Postcards from China: Search Results in China – Baidu’s Big Players

March 2nd, 2017 | SEO News 3 comments

Every country has its own national food – and every country has its own national SERPs, right? Well yes and no. Google is the leading search engine in many countries and Google’s search results show a lot of similarities in all countries. But not in China, where Google is largely absent and Baidu dominates with a quite different set of big players.

Research-Cloud-China

The layout of Google’s search results page is identical in all national indexes. The snippets – the individual search results themselves – look the same everywhere. Only the language and the font systems vary. Even in the rankings for many keywords, we see Wikipedia, YouTube and Amazon leading across the world, as also highlighted in a recent analysis of the SEO World Rankings.

Baidu dominates the Chinese market

Anyone looking for the Chinese Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) will be out of luck. In China, Google is a near-irrelevance. Here, you don’t Google something, you Baidu it. A Chinese internet user looking for something on the internet will usually turn to the native search engine, Baidu, which currently enjoys a market share in China of 50 to 80%, depending on the user group.

Last year, Searchmetrics starting providing SEO Visibility results for China, using data not based on Google, but on Baidu rankings. This is reason enough to take a closer look at the big players in the Baidu SERPs, which, at first glance, look strikingly similar to Google’s results pages.

Baidu_SERP_NBA

 

Similar style, but different domains in the Baidu SERPs

When looking through the Baidu SERPs for various keywords, it quickly becomes apparent that the landscape in China seems to be a completely different one from what we are used to with Google. You won’t find Wikipedia, YouTube or Amazon here. Instead, the leading domains are Baidu.com, Sohu.com, iqiyi.com and QQ.com. Why does Baidu rank itself highest? Are there search results within the search results? No – keep reading to find out what’s going on.

This is the first article in a series on this blog about search engine optimization in China. To get you started, we’ll briefly introduce the four most important players in the Baidu SERPs.

01_Searchmetrics_Top100CN

Screenshot: Extract from Searchmetrics’ list of the Top 100 domains in China by SEO Visibility.

 

1. Baidu.com

SEO Visibility of 415,184,432 (415 Million)

The nine keywords with the highest search volume (discounting its own brand name “Baidu”), for which Baidu.com has a top 10 ranking, are:

Keyword What is it? Search Volume Sub-domain Pos.
大主宰 Great Domination (Book title/story) 61,576,572 tieba.baidu.com 2
完美世界 A Perfect World (Book title/story) 58,217,440 baike.baidu.com 4
欢乐颂 Ode to Joy (TV series) 26,689,261 baike.baidu.com 2
阿玛尼 Armani (Brand) 25,465,920 baike.baidu.com 2
雪鹰领主 Snow Eagle Lord (Game title) 19,268,322 tieba.baidu.com 3
nba NBA (Basketball) 18,826,684 tieba.baidu.com 5
天气预报 Weather forecast 18,337,128 baike.baidu.com 8
笑话 Joke 17,814,563 tieba.baidu.com 3
龙王传说 Legend of the Dragon King (Book title/TV series) 16,441,870 baike.baidu.com 3

 

Two sub-domains feature in this overview of the keywords with the greatest search volume that Baidu.com ranks highly for:

  • tieba.baidu.com
  • baike.baidu.com

Tieba.baidu.com is a social network with a highly active user base that is run by Baidu. From the outside, it looks a bit like the PHP-Nuke Community Portals of the early 2000s. In fact, it is mostly video games, anime, memes and all kinds of other material the internet has to offer that is posted, discussed and shared on this platform.

03_Baidu-Tieba

 

Baike.baidu.com is a Wikipedia-style encyclopedia. It is not quite as extensive as “our” Wikipedia, but it still serves as a good source of information from China.

04_Baidu-Baike

 

2. Sohu.com

SEO Visibility of 41,490,665 (41.5 Million)

The nine keywords with the highest search volume (discounting its own brand name “Sohu”), for which Sohu.com has a top 10 ranking, are:

Keyword What is it? Search Volume Sub-domain Pos.
欢乐颂 Ode to Joy (TV series) 26,689,261 tv.sohu.com 4
nba NBA (Basketball) 18,826,684 nba.sports.sohu.com 8
色情网站 Porno websites 5,711,591 news.sohu.com 9
宋仲基 Song Zhongji (Personality, celebrity) 5,246,620 mt.sohu.com 8
武神赵子龙 Valkyrie Zhao Zilong (TV series) 5,121,432 tv.sohu.com 5
性交 Sex 4,948,709 women.sohu.com 10
王子文 Wang Ziwen (Personality, celebrity) 4,697,341 mt.sohu.com 3
美女与野兽真人版 Beauty & the Beast Live (Show title) 4,567,617 yule.sohu.com 5
成人网站 Adult website 4,193,339 news.sohu.com 10

Sohu’s top 10 rankings for the nine keywords with the largest search volume are spread across six sub-domains:

  • tv.sohu.com
  • nba.sports.sohu.com
  • news.sohu.com
  • mt.sohu.com
  • women.sohu.com
  • yule.sohu.com

Tv.sohu.com is Sohu’s video portal. Equivalent websites in Europe or North America would be YouTube or MyVideo, though there are some differences.

06_Sohu_TV

Nba.sports.sohu.com is a place for Chinese users to get news, images, videos and discussions about basketball, which is probably the most popular Western sport in China.

07_Sohu_NBA

News.sohu.com is one of the best-known news portals on the Chinese internet.

08_Sohu_News

Sohu’s social network is found under the sub-domain mt.sohu.com. Clearly, any Chinese internet company worth its salt should at least have its own social network 🙂

09_Sohu_mt

At women.sohu.com, the internet giant presents its magazine for women, including gossip, celebrity news, fashion and lifestyle.

10_Sohu_Women

Sohu also has its own magazine for entertainment: yule.sohu.com covers TV, cinema, celebrities and stars.

11_Sohu_Yule

 

3. Iqiyi.com

SEO Visibility of 41,233,312 (41 Million)

The nine keywords with the highest search volume (discounting its own brand name “Iqiyi”), for which Iqiyi.com has a top 10 ranking, are:

Keyword What is it? Search Volume Sub-domain Pos.
欢乐颂 Ode to Joy (TV series) 26,689,261 www.iqiyi.com 3
校花的贴身高手 School Beauty of the Master (TV series) 8,120,684 www.iqiyi.com 2
三级片 Three films (X-rated films) 7,329,392 so.iqiyi.com 6
成人电影 Adult film 6,085,783 so.iqiyi.com 1
色情电影 Erotic film 5,904,947 so.iqiyi.com 5
做爱 Make love 5,564,582 so.iqiyi.com 4
武神赵子龙 Valkyrie Zhao Zilong (Personality, celebrity) 5,121,432 www.iqiyi.com 2
海贼王 One Piece (Anime series) 4,684,997 www.iqiyi.com 1
最好的我们 The Best of Us (TV series) 4,033,829 www.iqiyi.com 2

These keywords are found on just two of iqiyi.com’s sub-domains:

  • www.iqiyi.com
  • so.iqiyi.com

www.iqiyi.com is a video platform that carries content such as music videos, TV series and films. Some of these are only available for paying users.

13_Iqiyi_www

The subdomain so.iqiyi.com is where the video service provides its internal search engine, which is also indexed by Baidu (including search results pages) and which ranks for interesting keywords.

14_Iqiyi_So

 

4. QQ.com

SEO Visibility of 36,425,635 (36.5 Million)

The nine keywords with the highest search volume (discounting its own brand name “QQ”), for which QQ.com has a top 10 ranking, are:

Keyword What is it? Search Volume Sub-domain Pos.
欢乐颂 Ode to Joy (TV series) 26,689,261 v.qq.com 1
nba NBA (Basketball) 18,826,684 sports.qq.com 1
微信 Weixin (WeChat) 13,545,522 wx.qq.com 1
择天记 Select Days of Mind (Book title/TV series) 8,731,035 v.qq.com 7
逆鳞 Against the Scales (Film title) 7,238,462 v.qq.com 5
微信下载 Weixin (WeChat) Download 6,527,398 weixin.qq.com 3
色情网站 Porno websites 5,711,591 finance.qq.com 7
天域苍穹 Sky in the Sky (Book title/TV series) 5,293,786 chuangshi.qq.com 9
王者荣耀 King of Glory (Game title) 4,834,584 pvp.qq.com 1

The sub-domain v.qq.com is a video portal providing countless (funny) clips from TV shows and films.

16_QQ_v

The social network QQ also has its own sports magazine, located at the sub-domain sports.qq.com.

17_QQ_sports

Both sub-domains wx.qq.com and weixin.qq.com offer different download options for “WeChat”, a messaging and all-rounder app that is also produced by the multi-billion internet corporation, Tencent.

18_QQ_weixin

Tencent uses the QQ-subdomain finance.qq.com to publish a news magazine for financial topics.

19_QQ_finance

Chuangshi.qq.com is a platform where users can publish their own short stories and novels for other users to read. The website also makes it possible to offer authors financial incentives for writing.

20_QQ_chuangshi

Pvp.qq.com is an online community for gamers, replete with videos, discussions and reviews.

21_QQ_pvp

China/Baidu blog series with Searchmetrics

As mentioned earlier, this article is the start of a longer series that I will be using to go into more depth regarding Baidu and the Chinese search landscape. Stay tuned.

Hopefully you enjoyed this first little excursion into the somewhat different world of the Baidu search results. Personally, I find it extremely interesting to see which keywords generate traffic for the giants of the Baidu SERPs. You can, of course, use the Searchmetrics Suite to take a closer look for yourself.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this article, or suggestions for upcoming posts, I’d love for you to get in touch via the box below.

 

Find all blog posts from our “Postcards from China” series here!

 

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你好, my name is Marcus Pentzek and I’m SEO Team Leader at UDG United Digital Group, where my responsibilities include strategic planning of international SEO. I spent two years living and working in China, and I’ve been fascinated by the country ever since. You’ll probably realize that quite quickly when you read my posts here on the Searchmetrics blog. Do go ahead and discuss what I’m writing here, leave your comments below – and you can also find me on LinkedIn.
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Comments (3)

Comments (3)

  1. 2017/03/10

    Good read Marcus, very detailed.
    I’ve got a question for you. Have you considered doing a similar series for Yandex as well? I’ve been looking into it for some time and it would be nice to see an in-depth article or series of articles devoted to Yandex.

  2. 2017/05/19

    Hi Aaron,
    thanks for the flowers. I personally am more specializing in China and the Chinese market. But I am totally with you: such a series for Yandex would be interesting as well 🙂

  3. 2017/09/13

    Hi Marcus
    What about alibaba ? how do you break down their seo. It would be interesting to comapre these sites.

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