Most foreign brand and business with experience doing SEO on Google think they can rank on Baidu the exact same way. Baidu is not the same as Google even though they may look similar, their Algorithm or approach to the ranking is different.
Many SEO experts in China believe that Baidu’s search Algorithm is Google’s Algorithm with a 3 to 4-year lag. While there is definitely some truth to that but in practice, you cannot simply do what was working with Google SEO 4 years to success in Baidu today.
12 Key to Winning Baidu Search Algorithm
Keywords: Search engine crawlers don’t read like humans do (although they’re getting better at it) and in order for the search engine to know exactly what your page about they look specific properties on your website such as meta tag, title tags, and how often certain keywords are mentioned on your page.
The more often a keyword appears on your webpage tells the search crawler that your webpage is relevant to that particular keyword. This is known as keyword density which is the number of times a keyword is used compared to the total number words the page.
Like Google, Baidu uses keyword density to measure and rank your website in China but don’t overstuff your website with anyone particular as you’ll be penalized by Baidu for spamming and gaming their system.
Domain Name and Age: Ok so in China Domain Name don’t actually matter because you cannot get a Chinese character domain name at least not yet. But Domain age does matter, typically speaking it is much harder to rank a brand new website than a domain that has been around for years.
.CN Domain: Contrary to popular beliefs, having a.CN domain does not actually help your Baidu ranking or ranking on any other search engines in China. In fact, most local Chinese brand and business do not use the.CN domain. That said if you can register a.CN domain in China then it would not be a bad idea to do so.
Hosting & Server Location: Baidu and other Chinese search engines do favorite hosting in Mainland China (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, unfortunately, do not count) because it will be compatible with the Great Firewall of China and will have a much faster loading speed for Chinese searchers.
The problem however is hosting in China is very difficult and very limited because it is very difficult to find a good website hosting company unlike the rest of the world. This is why most people in China don’t just set up a website and start an online business and also why SEO is less popular in China compare to the rest of the world.
ICP License, Bei An, 备案: Like.CN domain, ICP (Internet Content Provider) License, Bei AN are unique to China. These are licenses required by the Chinese government in order for you to legally host your website in China. There are two types of ICP License:
Personal ICP License – The personal ICP License cannot be used to host any commercial or business-related website but it is much easier to obtain. All you need is a Chinese State Issued Personal ID to obtain the License.
Business ICP License – Business ICP License, on the other hand, is much harder to obtain. First, you’ll need a Mainland China Registered Business or a WFOE. Then you’ll also need to provide a physical address in China, phone number and even a Chinese bank card.
While Baidu or other Chinese search engines do not clearly mention whether having an ICP License will help with your SEO in China, but from our experience having the ICP License be a strong single that you’re serious about SEO in China and though win credibility from Baidu’s Search Algorithms.