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25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baidu

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In the United States, we have Google.

In China, they have Baidu.

If you’re wondering, “what does this have to do with me?” I get it. What does China’s biggest tech company have to do with you?

A lot, if you’re involved with marketing and SEO.

Take a look, for instance, at this stunning fact: 90% of online search queries done in China are done through Baidu.

This amounts to billions of searches per month!

There are tons of other fascinating facts about Baidu you might not know.

Let’s look at some of them.

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What Is Baidu?

As mentioned above, Baidu is a huge Chinese tech company specializing in internet services and AI (artificial intelligence).

It is the largest internet company in China and one of the biggest in the world. Since Google is banned in mainland China, most Chinese people use Baidu as their chosen search engine.

25 Fascinating Facts About Baidu You Need to Know

Baidu has a long history of ups and downs, acquisitions, growth, and intrigue.

Here is a list of some of the facts that make Baidu what it is today.

1. What’s Behind the Name?

The name Baidu was taken from a beautiful poem called The Green Jade Table in the Lantern Festival. Written by Xin Qiji (1140-1207), this haunting poem portrays the search for one’s dreams amidst chaotic distractions.

Here are the lines that inspired the name Baidu.

“…Hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos / Suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood.” – Xin Qiji (translated)

See the connection?

Baidu allows you to achieve a constant search for the ideal.

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2. How Is Baidu Pronounced?

The word Baidu is made up of two Chinese characters. Here’s what they look like.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baidu

The first character is pronounced “bai.” The second one can be pronounced “do” or “to.”

Actually, it’s a blend of “d” and “t.”

Baidu means hundreds or thousands of times.

3. Who Founded Baidu?

Although Baidu would grow to stunning heights, its creator actually started small. Born as the only son of two factory workers in Yang Quan, Robin Li didn’t have the capital to start a huge business.

Instead, he studied computer science at Beijing University. After the campus was shut down due to pro-democracy protests, Li moved to Buffalo and earned his master’s degree at the State University of New York.

After his studies, Li got his first job at a company called IDD (a Dow Jones subsidiary). It was during this time that Li created RankDex, a site-scoring algorithm.

In 1999, Li was invited back to China to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the communist regime. It was then that he met his biochemist friend Eric Wu. Together, they decided to capitalize on China’s growing internet industry by starting Baidu.

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4. Baidu Started Off with Silicon Valley Funding

When Baidu came to life in 2000, it caught the attention of major venture capital firms.

With a $1.2 million funding from Integrity Partners and Peninsula Capital, Li and Wu returned to Beijing to launch their project.

It didn’t take long for other venture capital firms to notice them. A few months later, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and IDG Technology Venture invested $10 million in Baidu.

5. Baidu.com Wasn’t Always a Search Engine

Li and Wu originally intended Baidu to be a search service to other Chinese portals. However, things weren’t looking up towards the end of the year.

“The portals didn’t want to pay for (the service),” Lee told Forbes in 2009.

Luckily, they got the idea to launch Baidu as an independent site.

6. Baidu Beat Google to Making Money on Ads

Just like Google, Baidu sported a simple, no-nonsense homepage. However, there was a difference.

Unlike Google back then, Baidu allowed companies to bid on space for ads. By 2004, Li and Wu started making a profit.

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7. Robin Li Is the 35th Wealthiest Person in China

With a net worth of $8.4 billion, Li surpasses wealthy Chinese businesspeople like Dang Yanbao (Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group) and Kei Hoi Pang (Logan Property Holdings).

8. The All-Time High of a Baidu Stock Share Is $284

When Baidu went public in 2005, it opened at $27 a share and closed at $112. Since then, things have gone up and down for Baidu shares.

In May 2019, Baidu’s share price reached a staggering closing price of $284. However, this declined with the onset of the trade war and the decline of the Chinese economy.

Today, a share can be bought at $117.

Here’s a look at Baidu stock share prices from 2005 to 2019 f rom Macrotrends.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baidu

9. Baidu Launched AI-Powered Cameras That Can Spot Ocular Fundus

Baidu isn’t all about giving internet users the best way to find what they’re looking for. In fact, the company is concerned about the general health and welfare of the Chinese people as well.

In 2018, Baidu revealed high-tech AI-powered cameras that did the work of ophthalmologists in spotting eye conditions that lead to blindness. These include glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

In 2019, hospitals began using Baidu’s cameras to run eye screenings on patients.

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10. Before the AI-Powered Cameras, Baidu Launched a Chatbot for Doctors and Patients

Baidu is a huge player in China’s health market. In fact, two years before it launched the AI cameras for spotting ocular fundus, it introduced Melody to hospitals.

Melody is a chatbot that allows patients to give their health information to doctors. With it, doctors and patients can communicate in a faster, simpler way.

11. Baidu’s Total Revenues Reached $3.93 Billion in the Third Quarter of 2019

Baidu’s revenues rise 7% quarter over quarter, and 3% year over year.

12. Baidu Has Over a Billion Active Mobile Users

By March 2019, Baidu had 1.1 billion mobile users. Its DuerOS voice assistant generated 2.37 billion voice queries per month!

13. You Need a Mandarin Website to Rank on Baidu

This is not only because most of Baidu’s users are Chinese. It’s also because English words won’t rank on the search engine at all.

14. Baidu Ranks Sites Based on Their Home Page

If you want better rankings on Baidu, put all your energy into your site’s home page.

15. Baidu Is the 4th Most Popular Website in the World

Baidu currently ranks at #4 on Alexa.

This puts Baidu above both Facebook and Wikipedia!

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16. Ads Are Given Priority on Baidu

While Google prioritizes organic results, Baidu’s first search pages are packed with ads.

This resonates with the fact that Chinese users believe that if a company can pay for ads, it must be reliable.

17. 90% of Internet Users in China Use Baidu

That’s over 700 million people!

18. Baidu Analytics Is Used by More Than 7 Million Websites

Here are some sites using Baidu Analytics today according to BuiltWith.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baidu

19. Baidu is the First Chinese Company to Join the Partnership on AI (PAI)

Joining companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google, Baidu is on a mission towards exploring the benefits of AI for society.

20. The Most Popular Keywords on Baidu

Baidu’s top keywords reflect the interests of the Chinese people. As of December 2018, the most popular keywords were: “World Cup,” “trade war,” and “Yanxi Palace.”

21. Baidu Gives Priority to Websites Hosted in China

Chinese websites end with .cn. If you’re thinking of getting a 100% Chinese website, you first need to register your company in the country.

22. Robert Li Warned Google of Stiff Competition if Ever It Returned to China

Google is mulling on returning to China with modifications that fit the country’s strict censorship laws.

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Baidu’s response? Google should expect stiff, all-out competition.

23. Baidu Is More Than a Search Engine

Baidu users can access news, maps, government searches, internet TV, anti-virus products, and more!

24. Baidu Is Part of the Biggest Autonomous Driving Program in the World

It partners with huge companies like Ford, Intel, Grab, and Honda to provide AI technology for driverless cars.

25. Baidu’s Reach Is Expanding Beyond China

Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (called BAT) are three of China’s biggest companies.

As of today, BAT is extending its influence far beyond China. It’s hiring US talent and investing in US AI startups.

Baidu: The Search Engine of the Future?

Baidu is huge, and it is determined to grow even more.

As a marketer, this could affect your overall goals.

Should you be content with Google or seek an audience in China as well with Baidu?

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Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, November 2019

Searchenginejournal.com

MARKETING

How We Increased a Client’s Leads by 384% in Six Months by Focusing on One Topic Cluster [Case Study]

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How We Increased a Client’s Leads by 384% in Six Months by Focusing on One Topic Cluster [Case Study]

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Content marketing is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Without it, how are you going to attract customers looking for answers to their questions, and who are potentially in the market for your products or services?

At Tao Digital Marketing, we’ve recently generated some great results for one of our clients operating in the business financial space, The Insolvency Experts, mainly by focusing on just one “cluster topic” that was a huge money maker for them.

When looking at six month comparison stats (August 2021-January 2022 to February-July 2022), we’ve achieved the following:

  • Leads: 95 to 460 (384%)

  • Clicks: 4,503 to 23,013 (411%)

  • Impressions: 856,683 to 2,033,355 (137%)

  • Average position: 33.4 to 23.6 (increased almost 10 spots)

This was mostly achieved by absolutely hammering one topic area: company liquidation. In this case study, we’re going to explain how we did this step by step, so that hopefully you can generate similar results for your own business!

Objectives

If you really break it down, the objective of all SEO consultancy work is essentially the same: increase the number of leads for a business. This was our ultimate goal.

It’s not just as simple as that, though. We all know you can’t get to number one on Google overnight. So, like other SEO geeks out there, we tracked our successes through additional factors such as clicks, impressions, and average position, to show our efforts were worthwhile.

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In January this year (2022) our goals for the next six months were as follows:

  • Leads: Just over double from 95 to 200 (110%)

  • Clicks: 4,503 to 13,500 (around 200%)

  • Impressions: 856,683 to 1,700,000 (around 100%)

  • Average position: 33.4 to 25 (around eight spots)

Insolvency Experts’ audience is primarily directors of UK businesses that are going insolvent, closely followed by business owners looking for financial advice. The majority of Insolvency Expert’s cash flow comes from formal insolvency processes, such as liquidation, administration, and CVAs (Company Voluntary Agreements), so it was really important for us to push these areas.

Our strategy

1. Research “company liquidation” search volume and related queries

We first picked this client up in November 2020. Initially, our focus was on the basics: updating all the top level pages (such as service pages and guides) to make sure they fit the intention of the user and clearly explained the services that Insolvency Experts offer.

Researching what works well at present

One of the pages that our content team updated was their company liquidation guide. After updating, the page started to perform very well in the SERP, and ranked at position #4 for “company liquidation”. Clearly, this sort of content was working, and we wanted to hit it even more.

After pulling some research together, one of our strategists proposed the idea of a “Company Liquidation Content Hub”, as the company liquidation guide was ranking for a lot of long tail questions:

Screenshot showing ‘what’ queries in Google Search Console, such as ‘what is voluntary liquidation’ and ‘what happens to a director of a company in liquidation’

After cross referencing with the monthly search volume for these questions, she added some of these as H3s within the guide to see how they would perform. They resulted in so much more traffic that she decided they warranted their own individual guides, hence the idea for the hub. This would mean we weren’t putting all of our eggs into one basket, and that we could also internally link all of them together for users wanting to read more.

Users that are further down the marketing funnel don’t want to scroll down a huge guide to find the answer to their specific question, and we were certain that this would positively affect bounce rate. We therefore made sure that nine times out of 10, the H1 contained the question that was being answered.

Infographic explaining the sales funnel, starting with reach followed by act, convert and finally, engage

In order to further target those at the bottom of the marketing funnel who want to speak to someone quickly, we placed regular “Contact Us” CTAs throughout the content so that they don’t have to scroll right to the bottom of the page to get in touch with Insolvency Experts.

An example of a piece of content with a ‘Get Free Liquidation Advice’ CTA in the middle

Undertaking a competitor analysis

We also conducted a competitor analysis on this topic, focusing on three key players in the industry that were all ranking well for the phrase “company liquidation”. We found that the key competitors had the following:

Competitor A – 38 indexed articles on liquidation

Competitor B – 23 indexed articles on liquidation

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Competitor C – 47 indexed articles on liquidation

Insolvency Experts only had six indexed articles on liquidation at the time, so it was clear we needed to be on their level – this was an obvious content gap.

Pitching the content hub to the client

We suggested this idea to the client alongside a forecasting spreadsheet created by our founder, in order to justify the resource that was needed to push the client as high as possible in the rankings for company liquidation.

This spreadsheet broke down a huge list of keywords alongside monthly search volume, average click through rate for positions 1-10 on the SERP, domain authority of competitors who are currently ranking for these keywords, and average conversion rate on the site at the moment.

Table demonstrating projected revenue for Insolvency Experts depending on where they ranked on the SERP

This unique formula would then allow us to explain to the client that for X amount of work, we predict we can get you to position X in X timeframe, and this would result in approximately X annual revenue. After pitching this to the client alongside infographics and current performance statistics, they told us they loved our ideas and agreed to let us go ahead.

2. Plan the content after client approval

After the client gave us the go-ahead, the next step was to plan all of this work based on search volume, and therefore priority order.

It’s easy to get lost in all the data within SEO, so it was incredibly important for us to have a solid plan and timeline for these changes. Topics were going to range from How to Liquidate a Company with No Money through to Administration vs Liquidation.

How we communicate planned works to our clients

In order to orchestrate clear communication between ourselves and our clients, we create a Traffic Light Report, which is a live Google Sheets document detailing all work to be undertaken for the current and next quarter. This is split into sections for technical SEO, content, and digital PR/link building (the three pillars of SEO).

This includes justification for each change we make, as well as a link to any live changes or documents. It also details when this will be done and if the action is with us or the client. The tasks are coloured in green for live changes, yellow for action needed, orange for in progress, red for anything on hold and clear for not started.

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Here’s an example of what the content section of Insolvency Expert’s traffic light report looks like for their current quarter (July-September 2022):

Screenshot detailing content to be undertaken between July-September 2022, and justifications for each action

Scheduling the tasks

We then scheduled these topics for our various content writers to work on using our project management software, ClickUp. Within each task we placed a link to a skeleton document consisting of H1s, H2s, and H3s, as well as a title, meta description and keywords to include.

3. Write the content while implementing technical SEO

By this time it was around April 2022, and it was time for us to fully attack the content portion of our task list. Since then, we’ve written 18 pieces of content around company liquidation, and still have quite a few left to go before we consider this area of focus complete.

As part of our uploads, our technical SEO adds FAQ schema, which has helped Insolvency Experts showing up for several featured snippets (more details in results section).

Analyzing as we go along

Once we covered the big topics in the first couple of months of writing, we started to use Low Fruits to find smaller queries which are estimated at around 10 or fewer monthly searches. We’ve had a lot of success targeting lower search volume phrases, as these users seem to be more focused and lower down the sales funnel, so are more likely to be better engaged and convert better. A lot of the time they are pleased that you have answered their very niche question!

The below is a screenshot from a keyword analysis. We trawled through hundreds of keywords to pull out the ones relevant to the client.

A screenshot of queries from LowFruits.io featuring questions such as ‘can you still trade while in liquidation?’ and ‘can you trade out of insolvency?’

We then used Low Fruit’s Keyword Extraction and SERP Analysis tool to give us further details on a select few key terms.

These terms are shown as having a search volume of either 10, less than 10 or 0. Of course, we know that this is still hugely important to cover, and targeting these will bring in a very niche reader who is much more likely to convert due to the nature of the long-tail queries.

Finalizing the hub

Our plan is to finalize the hub this fall, and ensure that everything is internally linked. There will also be a menu change to make the addition of the hub very clear. See screenshots below for the current hub vs. how it will be presented once all content is ready (screenshot taken from their staging site in Kinsta, our hosting platform where we make design changes so that the client can approve them before they go live).

Current ‘hub’ in the menu:

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Screenshot of the current ‘liquidation’ drop down menu, featuring four pieces of content

How the hub will look once all content is complete:

Screenshot sharing newer version of liquidation hub menu from Kinsta staging site

As part of our content process within ClickUp, we have a recurring task to check a new URL in Google Search Console two weeks after upload. This allows us to see if we have the “Google Spike of Acceptance”, which is a sharp incline of impressions/traffic indicating that the content will do well, before it falls then slowly rises again.

A screenshot showing the ‘Google Spike of Acceptance’ in Google Search Console - a sharp spike of clicks and impressions after upload

If we don’t see this spike, we carry out multiple checks, including: Is it an orphan page? Are there any technical errors? Is it indexed? If it is not indexed, we push the URL through Index Me Now.

If the issue is just that the piece isn’t getting picked up, we will take another look at the content to see if there is something else we can do to improve it, e.g. tweak the H1 or expand the content.

4. Build links to the relevant pages and homepage

Once we’d uploaded the content, it was time to build links to the priority pages and homepage in order to build the domain authority.

We wanted to really hone in on generating links for our company liquidation page. The page has 36 backlinks, many of which were built through link building efforts. This was largely done by working with business site publications and creating natural anchor text that would help with certain keyword rankings.

Example of a guest blog titled ‘The Advantages of Business Liquidation’

As well as building links specifically to the company liquidation page, we also built links to the main URL in order to boost overall domain authority. This was done through answering queries through platforms such as HARO and Response Source, as well as working with the client to create relevant, time-specific thought leadership pieces. Here’s an example of a HARO request we responded to, the topic being “Recession-proofing tips for small businesses”:

Although the site’s domain authority tends to fluctuate between 30-33 depending on links lost and general algorithm updates, the links to specific pages have still resulted in an increase in rankings, detailed further below.

Results compared to objectives

Although we knew that our strategy was going to work well based on our experience with our other clients, we were very pleasantly surprised by the huge positive effect our work has made, which enabled us to smash the targets we set!

Leads

Goal: Increase from 95 to 200 (110%)

Result: Increased from 95 to 460 (384%)

As a result of creating incredibly useful, lengthy content and placing regular CTAs throughout the content, we managed to almost quadruple the amount of leads coming through to the client in the space of just six months.

In the six months before our liquidation project began, our Leads Dashboard within WhatConverts shows that Insolvency Experts had five liquidation leads via phone call and 10 leads via their contact form on a liquidation-focused page.

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In the six-month period since we’ve been working on the content hub, they have had 38 liquidation leads via phone call and 52 leads via contact form on a liquidation-focused page.

Result: 660% increase in phone call leads and 420% increase in contact form leads.

Previous six months:

Screenshot of the leads dashboard within What Converts showing that five leads were generated before work on the content hub began

Current:

Screenshot of the leads dashboard within What Converts showing that 38 leads were generated after work on the content hub began

Clicks

Goal: Increase from 4,503 to 13,500 (around 200%)

Result: Increased from 4,503 to 23,013 (411%)

By creating highly relevant content that matched the user’s search intent, we managed to almost quadruple the clicks over the space of six months, doubling our original 200% goal.

The site has received 29,400 clicks overall across the past 12 months. Below, you can see the huge spike in clicks and impressions from January onwards when we really started to focus on the liquidation content.

Screenshot showing spike in clicks and impressions once focus on ‘company liquidation’ began

Impressions

Goal: Increase from 856,683 to 1,700,000 (around 100%)

Result: Increased from 856,683 to 2,033,355 (137%)

Again, by creating highly relevant blogs, Google started to understand the relevancy of our content, so the number of impressions hugely increased. Along with the 137% increase above, over the past 12 months (August 2021-August 2022) the site has received 485,000 impressions for the query ‘liquidation’ alone.

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Google Search Console Graph detailing huge spike in impressions between August 2021-August 2022

The main company liquidation guide that we updated had a total of 732K impressions over the past 12 months, too, with a huge spike from February onwards, when we updated the guide.

Google Search Console Graph detailing huge spike in impressions in February for the updated company liquidation guide

Average position

Goal: Increase from 33.4 to 25 (around 8 spots)

Result: Increased from 33.4 to 23.6 (increased 10 spots)

This increase is due to the relevancy of our content and the amount of keywords each piece ranked for. As mentioned, the main company liquidation guide has worked incredibly well, ranking for 181 keywords, 67 of which are page one (37%). It now has the number one spot for the term “company liquidation”. See below for an example of queries the page is showing up for.

Google Search Console Screenshot sharing queries the company liquidation guide is appearing for, such as ‘members voluntary liquidation’, ‘liquidation of company’, ‘how long does liquidation take’ and more

The page also shows up for six featured snippets as a result of us implementing FAQ schema.

Screenshot showing the company liquidation guide appearing in a featured snippet query for ‘process of liquidation’

335 clicks and 93,663 impressions have come from the FAQ rich results alone.

Screenshot of Google Search Console showing ‘FAQ Rich Results’ within the search appearance column

In the six months before we updated the guide, it pulled in around 650 clicks and 227K impressions. In the six months following, it brought in around 1,180 clicks and 382K impressions. We’ve practically doubled clicks on one single guide.

As mentioned, this particular piece of content has 36 backlinks, and actually ranks ABOVE the official UK government company liquidation guide, which has a domain authority of 93 (about 60 higher than ours). Clearly, we’re meeting the searcher’s intent and giving them what they are looking for.

Screenshot of the SERP showing that Insolvency Experts’ company liquidation guide appears above official UK government advice.

In the six month period before we started work on liquidation, Insolvency Experts had an average click through rate of 0.5%. Over a six month period of us working with them, this more than doubled to 1.2%.

Another success worth noting is that 3 out of 6 of our latest articles have an average page view duration of between 9 and 10 minutes! The other half are averaging around 5 to 6 minutes, which is still very good. Clearly, users are wanting in-depth information on this topic.

The “What happens to a director of a company in liquidation?” guide, which went live in May, is now the fifth most clicked page on the site. when filtered on GSC by the term “liquidation”.

Overall, we’re extremely pleased with the results we generated, and so are Insolvency Experts — the company liquidation department is now inundated with queries and they are rushed off their feet!

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