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What search engine does China use? As an educational institution trying to reach the Chinese market, the answer to this question is vital to your marketing strategy. In the realm of search engines, Baidu reigns supreme in China, commanding over 70% of the market share.

For educational institutions looking to recruit international students from China, understanding and leveraging Baidu’s unique SEO landscape is essential. While Google dominates globally, Baidu’s distinct algorithm and user preferences require a tailored approach to achieve optimal search visibility.

The competition for attracting international students is fierce, and standing out in the Chinese market involves more than translating your content into Mandarin. It demands a strategic approach to SEO that aligns with Baidu’s standards and practices. This guide aims to provide educational institutions with four actionable best practices that will enhance their recruitment efforts, ensuring that their content is visible and appealing to prospective Chinese students and their families.

Understanding Baidu’s algorithm and optimizing for Chinese keywords, focusing on high-quality content, leveraging Baidu’s unique features, and building strong backlinks, you can significantly improve your chances of attracting the right candidates.

In the following sections, we will delve into each of these practices in detail, offering practical tips and insights to help your institution succeed in the Chinese market. Let’s get started on your journey to mastering Baidu SEO for international student recruitment.

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1. Understand Baidu’s Algorithm and Preferences

When optimizing for Baidu, schools looking to recruit international students must recognize that Baidu’s algorithm operates differently from Google’s. Understanding these differences is the first step toward effective SEO in the Chinese market.

Key Factors in Baidu’s Algorithm

Baidu prioritizes content relevance and user experience. It emphasizes how well your content matches the search queries of users. To rank high on Baidu, ensure your content is highly relevant and tailored to the interests of Chinese students and their families. User experience factors like page load speed, mobile optimization, and ease of navigation are also favorable to ranking high on Baidu. 

Another critical aspect of Baidu’s algorithm is the importance of backlinks. However, Baidu prefers backlinks from reputable Chinese websites over international ones. Thus, building a robust backlink profile within China is essential for improving your site’s authority and ranking on Baidu. Collaborate with Chinese educational portals, local news websites, and influential bloggers to secure quality backlinks.

Website Registration and Hosting

Baidu favors websites that are registered and hosted in China. Having a Chinese domain (.cn) and hosting your site on servers from China can significantly enhance your search engine rankings. This preference stems from Baidu’s goal to provide faster, more reliable search results. Here’s what the registration form looks like:

registration welcome page

Source: Baidu

For schools, this means considering the registration of a Chinese domain through a Chinese registrar and utilizing a local hosting provider. Additionally, acquiring an ICP (Internet Content Provider) license, a mandatory requirement for websites hosted in China, is crucial. The ICP license indicates that your website complies with Chinese regulations, further boosting your credibility with Baidu.

Content Censorship and Regulations

China’s strict internet censorship laws, often referred to as the Great Firewall, impact how content is indexed and ranked on Baidu. Ensuring your content adheres to Chinese regulations is paramount. Avoid politically sensitive topics or violating Chinese laws, as this can lead to penalties or removal from Baidu’s index.

User Engagement Signals

Baidu’s algorithm also considers user engagement signals, such as click-through rates, time spent on site, and bounce rates. High engagement indicates that your content is valuable to users, positively influencing rankings. To enhance user engagement, create compelling, informative, and interactive content that resonates with Chinese students and their families. 

Structured Data and Rich Snippets

Incorporating structured data and rich snippets can improve how your content is displayed in Baidu’s search results. This includes using schema markup to provide additional context about your content, such as program details, admissions information, and student testimonials. Enhanced search result features can increase your visibility and click-through rates on Baidu.

Mobile Optimization

With most Chinese users accessing the internet via mobile devices, Baidu prioritizes mobile-friendly websites. Ensure your site is responsive and offers a seamless experience across all devices. This includes optimizing page load times, ensuring easy navigation, and using mobile-friendly designs. Consider developing a mobile app or a WeChat mini-program to further engage with potential students.

Are you wondering how to reach the Chinese market using Baidu SEO strategies? We can help! Check out our digital marketing services here. 

2. Optimize for Chinese Keywords

What is SEO in China? SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is all about ranking high on search engines like Baidu through Chinese keywords. Effective keyword optimization can enhance your online visibility and attract prospective students searching for educational opportunities.

Researching and Selecting the Right Chinese Keywords

The foundation of successful keyword optimization lies in thorough research. Unlike Google, Baidu users often search using more specific and detailed phrases. Therefore, understanding how Chinese students and their families search for educational opportunities is essential.

  • Use Local Keyword Research Tools: Utilize Baidu’s keyword planner tool and other local SEO tools like and to identify popular search terms related to education and recruitment.
  • Understand Language Nuances: Mandarin Chinese has various regional dialects and nuances. It’s important to use Simplified Chinese characters, as they are the standard in Mainland China.
  • Long-Tail Keywords: Focus on long-tail keywords that are more specific and less competitive. For example, instead of targeting broad terms like “study abroad,” use phrases like “best North American universities for Chinese students” or “scholarship opportunities for Chinese students in the US.”

keywords landing pages

Source: Dragon Metrics

Example: Using Baidu Webmaster Tools, you can gain vital insights into how your keywords are performing.  

Incorporating Keywords Naturally

Once you’ve identified the right keywords, the next step is to incorporate them naturally into your content. Keyword stuffing is penalized by Baidu, so ensure that your keywords blend seamlessly into your text.

  • Content Creation: Create content that addresses the specific needs and interests of Chinese students. This can include detailed guides on admissions processes, information about student life, and success stories of Chinese alumni.
  • Meta Tags and Descriptions: Optimize your meta titles, descriptions, and header tags with your chosen keywords. This helps with SEO and improves click-through rates by making it clear to users what your page is about.
  • URLs: Include keywords in your URLs to enhance their SEO value. For example, a URL like “” is more effective than a generic one.

Tools and Resources for Keyword Research

Several tools can aid in your keyword research and optimization efforts:

  • Baidu Keyword Planner: This tool helps you find relevant keywords and provides search volume and competition data.
  • A comprehensive Chinese SEO tool that offers keyword analysis, competitive analysis, and other valuable insights.
  • Useful for website analysis and monitoring Baidu rankings.

Monitoring and Adapting

Boosting your institution’s SEO in China is an ongoing process. Regularly monitor the performance of your keywords and adjust your strategy based on what works and what doesn’t.

  • Analytics Tools: Use Baidu Analytics (Baidu Tongji) to track your website’s performance. This will help you understand which keywords are driving traffic and conversions.


Source: Baidu Tongji

Example: Baidu’s analytics tool provides behavioral insights on your site visitors including what devices they’re using, how many visits you’ve received, and what regions of China your site visitors are from.

  • Competitor Analysis: Keep an eye on your competitors’ keyword strategies. This can provide insights into new opportunities and help you stay ahead in the rankings.

Engaging Content Strategies

To maximize the impact of your keyword optimization, combine it with engaging content strategies:

  • Blog Posts and Articles: Write informative and engaging blog posts that answer common questions prospective students might have, such as “How to Apply to European Universities from China” or “Top Scholarships for Chinese Students in Europe.”
  • Multimedia Content: Incorporate videos, infographics, and images that resonate with Chinese students. Visual content is highly engaging and can improve user experience, which Baidu values.

3. Focus On High-Quality, Relevant Content

For institutions aiming to recruit international students, particularly from China, creating high-quality, relevant content is a cornerstone of a successful Baidu SEO strategy. Content that resonates with your target audience not only improves your rankings on Baidu but also enhances your institution’s appeal to prospective students and their families.

Creating Content Tailored to the Chinese Audience

Understanding the preferences and needs of Chinese students is essential for creating content that engages and informs. This involves:

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Ensure your content respects and reflects Chinese cultural norms and values. This can help build trust and make your institution more attractive.
  • Localized Information: Provide information specific to Chinese students, such as details about the application process for international students, visa requirements, and testimonials from current Chinese students or alumni.
  • Language: Produce content in Simplified Chinese to ensure accessibility and relevance. While English proficiency is common among Chinese students, content in their native language can create a stronger connection.

Types of Content That Perform Well for Recruitment

Different types of content can serve various aspects of the recruitment process. Some effective formats include:

  • Detailed Guides: Comprehensive guides on how to apply, scholarship opportunities, and tips for living and studying abroad can be very appealing. Break down complex processes into clear, step-by-step instructions.
  • Success Stories: Highlighting the achievements and experiences of current students and alumni can be powerful. Feature interviews, videos, and written testimonials that showcase their journeys and successes.
  • Virtual Tours and Campus Life: Provide virtual campus tours, showcasing facilities, dormitories, and student life. Use videos and interactive content to give prospective students a real sense of what to expect.
  • Academic and Career Opportunities: Highlight the programs and career support services. Detail your institution’s unique opportunities offers, such as internships, research projects, and connections with industry leaders.

Engaging Multimedia

Incorporate various types of multimedia to enhance user experience and engagement:

  • Videos: Short, engaging videos can provide a dynamic way to present information. Consider creating videos that feature campus tours, student testimonials, and explanations of the admissions process.
  • Infographics: Use infographics to present data and information visually. They are an effective way of explaining complex processes or showcasing statistics about your institution’s achievements and diversity.
  • Images and Slideshows: High-quality images of your campus, events, and student activities can make your content more appealing and engaging.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) can add authenticity and credibility to your recruitment efforts:

  • Student Testimonials: Encourage current students and alumni to share their experiences. Feature these stories on your website and social media platforms.
  • Social Media Engagement: Engage with prospective students on Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin. Share content and encourage students to participate in discussions and share their experiences.

4. Leverage Baidu’s Unique Features and Services

Baidu offers various tools and platforms that can enhance your visibility, credibility, and engagement with prospective students. Here are some of them:

Utilizing Baidu Baike (Baidu Encyclopedia)

Baidu Baike is similar to Wikipedia and serves as a trusted source of information for Chinese users. Creating a Baidu Baike entry for your institution can significantly boost your credibility and search engine rankings.

  • Comprehensive Entries: Ensure your Baidu Baike entry is detailed and informative. Include information about your institution’s history, programs, notable achievements, and student life.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your entry updated with the latest information and developments. This shows that your institution is active and relevant.
  • Citations and References: Use reliable sources to cite your information. This adds to the credibility of your entry and can enhance its visibility on Baidu.


Source: Baidu Encyclopedia

Baidu Baike acts as a Chinese language version of Wikipedia, providing you with the perfect opportunity to introduce your institution. 

Importance of Baidu Zhidao (Baidu Q&A)

Baidu Zhidao is a popular Q&A platform where users seek answers to questions. Engaging with this platform can increase your institution’s visibility and establish it as an authority in education.

  • Answering Questions: Regularly monitor Baidu Zhidao for questions related to studying abroad, admissions processes, and other relevant topics. Provide detailed, helpful answers that showcase your expertise.
  • Creating a Presence: Establish a profile for your institution on Baidu Zhidao. This can help build trust and make it easier for users to recognize and engage with your responses.

baidu website

Baidu Q & A

Example: Use Baidu Zhidao to answer commonly asked questions about your institution. This is an excellent way to cultivate brand awareness and move students through the enrollment funnel. 

Leveraging Baidu Tieba (Baidu Forums)

Baidu Tieba is a popular online community where users discuss various topics, including education and studying abroad. Participating in these forums can help you connect with prospective students and their families.

  • Joining Discussions: Engage in discussions related to your institution and general education. Provide valuable insights and information to establish your presence.
  • Creating a Tieba: Consider creating a dedicated Tieba for your institution. This can serve as a platform for prospective students to ask questions, share experiences, and connect.


Source: Baidu Forums

Example: Baidu Tieba allows the public to share opinions and experiences with your institution to conduct social listening.

Using Baidu PPC Advertising

Baidu Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising effectivly increases your institution’s visibility and attracts more prospective students.

  • Targeted Campaigns: Create targeted PPC campaigns focusing on specific demographics and interests, such as students looking to study abroad or families seeking information about international education.
  • Compelling Ad Copy: Write compelling ad copy highlighting your institution’s unique benefits. Use clear calls to action to encourage clicks and engagement.
  • Landing Pages: Ensure your landing pages are optimized for conversions. They should provide relevant information and make it easy for prospective students to take the next step, whether applying, requesting more information, or scheduling a visit.

Implementing Baidu Webmaster Tools

Baidu Webmaster Tools provide valuable insights into your website’s performance and help you identify areas for improvement.

  • Site Submission: Submit your site to Baidu Webmaster Tools to ensure it is indexed and ranked by Baidu.
  • Performance Monitoring: Use the tools to monitor your site’s performance, including traffic, keyword rankings, and user behavior. This can help you identify trends and make data-driven decisions.
  • SEO Suggestions: Take advantage of the SEO suggestions provided by Baidu Webmaster Tools to improve your site’s visibility and ranking.

In the competitive landscape of international student recruitment, North American schools must adapt their search engine optimization strategies to engage with the Chinese market effectively. Baidu, as the dominant search engine in China, offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. By understanding and leveraging Baidu’s specific algorithm preferences, educational institutions can significantly enhance their visibility and appeal to prospective Chinese students.

Ready to boost your student recruitment efforts in China?

Discover how our specialized services can help you connect with and enroll more students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What search engine does China use?

Answer: As an educational institution trying to reach the Chinese market, the answer to this question is vital to your marketing strategy. In the realm of search engines, Baidu reigns supreme in China, commanding over 70% of the market share.

Question: What is SEO in China?

Answer: SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is all about ranking high on search engines like Baidu through Chinese keywords.