The Power of Chinese Long-Tail Keywords

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What are Keywords?

When we dive into the world of SEO, keywords become our trusty companions. But what exactly are these elusive creatures?

Picture them as the magic spells users cast in the search form of Baidu, China’s search engine titan. Users enter these enchanting terms with hopes of unearthing a treasure trove of relevant websites and articles that can solve their tasks, conundrums, or whims.

As an SEO wizard, my mission is to prepare my website’s content, ensuring it dances in harmony with these mystical keywords.

It’s like crafting the perfect answer to a riddle, all while keeping a keen eye on which keywords are frequently sought after, which are less popular, and which hide in the shadows, rarely uttered.

In simpler terms, keywords are the search queries people embark on, seeking their digital destiny. So, let’s embark on our keyword quest and unlock the power of longtail keywords for Baidu SEO.

What are those keywords website owners want to rank for?

Website owners often find themselves spellbound by the numbers, hoping to rank for keywords that boast the highest search volumes.

Picture this: I’m a car dealer in bustling Beijing, dreaming of soaring to the top of the search results for the holy grail of keywords, “cars” (汽车). With a staggering average monthly search volume of 1.2 million in China, it seems like the ultimate keyword conquest.

But alas, when we gaze upon the search results on Baidu, a harsh reality unfolds before us:

The Baidu Desktop SERP for 汽车 offers only little chance for placing your brand through UGC or ranking in Baidu Vertical "Video"
The Baidu Desktop SERP for 汽车 offers only little chance for placing your brand through UGC or ranking in Baidu Vertical “Video”

Instead of a level playing field, what we encounter is a battleground dominated by commercial giants, hefty advertisements, Baidu UGC services, and behemoth players like

It’s a fierce competition where the chances of a humble car dealer’s website ranking among these titans seem as slim as a needle in a haystack.

And to add another twist, Baidu, the (evil) search engine sorcerer, seems to have a knack for intuiting our local search intent. Here I am, visiting Baidu from Tianjin, only to find a localized page catering to the local market.

This example, my friends, is but a glimpse into the many challenges that arise when dealing with SEO-uninitiated clients. Furthermore, the search engine results page (SERP) for 汽车 (cars) is a fascinating medley, devoid of a crystal-clear understanding of our search intent.

Baidu presents us with a diverse tapestry of results, leaving us pondering its interpretation of our desires.

Let’s introduce Longtail words

To understand the essence of longtail keywords, let’s delve into the concept itself. The term “longtail” originates from the search demand curve chart, which reveals a fascinating pattern. Picture a graph that showcases the distribution of keyword searches.

At one end (on the left in our chart below), we have a select few high search volume keywords that are undeniably juicy but lack a clear search intent.

These are the generic terms like “cars,” which might attract massive search volumes but fail to capture specific user needs.

keywords search demand curve for China longtail keywords
The extremely long tail of the Chinese Search Demand Curve – by the pure number of people in China – creates a massive opportunity for earning many website visitors

Now, as we move along the curve, we encounter a substantial chunk of keywords with decent search volumes. These keywords are already more targeted, and here we begin to witness the emergence of a clear search intent. These can be informational, transactional, or navigational keywords that guide users towards their desired content or actions.

As we traverse deeper into the curve, we discover an overwhelming abundance of keywords—often (but not always) characterized by their length in letters or Chinese characters. These longtail keywords (as they can be seen as the long tail of our search demand curve dragon) exhibit an intriguing trait: an extremely low number of average searches per month for each individual keyword. However, their sheer quantity within a specific topic is staggering.

And this quantity id even larger in China with it’s nearly one Billion internet users. The reason for this long tail is the creativity of people describing exactly what they are looking for in thousands different ways, using different Chinese Characters and character combinations.

Imagine a vast array of concrete and specific phrases that users employ to express their intent, no matter how niche or specialized.

These longtail keywords represent a trove of opportunities waiting to be tapped. While each individual longtail keyword may not command significant search volume, collectively they form a powerful force that can propel your website’s visibility and relevance.

In essence, the longtail embodies the multitude of low search volume keywords that breathe life into a topic. It is through this rich tapestry of specificity that we unearth the potential to attract targeted, engaged audiences who are actively seeking precisely what we have to offer.

How does a longtail keyword SERP look like?

As we venture into the realm of longtail keywords, it’s crucial to explore how they manifest within Baidu’s search engine results page (SERP). While it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, the composition of the SERP can vary depending on the search volumes and the specific keywords we’re targeting. Let’s take a closer look at the fascinating dynamics that unfold.

For keywords with higher search volumes, we often find Baidu’s Baike (encyclopedia) and Zhidao (Q&A platform) making their presence known. These information-rich resources tend to dominate the SERP, offering users a wealth of knowledge and expert insights. Baidu understands that when users seek popular keywords, their intent often revolves around acquiring valuable information.

Now, as we shift our focus to keywords with lower search volumes or those that fall into the realm of niche topics, a different player takes the stage—Baijiahao. This platform comprises a vast network of individual content creators, covering diverse subjects, from specialized interests to local insights. Baidu recognizes that for these less frequently searched keywords, users are likely seeking a broader range of perspectives and unique voices.

What truly piques our curiosity is how the ranking landscape evolves as we delve further into the longtail. Here, we witness a remarkable phenomenon: As search volumes decrease, Baidu’s algorithm becomes more inclined to showcase domains with lower SEO Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

These lesser-known websites, often with specific expertise and highly targeted content, earn their place on the SERP. It’s a testament to Baidu’s commitment to deliver relevant, granular results even in the face of limited search volumes.

To better illustrate this intriguing pattern, let me provide you with the following example. It will shed light on how the ranking dynamics shift along the longtail spectrum, highlighting the diverse range of domains that claim their stake in the SERP.

Short Head Keyword

  • – Keyword: 汽车
  • – Avg. Monthly Search Volume: 1.2 Million
  • – Number of ADs: 5
  • – Baidu UGC or Baidu Verticals ranking: 3
  • – Smallest Domain Authority (via MOZ) of a domain ranking: 40
  • – Smallest Authority (via Semrush) of a domain ranking: 34
  • – Lowest number if Referring Domains (via MOZ) of a domain ranking: 9,000
  • – Lowest number if Referring Domains (via Semrush) of a domain ranking: 5,100

Juicy Body Keywords / Mid-Tail

  • – Keyword: 汽车所有费用
  • – Avg. Monthly Search Volume: 50
  • – Number of ADs: 5
  • – Baidu UGC or Baidu Verticals ranking: 3
  • – Smallest Domain Authority (via MOZ) of a domain ranking: 1
  • – Smallest Authority (via Semrush) of a domain ranking: 6
  • – Lowest number if Referring Domains (via MOZ) of a domain ranking: 123
  • – Lowest number if Referring Domains (via Semrush) of a domain ranking: 140

Long-Tail Keyword

  • – Keyword: 2023国内电动汽车各型号电池续航耐力
  • – Avg. Monthly Search Volume: 1
  • – Number of ADs: 3
  • – Baidu UGC or Baidu Verticals ranking: 3
  • – Smallest Domain Authority (via MOZ) of a domain ranking: 1
  • – Smallest Authority (via Semrush) of a domain ranking: 2
  • – Lowest number if Referring Domains (via MOZ) of a domain ranking: 1
  • – Lowest number if Referring Domains (via Semrush) of a domain ranking: 1

We clearly see that with less search volume the barrier for possibilities to enter the Baidu Top10 SERP with weaker Domains is lowering immediately.

(Zero) Search Volume Keywords – how can they bring traffic?

In the realm of longtail keywords, an SEO strategy that embraces low search volume keywords holds an intriguing secret: the ability to drive a stream of highly convertible traffic, despite individual keywords seemingly having little to no search volume. It’s a paradoxical phenomenon that requires a shift in perspective.

To unravel this enigma, we must first dispel the notion that our focus should be on optimizing a single longtail keyword that may only attract one potential user per month. The true power lies in a comprehensive approach that encompasses multiple longtail keywords, all centered around a specific search intent or topic. Instead of creating a multitude of pages, each targeting a single longtail keyword, we embark on a journey to create an exceptional page that caters to a broader search intent.

Let us try an example based on the the above keyword: 2023国内电动汽车各型号电池续航耐力

Vast number of longtail keywords with similar meaning share similar bigrams and trigrams - chunks of Chinese Characters in a row.
40 different Chinese extreme Long-Tail-Keywords all saying the same. Notice the different colors? These are just to help you understand, that many are sharing the same bigrams, trigrams and fourgrams.

Imagine this: you meticulously research a plethora of potential longtail keywords that perfectly align with the search intent you aim to cover. These keywords, with search volumes often too low to register on SEO tools, hold the key to unlocking your traffic potential.

As you craft your page’s content, keep these longtail keywords in mind. However, it’s crucial to avoid the temptation of implementing them all in an exact-match manner, as it will only make your content appear spammy and unnatural.

Instead, deconstruct your longer search queries into smaller, logical chunks of 2-3 characters. Strategically and logically integrate these character combinations into your webpage’s copy, weaving them seamlessly into your content tapestry.

spread the parts of your long-tail keywords pool across the website. Baidu's ERNIE algorithm will understand
You do not need to place the exact-match-long-tail-keywords everywhere in the text.
  • – We pick one of our longtail-keywords that ideally contains many chunks, that our other variants contain as well for the title tag.
  • – We pick another one for our H1 headline / the most important headline of the page.
  • – We create content using the different chunks / words used in our different longtail keywords throughout the content

Baidu’s ERNIE (no, not the chatbot – the underlying Natural-Language-Processor, which they coded for language analysis and pre-training the large language models) is able to decompose the content and “understand” which further wordings align with the very same meaning.

So basically by analyzing your content, Baidu ERNIE is creating hundreds or (if you have longer content) even thousands of possible long-tail keywords, this page is highly relevant for. It practically re-engineers the keywords you broke into chunks to place them all over the page.

This approach allows you to cover a multitude of longtail keywords — perhaps 50 to 100 or even many more (you didn’t even think of) — that fit together harmoniously. It’s like entering a hallucinational dream where thousands of potential long-tail keywords materialize, each characterized by subtly different character combinations that convey similar meanings.

The Key to Baidu SEO Success Lies in Longtail Keywords

With a well-crafted page that embraces this diverse tapestry of longtail keywords, you’ll be amazed at the traffic it can attract. In fact, such a page, solely focused on long tail keywords, can outperform another page targeting a juicy mid-tail keyword languishing at the bottom of Baidu’s first SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

In the above example we sticked to very similar keywords though – all using the same main set bigrams, trigrams and fourgrams in different order … you will receive even much better long-tail SEO results, if you find keywords that differ much mire from each other, to include them in good fitting positions within your content.

So, embrace the hidden potential of (zero) search volume keywords, and unleash the power of a meticulously crafted longtail strategy. By interweaving the unique character combinations, you pave the way for a surge of highly convertible visitors, ultimately propelling your Baidu SEO endeavors to new heights.

More Information on SEO for China in our book:

SEO for China / Baidu Book
That’s how our SEO for China book looks like

Where can you buy this SEO book?

Here are the links to the different Amazon websites, where you can buy the book. If your country is not listed, go to your Amazon website and simply search for “SEO for China” and it will show up 😉

Some information on the book:

Authors: Kun Tang, Marcus Pentzek
Publisher: Independently published (July 10, 2022)
Language: English
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8840196434

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