Globally, Google is pretty much unstoppable in the world of search engines, with a staggering 92.2% of the global market share. And, it’s unlikely to change any time soon, with Google holding an average of 90% of the market for at least a decade.
As for Baidu, it holds just 1.45% of the global market share.
But, it’s a lot different for internet users in China, where Baidu currently holds 72.37% of the market share, with Google sitting at less than 2%.
To some people, Baidu looks to be a clone of Google, both in terms of its business model and the way it functions. Despite this criticism, Baidu has become one of the most recognized brands in China, and that’s down to their constant innovation and targeting a specific market.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the key difference between these two search engine giants.
How SEO differs on Baidu vs Google
The general perception that Baidu is just another Google has caused the assumption that SEO works the same on both search engines. But, that’s really not the case, as we found out in our in-depth guide to SEO on Baidu.
Let’s quickly recap the key differences between the two search engine giants’ SEO strategies.
Baidu prioritizes meta descriptions, tags and keywords
As you might be aware, in the past few years Google has taken a significant step away from meta descriptions, tags and keywords. Instead, it prioritizes content based on quality, relevance and user intent. Whereas Baidu remains focused on classic SEO factors.
Mobile optimization is important to both search engines, but Baidu places greater emphasis on mobile-friendly websites, as they boast over one billion active mobile users.
Baidu can’t process images as well as Google. Therefore alt-text on images is crucial to ranking in Baidu’s image results.
Baidu favors websites that frequently update their content. Meaning, websites used in China need to keep on top of their data and web content much more frequently than those outside of the country.
Plus, Baidu’s SEO response time is much quicker than Google’s. So you can expect to see a difference in rankings much sooner – a great reason to keep your content fresh!
How advertising differs on Baidu vs Google
Types of ads
Google AdWords offers advertisers a range of paid advertising options, including display ads, text ads, search ads, shopping ads, video ads, and app ads.
With Baidu, marketers can manage a much broader range of advertising products. Alongside the above formats that Google offers, there are additional unique product offerings, like Brand Zone, and Baidu Knowledge.
Cost of advertising
An AdWords account is free to set up and companies can run ads based on credit. Google will also arrange monthly invoicing for larger companies if needed.
A Baidu PPC account is also free to open, but businesses need to make a minimum down payment of ￥6,000 (around $900) if located in China. Some local resellers may charge a management fee on top of that.
Baidu requires advertising payments up-front, so marketers need to plan their budget carefully and make sure to transfer the money into their account before funds run out. It’s important to note that if you make the wire transfer from another country, the process typically takes 7-10 days.
Baidu also recommends companies pay a ￥600 RMB (around $90) yearly verification fee. Verification with Baidu identifies that the business is legitimate and gives assurance to its users that listings are all genuine.
The state government in China has imposed certain rules and regulations which Baidu must follow. While Google also operates in China, its presence is very limited as Google has had major conflicts of opinion with the Chinese authorities.
To advertise on Baidu, there are strict regulations that have been put in place by both the Chinese government and Baidu themselves. This includes compliance with government censorship rules, documentation requirements for signing up and on top of this, advertised sites must be in Chinese.
Time to get started
Google offers a very simple process when it comes to signing up for AdWords. Marketers can access the AdWords interface through an authorized Google account. The process can be completed within minutes.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple with Baidu…
Baidu requires users to provide a Chinese phone number when creating an account that is tied to the Baidu PPC account. If changing computers, the number will need to be provided again for security reasons. And, if there’s a change in the IP address, marketers will need to go through a 2FA process using that same number.
Plus, if an account holder is based in the US, but the client who owns the Chinese phone number is in China, the process may be long winded and require coordination between personnel in different locations and time zones.
All in all, Baidu states that setting up an account will take approximately 5 days.
In most cases, Baidu will only require a scanned certificate of incorporation of a business. They may also require additional certifications, depending on the industry that the business operates in. Marketers need to provide the original, untranslated version issued by their local government.
However, marketers using Google AdWords don’t need to submit documents. But they do need to adhere to the content guidelines.
While Google allows for multiple languages to be listed and advertised on their platform, Baidu requires a fully accessible Chinese language website to be listed. This is a requirement of Baidu, not just a best practice for doing business in China. Baidu’s search engine produces results in Simplified Chinese.
Baidu vs Google ads targeting
When advertising through Baidu, it will only provide targeting to Chinese-speaking areas, with targeting options limited to Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macaw, Taiwan, and ‘general overseas’.
Google can offer a wider range of targeting options, as their global reach is far greater.
Baidu vs Google ads reporting
Both Baidu and Google offer great reporting features for your campaigns. However, Baidu will only provide these reports in Chinese.
Baidu vs Google: The final word
While Google has the upper hand when it comes to global advertising, Baidu remains the key to promoting your product or business in China. Both platforms offer similar benefits that mean reaching your target audience, though using Baidu requires a little more time and effort.
Alternatively, you could let AdChina.io do the hard work for you!
AdChina.io is an all-in-one tool that allows you to advertise through an English-language platform you can truly trust. It’s time to get rid of complex interfaces and work towards seamless search engine campaigns in China.
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