Baidu phoenix nest, what is changing for your Chinese seo?
What is baidu Phoenix nest?
Baidu phoenix nest is the new baidu search engine reponse page presentation, but not only, it also affects the ads management too. Before, baidu was putting the pay-per-click ads directly above the natural organic responses. So you could “buy “ your rankings for any query. With phoenix nest, baidu seperates natural and paid listings.
If I launched a website the 1 of January, and wanted to rank first the 2nd of January, that was possible. So, money was leading the rankings, not quality.
Besides, even if my online ecommerce would sell only “red cars”, I still could buy the 1st ranking for “black car” or even “yellow carpet”. Basically, I could buy any keyword for any website… So you can imagine how the search quality was affected.
Why baidu is changing?
Baidu is improving its system. Now you can NOT buy your 1st position anymore, you can work to reach it, and that of course improves search quality. Baidu suffered from many scandals, and that’s probably why they decided to change. Besides, google had better quality search results, and baidu had to improve theirs to keep their huge market share (more than 60% for baidu in china vs google only 20%).
Baidu new Search Engine Optimization Rules?
Well, of course, from the 1st December on, the only way to rank first in the natural / organic results of baidu is to work on your search engine optimization. That means, more seo business for us, yes :o)
Having great content, good html, social media optimization to leverage backlinks, we go back to the standard search engine optimization rules. That’s why you should read or read again this post we wrote about baidu seo, and about backlink strategies.
Many people will suffer a sudden increase or decrease of their website traffic because of this change. For example, when you look for the query “Beijing web design” in Chinese in baidu, the first natural response was ranking at the 11th position! This means, from the 1st December on, they will go from the 11th to the 1st, something tells me they will know a sudden increase of business ;o)
How this is going to affect user behavior?
The Chinese internet users usually click from the 1st to the 10th link, and even sometimes go to the second page of search engine (as you can see on the heat map below). That is said to be due to two main reasons : curiosity of the Chinese! And the fact that they are used to have first ads, and then the natural responses (I tend to believe more this second reason).
So if baidu is getting more accurate, if they separate the ads from natural responses, chances are this will affect users behavior, and Chinese users like the western users will click on the first 3 responses mainly… so, it’s even more important to be among the firsts.
Google Vs Baidu?
It was hard for google to beat baidu in china, it’s becoming even harder. Baidu is getting rid of its main drawback. In the search engine world, Improving search quality equals retaining users… and that’s the core of google and baidu’s business. Baidu is taking the right direction to protect its domination.
Baidu Stock Share Plunges!
Because of this change, baidu stock share plunged! Yes, baidu will make less money now. When you have search and ads mixed, users click more on ads than when you don’t mix them. So baidu is about to have a decrease in turn over. But seriously, isn’t that a very good move for the long run benefits and development?! Sometimes, I don’t understand analysts… or they don’t understand the business they bid on.
Baidu going International?
There is a big fear for baidu to go abroad. I was attending a conference two months ago where a knowledgeable speaker was talking about how some big Chinese companies feared trying to enter the European or US market. Baidu is no exception. Yes, its search quality is lower than google’s, but baidu could work on that by taking into account not only the number of backlinks but also their quality. Come on baidu “jia you”.
Ps: “baidu jia you” in Chinese, means “go go baidu”, but I tried it just for fun in google translate, which of course gave me the literal translation, “Refueling”… so, I wanna say, “refill baidu refill”.