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September 4, 2014: Yandex and Baidu are the two leading non-US search engines. Together they account for 11% of all search engine traffic. Yandex is the leading search engine in the former Eastern Bloc, while Baidu is the number one search engine in China. Baidu accounts for 63% of all search traffic in China while Yandex accounts for 60% of all search traffic in Russia — two of the world’s fastest growing online markets.

Why are these engines important? Significant portions of search traffic on Yandex and Baidu use English language search queries. Social sharing from these engines has a bridging effect into Google. Optimizing for these platforms lets you seize opportunities that wouldn’t be available with just Google or Bing. Also, they’re both bigger than Bing (Bing is in 4th place behind Baidu (2) and Yandex (3)).

While Yandex and Baidu may not seem important for marketers working with English language brands, as demographics shift immigrants will increasingly bring their searching habits with them. Further, in a 2011 partnership agreement, 80% of English language searches in Baidu are directed back to Bing. Being that 5% of all searches on Baidu are in English, and being that China has 513 million Internet uses, even a small slice of this business is important to Bing.

According to Didit head of SEO Jonathan Gouveia, “we feel that international SEO is important when dealing with localized brands and campaigns. We have extensive international SEO experience with several brands. It’s possible to create separate landing pages with individual robots.txt files so as to avoid spidering by other search engines, but it needs to make sense in terms of the client’s ROI goals and resources. Most of the time, Google has you covered, but we’re always look at opportunities to improve performance for our clients.”

What should I do?

Chinese_flag_(Beijing)_-_IMG_1104Familiarize yourself with SEO for Baidu and Yandex. Each platform has specific SEO practices. Baidu in particular has its own social media-style page rating system. These resources can help you with the SEO particulars of each platform. It’s also important to know about the popular social media platforms in your target area, as these will, by virtue of volume, rank on that particular search engine. For Baidu it’s Sina Weibo, and for Yandex it’s VKontakte. The same best practices for content that you usually use for English language search engines should be used for Baidu and Yandex. Searchengineland has a list of excellent guidelines for Baidu SEO.


Understand Chinese language and localization options. 
SEO’s will need to pay towards understanding how simplified Chinese characters work in regards to keywords and taxonomies, and how local dialects will influence searcher behavior. Marketers need also pay attention to how Baidu complies with Chinese censorship laws. Baidu gives priority to Chinese web hosts and to businesses with a physical Chinese address. Baidu and Yandex optimization is especially important when dealing with local brands and localized promotions. Russiansearchmarketing.com explains that local knowledge and language skills enable local marketers to compete, and that local search engines support these efforts.

Content is universal. Anna Oshalko writes that Yandex is making radical changes to its algorithm, following Google’s lead in rewarding quality content and in punishing black hat SEO practices. International SEO is no longer niche; it’s something that every Internet marketer needs to be ready to address.

Have questions about International SEO? Contact us.

Didit Editorial
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International SEO: Why Yandex and Baidu Matter
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International SEO is no longer niche; it's something that every Internet marketer needs to be ready to address.
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