With videos, ads and other Google services dominating search results in the West, our guest authors take a look at how China compares. Does Baidu give website operators similar treatment for SERP real estate, and how is it possible to win visibility?
It’s common knowledge that the Google search results page often includes ads, YouTube videos, and Wikipedia rankings for many information queries (which often feed the knowledge graph). But what does it look like on Baidu, China’s biggest search engine?
Are some elements simply displayed more frequently, reducing the space that normal website owners could organically occupy in the search engine results pages (SERPs), like on Google? Let’s take a look…
(And take a look at our guide to Baidu services if you want to find out more).
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The following text shows you which Baidu products are displayed on the search results pages for different industry keywords.
To get an intuitive impression, please take a look at the snapshot of the keyword “搬家公司” (moving company) displayed on Baidu’s SERP from the desktop page:
(SERP for”搬家公司“ showing how Baidu seems to favor their own services, Baidu B2B in the top, followed by 58.com, then a Baidu product again: Baidu Tieba)
In the screenshot above, there are three positions. At the bottom of each position (block), the website is marked (1: “b2b.baidu.com”; 2: “58同城” (58.com); 3: “tieba.baidu.com”).
Baidu’s Baidu Ai Caigou (Baidu B2B) and Baidu Tieba products are ranked first and third, respectively. The second position is not a Baidu product, but a popular platform “58同城” (58 local cities).
The problem with searching keywords directly in Baidu is that the results are displayed based on your preferences (Baidu’s personalized search results), which may not be objective enough to present the same Baidu products that other users might see.
Also, there is limited space for a screenshot to show Baidu’s products. So for the sake of objectivity and space, let’s take a look at the following snapshot from Dragon Metrics, a third-party platform for monitoring website rankings around the world.
This snapshot objectively shows more results and rankings when searching for the keyword “搬家公司” (moving company):
(Screenshot of Dragon Metrics showing Baidu search results for “搬家公司”, Moving Company)
Let us explain the screenshot: On the top left, in the second box we selected the search engine “Baidu”; the fourth small box is the searched keyword: “搬家公司” (moving company).
The table below shows the placement of the keyword with its position in SERP, types and the highest ranking URL with its title. All logos in the Type column are Baidu products.
The first is Baidu Ai Caigou; the fifth is Baidu Video; the ninth is Baidu Tieba; the fourteenth is Baidu Zhaopin; the fifteenth is Baidu Ai Qicha (Baidu Enterprises Supervision, an enterprise credit checking product). The sixteenth is Baidu Ditu.
Here’s another example:
(Screenshot of Dragon Metrics showing Baidu search results for “国际学校”, International School)
This snapshot shows the Baidu search results for the keyword “国际学校” (international school). The first two rows of the table without marked positions are advertisements. The following first place is Baidu Ditu; the ninth is Baidu Tieba; the tenth is Zhihu (知乎, similar to Quora, not a Baidu product, a Q&A platform often rated by Baidu); the eleventh is Bai Jiahao.
Here’s another example:
(Screenshot of Dragon Metrics showing Baidu search results for “男装”, International School)
The snapshot above is again from the tool Dragon Metrics. The fourth field above contains the keyword “男装” (menswear). The two rows of the table without highlighted items are advertisements. The following fifth position is Baidu Baike; the ninth is Baidu Hanyu; the tenth is Baidu Tieba; the twelfth and fourteenth are Bai Jiahao;
From the above snapshots and Table 2 in the following text, we can intuitively see that Baidu products always appear in the top 3, top 10 and top 30 SERPs.
It can be observed that Baidu has distributed more traffic to its products in recent years (see also 2020 Baidu Ranking Factors Correlation Study). SEOs can contribute content relevant to websites and Baidu services to increase the chances of their brands being listed as results – via Baidu services.
The following table shows the Chinese names in pinyin and English for Baidu products.
|Chinese Name ( Pinyin )||Translated Name (English)|
|Baidu baike||Baidu Encyclopedia|
|Baidu Ditu||Baidu Maps|
|Baidu Zhidao||Baidu Knows|
|Baidu Shipin||Baidu Video|
|Baidu Tieba||Baidu Forum|
|Baidu Wenku||Baidu Library|
|Baidu Jingyan||Baidu Experience|
|Bai Jiahao||Baidu Public Account|
|Baidu Ai Caigou||Baidu B2B Purchase|
|Haokan Video||Attractive Video|
|Baidu Jiankang||Baidu Health|
|Baidu Baipin||Baidu Recruitment|
|Baidu H5||Baidu H5|
|Baidu Zhuanjia Wenda||Baidu Experts Q&A|
|Baidu Ningmeng Aimei||Baidu Lemon Beauty|
|Baidu Zhiliao Haoxue||Baidu Learning Lover|
|Baidu Hanyu||Baidu Chinese Language|
(Table 1: Baidu Products / Services Names)
In Baidu’s SERPs, new products are constantly being tested and developed. To improve the weight of the index, SEOs can contribute relevant content for websites to be optimized for these Baidu products. In addition, SEOs should take into account that different Baidu products can fit different industries.
We conducted a comprehensive analysis across different industries to find out which Baidu products appear more frequently in general, and which of them dominate different industries.
To achieve this, we created comprehensive keyword sets for the different industries (below we show a brief sample of keywords we selected) and checked them with Dragon Metrics (to get non-personalized rankings) to learn more about the different SERP setups.
The scrollable table below shows that Baidu products are always in the top 30 on Baidu SERPs after searching keywords in different industries:
|Manufacturing||Local services||Technology||Daily Goods||Medical Service|
|Baidu Ai Caigou||12.7||7||12||7|
|Baidu Zhuanjia Wenda||6||5|
|Baidu Ningmeng Aimei||6|
|Baidu Zhiliao Haoxue|
(Table 2: Rankings of Baidu products on the search pages based on different industry)
Some of the keywords we searched for to create the table above included:
The following text explains some of the most common Baidu products shown in our analysis, and the industries that match these products.
We hope this helps you better understand these Baidu products and whether they are important for your industry.
Baidu Baike (the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia), with texts and videos, is usually displayed at the top of the SERPs. Texts and videos in Baidu Shipin/Baidu Tieba and Baijiahao are also displayed in almost every industry.
As you can see in Table 2, the SERP for almost every search term in every industry includes these products. Each product occupies more than one position, and the ranks are very high.
Baidu Ai Caigou, a B2B platform owned by Baidu, presents relevant products from paid advertisers. Each result includes product name, price, merchant information, specific reviews and offers.
Therefore, merchants can seamlessly connect with Baidu Search through Baidu B2B and meet users’ requirements for obtaining information, acquiring buyers, and getting more business opportunities and orders.
From Table 2 above, we can see that Baidu B2B is widely used in manufacturing, local services, technology and medicine. In other words, Baidu B2B occupies multiple positions and therefore appears in the first results.
Baidu Knowledge and Baidu Expert Q&A display relevant questions that the searcher types and extract relevant answers from web pages. After clicking “Show Answers”, more relevant questions are loaded.
Baidu Knowledge will appear in SERPs of almost all industries as it provides users with different answers from different users. It can also intelligently retrieve and recommend solutions using AI technology, so almost any question will be answered quickly and effectively.
Most of the replicators in Baidu Expert Q&A are recognized experts with outstanding achievements in various fields, especially experts in the medical industry.
Each of them has a unique “Know” ID, which is more meaningful and trustworthy for most Internet users when answering questions. Baidu Expert Q&A appears more in the medical industry.
(Snippet from Baidu Expert Q&A for the keyword “什么牙膏美白牙齿效果好“ (toothpaste good for whitening teeth). There are 4 positions in this snapshot. The second is an advertisement. Others are experts’ answers. At the bottom of each position is “Know ID”)
Local SERPs are displayed whenever your search intent is implicitly related to location.
For example, if you type in “moving company,” “international school,” or “men’s clothing,” Baidu will show areas near you that match your search query and tell you exactly where to find them on the map. Baidu Maps often appear on SERPs in education, local services, and everyday goods.
(Baidu Ditu Snippet for “搬家公司” – moving company. The result marks local (Guangzhou) moving companies on the map)
In Baidu Wenku, you can share documents with millions of Internet users and read other users’ full-text copies. At the same time, you can download documents with the credit points you get from sharing documents.
In Baidu Experience, you can find many best practices for solving real-world problems, and you can also contribute your own experiences to benefit more people.
(Screenshot from Dragon Metrics for the keyword “颈椎病怎样治疗比较好” – how to treat cervical spondylosis is better, showing how the Baidu SERP looks like)
Baidu Wenku mainly appears in education/local service/technology and medical industry SERPs; Baidu experience primarily occurs in the SERPs of the consumer goods and medical industries.
For example, after entering “how to treat cervical spondylosis is better”, Baidu library is on positions 24, 26 and 27; after entering “how to make coffee ”, Baidu experience is on position 25.
(Snippet from Dragon Metrics for the keyword “怎么冲咖啡” – how to make coffee)
Additional links (a type of external links) are links to other websites on SERPs or links to other pages within the same website. They have a stronger effect on regular organic search results than SERP features.
(Snippet from Dragon Metrics for the keyword “书法培训” – calligraphy training)
Baidu Learning Lover is a vertical product in the education industry. It integrates networks of suitable courses and provides comprehensive education search information. For example, enter “书法培训” (calligraphy education). Baidu Learning Lover helps you quickly find the international schools in your city at position 1 on SERP.
Let’s say you are the staff of a school. In this case, Baidu Learning Lover can make your school shine in education enrollment channels, increase brand awareness, accurately drive traffic and attract students.
To make search easier and more direct for users, Baidu SERP has improved the leap to applets and H5, so that users can directly use the applet for purchase/consultation/communication when searching for solutions.
For example, Baidu Health is a must-see applet in the SERPs of the medical industry. After typing “why headache”, you will see that Baidu Health appears in the 3rd position. If you want more information, click on it and jump to the Baidu Health applet. You can also click directly on the Baidu H5 page to consult an expert on that page.
(Snippet from Dragon Metrics for the keyword “为什么头痛” – why feeling headache)
After entering “toothpaste to whiten teeth”, the Baidu Lemon Beauty applet is displayed on positions 6 and 9. Questions about “how to whiten teeth (positions 3 and 9)” and “whether you need to reshape your teeth (positions 1, 2 and 6)” can be solved with the applet.
(Snippet from Dragon Metrics for the keyword “什么牙膏美白牙齿效果好” – toothpastes good for whitening teeth)
(Snippet from Dragon Metrics for the keyword “怎么美白牙齿” – how to whiten teeth)
(Snippet from Dragon Metrics for the keyword “是否需要牙齿整形” – whether you need to reshape your teeth)
Many Baidu researchers have found that most people only click on the first searched page and rarely visit the second page of SERPs. Therefore, the goal of an SEO must be either to position your own website on the first page of Baidu’s SERPs or to capture one of the places by placing your brand within these Baidu services.
Some call it “parasite SEO”, some don’t call it SEO anymore because it’s not about your own website. We tend to call anything “SEO for China” that helps to organically position one’s brand on Baidu SERPs – whether it’s one’s own website or not.
To ensure that the website is displayed on the first page if possible, SEOs can contribute content related to Baidu products. Before creating content, SEOs should assess which Baidu product fits the website’s industry. Can your website’s information appear on the first page of SERPs? The above text can give you some insights.
Baidu assigns a lot of weight to its products. Some people say that SEO is almost impossible for Baidu because Baidu claims most of the rankings.
But a smart organic search (SEO) marketer also sees this as an opportunity to promote its brand. Although it’s a Baidu-owned ranking, you can still try to make it your own by helping Baidu provide great content.
So with some SEO skills, you can publish brand-relevant content on Baidu-based products to drive traffic to your website/brand.
After in-depth research on Baidu products, search marketers can develop more advertising skills. It’s really fun to gain visitors and customers through Baidu Search. Let’s go – you can do it!
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Published on 09/29/2022 by Shulan Wang Markus Pentzek.
Shulan Wang has been working in the field of search engine optimization since 2013. Today, she works as an expert for Baidu SEO at Jademond Digital. Her specialty is keyword research, keyword dominance strategy development and integration with search engine marketing and “official website” optimization. Besides SEO, she enjoys watching cooking shows and cooking for her family.
Marcus Pentzek is Chief SEO Consultant at Searchmetrics. He lived and worked in China for two years and since then the Middle Kingdom is also one of his core topics in SEO. He even co-authored a book on the topic SEO for China, which you can find on Amazon.
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