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Beginner’s Guide to Baidu Marketing

Posted by Gutier Rez, Thursday, 22nd October 2020 @ 9:19am

  • China’s internet population just passed a major milestone with 802 million people now actively using the internet and over 81.1 percent of the population are search engine users. Over 60% of Chinese consumers do extensive research before purchasing a product or service with the majority of the research being done on Baidu. As one of the most important digital marketing practices, search engine optimization is essential to a company’s success in China’s online marketplace.

    Baidu continues to dominate the search engine space and it’s the second most used search engine globally. Baidu has 80% of the market share in China’s search engine market by total revenue, followed by Sogou with 6.63% and 360 Search with 3.27%. As with all digital platforms in China, the majority of Baidu’s revenue is acquired through mobile marketing. This huge leverage in terms of market share shows the importance of having a Baidu strategy for your business in China.

    What is Baidu Marketing?

    Baidu has an index of millions of web pages with tens of billions of searches on its search engine every single month. While internet searches are its primary function, it also operates a music service (Baidu Music), Baidu Space (a social network), Baidu Games, Qunar (a bookings service), a maps service (Baidu Map) and an online encyclopedia (Baidu Baike).

    Baidu Marketing

     

    Baidu SERP Marketing Vs Goole

    Baidu SERP looks similar to Google: The layout has two columns with search results on the left and structured data on the right.  The search results consist of more paid advertising items than Google, so users have to scroll downward to find more organic search results. Due to this format, paid advertisements have more traction overall for Baidu marketing.

    Baidu SERP Marketing Vs Goole

    Similar to Google SERP services, Baidu has its own maps service, video search, news and documents tabs. Three of the most familiar services that Baidu offer are Zhidao, Tieba and Baike. Utilizing these services will allow you to get the most out of your Baidu campaign and provide your audience with tailored content specifically for their needs. It can also lead to an increase in visibility for your brand and drive organic traffic to your website.

    3 Search Tools For Baidu Marketing

    Once you have passed through the application process you’re ready to start your campaign. You can now choose how you wish to target customers. Search tools are a vital part of any SEO strategy and Baidu offers some incredibly helpful tools to help you decide how to best target potential consumers.

    Baidu index

    Baidu index is an index that is relatively easy to use. It provides insight on the relative volume of searches for specific keywords on Baidu. Start by entering a search term in the query box and you will get a wealth of historical data, search trends, and other relevant factors that will assist your online marketing approach.

    Baidu index

    Baidu Keyword Planner

    Baidu Keyword Planner is a tool that is aimed at helping markers buy search ads on Baidu, but it can still be very useful for SEO keyword research as well. It will show you the volume of searches for one keyword at a specific period of time.

    Baidu Keyword Planner

    Baidu Analytics

    The best method for collecting accurate analytics from a campaign is to add the Baidu Analytics web statistics tracking system to your website. It will allow you to see the amount of people visiting your site, when they are visiting and their entry point. This can give you insight on which advertisements drive the most users to your site.

    Baidu Analytics

    The Benefit of Baidu Marketing For Brand

    While Google is the king of search engine in the US and many other countries, it is almost non-existent in China. Baidu.com is the world’s largest search engine, which covers 95% of global Chinese Internet users. Baidu’s search and SEO tools offer tremendous insight into the Chinese market and specific target audiences.  Baidu guide and Google may seem similar on the outside, but there are major key differences between the two platforms. Baidu has more features and ads packed into their SERPs, and has a strong inclination for the Chinese market and consumer purchasing habits.

    A good position on Baidu helps drive quality traffic, increase lead generation and develop your branding. To build up your market position in China, search engine marketing with Baidu is essential.  With Baidu advertising, you can reach a vast number of Chinese users, who are looking for your product and service. Brands that want to build their Chinese audience will need to understand how to optimize their material for this platform, and with Baidu ads on over 600,000 Chinese web pages, the potential marketplace for new business can be exponential.

Tips to Increase Your Baidu SEO Ranking and Things to Avoid

Posted by Gutier Rez, Thursday, 22nd October 2020 @ 9:17am

  • The New Year is upon us and moving forward at full speed. If you’ve got plans to increase sales in China through website traffic, then a better understanding of the world’s second largest search engine should be on the top of your priority list. Baidu search engine is Chinese larget search platform.

    What is Baidu Search Engine?

    If you’re not already familiar with Baidu, now’s the time to get better acquainted. Baidu is China’s dominant search engine with a market share of 80%. It receives an estimate of 3.3 billion queries a day, second to Google, with an estimate of 3.5 billion queries a day. There’s no doubt that ranking well on Baidu’s search engine can make a difference on your business’s web traffic and revenue.

    However, as similar as Baidu may seem to Google, Baidu is a beast of its own, with rules you have to play by if you hope to rank well within its SERPs. Many brands make the mistake of using the same tactics they employ with Google and find themselves poorly ranked. How exactly do the two differ? Here’s a quick and comprehensive list you can use to ensure your company’s website stands a chance in the world of Baidu.

    what is Baidu search engine?

     

    What the Two Search Engines have in Common?

    Get linked: Both Google and Baidu value trusted websites and take into account authority built upon external links. Being linked to high-quality and credible websites are important for both search engines, however, Baidu search engine favors links from Chinese-hosted websites over international ones.

    Be authentic: Similar to Google, Baidu bases its ranking through keywords. Although in the past, websites were getting away with “keyword stuffing” methods, Baidu has since updated its algorithm to be more selective. It now demands more natural keyword placements on the webpage and meta descriptions.

    What the two search engines have in common?

    Go mobile: Mobile-friendly websites are a big factor for both search engines. Google has known for years that smartphones would be the future. In 2017, 65.1% of all website traffic in Asia were made through mobile phones, and according to an interview with Linda Lin, General Manager of Baidu, 80% of searches are now made on mobile phones. With rising numbers like these, it’s no surprise that websites without a mobile-friendly setup find itself ranked lower within the search results.

    Notable Differences with Baidu Search Engine

    Host your website locally: Although many foreign companies choose to forego this step, having your website hosted on a Chinese server will increase loading times and reduce user bounce rates, which in turn gets your website better ranked. In order to host a website in China, you’ll need to register for a Content Provider License (ICPL). There are two types of licenses you can register for: an individual license or a commercial license. An individual license will require you to have a state-owned identity card, and a business license will require a full Chinese business registration.

    Register for a Chinese domain: Chinese citizens and Baidu prefer seeing domains ending in .cn. Having a Chinese domain name (ending in .cn) not only increase your ranking on Baidu’s search results, it also helps facilitate trust with users.

    Get verified: Register and purchase a verification level to strengthen your site authority. There are 3 verification levels depending on your website’s trustworthiness (V1, V2, and V3). Your verification level gets placed on your meta description and will aid in better click rates. Studies show that Chinese consumers (60.8%) tend to do more research on products and companies before making a purchase online as compared to consumers in the United States (38.4%). Therefore, it would be wise to include detailed information about your company and products. Ratings and comments by other consumers are also highly valued by Chinese consumers.

    Notable differences with Baidu

    Be smart with content: Place the most important content at the top of the page to make sure that your website’s content gets a higher page ranking. Baidu’s limited indexing only reads the first 100 KB of information on the page so use this space to include relevant keywords and important business messages. Updating your content frequently will yield better results when it comes to being better indexed and ranked.

    Use the correct language: Baidu prefers websites with short URLs in pinyin. All of your website’s content should contain Simplified Chinese characters. This includes meta descriptions and title tags. Baidu’s indexing is able to understand and quickly identify Simplified Chinese over Traditional Chinese or other languages.

    Key Items and Features to Avoid

    To exist or do well on Baidu, there are several things your website should avoid:

    • Anti-government speech, inappropriate adult content, gambling material or any news or information that would be considered culturally sensitive. If any of this type of content is on your page directly or indirectly linked, it will affect the score of your ranking.
    • Using Flash. Baidu doesn’t process content in JavaScript and will therefore ignore it. This includes AJAX content, JavaScript links, and language switchers in JavaScript.
    • Low-quality content, intrusive advertisements, and pop-ups. If Baidu’s Pomegranate Algorithm detects these types of content on your website, it’ll significantly affect your rank on Baidu.

    Though it seems like there’s a lot to do in order to successfully rank high in Baidu’s search engine, it’s definitely worth it. Fine-tuning your Baidu guide strategy with the right knowledge and tools can set your website on the right track for reaching your SEO goals this year.

Baidu Smart Programs: The Race to the Post-App Era with WeChat Mini Programs

Posted by Gutier Rez, Thursday, 22nd October 2020 @ 9:15am

  • China’s BAT tech trinity are continuously in competition with each other and this time it’s over setting the trend for the post-app age with Baidu’s push into the mini program market. If you aren’t already familiar, mini programs are sub-applications that run inside an app. The mini program feature was introduced by Tencent in 2017 and has since found its niche in the market and is arguably one of the biggest innovations to come out in recent years. Taking inspiration from WeChat mini programs, both Alibaba and Baidu guide have followed suit and each tech giant has its own unique innovative spin to mini programs. Baidu has created a platform named “Baidu Smart Mini Program” where external developers can create their own Baidu mini programs and it has amassed over 150 million monthly active users since its initial launch.

    Growth of Baidu Mini Programs

    The search engine recently announced that it plans to allocate U.S. $140 million to invest in mini program developers. Baidu also plans to open up shop for several services within its ecosystem including Baidu maps and Baidu Tieba, which is the largest communication platform in China. A number of mobile apps with a sizable amount of users have joined the open source platform including video sharing platform Bilibili, short video platform Kuaishou, travel service provider Ctrip and Moji Weather. These apps are collaborating with Baidu to expand mini program features to a wide range of users.

    Mini programs now cover a wide range of functions and services along with the ability to bring in a new wave of competition. They are beginning to become more of a necessity for brands to incorporate in their marketing plan rather than an additional service perk for consumers. Mini programs have the ability to jumpstart user growth and create an entirely new marketing ecosystem.

    Baidu Challenges WeChat & Alibaba

    One core reason as to why mini programs are so popular is due to the convenience that they offer. Mobile apps tend to take up a lot of additional phone storage and deters Chinese users from downloading certain apps. Chinese consumers enjoy the luxury of convenience and mini programs do just that and much more. Mini programs take less space, are more flexible, but are also faster. All major brands and businesses are invested in their mini programs where they are promoting and selling their products and services directly to customers.

    Baidu Challenges WeChat & Alibaba

    The Chinese super apps are bringing their own strengths to the mini program industry. Alibaba has surpassed 230 million daily active users with top categories such as retail, playing for utility bills, and travel booking. Alipay has even added a swipe-down menu on the app’s homepage to enhance mini program visibility, which is similar to WeChat. Alibaba mini programs will be gradually opened to individual developers, creating even more competition among the big three.

    With the goal of enriching users’ lives and the added convenience value, Baidu has built an open-source ecosystem that has the opportunity to disrupt Tencents’ market share, who already offers more than one million mini programs on its WeChat messaging app.  By opening the platform to external developers, Baidu is paving the way for some innovative improvements on how mini programs operate, which will definitely be a key component for sparking the interest of WeChat and Alibaba users when expanding their consumer reach.

    Why Invest in Mini Programs

    The mini program ecosystem is flourishing and these stripped-down apps offer users a one-stop shop for all of their mobile needs. Mini programs allow users to book travel reservations, play games and shop all within one app. Users can perform the majority of their mobile interactions within the Baidu app instead of opening additional applications to achieve the same results. The mini program push allows Baidu to drive user engagement and the amount of time that users spend on the app, which is an added opportunity to incorporate more social search features within the platform. As mini programs continue to gain traction in China, consumers might be less motivated to use traditional app store platforms, allowing mini programs to become a preferred method for foreign brand promotion. They are easier to develop and less expensive than developing an app or website.

    Why Invest in Mini Programs

    Mini programs can be embedded in KOL messages or brand promotions. It makes the process of diverting traffic and gaining exposure much easier for impulsive purchasing. Mini programs are also becoming an important part of the new retail concept. They can easily link online to offline (O2O), allowing brands to provide gift cards, online discounts and loyalty points. On top of that, users are able to use mini programs as they please, without having the need to fully download an app that would be required in an app store. This adds a layer comfort to the seamless user experience that both brands and consumers get to take part in and enjoy.

    If your brand is looking to have a strong digital presence in the Chinese market, developing a mini program can definitely add a boost to your marketing campaign by giving consumers what they want before they even have to ask – a user centric and seamless entry point to interact with your brand. The opportunities for brands are steadily expanding in all industries including e-commerce, gaming, travel and food services. Mini programs are still relatively new and we expect the industry to continue to expand with even more features to give your brand fresh marketing strategies and opportunities for growth.

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