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Search in China: Baidu SEO Xiaohongshu and Douyin

If you read the first part of our series, Baidu SEO for newcomers, we explored the importance of Baidu as the dominant search engine in China, including features and key factors in its ranking algorithm. 

However, the search landscape has been undergoing significant change in recent years. New platforms like Xiaohongshu and Douyin are reshaping consumer search behaviour in China.

This article explores these platforms’ rise and implications for businesses looking to effectively reach and engage with the Chinese market.

Baidu: A Dominant Force in Chinese Search

In the first part of our series, we highlighted the unparalleled dominance of Baidu in the Chinese digital landscape. It owns nearly 70% of the market share in 2023

Baidu is much more than a search engine. In addition to Baidu SEO, the company offers a wide range of features, such as Baidu Maps, Baidu News, and Baidu Baike. This makes it an essential platform for businesses that target the Chinese market.  

However, you need to know the ins and outs of  Baidu’s unique ranking algorithm to optimise your website for successful search engine optimisation.

Understanding Baidu’s Ranking Algorithm

As we also looked at in part one of the series, Baidu SEO for Newcomers, Baidu’s ranking algorithm considers various factors when determining the ranking of websites in its search results. 

These factors include keyword research, on-page optimisation, off-page optimisation, user engagement, website speed, and mobile-friendliness. 

If you are doing keyword research, you need to use a tool specifically designed for the Chinese market, such as the Baidu Index. 

On-page optimisation involves optimising title tags, meta descriptions, and content for target keywords, while off-page optimisation focuses on building backlinks from other high-quality websites. 

User engagement, website speed, and mobile-friendliness are also crucial ranking factors that you need to build into your process.

The Rise of New Platforms: Xiaohongshu and Douyin

In recent years, the search landscape in China has undergone a significant transformation with the emergence of new Chinese social media platforms like Xiaohongshu and Douyin. 

These social platforms have gained immense popularity among Chinese consumers, reshaping how they search for information and make purchasing decisions. 

Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book)

Known as “China’s Instagram,” Xiaohongshu is a social e-commerce platform that combines user-generated content with shopping recommendations. It has become a go-to platform for Chinese consumers seeking product reviews, travel tips, and lifestyle inspiration.

Xiaohongshu’s unique blend of social media and e-commerce has made it a powerful tool for businesses to reach and engage with potential customers. Businesses can build trust and credibility with consumers by leveraging user-generated content, ultimately driving sales.

Key features of Xiaohongshu include:

  • User-Generated Content: Xiaohongshu users can share their experiences, reviews, and recommendations on various products and services. This content is highly influential and can significantly impact consumer purchasing decisions.
  • E-commerce Functionality: Xiaohongshu lets users purchase products directly from the platform, making it a seamless and convenient shopping experience.
  • Social Media Features: Xiaohongshu incorporates social media features such as following, liking, and sharing, enabling users to connect with each other and build communities around shared interests.

Douyin (TikTok)

Douyin, the uniquely Chinese version of the platform TikTok, is a short video platform that has taken China by storm. It’s currently a major player in the Chinese digital landscape.

Douyin’s interactive features present a unique opportunity for your business to showcase its products or services through innovative and viral video campaigns. 

Key features of Douyin include:

  • Short-Video Format: Douyin videos are typically short, ranging from 15 to 60 seconds, making them easy to watch and share.
  • Creative Tools: Douyin provides various creative tools and effects that businesses can use to create engaging and visually appealing videos.
  • Social Media Features: Douyin incorporates social media features like following, liking, and sharing. This way, it enables users to connect with each other and build communities around shared interests.

Implications for Baidu and Crafting a Comprehensive China Marketing Mix

Xiaohongshu and Douyin having grown in relevance and popularity in recent years, so your business must carefully consider what to focus on. You need to decide whether you’ll primarily use Baidu when introducing new products or when you target a younger audience. 

Indeed, relying solely on Baidu may not be the most effective strategy. These emerging platforms offer unique opportunities to engage users through visually appealing and interactive content, capturing their attention and driving brand awareness.

However, you should note that Baidu still holds a significant market share and remains a valuable platform, particularly for traditional SEO and when targeting a broader audience. 

Its user base aligns well with more ‘traditional’ industries. Good examples are companies offering professional services such as legal services or B2B services. 

Your business should adopt a multi-platform approach to create a comprehensive China marketing mix. Basically, you want to incorporate Baidu, Xiaohongshu, Douyin, and other relevant platforms based on your target audience, industry, and marketing objectives. 

Each platform brings its own strengths and unique user base, allowing your business to effectively reach and engage with different segments of the Chinese market.

How Do I  Make The Most of The Chinese Market?

To navigate the evolving search landscape in China, you must dedicate time and effort to thoroughly analyze your industry. This will help you develop a comprehensive marketing plan tailored to your specific goals. 

Platforms like Xiaohongshu and Douyin are reshaping consumer search behavior alongside the continued dominance of Baidu. By understanding each platform’s unique strengths and characteristics, your business can strategically integrate them into its marketing mix.

Make sure to invest time in market research. It is crucial that you identify target audience preferences and determine the most effective channels to reach them. By gaining insights into consumer behaviour and preferences, your business can create compelling content and messaging that resonates with your audience.

With a well-thought-out marketing plan in hand, your business can then execute strategies and track performance metrics to measure the success of your efforts. 

We’ve been experts in China marketing for over a decade, and we’re always excited to chat with you about your ideas for marketing your business in China.

If you want to know something specific about the Chinese digital ecosystem, feel free to contact us.


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