Baidu is the most popular search engine in China. It currently enjoys an incredible 76.91% market share and supports billions of searches each month.
Google—on the other hand—is blocked in China. Whilst internet users can access the search engine via a VPN, Google accounts for just 2.41% of China’s search engine market.
So what does this tell us? If you’re looking to promote your brand in China — either through SEO or PPC strategies — you need to focus your attention on Baidu and Baidu keyword research. Get your website on the first page of Baidu SERPs and you’ll reach a huge audience.
In our quick guide to Baidu keyword research and optimization — we explain exactly what you need to do to make that happen.
Let’s start by taking a look at Baidu keyword research best practice!
Conducting Baidu keyword research
5 essential steps for finding your keywords
1. Understand the searcher’s intent
A searcher will type different queries into Baidu depending upon where they are up to in their customer journey.
Typically a buyer’s journey moves from an awareness stage, where they know they have a problem they want to solve, to a consideration stage, where they have identified a solution. The final stage in the journey is the decision stage, where a buyer researches the various brands who can provide the solution they’re looking for.
It’s rare that a buyer will go from problem to solution to purchase in the course of a day. The journey can take days, weeks or even months — and it’s up to brands to provide keywords and content related to each stage of that buyer journey.
For example, imagine a person experiencing back pain. This buyer may conduct the following Baidu searches:
Awareness stage — “How to improve back pain”
Consideration stage — “What should I look for in an office chair?”
Decision stage — “Best ergonomic chairs for under $200”
Typically, there’s a lot of competition for keywords associated with the decision making stage of the buyer journey. That’s because this is the stage where we get conversions.
As a result, it can be hard to rank highly in search results with decision stage keywords. For brands both big and small employing a mixture of keywords—with different rates of competition—can help you to get your content seen.
2. Brainstorm a seed list of keyword phrases
Time to get your team together and brainstorm a list of potential keywords related to your brand and products. This list should be based around your customer personas and their search intent at each stage of the buyer journey.
As well as imagining what your customers might search for, you can use any other data you have at your disposal.
Consider any questions customers frequently ask your customer service team. And mine your website analytics for the search terms already bringing visitors to your website. Then use these terms to inform your keyword list.
3. Expand your list with keyword research tools
Once you have an initial list of keyword phrases, you can expand on it with the help of keyword research tools (more on this later). These tools will help you to find keyword phrases you might not already have thought of.
4. Conduct competitor research
Type a search term into Baidu and take a look at the first results page — these guys are your main competitors if you want to rank for that particular search term.
Check out the websites of the top ten results. Assess their content, bank link profile and website authority. Confident you can do better? Then this may be a search term worth pursuing.
Also consider the number of ads that appear at the top search results. Lots of ads will get in the way of your organic ranking.
Then, look at how many search results there are in total. A high number indicates that the market is crowded for this particular search term and you may be better off prioritizing a slightly different phrase.
5. Group and prioritize your keywords
Now it’s time to decide which keywords are worth your time and effort. To do this, you need to look at your list of keywords, their search volume and how much competition there is for them.
You also need to take searcher intent into account to ensure you’re promoting your website at every stage of the buyer journey.
Using this information, you can create a list of keywords in order of priority. If you’re new to Chinese SEO, it makes sense to prioritize less competitive keywords first.
How to implement Baidu keywords for SEO
Put your keywords in all the right places
Include your keyword in a page title that accurately reflects the content of that page. Incorporate your keyword (and put it in bold) in the first paragraph of your article. Also add h1 and h2 tags, including your keyword where appropriate.
Use keywords for meta keywords and meta descriptions
Baidu (unlike Google) still uses meta keywords and meta descriptions as part of their ranking algorithm. So you should include your keywords in meta descriptions (which can be up to 200 characters long), metadata and title tags. Also include keywords in alt tags and heading tags.
Use Pinyin and Simplified Chinese
For URLs, Baidu prefers you to write in Pinyin — a version of Chinese written with Romanised spelling. For the rest of your content, however, it has to be Simplified Chinese.
Create quality content
Like Google, Baidu prioritizes user experience, so spammy SEO practices won’t get you very far. Ideally, you’d upload unique, high-quality content every day, you’d keep content between 200 and 800 Chinese characters and you’d include keywords in as natural a way as possible.
Investing in Baidu PPC advertising
When you build a Baidu SEO strategy, you’re playing the long game. It’s unlikely you’ll see any significant improvements in SERP ranking for the first few months. In contrast, Baidu PPC advertising offers a quick return.
Baidu PPC advertising allows you to target particular keywords and audiences. You can select a target segment based upon gender, age, location and interests.
Costs vary depending upon industry and the level of competition for a particular keyword. But you can expect to pay a CPC of between $0.50 and $1.00. There are also start-up costs to consider.
Brands are required to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 to open a Baidu PPC account. You get to use this investment to pay for ads, but it means you have to jump in with both feet, rather than getting to test the waters first.
Nevertheless, Baidu PPC is a very affordable way to reach the Chinese market. It can also form part of your Baidu keyword research strategy — allowing you test out which keywords offer the best value for your brand and which are worth your SEO efforts.
Other tips for ranking highly on Baidu
Here are a few other things you can do to improve your search engine ranking on Baidu.
Use Chinese hosting
For international businesses, setting up a Chinese-hosted website is not without its challenges. You need to get a number of different licenses from the Chinese government and may even need to show that your company has a physical presence in the country.
However, if you manage to wade through all of that red tape, there are SEO benefits. Baidu prioritizes sites that are hosted in mainland China. Chinese sites also tend to load faster because they don’t have to contend with the Great Firewall of China. This again improves their ranking on Baidu.
Focus on link building
Link building is the backbone of Chinese SEO. Like Google, Baidu prioritizes sites that have a high number of high-quality backlinks. To get the most Baidu juice from your backlinks, aim for Chinese sites with good authority.
Understand censorship rules
Baidu (and the Chinese government) automatically censors politically-sensitive content. If your site contains anything untoward, it won’t be accessible for internet users.
Brush up on the rules and regs of Chinese advertising and any words or phrases that you’re not allowed to use. Bear in mind that some of them can sound pretty innocuous to an outsider so it’s important to do your research.
Also delete links to western social media platforms from your site as these are blocked in China and therefore cause your website to load very slowly.
Encourage users to stick around
A high bounce rate is as bad on Baidu as it is on Google. So make sure your content is valuable, easy to navigate and closely related to your page title.
Optimize for mobile
A huge proportion of Chinese internet users access the web from their smartphones so you need to ensure that your site is optimized for mobile. If you don’t have a mobile site, Baidu will automatically translate your desktop version to mobile — which can lead to a bad user experience.
Find the best Chinese keywords for your website
Baidu has lots of great, built-in tools for keyword research — but it’s not always easy for international brands to use them.
Besides the registration process, the language barrier is a major sticking point. Without native Chinese language experts on your team, it’s really easy to mis-translate and miss out on the organic and PPC traffic you’re trying to create.
That’s why working with a Chinese SEO partner can be crucial to your success.
Here at AdChina.io we have a range of SEO and digital marketing tools and services built with the needs of international brands in mind. For Baidu SEO, our Baidu Keyword Research tool is exactly what you need.
With AdChina’s Baidu Keyword Research tool you can:
Research Baidu keywords using an English interface
If you or your team members aren’t fluent in Simplified Chinese, Baidu’s built-in tools will be difficult to use. With AdChina.io, you get an English interface so it’s easy to see exactly what you’re doing and where you need to click.
Auto-translate English keywords to Chinese keywords
AdChina’s Baidu Keyword Research tool has superior translation capabilities built-in, which makes life much easier for your SEO team. On the intuitive user interface, they can conduct Baidu keyword research in English.
Simply type in an English keyword, then click translate to get an instant and accurate Chinese translation. Keyword suggestions are also presented alongside their English translation, so you don’t have to go back and forth to an external translation tool.
Input your entire keyword seed list at the same time
We make it easy for you to do bulk keyword research. You can enter up to 100 keywords at once and then view keyword suggestions related to all of them. Exporting this info for all your team to see is also really simple.
Get real time search volume pulled from the Baidu database
Our platform syncs with Baidu data so you can be confident that you’re getting the most up-to-date and reliable SEO insights. In your list of related keywords, you’ll see historical search volume on different devices, the recommended CPC, the level of competition and bidding prices for each search term.
Easily transform your keyword research into Baidu SEO strategy and campaigns
Our Keyword Manager feature allows you to select, save and organize your keyword lists. You can then edit or export them to share with your team. Or use them to create a Baidu search campaign — all from within the platform.
With AdChina you can do Baidu keyword research, create Baidu PPC ads and read PPC campaign reports all from the same place.
Kickstart your Baidu Keyword Research and Optimization with AdChina.io
Want to start 2022 with a supercharged Baidu strategy? AdChina.io has everything you need to get your brand noticed on China’s biggest search engine.
Register with AdChina.io to set up your Baidu account from outside China. Then make the most of our industry-leading Baidu tools and services:
- Conduct Baidu keyword research
- Get all of the insight you need to launch and manage successful Baidu PPC campaigns
- Enlist our help for Chinese content creation and translation
- Increase your visibility and sales in the Chinese market
AdChina.io makes it easy for international businesses to reach a Chinese audience — on Baidu and other popular Chinese marketing channels. Try AdChina.io for free to see exactly what we can do for your brand’s China strategy.