As part of the Chinese search marketing strategy, Chinese SEO (Search engine optimization) is an efficient and cost-effective channel to market in China. Chinese users prefer to browse all of the search results from the first few searching pages.

It's important for marketers to know the below SEO tactics to optimise your website for a better ranking position on top of the searching page on Baidu or the other China search engines such as 360, Shenma, Sogou and the others.

Local hosting, native domain name and ICP filing

For organic search results, Chinese search engines tend to favour local sites, giving higher rankings to websites that are hosted on servers in China, have a Chinese domain (.cn) and have an Internet Content Publishing (ICP) licence. We would go thus far to say ranking highly on Chinese search engines is nearly impossible without using local hosting. A firewall is a must, websites hosted overseas will load incredibly slow (or they'll not load at all), and slow loading speeds will be heavily penalised by program algorithms.

Create localised content

Just as you’re unlikely to ascertain Chinese results rank highly on a Google search, you’re not getting to see English results rank highly on Chinese search engines. Chinese search engines require websites to be in Mandarin, using simplified Chinese characters – meaning all site copy, including SEO resources and meta tags.

Beware of using translation tools also – Baidu can actually recognise badly translated copy, and can penalise a website’s ranking for it. Make sure to have native speakers at least review all copies to ensure it’s accurate, relatable and aligns with brand values and target audiences.

Mobile-first website

China is certainly a mobile-first market – over 99% of Chinese internet users access the web via mobile devices (compared to 43% who access the web via desktops and 35% via laptops). Therefore, it’s important to use a mobile-responsive website – not only will it rank higher on Chinese search engines, but it'll even have a lower bounce rate from mobile users. Be sure your mobile site is meant for minimal scrolling and clicking to further lower the bounce rate.

Keyword strategy

As with Western search engines, keywords are important to SERP rankings, though Baidu tends to wish for a far better keyword density than other Chinese search engines (around 8–12%). Baidu’s spam-combating algorithm will penalise keywords that don’t seem relevant to the content. As always, it’s about quality over quantity. Baidu’s Keyword Planner can assist you to analyse keywords supported metrics such as search volume and competition.

It’s also important to create your website content that doesn't contain any blacklisted keywords or sensitive content, as these are going to be blocked by Firewall.

Localised social media

Outbound links to non-Chinese sites – even people who aren’t explicitly blocked – can cause loading errors, again worsening a site’s ranking. This includes links to Western social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Instead, link to Chinese social media sites such as WeChat, Weibo and Douyin.


Chinese search engines favour websites where content is updated regularly. A blog to provide some updates, insights, company/product news will be a key part of your program marketing strategy. Quality is important, SEOers need to make sure the content is fresh and authentic and don’t be tempted to plagiarize. Chinese search engines will penalise duplicate content. Jump-start your Chinese search engine marketing with us today!

By being conscious of the key differences between Western and China's search engines, and adopting a localised approach to your website, you'll set yourself abreast of the proper track towards high SERP rankings. If you have any questions about Chinese SEO, please feel free to contact us for a Chinese SEO advisory.