The onsite SEO strategies you need to use for Chinese search engines are mostly similar to the ones for the likes of Google albeit with some subtle but vital differences. Some of these different SEO practices arise from the refusal of Chinese search engines to properly rank content in other languages while others arise from their inability to infer the motive behind the user’s search and placement of more importance on keywords instead. These are just a few examples which highlight the different SEO methods one needs to use for greater web presence in China. Let us discuss some of the major onsite SEO practices present in this Baidu SEO Guide that you need to employ in more detail.
Use of aggregated content is strongly discouraged if you want a higher rank with Baidu, which does not list sites with aggregated contents. Penalizations are on offer for those who use duplicate content, so it is necessary that you prepare genuinely unique contents that are near about 300 words in length. If you ever necessitate the use of duplicate contents for practical reasons make sure to use Baidu’s canonical tags to distinguish purposeful duplication. Moreover, since Baidu does not support hreflang tags, the usage of different language versions of the site with little differences (like the English US and English UK versions) might pass as duplication.
Baidu has never said it will not rank sites in languages other than Chinese but it does give precedence to sites with contents in Chinese language. If you own a China centric site, make sure to develop contents in plain and simple Chinese. Since meanings can get lost in translation it is important that you hire a native Chinese language speaker to develop/translate your content. Never use translational tools like Google translate for your contents. Update your contents regularly because search engines provides high precedence to sites that refresh their contents. Having contents in Chinese will also increase the rate of your site’s opening via the results page in search engines and a higher click through rate will eventually help you with better ranking.
With each upgrade in its algorithm, Google is moving further away from keywords being the measuring stick in the search rankings it provides. However, keywords mean a lot to Baidu and are one of its most important ranking factors. The dependence of Baidu on keywords is to the point that even black hat practices like Keyword stuffing will win you an elevated place in the rankings.
Therefore ensure that your contents are heavy on keywords that you are targeting for with the header, meta description, page description and page title containing the selected keyword. Include keywords in alternative tags and texts for your images, and in titles and slugs.
Make use of tools like Baidu Feng Yun bang, Baidu Keyword Research Tool and Baidu Index to get insights into recent trends on the internet and keyword relevancy. See the Baidu SEO guide for more insight into the parameters Baidu uses for rankings.
Like Google, Baidu also supports rich snippets on its SERP. The matter of fact is, Baidu’s snippet are richer than that of most search engines and can be used to generate instant attention of the visitors. To add snippets to your search results you can submit the requests with structured data submission tool of the Baidu Webmaster Tools and Open Platform. Although snippets are not a direct metric for ranking, they add appeal to the search results, helping in a higher click through rate, which eventually contributes to better ranking.
For the most useful dos and don’ts in developing your China focused digital strategies for 2017 and beyond, you can find the articles of this series of posts here:
Metricon recently worked with AndMine on a major online brand promotion. We were impressed with AndMine’s thinking from concept stage through to campaign execution. We would not hesitate to brief AndMine again on future projects.