Why is SEO in China different?

We all know that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) can help you show up when it matters most: when potential customers are searching for certain products or services. Business can maximize their search engine presence with a comprehensive SEO strategy and SEM advertising.

However, SEO and SEM in China are very different from western search engines like Google or Bing, especially the technical and legal requirements.

Because Google is completely blocked in China due to its reluctance to comply with the Chinese government’s regulations regarding censorship, 75% of all local searches are done on Baidu, the leading Chinese search engine. There are many other local China-specific search engines as well.

Chinese SEO Landscape in 2022

Baidu is so far the largest search engine in China. Aside from being an early player, one of the main reasons Baidu dominates the Chinese market is its ability to parse and interpret Chinese text more efficiently than other search engines, resulting in higher quality results.

Many people refer to Baidu as Google’s equivalent in China. This is only partially true. Although Baidu is the most widely used search engine in China, with 75% of the market share, unlike Google, Baidu is up against some severe competitors in China.

For example, Bing’s market share has grown from 4.44% in 2021 to 11.47% this year, which is quite impressive.

360 Search has about 2.2% of the market share, and Sogou takes about 4.83%. There’s also mobile-dominant search engine Shenma, which has a market share of 1.74%. But there is no PC terminal for Shenma, and the search entry is usually located in the UC browser. Therefore, the number of its users is closely tied with the number of browser installations.

China Search Engine Market Share in 2022 Q1
China Search Engine Market Share in 2022 Q1

No matter which search engine we are talking about, studies show that only 80% of these users will limit their searching to the first search engine result page. Only 20% will continue searching past the first page. These numbers draw a reasonably obvious but remarkable conclusion. If your business isn’t on the first page, your chances of being discovered by prospective customers drop by drastically.

Western businesses that implement a complete advanced strategy for SEO in China stand to gain an advantage over competitors. Learning how Chinese search engines function and optimize your websites across several Chinese search engines to become fully visible to all Chinese customers can help your business win this 10 billion market.

How to develop an SEO strategy for China

Let’s look at Baidu, the dominant search engine in China.

1. What is Baidu website indexing?

Literally, Baidu website indexing means that Baidu indexes the website. Indexing can be divided into website homepage indexing and inner page indexing.

The website’s homepage is included. That is, the primary domain name of the homepage of this website is included.

For example, https://www.microsoft.com/zh-cn/ can be viewed directly by inputting the name Microsoft on Baidu, meaning it’s indexed:

Microsoft search engine result page in Baidu
Microsoft search engine result page in Baidu

Other than the homepage, each page of your site will also be indexed by Baidu and will define you as the authoritative or canonical source for the subject matter concerning your business.

And the URL in the picture below means that it has not been included in Baidu.

Vimeo's SERP(Search Engine Result Page) in Baidu.
Vimeo's SERP(Search Engine Result Page) in Baidu.

(We also did a deeper analysis on Vimeo in China, you can learn more about how Vimeo performs in China here.)

So how does Baidu decide whether a website should be indexed? There are mainly two ways:

  1. The Baidu Spider takes the initiative to find and collect data;

  2. Obtains data through the Baidu Search Resource Platform.

So you can either wait for your website to be discovered by the Baidu Spider, or you can submit content through the Baidu Search Resource Platform - Resource Submission Tool yourself.

One thing to note is that your submission does not guarantee that your website will be indexed.

2. Why is your website not included in Baidu?

Although there are various possible comprehensive factors, such as your website belongs to pornography, gambling, poison, et. Or your website has been punished by Baidu before, or the server does not work or is unstable……The leading causes are only the following two:


On 2021-05-14, the Baidu webmaster platform published an official notification, clearly stating that:

关于调整sitemap文件配额的公告2021-05-14 尊敬的搜索合作伙伴:



Our platform system has adjusted the quota of the “General Collection” - “Sitemap” tool to improve the effect of resource submission:

The daily limit of sitemap files submitted by sites without ICP filing is limited to 1, and websites that have already completed ICP filing are not affected.

You can check the original statement. This statement can be taken as Baidu’s encouragement for websites to complete the ICP filing, especially for enterprises. If you are unfamiliar with ICP filing, read our article Untold facts about ICP for China, and why you should get it.

The takeaway is also simple: if you want your website to be indexed by Baidu and increase its ranking, make sure your website has completed ICP filing.

This is where 21 YunBox can help. Our wide range of services and expertise allows you to operate your website worry-free in China, knowing that you are in full legal compliance with all Chinese laws.


Baidu also takes site speed into account when indexing and ranking sites. The reason may seem obvious, but the faster your pages load, the faster and more interactive your site will be. Optimizing page speed and making these features more visible and usable faster will create happier returning visitors. It’s that simple.

So if you want your page to show up higher in search results for a particular keyword, every millisecond has a better chance of getting your page in people’s eyes faster.

However, it’s not apparent to find out how your site performs in China if you are not in China. One way is to use the 21YunBox site speed test, where you can submit your website URL and watch and compare your site’s performance speed as it loads in the US vs. China.

There are many ways to optimize your website speed. You can try the traditional way of using a CDN (Content Delivery Network), which refers to servers and data centers placed in different geographic locations and then serving content to websites in their area. This speeds up content delivery times, which in turn reduces load times. A global CDN network means that no matter where your site is located in the world, your site’s pages are optimized for performance.

Typically most Global CDN works excellently, but not for China for many reasons. So if you want to speed up your website for China, you can try more modern techniques such as 21YunBox Edge, which bridges the cap for most Global CDNs like Akamai, KeyCDN, and AWS CloudFront, and enables fast and thoroughly compliance for China-side acceleration. We help you achieve high speed in China and monitor your site speed. Our clients, on average, get a 14x speed boost by deploying the sites using 21YunBox Edge.

How we can help?

So 21YunBox can help you speed up your website in China, get full legal compliance with all Chinese laws, and thus get to the top search engine result page in China! Contact us now for a quick chat!