What Is Baidu?

Adam Steele
Oct 14, 2021

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We’re familiar with search engines such as Google in the western world – well, mainly Google, but other search engines like Bing! And Yahoo also come to mind.

Other countries have other search engines in other languages. In this article, we will look at the most prominent Chinese search engine – Baidu search.

What is Baidu?

Baidu, inc is a Chinese multinational company and internet service provider that was founded in 2000 (similar to Alibaba). It is based in Beijing, China. Baidu provides services including web search, online advertising, and software development kits for potential developers.”

Baidu has been at the forefront of China’s technology industry since its inception. It remains one of the country’s most visited websites with over 568 million monthly visitors to its Chinese-language site, according to comScore.

Baidu was founded by Robin Li and Eric Xu. Li had been inspired by the challenges of finding information on the web while he worked in Silicon Valley and returned to China in 2000 to start Baidu. He took up a position at Beijing Science & Technology University, creating an algorithm for indexing the World Wide Web-based on technology developed in his doctoral thesis. Three months later, Baidu.com was launched from Baishiquanyuan (百科全書), a Chinese encyclopedia project by People’s University of China Press.

Source: HubSpot

Why is Baidu Important?

The relative importance of Baidu to you and your company depends on your target market. If you wish to target companies in and consumers inside mainland China, then Baidu is just as important to your business as Google is to a company selling to U.S.-based customers.

The market potential for Baidu’s services had been recognized way before the company’s official launch in 2000, and Simon Kuan, formerly of Yahoo! China, was hired to help Li position the site better in a market dominated by Yahoo! and AltaVista. The search engine was named “Baidu” (meaning “post-master”) because it indexed content from all over the Chinese-speaking world.

Just like Google helps English-speaking brands and businesses gain online awareness and brand recognition through their search engine results pages, so does Baidu, but for Chinese users. A Chinese company needs to show up in internet searches just the same as an English company does, and because online search via android is one of the main traffic-driving streams inside China and Hong Kong, SEO Baidu is essential for any company selling products or services in this region.

Baidu FAQ

How can I do SEO for Baidu?

Like Google, Baidu uses a complex algorithm to rank its search results. While a simple rule of thumb for any website is to have well-optimized content, the situation is different with Baidu. Baidu prides itself on providing user-friendly information and continues to update its algorithms as time goes by. The result is that over time, Baidu has developed a reputation for being, in one user’s words, “semistatic”, meaning that the search results it returns will vary depending on the query.

SEO Keywords (the Chinese term is 搜索词) – Baidu uses a variety of different keyword phrases to determine the relevance of a web page. There are certain keywords that Baidu tries to encourage its users to use based on the model of Google’s Keyword Tool. On the other hand, its most important feature is Baidu’s ability to recognize different types of queries that can be hard for non-Chinese speakers users to understand.

One of the best ways to optimize your site for Baidu SEO is to hire a Chinese-speaking SEO professional.

Does SEO work in China?

Baidu’s business model is based on pay-for-performance marketing, where the company serves only the top three search results, with the overwhelming majority of paid links leading to partner websites. Baidu also uses natural language processing and digital image recognition to make its keyword suggestions for webmasters.

The content on Chinese search engines is also highly censored and regulated, meaning the concept of “high-quality content” that English-speaking SEO’s go by doesn’t work the same for Baidu.

How is Baidu different from Google?

Baidu’s research shows that the top three results are about 80% to 90% trustworthy, but that the majority of remaining search results are spam. As a result, Baidu has developed a mechanism for sifting out unreliable search engine results.

Baidu follows its own special algorithm to address this issue in a way that is very helpful for local SEO in China. It also adds keyword phrases to its database which it uses to improve its search results in favor of users’ needs.

Is Bing better than Baidu?

The most popular search engines in China are Baidu (about 40%), Soso (about 18%), Yahoo! (about 15%), more than that for Google, followed by wikipedia.org and then yahoo.com.cn. In May 2010, Bing entered the Chinese Market and is providing similar search results (in English) to Google China, but because of censorship and content regulation, Baidu results are more controlled than those of Bing.

Why is Google banned in China?

Google has been banned in China by the Chinese government on the grounds that its search results have biased and censored information. Google’s revenue from China fell about 60% after it reduced search results to comply with Chinese censorship regulations.

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.


Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of Baidu.

As English-speakers, we are largely familiar with, and dependant on, Google to find information online. In mainland China and increasingly more so in Hong Kong, internet active users rely on Baidu to find products, services, and information.

To learn more about our SEO services at Loganix, please don’t hesitate to contact us or look through our SEO packages here.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Adam Steele on October 14, 2021

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.