Similar to Google, Baidu has a range of its own products. However, unlike Google, the search engine results pages (SERPs) on Baidu are generally filled with content from their own products. This means organic results are often pushed further down the page, even if you have worked hard, and are lucky enough to be on page 1 – Baidu products and other Baidu ad-tech is promoted, especially when searching for brand terms and highly competitive generic terms, e.g. “laptops”.
This is not always bad news, and there are steps we can take in our Chinese Search strategy to leverage these unique Baidu characteristics.
Brand and Generic Keywords
Below is a screenshot of Baidu SERP page 1 when searching for a brand term. Here we have searched for the term “积家手表” – “Jaeger-LeCoultre”. We will go into more detail on what each of the products are later on in the article.
And another screenshot showing results when searching for the term”笔记本” – “Laptops”. Very similar to the results page for a brand term search.
Niche Generic and Long Tail Keywords
As I mentioned earlier the first results page is very competitive, albeit against Baidu’s own products, for brand and competitive generic terms. But the situation is completely different when searching for long tail keywords and more niche generic keywords, Baidu SERPs will display a lot more natural results.
Below is a screenshot of Baidu results page when searching for “红色笔记本电脑包” or for non-Chinese speakers “Red Laptop Bag”.
Leverage Baidu SERP difference in Chinese SEO Strategy
The first and second screenshot, when searching for a brand or generic keyword, shows a complete contrast of how Baidu displays search results against the third screenshot, when searching for a long-tail keyword.
The learning here is obvious for us – we need to implement different tactics when trying to gain visibility on Baidu depending on the keyword types we are targeting.
For generic keywords we strongly recommend using Baidu Adwords and reach your consumer via PPC, gaining SEO visibility for generic terms will be extremely difficult, and as per above, even if you do get on page 1 you may be buried among Baidu products and PPC ads. Of course, this is not to say you shouldn’t try to achieve SEO results on generic terms at all. The tip mentioned here is perfect if you are running a campaign with limited SEO budget or resources – it’s better to focus your SEO resources on other keyword types such as Brand or long-tails.
When working with brand keywords on Baidu, we suggest reviewing the strength of the brand, if it’s a highly authoritative brand such as Sony, then it will be relatively easy to gain good organic rankings for your brand/+ terms. Otherwise resources are better spent bidding for these terms on PPC, chances are brand and brand plus keywords will have a low bidding price anyway.
Finally, not too different from SEO strategy in the UK, long-tail generic is where you want to focus the majority of your SEO resources. Not only are these less competitive and will convert better due to high relevance. But in Baidu specifically, the results page actually display the most organic results for long-tail keywords.
Baidu Products to Leverage for SEO
In order to help aspiring Chinese SEOs out there, we thought it’d be useful to go through each of the Baidu products that appears on the first and second screenshot in this article (when searching for a brand term or a generic term). Below is a detailed look at the Baidu products which made an appearance.
Baidu Baike (Encyclopaedia) 百度百科
Baidu’s version of Wikipedia lets anyone use a Baidu account to write information on a particular topic. The information on Baike is considered authentic and provides a mass of useful information.
Baidu Zhidao (Baidu Know) –百度知道
This is a similar concept to Yahoo answers. People ask questions, and others share their experiences and knowledge by answering them. These answers will then appear at a premium position on Baidu search results, when triggered by search keywords.
People in China value these answers, especially when coming across a new idea or new product. They like researching related opinions, advice and ratings online as references.
Creating questions around your brand, product, or services and providing quality answers is a good way to create positive reviews.
Baidu Tieba (Baidu Forum) – 百度贴吧
This is an online community, helping people share information in a public forum. It’s what you could call a Baidu micro blog. Community members can open forums to discover and share information.
Baidu Jingyan (Baidu Experiences) – 百度经验
This is a place where people can share with others on how to do certain things, or experiences of how to solve a certain problem. The differences between this product and Baidu Zhidao (Baidu Know) is that user can share a full article about their experience here without being asked a specific question.
Last but least, a bonus product, although not organic – Brandzone has huge benefits if you have the brand power to justify paying for it. It will help with your brand’s credibility in China and thus online conversions massively. See our full post on Brandzone for a full breakdown and explanation of this product.
Baidu Brandzone – 百度品牌专区
Bandzone is paid advertising, which provides top positioned, eye catching and sizeable tailored content. The average click through rates (CTR) of Brand Zone is 50 percent, compared to Baidu’s average PPC CTR of 1 percent.
This is a great way to ensure your brand is always at the top of the search results when people search for the relevant brand terms.
There are three ad products on the second screenshot we haven’t introduced yet (Baidu Aladdin, Baidu Temai, Baidu Weigou), we will tap into those in another post, just keep your eyes on the upcoming posts.
Employing these resources to roll out positive messages is a tool that should definitely be utilised. These products could certainly add value to your SEO activity, improve your paid search campaigns, or get you started on your online brand-building journey.