Written by Gordon Choi
“With this beginners guide on Baidu mobile SEO, you can quick start your SEO in the Chinese market!”
I have written this guide to help beginners to understand the best practices of Baidu Mobile SEO. To optimize your websites for Baidu’s mobile users, make sure you go through the following items:
- Local Web Hosting
- Mobile Website Strategies
- Crawlable Site Structure Optimization
- Page Speed Optimization
- Local SEO
- Webmaster and Analytics Tools
You want to learn all the techniques on Baidu Mobile SEO.
Local Web Hosting
When your users are mainly from China, you should host your mobile website locally in China.
- When your mobile website is hosted by one of the local hosts in China, then the site is assigned with a local China IP address (or several local China IP addresses). This makes it easier for Baidu to crawl your web pages, and preparing for indexation.
This principle also applies to Baidu mobile SEO.
- When a user who resides in China requests your web page and the page’s resources through the web browser, the request only has to go through the local networks in China before your page and the page’s resources are returned to the user’s web browser.
Your new Chinese website must have a domain name. You can host your Chinese website on a new top level domain (TLD).
Alternatively, you may host your Chinese website on a sub-domain.
Mobile Website Strategies
When developing your website for both mobile and desktop screens, you must choose a strategy. The three most common mobile website strategies are:
Separate Mobile Website – You build two sites (i.e. two sets of codes), and maintain two sets of URLs.
Responsive Design – You build one site (i.e. one set of codes), and maintain one set of URLs.
Dynamic Serving – You build two sites (i.e. two sets of codes), but maintain one set of URLs.
Separate Mobile Website
The separate mobile website strategy is the most suitable option for Baidu SEO.
Usually the desktop version of your site is placed on the www sub-domain. For example:
The mobile version of your site is placed on the m sub-domain:
For example, on the desktop version of your home page you should include the following in the head section:
<meta name="applicable-device" content="pc">
<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.example.com">
On the mobile version of your homepage you should include the following in the head section:
<meta name="applicable-device" content="mobile">
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com">
More explanations on:
Crawlable Site Structure Optimization
Use the <a> whenever linking to your mobile website’s internal pages. This makes it much easier for Baidu to crawl and index your web pages.
For example, assume your mobile website is a grocery ecommerce store. When linking to the home page:
When linking to the category page:
When linking to the sub-category page:
When linking to the product page:
Page Speed Optimization
A web page (or mobile website) which loads faster will usually allow Baidu to crawl faster and more pages. This will improve your mobile website’s indexation on Baidu.
The page speed optimization techniques below can be applied to your mobile websites (or web pages) to improve the overall loading speed.
DNS Lookups – Reducing the number of DNS lookups and enabling keep-alive will allow your mobile web pages to load faster. Each DNS lookup takes up certain amount of time before the web browser can start downloading the actual resource files of your mobile web pages. – Reducing DNS lookups
http Requests – Your mobile web page may request a resource (such as an image file or another web page) which does not exist on the requested server location. This causes bad http requests to happen. You should go through your entire site and fix all the broken links that may cause bad http requests. – Fixing bad http requests
Redirects – A redirect automatically takes your website users from one page to another. Your mobile website should avoid any redirect at all cost. Redirects can considerably slow down page load. – Avoid redirects
File Compression – File compression takes place when the web browser requests a page from your mobile website and your web server returns a compressed file. Enabling file compression will allow your pages to load faster. – Enabling file compression
External CSS Files – Your mobile web page should load faster when the web browser downloads fewer external CSS files. To achieve this, you can combine multiple CSS files into fewer files or even a single file. – Combining multiple external CSS files
Monitor Page Speed Data – You should run page speed tests on your mobile web pages. Monitor your pages’ loading speed each time significant changes are made to your pages. – Page speed test tools
For example, a classifieds site may have a local Shanghai section under which all the contents are only suitable for Shanghai.
To optimize for local search, add the geo-location meta tag to mobile web pages that are specific to certain locations.
<meta name="location" content="province=PP;city=CC;coord=XXX.XXX,YYY.YYY">
- Replace PP with the actual province name in Chinese characters. The use of province is compulsory when using the geo-location meta tag.
- Replace CC with the actual city name in Chinese characters. The use of city is compulsory when using the geo-location meta tag.
- Replace XXX.XXX and YYY.YYY with the actual latitude and longitude respectively. The use of latitude and longitude is optional.
Webmaster and Analytics Tools
Setup the Baidu Zhanzhang tool (i.e. Baidu’s official webmaster tool) for your Chinese website. Refer to:
Setup Google Analytics for your Chinese website. Refer to:
All the Techniques on Baidu Mobile SEO
You can find out the full story on improving your mobile website’s SEO in my book the China Mobile SEO Book which is available on Amazon.com.
For SEO data reporting, the book will provide all the methods and tools. You will learn how to setup the full SEO data reports which include indexation reports, ranking reports, traffic reports, and conversion reports.