Baidu, how to search (and be found) in China

13 Jul 2018

Baidu, founded in 2000 by Robin Li, is the third largest company in the Chinese digital market, after Tencent and Alibaba. Its homonymous search engine is the most popular in China: with a turnover of 86 billion RMB (about $ 13 billion) in 2017, it controls 70% of the local market. Baidu is thus the main reference tool for online searches, on both mobile and desktop.

However, although it is the industry leader in China, its diffusion is not so pronounced in the rest of the world where the main stage is taken by Google. The Mountain View company, in fact, holds 86% ofmarket share, the market share, Baidu’s is only 1%.

Baidu services

In addition to online search capabilities, Baidu provides users with other proprietary platforms to find and share information. These include an online encyclopedia, maps, cloud services, gaming and music platforms, food delivery andmuch more.

With its 800 million users, Baidu is also a business tool for companies, which it provides with useful toolsfor SEO and SEM activities.

Among theseBaidu Analytics, similar to the well-known Google Analytics, indicates the quantity and quality of access to a reference website, thus providing essential information to define the target of interest of advertising campaigns.

Baidu Keywords deals with planning and showing the volume of searches for a particular keyword in a given period of time.

Baidu Zhishu, is an index of behavioral data usage that quantifies the search volume of a specific Keyword. If set correctly, it will show data history, data by region and search trends, interesting and useful for testing the validity of the keyword itself.

A good use of these tools allows therefore to conduct effective campaigns in Pay Per Click, Brand Zone and In-Feed Ads formats. Before exploiting its promotional functions, however, companies are subject to a certification process.

This requires a good degree of knowledge of the tool and of the Chinese language. Companies must provide documentation of their right to exercise trade and lawfulness of their actions.

After passing the verification process and making sure that a site resides on servers in China, and is therefore visible to users, campaigns can be started. These, being operated on Baidu, are subject to all the restrictions imposed by the government.