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How China searches – Baidu

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday January 18, 2008 )

Following on from yesterday’s post about emerging online markets; in China, one search engine is heads and shoulders above the rest – and it’s not the mighty G. Baidu is the name of the game over there and it’s a game you may want to consider playing.

Figures I dug up from May last year show Baidu being the no.1 engine with 65% market share, followed by Google with 20%, then Yahoo at no. 3. From what I can tell, not much has changed since those figures were generated.

I’ve also read that nearly 60 per cent of primary school children now learn English in China. Britain’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, remarked in a speech back in 2005 that over 300 million Chinese people currently speak English, and that in 20 years from now, the number of English speakers in China is likely to more than the number of speakers of English as a first language in the rest of the world.

I think you can see what I’m getting at here.. If you have a product or service that can be sold in China, why not start taking a peek at that market? A good place to start is Baidu – run a search there and you’ll likely find a much different set of results than Google. You can search in English and get English results.

Many have commented that Baidu results are of a lesser quality than Google, but don’t mess with patriotism – resistance is futile. Go with the flow :).

There’s a bit of conflicting information around about optimization of an English site for Baidu; as there is for any search engine, but the general consensus is:

– domains ending with .com.cn or .cn are favored
– having a site hosted on a Chinese server helps
– quantity rather quality inbound links rule the roost
– if you can squeeze in a bit of simplified Chinese somewhere on the page, that will help.
– high keyword density appears to work

Aside from that, the basics of search engine optimization apply.

Just bear in mind the possible consequences of anything you do in regards to your meat and potatos search buddies such as Google. It’s best to stay middle ground and leave the extreme optimization stuff for a site you can burn if necessary while experimenting.

Also something to be very wary of is a mention of anything anti-China on your site and adult language. The Chinese government is particularly sensitive about these things and service providers must toe the party line.

Personally, I look forward to welcoming our new masters and learning Putonghua ;). Heck, the rate we buy stuff from our esteemed Chinese comrades, that day isn’t far off perhaps!

Oh, if you’re not listed in Baidu, here’s the URL submission form link, ignore all the Chinese characters, just input your URL and the CAPTCHA text that displays, hit the button and see how you go.

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2 comments for How China searches – Baidu
  1. – domains ending with .com.cn or .cn are favored
    – having a site hosted on a Chinese server helps
    – quantity rather quality inbound links rule the roost
    – if you can squeeze in a bit of simplified Chinese somewhere on the page, that will help.
    – high keyword density appears to work

    Comment by Mover — June 19, 2008 @ 1:42 am

  2. here’s the URL submission form link

    http://www.mkt-china.com/directories/manager.do

    Comment by Mover — June 19, 2008 @ 1:43 am

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