Common Misunderstandings About Baidu

Read the most common misunderstandings about Baidu, and see whether the news you heard about Baidu is true

Posted by David

Everyday I am being asked a lot of questions about Internet stuff in China, especially questions about Chinese search engines, both at work and off work. One of the topics I have been asked about most is accusations or misunderstandings about Baidu.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m in no defence of Baidu, and to me, Baidu is far from being an enterprise that fulfils its social responsibility.

I am writing this post, simply because sometimes I see people misunderstand, or wrong Baidu, and it’s worth demystifying it.

Below are the three most common misunderstandings about Baidu:

You have to pay Baidu to let your site rank

False, if you mean organic search results.

I guess this accusation is somewhat subconsciously related to China’s infamous corruption and bribery issues.

You don’t have to pay Baidu to let your website rank on Baidu. And, I don’t think there is a way to pay Baidu to let their core search engineer team tweak their billion dollar machine, only to give you special treatment.

You need a .cn domain and a China-based server.

Not necessarily.

I don’t have detailed market share data for domain extensions in China, but below are the Alexa top 10 Chinese websites:

You can see the majority use .com domains, and only 2 use .cn domains.

A China-based server usually equals better access speed than overseas hosted websites. But again, it’s an advantage, rather than a must for Baidu.

Baidu ranks its own products higher

This is a tricky question that can not be answered by true or false.

It is not rare to see Baidu’s own products, such as Baidu Zhidao and Baidu Wiki, have good rankings on Baidu. But does that mean there is “guanxi” under the table?

Not necessarily, because Baidu Zhidao and Baidu Wiki usually have quality content that satisfy the needs of Baidu’s users, so why shouldn’t they have good rankings?

Got your own questions about Baidu or Internet stuff in China? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I am happy to share my thoughts.

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