What is WeChat’s Impact on Baidu SEO?

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The role of Social Signals remains a topic of hot debate among digital marketers and SEO enthusiasts. While the consensus leans towards the insignificance of Facebook likes and shares in influencing SEO, there’s a growing curiosity about the impact of links embedded in social media posts, particularly when these originate from accounts with high external references and robust page authority. This brings us to an intriguing question: How do these dynamics play out in the context of WeChat and Baidu SEO?

WeChat and Baidu SEO – Understanding the Connection

WeChat, developed by Tencent, stands as a colossus in China’s digital landscape, distinctly different from its Western counterparts like Facebook or Twitter. This distinction primarily stems from its operational model.

WeChat, unlike typical Western social media platforms, does not rely on a web-based interface. Instead, it thrives as an app-centric ecosystem, where the majority of user interactions and engagements are facilitated through its mobile app or desktop client. This unique model of WeChat necessitates a reevaluation of its influence, particularly in SEO for Baidu.

The Apparent Disconnect

On the surface, WeChat’s operational independence from Baidu suggests a clear demarcation. Tencent, the powerhouse behind WeChat, operates independently of Baidu, leading to an initial impression that activities within WeChat’s walled garden might have minimal or no direct impact on Baidu’s search engine algorithms.

facebook has both smartphone app and website interface - WeChat only has the app

When visiting either wechat.com or weixin.qq.com the landing page is telling you to download the smartphone app or the desktop client for Windows or Mac.

This perceived separation is not without basis, as the conventional mechanisms of SEO typically involve web-based content indexed by search engines. Given WeChat’s app-based nature, the direct influence on Baidu’s web crawling and indexing processes appears limited.

Uncovering WeChat Content in Baidu Search Results

Uncovering WeChat Content in Baidu Search Results

In our recent Baidu SEO Ranking Factors Correlation Study, a particularly fascinating discovery emerged from our analysis of 10,000 Simplified Chinese search queries. A phenomenon that initially slipped under the radar soon revealed itself: the presence of URLs resembling https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MjM5NjMzNzM0OA==&mid=2651174246&... within Baidu’s search results.

These URLs might give an impression of being linked to the qq.com domain, renowned for its affiliation with QQ, a prominent social network by Tencent. However, a closer look unveils “weixin.” as a subdomain of qq.com – WeiXin is the latinized writing form of the Chinese 微信 which is the brand WeChat.

This social media giant Tencent, a key player in the digital landscape of China, hosts its WeChat content on this specific subdomain. The presence of WeChat content in Baidu’s search results is not just a mere coincidence but a testament to the intricate interplay between major digital platforms in China.

These 2 Baidu-SERP deconstructions do not only show how little room there is for organic rankings, but also that WeChat is ranking (sometimes at least) on the first results page.

This intersection of WeChat content within Baidu’s search engine results highlights a crucial aspect of digital marketing and SEO strategies in China.

Optimizing content for WeChat, while considering its potential visibility in Baidu search results, could be a strategic move for broader outreach and engagement.

Evaluating WeChat’s Presence in Baidu Search Results

To accurately evaluate the influence and presence of WeChat content in Baidu’s search results, a detailed statistical analysis is essential. This investigation aims to identify the frequency and patterns of WeChat’s appearance within the Baidu SEO landscape. Such an examination will provide valuable insights into the relationship between these two digital giants and how they interact within the Chinese digital ecosystem.

1. Quantitative Analysis of WeChat in Baidu SERPs

Since mid July 2022 we can see first slowly, then in the end of 2022 / beginning of 2023 faster increase in SEO Visibility (via Searchmetrics) on Baidu Search for the sub-domain mp.weixin.qq.com.

A comprehensive review of Baidu’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for a diverse range of keywords can reveal the frequency with which WeChat content surfaces. This data should encompass various sectors, ranging from consumer goods to B2B services, to ensure a broad understanding of WeChat’s SEO impact.

The difference between the results of our study and the chart above from Searchmetrics can be explained by two factors:

  1. We analyzed 10,000 keyword SERPs, while Searchmetrics looks at about 1 Million keywords SERPs
  2. Due to the bigger number of keywords, that Searchmetrics looks at, there might be either a more balanced keyword set, or a more unbalanced keyword set (covering more keywords that trigger search results with WeChat rankings)

What the real reason is, we will not be able to say, as the keyword set of the tool provider is closed source and not open for analysis.

2. Competitive Analysis with Other Social Platforms

Utilizing Searchmetrics for our analysis, we observed that the SEO Visibility of WeChat’s subdomain is approximately half that of Zhihu.com. This comparison becomes more intriguing when we consider the data from Dragon Metrics, which shows Zhihu.com attracting an estimated 827,600,000 visitors per month through Baidu’s organic search rankings.

While Dragon Metrics doesn’t provide similar traffic data for sub-domains, the relative SEO Visibility of WeChat suggests a potential traffic volume of around 413,800,000 visitors per month from Baidu search results clicking on WeChat rankings.

This estimation indicates that despite a lower visibility score compared to Zhihu.com, the impact of WeChat content in Baidu search results may still be quite substantial.

Fact is – WeChat is being crawled and indexed and ranked by Baidu. If that is relevant for your SEO, depends on if WeChat rankings are found in the SERPs for search queries important to your business!

Potential Impacts of WeChat on Baidu SEO

Let’s try to understand the potential influence of WeChat on your Baidu SEO strategy. How can we effectively integrate WeChat to shape a brand’s digital footprint on Baidu?

Branding Through WeChat: By leveraging organic content on WeChat, brands might be able to enhance their presence in Baidu’s search results.

This approach centers on utilizing the content published under a brand’s WeChat account. The strategic distribution of engaging and relevant content on WeChat can act as a beacon, guiding potential customers from the social platform to the brand’s website.This method not only increases brand awareness but also positions the brand favorably in Baidu’s search ecosystem, capitalizing on the intertwined nature of social media and search engine usage.

Disclaimer: We have not yet analyzed, which criteria need to be met to have Baidu rank a WeChat post.

Backlinking Strategies: Another aspect worth exploring is the role of backlinks in WeChat posts and their influence on a website’s authority from Baidu’s perspective.

The potential of backlinks in WeChat posts to enhance a website’s search ranking on Baidu is an area ripe for investigation. Given Baidu’s sophisticated algorithm, it’s crucial to understand how it perceives and values these backlinks. If Baidu recognizes and attributes importance to backlinks from WeChat, this could open new avenues for SEO strategies.

By effectively incorporating backlinks in WeChat content, brands could potentially amplify their website’s authority and improve its ranking on Baidu, thus achieving a more dominant online presence.

Disclaimer: We have not yet analyzed, if there is a positive impact on a website’s rankings on Baidu from links within WeChat posts.

WeChat’s SEO Impact: A Balanced View

The interaction between WeChat and Baidu SEO presents a nuanced and yet not well-investigated landscape. While WeChat’s content does not overwhelmingly influence Baidu’s search results, its impact is certainly noteworthy.

For brands, this translates into a strategic opportunity: creating and sharing high-quality, engaging content on WeChat can serve dual purposes.

Not only does it captivate the WeChat audience, but it also holds the potential for enhancing a website’s visibility on Baidu. By embedding thoughtful backlinks within WeChat content, brands can effectively straddle the line between user engagement on social platforms and eventually improve SEO performance on Baidu.

We invite our readers to contribute your insights and experiences in leveraging WeChat within the broader context of Baidu SEO, enriching our understanding of this dynamic and evolving digital interplay.

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