recommendation platforms for your brand; all building links and reciprocal traffic which increases your Chinese website’s relevance and weight for Baidu search engine.

6. Consider social media and mobile website

There is a strong link between brands that have a powerful social media following and those which are ranked highly on Baidu. The search engine indexes certain media platforms such as Sina Weibo, so it is worth optimising your full digital hub for integrated benefits. Equally, Baidu takes your mobile version website into account, and will naturally rank those brands which have a great mobile website that Chinese users find easy to use (this means a seamless UX, fast loading speeds, responsive web design and other key factors that you will become familiar with from your ‘regular’ website optimisation activities for SEO.)

Going the extra mile

Because Baidu operates in line with Chinese online users, Western brands must seek to really understand what makes Chinese users tick, and what represents a superb online experience in their eyes. We can provide these insights into behaviours and local factors which are essential to SEO success. At all times, white hat SEO techniques must be used to avoid being penalised by Baidu. Market Me China only ever uses legitimate white hat techniques for sustainable, long-term success.

How to get more organic traffic

Again, an integrated digital marketing strategy will support your SEO ranking activity. Organic traffic will grow as your keyword strategy and delivery begins to embed and your website optimisation pays off. Equally, your brand’s Chinese social media activities on platforms such as Weibo, WeChat, Little Red Book and Youku – combined with review websites – should seamlessly direct traffic to your target landing pages.

How to drive sales with Baidu SEO

Evidencing success

Baidu provides its own Baidu Tongji (Analytics) and Baidu Ziyuan (Webmaster) tools so that brands can assess the success of their work and see where ongoing adjustments and refinements can be made. These tools are extremely valuable and offer powerful insights, but they are in Chinese, so many Western brands prefer to use the services of a Chinese digital marketing agency to provide an expert translation. We provide tailored and customised reports that assess performance and flag up next-step activities for ongoing development.

How we work

Every one of our Western clients has a unique brand. Rather than attempting to apply a standardised approach to Baidu SEO, we work to really understand your business and to carefully define your objectives. By paying attention to the detail, we can craft highly effective strategies that bring you returns. Typical activities will span competitor research through to content preparation, website optimisation and social media integration, through to follow-up analytics to evidence success. At all stages, our helpful team will act as a ready extension of your own business, to deliver a quality service that rapidly demonstrates its value.

Find out more

Market Me China is the Chinese digital marketing partner of choice for Western brands looking to expand into this growing, lucrative and highly attractive market. With the Chinese audience only accessible through an array of localised digital channels which are unfamiliar in the West, our services make it easy to fast-track to success. Contact us to find out more.