The advancement of technology and science has put some countries ahead of others over the years. China, with its 1.39 billion population is a hub of technological and commercial advancement. While the rest of the world relies on an IT system governed by English, China is in a league of its own. No wonder companies from across the globe seek expert Chinese translation services in order to make their content available in the highly lucrative Chinese market.
Internet users across the world use Google as their search engine, but Chinese use Baidu, powered by Baidu Inc., one of the largest AI and internet companies in the world.
Baidu is different from the Google search engine as it indexes content in Chinese and prefers sites using HTTPS. Unlike Google, which has its own system of ranking pages on its search engine and displays partial results worldwide, Baidu ranks its Chinese sites first. Ranking well on Google or Bing does not guarantee your site will also rank high on Baidu. This is because Google is focused on the worldwide market, whereas Baidu has a one-country focus on China only—with a search engine market share of over 70% in China, while Google has only 1.84% of share in that country.
Despite the differences in the language and search engine market, Google and Baidu work on the same principle of search engine optimization. Baidu provides its users with some additional features such as online Wikipedia, Maps, PPC ads, etc.
Moreover, users can enhance their online presence by making a Baidu Baike page of their enterprise. Baidu Baike is the online encyclopedia version of Baidu, just like Wikipedia, and is helpful in publishing fresh content that may result in building higher ranking.
There are over three-quarters of billion consumers online in China waiting for a businessman like an open gold mine. However, in order to rank high on Baidu, certain best practices have to be kept in consideration. Here are a few of them:
Enter Baidu and Exit Google
Baidu is undisputedly the king of search engines in China. The large population of internet users in China—800 million is a testimony to that. These internet users rely on Baidu to search for an item to purchase and just by clicking on the links given in the search engine, they can find the right item for purchase. In China, this “click-to-buy” cannot, however, be done through Google as it performs best in the English language and is designed to cater to the global audience. On the other hand, Baidu is a Chinese-centric search engine that presents content in the Chinese language and has tools and features specifically made for China. This is the reason 80% of people in China use Baidu as their search engine. Companies seeking to sell their items online can use Baidu to advertise their products in China.
Baidu Prefers (.CN) Domain
Unlike Google, Baidu uses the .CN domain instead of “.com”. In China, it is wise to use the same domain prefix that is already being used by the dominant search engine instead of the one used by Google. If you want to make a purchase from a site with a .com domain, just change it to .CN domain. For example, your website offers clothing items with a .com domain of GetApparels.com. your best strategy here would be to head over to GoDaddy.CN that would provide you with a .CN domain for a small sum. Additionally, Baidu suggests not to spread your website over several domains as that might result in your site getting penalized. A good agency delivering professional Chinese translation can help you with the translation of your pages before you choose a domain.
Baidu as Website Host
Anyone can easily notice that China is more comfortable in using its own sources at the time of need. A user might prefer to use his own web host. However, the hurdle is that Baidu is not a suitable search engine outside China, which is why a Chinese web host is required to enhance the ranking. Upgrading to a dedicated or adopting a virtual or dedicated private server is an excellent idea, but that becomes difficult if you are trying to catch Baidu’s attention. The issue with shared hosting is when a user shares computing resources and server space with loads of different sites, there’s a huge chance the whole server might get shut down. This may leave the user to start from scratch. So it’s best that one should start from his/her own server.
An Internet Content Publishing License (ICP) issued by the Chinese government is required by the users which allows operating a Chinese website. However, there is quite a slight chance of succeeding without a physical presence in the state. The best strategy would be to have a partnership with a licensed local internet firm. It would be best to have a business version of ICP instead of going for a separate license in order to make a good business.
The Chinese Keyword
There is a famous saying that goes “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. In the case search engine, it is best to use Baidu in China instead of Google. Keyword search volume has a significant place in Baidu as it assists in increasing ranking in the search engine. A user may know by now that to Google Ads Keyword won’t do any good as compared to Baidu in China, as this country has a very large number of Chinese locals. In Google, a user may start by writing a keyword in the given search box and a list of famous and suitable expressions may appear before the user.
In the case of Baidu, one can use Sogou and Qihoo 360 as both are also Chinese well-known search engines. Unlike Google, users don’t need to spend any money on making an account on Baidu or on its advertisements or promotions. A keyword planner can be used for doing volume research on Baidu, as it has a feature of filtering metrics. For instance; it can estimate the bid cost of the top page, the daily average of search volume, competition level for a keyword, and daily average of smartphone search volume. Granted, Baidu Keyword Planner resembles Google Ads Keyword Planner but it consists of some additional features and different tools.
Optimization in the Baidu Style
The goal of every search engine on-site optimization is the same, regardless of the search engine you are using. The main point is to make it easier and accurate for users to gain a higher place in the SERPs. SEO experts and online entrepreneurs achieve this with orderly websites, new content, and perfect use of keywords.
The Last Word
Baidu is undoubtedly the top search engine in China. However, to make the most out of this search engine and to ensure your website ranks high on Baidu, remember to translate your content in Chinese first. If you do not have ample knowledge about the Chinese language, hire an expert agency that can deliver professional Chinese translation services so you can easily ensure your site is ranking well on the search engine. Lastly, before you jump on the bandwagon, make sure your sales pitch is suited for the Chinese market as an unplanned one might result in a loss rather than again.