China Marketing Blog

Why Tracking Your Baidu Keyword Rankings Is Important

Wiktoria Marszałek — Wed, 11/22/2017 - 17:56

The post is brought to you by our guest author, Marcus Pentzek.

 

If you are working on your SEO for Baidu you will need to think how Baidu drives traffic to a website.

  1. People search for some words or search terms (we call them “keywords”).
  2. Some of those people will see your website listed (if you’re indexed by Baidu and show up highly in search results).
  3. Then some of them will click on your search result (if they find it interesting enough).

So basically, the key idea of SEO is to rank well for keywords that people search for. The better you rank, the higher the chance that you’ll get traffic. But how do you know how well you are ranking for your keywords? You could try searching every single day for every single keyword on Baidu. How long would that take each day for 250 keywords?

Luckily there are keyword tracking tools that you can use for exactly this task.

In the following article, I will introduce you to what such a Baidu rank tracking tool can do for you.

 

Daily Positions (Daily Rankings)

Simply pick a date within the period you are monitoring, and you should get a list that looks like this:

keyword list

You can easily see your website’s Baidu rankings for each keyword (column “Pos”). If you’re comparing it to the previous day, you should see how much it improved or worsened (indicated by the green and red numbers).

Another interesting factor for SEO is whether Baidu considers only one of your pages to be relevant to the keyword, or multiple pages. The column with the heading “” indicates if it is only one URL (one document symbol in black color), more than one URL (multiple documents symbol in yellow color) or if it is multiple documents and the best ranking URL has switched (red cross arrow symbol).

Something special about Baidu is that nearly 50% of all search result snippets have a small image in the front, giving the ranking a little bit extra attention. If your rankings are part of this 50%, you can easily see in the image-rich-snippet-column noted with the symbol “”. If there is a black or green symbol just beside your ranking, you do have an image snippet. If the symbol is green, you just earned it (didn’t have it the day before). If it is black colored, you already had the image snippet the other day. If the symbol is red, you just lost your image snippet.

If your URL is an SSL (secured) URL, you can see it in the next column. Since 2016, Baidu officially supports SSL URLs. Sometimes it takes a while for an official Baidu announcement to take effect. I can say that in the past few months of 2017, I can experience Baidu supporting them.

The last column shows which exact URLs of yours are currently ranking in the best position.

How is your website performing in total? How many of your keywords are ranking and how many aren’t? Simply look at the summary chart above the rankings list:

The chart of your monitored keywords

The chart shows how many of your monitored keywords are ranking within the first 5 positions, positions 6-10, positions 11-15 and so on until positions 46-50.

 

Baidu Rankings for Multiple URLs

If multiple URLs are ranking, I would like to know which they are. A click on the keyword and you get a view like this.

keyword rankings

The table shows there were 4 different URLs of the domain www.lifeskill.cn ranking for the keyword “生活小妙招” on the 8th of October 2017 as well as on 7th. The website’s homepage is ranking in position number one on both days. Positions 2 and 3 are being held by two other URLs and the ranking on position 12 was position 13 before.

Looking at the ranking chart above we see that the homepage has been stable at rank 1 for a long time already, while the following two URLs have improved their rankings over the last weeks. The fourth URL is rather unstable, it had first appeared on the chart on the 9th of September and has been on the second search results page all the time (positions 11 to 20).

This keyword “生活小妙招“ is owned by lifeskill.cn and Baidu seems to believe it is kind of a navigational keyword for this website (that means someone searching for 生活小妙招 usually only wants to go to lifeskills.cn) so ranking it in the first three positions simply makes sense.

 

Another example:

keyword ranking

The position one ranking for a monitored keyword of this website switched on September 9th. The green URL which used to the best most of the time battled the yellow and the blue URL for a while and finally lost all rankings for the keyword giving the lead to the blue URL, followed by the yellow URL.

The reason for such ranking battles between URLs of the same domain are usually contents cannibalizing each other. Multiple pages optimized for the same keywords don’t make it easy for Baidu to decide which shall rank best. If you are less lucky than the website in this example, Baidu might decide that as long as you cannot focus on only one page for this keyword, another website might get featured above yours.

So the multiple rankings feature can help you deal with cannibalization within your website that you might even not be aware of.

This website also has another common SEO issue: Baidu is indexing URLs with session IDs. Session IDs are used by some websites to identify users. This GET parameter (like in this case “fsid=some-number” at the end of URLs) is not needed for the website to include important information or text, but only helps the system to keep track of the user within the website. This is something the SEO consultant of this website should look into as well. A Canonical could be a solution or a robots-metatag stating “noindex,follow” would help telling Baidu this exact URL (with the session ID parameter) doesn’t need to be indexed.

 

Baidu Keyword Ranking History for a Single URL

Sometimes it makes sense to have a good overview on the rankings of the monitored URLs in a historical view. That is what this tool is for.

position history

Choose the keywords you want to see and disable those that you want to hide from the chart.

Of course, the data are accessible in a table view as well:

a table view of data

All table data are always exportable as Excel files for further reporting or analysis.

excel files of data

 

Baidu Competitive Analysis

Looking at your competitors always makes sense. Keep track of which keywords they are ranking better for. If they improve or worsen, that gives you a hint for your SEO strategy as well.

competitive view

The chart in top shows visually how much SERP real estate your competitors are inhabiting and which positions ranges they rank better or worse than you. In the example above you can see that the Alibaba-owned site 1688.com holds the most 1-5 and 6-10 positions for the monitored keyword set.

 

Baidu Keyword Tracking Tools

There are quite a few keyword tracking tools on the market that also offer Baidu rank tracking. For example, Dragon Metrics, Search Metrics & SEO Value. But I personally didn’t find one tool that provides all the features I need to keep track of my SEO success or inform me of areas to work on. That is the reason we built the ZhongSEOTools rank tracking service. All the screenshots above are taken from zhongseotools.com. If you would like to try it out, contact us on the website.

 


Photo of Marcus

 

Marcus Pentzek has been an Online Marketer since 2001 and has focused on SEO since 2007. While working in Beijing for two years from 2012 to 2013, he started working on international SEO looking at Google, Bing, Yandex and Baidu. In 2016, he started planning a Baidu SEO Tool to meet his needs. He then published www.zhongseotools.com in 2017.


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