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

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.


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.



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,, and 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.


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



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

The nine keywords with the highest search volume (discounting its own brand name “Baidu”), for which 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 2
完美世界 A Perfect World (Book title/story) 58,217,440 4
欢乐颂 Ode to Joy (TV series) 26,689,261 2
阿玛尼 Armani (Brand) 25,465,920 2
雪鹰领主 Snow Eagle Lord (Game title) 19,268,322 3
nba NBA (Basketball) 18,826,684 5
天气预报 Weather forecast 18,337,128 8
笑话 Joke 17,814,563 3
龙王传说 Legend of the Dragon King (Book title/TV series) 16,441,870 3


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

  • 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 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.




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 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 4
nba NBA (Basketball) 18,826,684 8
色情网站 Porno websites 5,711,591 9
宋仲基 Song Zhongji (Personality, celebrity) 5,246,620 8
武神赵子龙 Valkyrie Zhao Zilong (TV series) 5,121,432 5
性交 Sex 4,948,709 10
王子文 Wang Ziwen (Personality, celebrity) 4,697,341 3
美女与野兽真人版 Beauty & the Beast Live (Show title) 4,567,617 5
成人网站 Adult website 4,193,339 10

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

  • 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 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 is one of the best-known news portals on the Chinese internet.


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


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


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




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

The nine keywords with the highest search volume (discounting its own brand name “Iqiyi”), for which 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 3
校花的贴身高手 School Beauty of the Master (TV series) 8,120,684 2
三级片 Three films (X-rated films) 7,329,392 6
成人电影 Adult film 6,085,783 1
色情电影 Erotic film 5,904,947 5
做爱 Make love 5,564,582 4
武神赵子龙 Valkyrie Zhao Zilong (Personality, celebrity) 5,121,432 2
海贼王 One Piece (Anime series) 4,684,997 1
最好的我们 The Best of Us (TV series) 4,033,829 2

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

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


The subdomain 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.




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 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 1
nba NBA (Basketball) 18,826,684 1
微信 Weixin (WeChat) 13,545,522 1
择天记 Select Days of Mind (Book title/TV series) 8,731,035 7
逆鳞 Against the Scales (Film title) 7,238,462 5
微信下载 Weixin (WeChat) Download 6,527,398 3
色情网站 Porno websites 5,711,591 7
天域苍穹 Sky in the Sky (Book title/TV series) 5,293,786 9
王者荣耀 King of Glory (Game title) 4,834,584 1

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


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


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


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

19_QQ_finance 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 is an online community for gamers, replete with videos, discussions and reviews.


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!


Marcus Pentzek

Marcus Pentzek

Hello, my name is Marcus Pentzek and I’m Chief SEO Consultant at Searchmetrics. I do what I can to advise and assist our Suite customers with their search engine optimization needs. My passion is international SEO, including China, but not just China! Do go ahead and discuss what I’m writing here by leaving your comments – and you can also find me on LinkedIn.

3 thoughts on “Postcards from China: Search Results in China – Baidu’s Big Players

  • 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.

  • 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 🙂

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

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