In China, users’ trust is key. Baidu, which experienced a series of scandals in the past few years due to the exposition of unreliable information, is trying to win back the trust of users on search results.
In China, when it comes to marketing (both online and offline), cultivating users’ trust is key. Baidu, which experienced a series of scandals in the past few years due to the exposition of unreliable information, is trying to win back the trust of users on search results. One illustration is given on the paid search results area, where Baidu reduced the numbers of ads, and made them more explicitly recognizable so that users can easily identify these as actual ads. Baidu also took actions on organic search results. In November 2016, the Chinese giant launched a new feature to protect official websites via its webmaster tool: Baidu Zhanzhang. The tool has been designed to prioritize the ranking of official websites on brand keywords, and therefore to further enhance the credibility and reliability of natural search results. It does happen that sometimes, when users search brand keywords on Baidu, fake brand websites appear in the results, impacting users’ experience and generating potential risks. Obviously, this does not only affect Baidu’s credibility, but also, and more importantly, brand sites themselves. When fake brand websites compete for rankings on brand keywords, official brand websites face challenges on both organic traffic and brand reputation sides. As shown below, a fake site positioned itself on Decathlon’s brand keywords, so whenever users typed in Decathlon in Chinese on Baidu (迪卡侬), it would appear as the first organic search result, before Decathlon’s website itself.  Decathlon's official website was in the 2nd position To solve this issue, we leveraged Baidu’s new tool - Baidu ZhanZhang - and its protection feature, submitting brand related keywords for Decathlon. the submitted brand keywords approved by Baidu After about a week, all submitted keywords were approved by Baidu. We then ran a test, searching Decathlon on Baidu, and indeed, the ranking was changed: Decathlon’s official website went up to the 1st spot, while the previous fake one disappeared from the top 3 results. Decathlon's genuine website now takes the first spot in organic results  Brands can submit up to three brand keywords for PC and mobile respectively. Once Baidu confirms these keywords, official websites are treated preferentially. It is also possible to report fake websites to Baidu, which will investigate and find a solution in order to protect genuine brand sites. Today, more and more brand sites are using this new feature, which has proven its usefulness and efficacy in a world where trust is a key factor of success.
In China, users’ trust is key. Baidu, which experienced a series of scandals in the past few years due to the exposition of unreliable information, is trying to win back the trust of users on search results.
In China, when it comes to marketing (both online and offline), cultivating users’ trust is key. Baidu, which experienced a series of scandals in the past few years due to the exposition of unreliable information, is trying to win back the trust of users on search results. One illustration is given on the paid search results area, where Baidu reduced the numbers of ads, and made them more explicitly recognizable so that users can easily identify these as actual ads. Baidu also took actions on organic search results. In November 2016, the Chinese giant launched a new feature to protect official websites via its webmaster tool: Baidu Zhanzhang. The tool has been designed to prioritize the ranking of official websites on brand keywords, and therefore to further enhance the credibility and reliability of natural search results. It does happen that sometimes, when users search brand keywords on Baidu, fake brand websites appear in the results, impacting users’ experience and generating potential risks. Obviously, this does not only affect Baidu’s credibility, but also, and more importantly, brand sites themselves. When fake brand websites compete for rankings on brand keywords, official brand websites face challenges on both organic traffic and brand reputation sides. As shown below, a fake site positioned itself on Decathlon’s brand keywords, so whenever users typed in Decathlon in Chinese on Baidu (迪卡侬), it would appear as the first organic search result, before Decathlon’s website itself.  Decathlon's official website was in the 2nd position To solve this issue, we leveraged Baidu’s new tool - Baidu ZhanZhang - and its protection feature, submitting brand related keywords for Decathlon. the submitted brand keywords approved by Baidu After about a week, all submitted keywords were approved by Baidu. We then ran a test, searching Decathlon on Baidu, and indeed, the ranking was changed: Decathlon’s official website went up to the 1st spot, while the previous fake one disappeared from the top 3 results. Decathlon's genuine website now takes the first spot in organic results  Brands can submit up to three brand keywords for PC and mobile respectively. Once Baidu confirms these keywords, official websites are treated preferentially. It is also possible to report fake websites to Baidu, which will investigate and find a solution in order to protect genuine brand sites. Today, more and more brand sites are using this new feature, which has proven its usefulness and efficacy in a world where trust is a key factor of success.
Despite the fast changes the Chinese Internet landscape has experienced over the past few years, search engines continue to be an essential gateway for online researches. SEO therefore remains a well-adapted asset for current marketing challenges as much for brand reputation as for the generation of conversion.
Despite the fast changes the Chinese Internet landscape has experienced over the past few years, search engines continue to be an essential gateway for online researches. SEO therefore remains a well-adapted asset for current marketing challenges as much for brand reputation as for the generation of conversion. During the Breakfast Series organized by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and held in Shanghai last month, our Managing Partner, Thibault Boiron, and myself, Suki Yang, Senior SEO Manager, shared our expertise on making good use of SEO in China and our knowledge on China online marketing. After introducing China SEO characteristics and China market specificities, we discussed the best way to leverage SEO in China, which revolves around the following three axes: Increasing your brand visibility through the creation of valuable and relevant content for users Maximizing ROI by combining SEO & Paid Search Controlling your brand's online reputation  To download the full presentation, click on the below picture:
Despite the fast changes the Chinese Internet landscape has experienced over the past few years, search engines continue to be an essential gateway for online researches. SEO therefore remains a well-adapted asset for current marketing challenges as much for brand reputation as for the generation of conversion.
Despite the fast changes the Chinese Internet landscape has experienced over the past few years, search engines continue to be an essential gateway for online researches. SEO therefore remains a well-adapted asset for current marketing challenges as much for brand reputation as for the generation of conversion. During the Breakfast Series organized by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and held in Shanghai last month, our Managing Partner, Thibault Boiron, and myself, Suki Yang, Senior SEO Manager, shared our expertise on making good use of SEO in China and our knowledge on China online marketing. After introducing China SEO characteristics and China market specificities, we discussed the best way to leverage SEO in China, which revolves around the following three axes: Increasing your brand visibility through the creation of valuable and relevant content for users Maximizing ROI by combining SEO & Paid Search Controlling your brand's online reputation  To download the full presentation, click on the below picture:
When talking about China SEO, marketers usually refer to Baidu, the most popular but sulfurous search engine operating directly from mainland China. While Baidu leading capacities were more and more challenged due to numerous scandals and a fast-growing competition over the past years, the historical Chinese search engine still remains a strong asset for any serious SEO strategy in China. In
When talking about China SEO, marketers usually refer to Baidu, the most popular but sulfurous search engine operating directly from mainland China. While Baidu leading capacities were more and more challenged due to numerous scandals and a fast-growing competition over the past years, the historical Chinese search engine still remains a strong asset for any serious SEO strategy in China. In this first article of the SEO series on altima° blog, we get back to the very fundamentals through specific insights that hopefully will help you start off your China SEO campaigns on the right foot. At a glance Incorporated in Beijing in 2000 by Robin Li, an eminent Chinese engineer trained in the US who specialized into search algorithm technologies Baidu, literally “hundreds of times”, takes its name from a well-known ancient Chinese poem and evokes the quest for the ideal In 2016, Baidu ranked 87 among the top 500 fortune Chinese company, mostly gained from the monetization of its paid search results Just like its Western competitors, Baidu also owns a search quality team, led by a certain Engineer Lee but this one (unfortunately) remains pretty mysterious and doesn’t show up very often in public Market shares Source: www.seojia.cn (November, 2016) Despite declining market shares, Baidu still appears as the dominant search engine on both desktop and mobile devices in mainland China. Behind this performance can be found the direct advantage of having been “the first one”. Through its status of historical search engine, Baidu therefore enjoys a highly diversified demographic - from young hispsters to old Dama, first tier to third tiers cities, blue collars to white collars, that allow marketers to reach their specific target audience. Search results pages’ breakdown Among all criticisms addressed against Baidu in the past, the similarities of its interface with Western search engines appear as a recurring one. If it’s true that the overall layout tends toward existing standards (paid results surrounding organic’s, related results on the right) the comparison stops here. When looking at the search results into details, differences immediately jump out. Below is for instance what Baidu shows (November 2016) when searching for the expression “what is SEO” (什么是SEO): Caption: - paid results (ads) - organic results (related suggestions) - organic results (third-party websites) - organic results (Baidu properties) As per visible among the top 5 organic results, Baidu ranks websites of its own ecosystem which consists of a wide range of properties, aiming at compensating early technological lag and a lack of indexable materials (remember that the Chinese internet is still not yet as diversified as in the World Wide Web). Besides, in an environment dominated by a need of confidence, Baidu properties eventually offer a solid user experience that is able to cover most of user’s queries. Baidu properties include both User-Generated-Content products such as, to mention but a few wiki, Q/A, forums or document sharing products, and traditional products such as video or music platforms. In addition, most of properties use to display bespoke rich snippets formats that aim at catching user attention and maximize CTR. It’s commonly estimated that Baidu properties capture between 30% and 40% of user searches. While Chinese competitors search engines all developed equivalent ecosystems, ironically, these ones still continue to enhance their own listings with Baidu properties. Needless to say, this Baidu ecosystem plays an essential role for any brand awareness or online reputation strategies. Search algorithms While Baidu could be realistically blamed in the past for its poor search technology requiring regular on-site monitoring and maintenance, this time is pretty much over. After numerous algorithms updates, ranking factors now converge toward the most advanced standards, making organic rankings comparatively more accurate and stable than its local competitors. That said, everything is not rosy and irrelevancies can still be found here and there. We therefore recommend to continue paying a specific attention to the following elements: # Website conception Ensure your strategic pages are easily accessible through the navigation (i.e. linked either from the navigation menu, a sidebar or a footer) to facilitate their crawl and (re)indexation Consider a local (or Hong-Kong based) hosting to maximize crawl frequency Avoid embedding contents (texts, links) with Flash or JavaScript Keep the page loading time low to ensure the page remains ranked (especially for mobile rankings) # Website promotion Leave the translation of your contents to a Chinese native speaker Publish regular fresh contents (through a blog, news, FAQ, templated, landing pages, etc.) Prefer qualitative link building (contextualized & natural backlinks) Baidu tools To help marketers in their daily work such as marketing researches, website optimizations and analysis, Baidu comes with its own suite of tools, with no equivalent on the local market. Below is a list of the most generic ones. # Baidu Tuiguang Keywords Tool Equivalent to Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Baidu Keyword tool (part of the Tuiguang platform) provides daily searches impressions, CPC estimations and related expressions to be used during keyword studies. # Baidu Zhishu (Trend) Equivalent to Google Trends. In complementary to the previous keywords tool, Baidu Zhishu aims at providing context around demographics or related contents dimensions. # Baidu Zhanzhang (Webmaster Tools) Equivalent to Google Search Console. Baidu Zhanzhang provides useful SEO data such as crawl and indexation reports, backlinks history. # Baidu Mobi As a response to the rapid development of the mobile traffic, Baidu Mobi proposes to analyze website compatibility with official mobile guidelines and if necessary highlights improvements to be done. # Baidu Tongji (Analytics) Equivalent to Google Analytics. Although Baidu Tongji probably won’t replace your main analytics solution, the tool turns out to be mandatory to retrieve the full list of organic keywords used on Baidu (as Baidu now does not provide them any more out of its own analytics solution). As per described all along the article, Baidu remains the most advantaged Chinese search engine in terms of audience, technologies or data intelligence. Before we could predict the future, we’ll continue our in-depth exploration and focus in the next articles on more specific facets of this colossus search engine.

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