I personally believe improved search results for navigational queries is one of Google’s most valuable achievements over the past few years. Now it’s a lot easier for businesses to have good visibility for branded searches on Google.
This not only brings people better search accuracy, but also makes the web much safer and reduces the risk of online fraud, such as phishing scams.
But for Baidu, that is not the case.
Sometimes it can still be a challenge to have good rankings for branded keywords on Baidu, especially when your brand name is very popular, when other people also target your branded keywords, or very unpopular, when there is not enough searches for the brand name so Baidu doesn’t have much user data for it.
Below are some common cases:
- When your brand name is another more trusted websites’s product name. For example, your run a hotel, and your hotel’s brand name is also listed on a large hotel booking website such as eLong and Ctrip.
- When another website targets your brand name, with better user experience for Baidu searchers.
- Yellow pages that set up an “official” website/landing page without your authorization.
Organic traffic generated by branded keywords usually comes from other marketing channels and is of better traffic health – at least it means the searchers are already interested in your company, right? So failing to acquire this traffic can result in significant losses to your brand.
In this post I will share some common approaches we take to secure navigational searches on Baidu.
Baidu Trust is one of Baidu’s efforts to improve search accuracy for navigational searches. It works in quite a dummy way: you submit your business information such as the tax id and the business license to Baidu, proving you are the real owner of the website.
Baidu charges 600 yuan per year for Baidu Trust and it is still limited to businesses registered in China, with valid business licenses.
Putting keywords at important places on a website is a common SEO practice and can give the website a better chance of good rankings.
The same, of course, also applies to branded keywords.
Places such as page titles, the logo alt tag, the footer, the homeage, the about us page, and the contact us page all sound like ideal containers for branded keywords.
This has never been disclosed publicly by Baidu, but we have confirmed with a former Baidu engineer privately that having the ICP license number on the website improves the domain’s trust with Baidu and is a positive ranking factor.
However, how much weight this signal carries is still a mystery. I think it should be a weak signal, but why not if you have one?
When developing backlinks for a website, it’s important to diversify the anchor text and use your brand name and the variants as the anchor text for some of the backlinks.
This not only helps maintain a healthy link profile and reduce the risk of over optimization, but also improves the site’s rankings for the branded keywords.
Although there is not a universal anchor text distribution guide, it’s a good idea to analyze that of the high ranking websites from your industry, using backlink analysis tools such as Open Site Explorer.
Finally, I hope you will never have to find this post useful 🙂
Not having the deserved rankings for your own branded keywords can’t be regarded as lucky from the perspective of SEO. You will find this post useful when you are from the unlucky side, but let’s just hope that never happens.
What’s your story about Baidu navigational searches? Is it a still headache for you to rank for branded keywords on Baidu? Your comments are always welcomed.