Understanding Baidu — The Chinese Google


Originally published at: http://www.sitepoint.com/baidu-chinese-google/

Although China represents a huge chunk of netizens (over 600 million users), the Chinese government is very strict when it comes to what content is shown to its people. They have stringent regulations and their ruthlessness is shown in partially or fully blocking popular websites like Google and Facebook in the past.

In spite of the absence of these American giants in the Chinese world, local websites have emerged, which perform the tasks of their American counterparts quite well. In this post, we look at the progress of one such website — Baidu.

Although the primary product of Baidu is the search engine, it also has services like Baidu Yun (cloud services), Baidu News, Baidu Dictionary and many more. Baidu’s advertisements are also similar to Google’s Adwords and AdSense. In this article, let’s focus on the search engine and how to give your site the best chance of appearing in Chinese search results.

Why Care about Baidu?

Source: NetMarketShare

Source: NetMarketShare

To understand the importance of Baidu, you should consider the market share of different search engines. As the January 2015 search engine market share results show, Google accounts for over two thirds of searches, but Baidu comes in second with 18.7%. Bing currently has 8.7% and Yahoo is close behind with 7.8%

Baidu boasts more than 60% of Chinese search traffic but it is also known to refer over a quarter of its traffic to its own properties.

Getting Ready for Baidu

Baidu Screenshot

If the primary audience of your website is English speaking then it’s not necessary or wise to implement any of the tips that I provide here. However, if you run a product line or service with a large portion of your audience being Chinese-speaking, you can’t ignore this huge potential market. Let’s have a look at what you can do to help your website attract more Baidu users.

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Surprised to see that Yandex and DuckDuckGo don't even feature on the market share chart, I would have thought Yandex at least would be bigger than AOL.


Definitely surprising. Considering each has a share of less than 0.01%!


I looked up Yandex on Wikipedia, and that says that as of Feb 2013 Yandex was the world's 4th most popular search engine. While the situation will have changed somewhat since then, I doubt it would have fallen much. I think the stats from NetMarketShare probably aren't that accurate. (Though still perfectly fine for the purpose you used it for, i.e. pointing out the importance of Baidu).

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