Doing Baidu SEO for the Chinese Market
Want to learn more about how SEO works in China? Owain Llyod-Williams shares his experience optimizing sites for Baidu:
How governmental censorship plays itself out when doing SEO on Chinese websites
How language norms impact the content on your site
How intelligent Baidu is relative to Google
How To Do SEO For The Chinese Market: Episode Synopsis
Manual actions are one thing but say the wrong thing on your site in China and the whole site comes down. Owain Llyod-Williams lays out the extreme level of censorship in China and how that impacts doing SEO.
While to most of you reading this the idea of your site being deindexed because you said something other than what your government wants you to say is outlandish - it is a real concern when doing SEO in China. What's interesting is that this censorship doesn't apply to just political content. Owain mentions that in China you can't build content based on superlatives. So while page titles like "The Best Ways to..." are very common in the Western world, this is not the case when creating content in China.
In a way, it's a bit of an irony. Google is trying to get smarter so it can offer users better information. Baidu is getting smarter so it can get better at knowing what content needs to be pulled off the web.
To that, Baidu is not where Google is when it comes to things like the integration of machine learning or the Knowledge Graph. However, Owain says the fundamentals of what goes into ranking are relatively similar. That said, Owain describes the relative strength of each search engine as being on different trajectories rather than one being significantly more advanced than the other.
One thing to note is that the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia, Quora, and the like are owned by Baidu. Having a presence on these platforms, as they are owned by Baidu, is very important for being visible on the SERP. Per Owain, these properties take up a huge amount of space on the Baidu SERP, so if you don't appear in them your visibility can be severely impacted for the worse.
For more of the SEO Rant Podcast check out our previous episode on local SEO.