Blog / Debunking 5 common myths about Baidu SEO in China

Debunking 5 common myths about Baidu SEO in China

Baidu is China's largest search engine – and arguably the most misunderstood as it is often likened to the "the China's equivalent of Google", when there's so much about Baidu that's unique.

In this article, we will debunk 5 common myths about Baidu from indexing to SEM. 

Myth 1:
Baidu only features or indexes websites with an ICP license

An ICP license is a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) that permits China-based websites to operate in China. This includes the right to host, use onshore PoPs and more. More on what an ICP license is in this article.

The reason this myth exists is because ICP licenses are only granted to companies that have a Chinese entity in China, which often means that these companies have websites that are hosted onshore, and developed and managed by an onshore team, and therefore by extension - have websites that function faster in China.

There are undoubtedly benefits to having an ICP license. However, as the correlation between indexing is more so between web performance instead of the license itself, the priority should be on answering what affects website performance in China and how to address these root issues.

How does your website load in China? Test it on Chinafy Visual Speed Test.

Myth 2:
You must be fluent in Chinese to leverage the benefits of Baidu SEO & SEM

It’s true that Baidu’s dashboards are only available in simplified Chinese. However, numerous global companies have successfully entered the market and leveraged the benefits of Baidu SEO & SEM for their business, through expert local partners and agencies.

Check out Chinafy Expert SEO and SEM Services via our Network of Partners

Myth 3:
If you have WeChat, you don’t need a website

Do you need a website, if you have a Facebook page or Instagram store?

Social media platforms are walled gardens in China, just like they are outside of China.

A walled garden is an ecosystem that is closed, managed, and sustained by the ecosystem's operators.

A website and social media platforms are complimentary digital touch points for your business in and outside of China. It’s for this reason that even if you have a WeChat mini-program or presence, it still makes sense to have a website.

If anything, the website should exist before your WeChat mini-program does because an optimised website is –
i) viewable via the WeChat browser
ii) searchable on Chinese search engines like Baidu and
iii) a place for ever-green content that only boosts your SEO

Myth 4:
You need a .cn domain to be indexed on Baidu

We share more about this in our our article on Baidu SEO in 2022, but the short answer is - no, you do not need a .cn to be indexed on Baidu.

That said, there is some truth to the importance of your top level domain (TLDs) name. 

Baidu warns against “unusual TLDs”, outside of more common TLDs such as .com, .cn, . This is not so different from the experience outside of China, where unusual TLDs are often associated with lower confidence & credibility, and thus, lower engagement, and lower ranking across search engines.

Check out how to index your website on Baidu in 2022.

Myth 5:
You can pay for higher organic results and ranking on Baidu

Sure, Baidu can theoretically modify the ranking of search results and websites in their search engine. However, this only really happens when a website deemed politically incorrect or “uncouth” is ranking too highly, and therefore manually excluded or de-indexed.

Similar to Google, you can pay for Baidu ads but you cannot pay for better organic results. Improving your organic results is a long-term strategic which involves creating better content, increasing engagement, and generally proving value in Baidu’s search engine for their users.

Check out these best practices to boost visibility on Baidu

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