Baidu SEO is a vital marketing strategy for brands to attract customers, increase website traffic, and grow business in the marketplace. However, if you don’t know how to differentiate between Baidu SEM and Baidu SEO, search optimization cannot bring conversions. To be truly successful in Baidu Marketing, you need to understand search optimization and know when to use SEM or SEO to achieve the most effective campaigns.

SEM and SEO marketing may seem indistinguishable to some, but they are totally different search optimization. Thus, it is important to know the difference to effectively market your brand to consumers online.

1. What is Baidu SEM (Baidu PPC)?

Baidu SEM or Baidu PPC (Pay Per Click) is often considered part of search marketing that uses paid strategies to gain visibility. The platform for Baidu PPC is called Phoenix Nest, and it can be a bit difficult to set up compared to Google Ads. Phoenix Nest includes activities related to setting up and optimizing ads, as well as setting a budget to pay for ad placement.

The fee to open a Baidu PPC account is RMB 5,000. Once you have deposited funds, you can see the funds in your account balance which are ready to be used for PPC campaigns. The price of an ad depends on many factors, such as the competitiveness of your industry, bid prices, and the quality of your ad writing.

2. Baidu SEM (PPC) Practice

Baidu Promotion
The product is essentially Baidu's version of Google AdWords. You bid on selected keywords and your advertisement will be listed on the search results page. The process is very simple, but there are specific rules to follow to create the most effective campaigns. For example, Baidu allows you to use 50 characters for the title and 80 characters for each line of text. 
Pay for Performance (P4P)

This service allows you to attract customers with relevant searches. You can buy priority rankings to permanently tag keywords to the first page of results, which can give you a big advantage over your competitors.

Baidu Pro 
This tool is only available to Baidu Affiliate members (third-party web content, software, and mobile application providers) and allows users to display ads on specific products, such as search engine tools and desktop applications. This tool is suitable to use for targeting a specific type of audience.

Baidu TV
Baidu TV is mainly used for video advertising promotion. It allows you to visit the websites of Baidu affiliates and choose exactly where you want to display your video ads.

3. What is Baidu SEO?

Baidu SEO is the part of search marketing that uses organic tactics to gain SERP visibility. Some of the key differences between Google and Baidu SERPs are that Baidu's interface is only available in Simplified Chinese, and quality is more important. Most organic search results also have higher image quality than Google. Baidu SERP includes brand query, information query, local query, and transaction query.

On-page SEO improves the readability of a website by targeting content. This strategy includes keyword research, content creation, and website formatting. On-page optimization in SEO helps search engines understand page content and allows pages to get better ranking results.

Technical SEO optimizes the non-content elements of your website to make it easier for users to index your website content. This typically includes site speed, design, code structure, security, and mobile friendliness. Since Baidu's main target audience is mainland China, almost all Chinese enjoy priority treatment. This includes where your website is hosted, as well as beginner use of content delivery networks.

Off-page SEO is about building authority by building backlinks to your website. Brands in China often create blogs on platforms such as Sina, 163, and Sohu with the aim of publishing massive content with backlinks. Due to their popularity, Baidu tends to index these sites quickly. User-generated content on Baidu’s own platform is also helpful in building natural backlinks.

There are several things to consider when choosing a PPC or SEO campaign. One of the main things to consider is the time frame of the campaign. PPC is designed to give your brand instant exposure, while SEO exposure increases over time. If you want to speed up your campaign process, then PPC will be your best option. Evaluating PPC ads is also relatively much easier because feedback is relatively quick. SEO results are often considered more trustworthy. 

Baidu SEO can be more effective for a long-term marketing strategy, but if you're in a niche market with well-known businesses, your brand may struggle to gain exposure. Showcasing your brand can be difficult, especially when their authority ranks high. You may still be able to outperform your competitors in PPC campaigns. For the most effective Baidu marketing campaigns, it is worth combining the two methods of a PPC marketing campaign with an effective SEO strategy to maximize the outreach of your target audience.