Baidu Webmaster Tools
Much like Baidu has its own incarnation of some of the key SEO and content tools we use on a daily basis for Google, it comes as no surprise that it has its own webmaster tools. Luckily, and despite the fact the interface is in Chinese, it employs a similar structure to Google WMT in terms of layout and the information you can monitor. Naturally, it’s a hugely pivotal part of the world of Baidu SEO for similar reasons to Google WMT. In terms of initial configuration and quick wins however its pricelessness lays in the fact that it will ensure your site is indexed in Baidu’s SERP, something that we’ve seen many well-endowed Western sites with pages targeting China overlook.
How to Set Up a Site on Baidu Webmaster Tools
Now, as tempting as it to go to town and offer up a full in-depth guide complete with annotations for every function, we’re going to cover the key basics which will offer up some nice quick win gains and ensure you’re on the right path to Baidu success. A somewhat in-depth guide (although don’t rule us out for the future!) is currently available here, and despite being somewhat outdated it does provide some useful pointers.
First thing’s first however, here’s how we get a site set up on Baidu Webmaster Tools:
Baidu Webmaster Tools Basics: Crawling and Indexing
Within the third left-hand tab (网页抓取) on the main Baidu WMT interface you can submit links, dead links, check (or create) your site’s robots.txt file and access data on individual URL crawl rate. The below screenshot shows pointers to these functions, though once you’ve verified your site with Baidu WMT you might want to head over to the index tab soon after to see the effect:
As you can see with this particular domain in question, since the site was correctly configured with Baidu Webmaster Tools its indexation into Baidu skyrocketed, allowing ultimately for the path to be set out for the visibility on Baidu we’re after.
Baidu Webmaster Tools Basics: Site Optimisation
On the fifth tab down (优化与维护) you can get to grips with how your site is doing in Baidu in what, much like what is featured in Google WMT, is a scaled down version of Analytics (of which Baidu also has its own). Here’s a breakdown of some of the key functions where you can learn about Baidu traffic, link data, site-related keyword click through rate and more.
As you can see on the right, you can have a look at site appearance in the Baidu SERP as well as click through rate over a period of time, compare it to previous time periods and take a look at the keywords which are granting you the most traffic. Another useful tool worth mentioning here is the “URL optimisation recommendations” (页面优化建议) tab, which allows Baidu to diagnose individual URLs and offer up some SEO recommendations accordingly. Both the “Site safety test” (安全检测) and “Vulnerability detection” ( 漏洞检测) tools are worth checking out too to check if your site is free from security issues and malware as unfortunately these do plague the Chinese internet space somewhat.
To stay on top of some of the neatest tips and tricks for Baidu Webmaster Tools, check out its own learning centre. Alternatively, (and if you don’t speak Chinese) be sure to check out some of the resources listed at the end of this guide.
Much like any modern-day SEO is used to when optimising for Google, mobile plays a huge part of the overall Chinese digital marketing pie. Mobile is something that is taken up a notch somewhat in China, with around 500 million active monthly mobile users and with mobile accounting for well over a third of overall traffic and ecommerce sales for many websites. This has rocketed with the rise of WhatsApp hybrid WeChat, mobile gaming and the overall notion of being plugged in and in touch with peers, colleagues and the digital space in general being of huge significance for users in China.
As such, it’s vital that your site is Baidu-mobile friendly. Baidu have released a full mobile optimisation guide in Chinese here, though here are some key pointers to take in consideration:
Baidu Site App
Baidu Webmaster Tools offers a wonderful feature which, if you don’t have a mobile site, allows you to create an app-like version of your site based on your desktop site. Site App, which is also accessible via the “Mobile section” (移动专区) of Baidu WMT, allows you to customise your site through a series of relatively self-explanatory steps, such as the design phase pictured below:
For those of you with an existing mobile site, assuming this is nicely put together and is well optimised, the key point lies in making Baidu recognise it as a mobile site and crawl it accordingly. This is easily achieved by using the correct meta tags. The mobile user agent for Baidu is the same as desktop (Baiduspider), and adding the below meta tag into your desktop pages will ensure they’re crawled for mobile: