Update May 2015: Starting from June 2015, Baidu has started to index HTTPS sites too. According to the announcement, Baidu will also give more trust to HTTPS sites and use HTTPS as a ranking signal.
In August Google announced HTTPS as a new ranking signal, and since then I have seen a lot of websites, not only websites that collect sensitive user information such as online stores, but also sites that don’t, including blogs and enterprise websites, have adopted HTTPS.
However, if China is one of your target market and Baidu is where a large portion of your organic traffic comes from, you may want to have a second thought.
In general, Baidu doesn’t crawl HTTPS sites.
This may be bad news but unless you are a big website, by which I mean influential, popular and/or having a lot of pages and traffic, Baidu’s HTTPS crawl budget allocated to you is nothing better than zero.
So if you really need to enable HTTPS on your site, please read on.
Since Baidu doesn’t crawl HTTPS sites, “optimizing” here means serving different content to Baiduspider and human visitors.
Below is the way officially recommended by Baidu:
Step 1 – create a http version of your HTTPS site. Be sure to let them have duplicate content, to avoid the risk of cloaking;
Step 2 – configure your server to let it serve the HTTP version to Baiduspider, but HTTPS to human visitors.
Step 3 – when people come to your site from Baidu’s SERPs, be sure to 301 redirect them from the HTTP version back to HTTPS.
For example, you need to add the following lines to the .htaccess file on your server:
That’s pretty much what you need to do when you want to enable HTTPS across your site without losing organic traffic from Baidu. Of course don’t forget to pay attention to your server logs so you know dummy Baiduspider crawls your site right.
Having more questions about optimizing HTTPS sites for Baidu? Why not leave a comment or give us a poke here?