We’ve spoken about what it takes to rank well in Baidu, how to optimize for mobile and how to get into content marketing in China, so this time around it’s time to breakdown the search engine results page. Most of us are well-versed in Google’s search results pages, but what about Baidu? Are there a lot of similarities?
When it comes to Google, we’re used to seeing 10 results per page, with a short meta description below and perhaps an AMP logo for those accelerated mobile pages. Similarly, Baidu also shows 10 results with meta descriptions, URLs and the MIP logo (Baidu’s verson of Google’s AMP). However, if we dive a little deeper, we see a number of differences.
Breaking Down a Search Result
After further examination, we see that the various components of a single search result are in a slightly different order. Both Baidu and Google show the website page’s title in blue which links to the relevant page. After the title, Baidu then shows the page’s description followed by the URL. Google’s order is: title, URL and then description.
Another interesting facet about Baidu’s search results is that they highlight the keyword or query in red within the title, description and URL, whereas Google will bold the keyword within these elements.
Just like Google, Baidu also recognizes rich snippets and will provide an image within the snippet from the page being served or linked to.
With that said, it’s important to make sure you’re optimizing your images for Baidu. Ensuring the file name, title and alt attributes are relevant is of the essence here. As you can imagine, this can also help you rank within the image results page.
Just like Google, optimizing your images on-page isn’t a guarantee to receiving an extended search result like this.
Baidu also serves other types of snippets, though typically for some of Baidu’s own properties. You’ll find that these snippets consist of larger images, lists, dates, articles, downloads or other types of page extensions.
V = Verified. V1, V2, V3 – What’s the Difference?
If you’ve spent any time poking around Baidu’s search results, you’ve likely seen the yellow or blue V along with a subscript 1, 2, or 3. To gain one of these V-Label verifications, you must participate in Baidu’s PPC program – their version of Google’s AdWords.
This V-Label is awarded to those who pay both an annual fee and submit certain information to Baidu. Having a V-Label is seen as a certificate of trust to both the search engine and the users; it’s essentially a way to gauge a website’s level of seriousness.
The V1 and V2 verifications can be purchased, however, the V3 verification must be earned. Obtaining a V3 label requires high traffic to your site, strong social signals and of course, quality content. Oh yeah, and you must already be paying for a V2 verification to be considered for a V3 label.
Here’s where things get a bit hazy. We already know that results that come with any of the three V-Labels are paid results, but we’ve also found that certain organic results will also come with a V-Label attached. So is this an indicator that Baidu is selling ads that are marked as organic results? Or are they favoring companies that run Baidu PPC campaigns? It’s not exactly clear, but I’d put my money on the latter.
As mentioned, in order to receive a V-Label, a company must provide a fair amount of information to Baidu to communicate a certain level of professionalism to Baidu. With that logic, shouldn’t this affect organic results since providing such information increases trust on both Baidu’s and the user’s end?
Have you ever clicked on a result from Baidu search and been given an alert from Chrome about a “potentially hazardous” website? I know I have. And I’m sure this happens to Chinese netizens quite often as well, so the only safe solution is to click on results with V-Label.
Guǎnggào (广告) = Paid Advertisement
If you’re a Google user, you’re well-versed in identifying paid search results and ads within the SERPs. Though if you’re here to learn about Baidu, you might not have noticed the “广告” accompanying paid ads in the past.
Just like Google’s paid ads, Baidu will serve ads and extended ads above the organic results. The ads will be within a pale pink box and have “广告” in the upper right-hand corner, signifying that these are advertisements.
There are also a few additional components to the snippets in both organic and paid results. Here are some examples:
1.百度快照 (Bǎidù kuàizhào) = Baidu Cache
3. 86%好评 (86% hǎo Píng) – 80% positive ratings
4. 翻译此页 (fānyì cǐ yè) – translate this page
Sidebar Related Topics
Quite like Google, Baidu will make use of the sidebar to display additional information about queries. For example, if you search for Wong Fei, one of my favorite actresses and known for her role in Chungking Express, you’ll see there is a card that comes up with her vital information as well as related celebrities in the sidebar.
So as you can see, there are as many similarities as there are differences for when it comes to Baidu and Google’s SERPs. I think both search engines have their advantages and disadvantages, especially for when it comes to features like V-Labels and snippets. But above all, the usefulness of these depends on the user’s search intent and what they need out of a search engine. For more information about organic search in China, have a look at our Baidu SEO guide and our other Baidu-related articles. Should you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact us!