Baidu has launched several algorithm updates over the past few years. For search marketers and site webmasters targeting China, understanding Baidu’s algorithm updates can help explain changes in rankings and organic website traffic and ultimately improve search engine optimization.

In this article, we discuss Baidu’s algorithm updates, their impact on Baidu search, and what actions you can take to optimize your site for Baidu.

Baidu Algorithm Target Publish Date
Ice Bucket Algorithm 5.0 · Mobile search experience 2018.11.12
Breeze Algorithm 3.0 ·  Black hat tactics

·  Download cheating

Hurricane Algorithm 2.0 ·  Low-quality content

·  Severe crack down on bad collection behavior

Drizzle Algorithm · Over-optimization

· Title and content cheating

Aurora Algorithm · Time-stamp requirements

· Greater precedent to time-stamped pages

Thunder Algorithm 2.0 · Black hat tactics

· Click cheating

Beacon-Fire Algorithm 2.0 (mobile search) · Spammy links and black hat tactics

· Malicious hijacking

Breeze Algorithm 2.0 · Black hat tactics

·  Download cheating

Thunder Algorithm · Black hat tactics

· Click cheating


The Ice Bucket Algorithm 5.0

Announced: November 12, 2018

Launched: Late November 2018


Baidu search upgraded to ice bucket algorithm 5.0 in late November. According to a whitepaper on Baidu’s mobile search landing page experience, this upgrade covered landing page advertisements, apps, and full-text functions existing in the Baidu app. It also included illegal content filtering and/or limiting the search and display of SERPs.

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

Optimize your mobile landing pages according Baidu’s whitepaper.


The Breeze Algorithm 3.0

Announced: October 16, 2018

Launched: Late October 2018


Baidu will upgrade the breeze algorithm in late October 2018. Breeze Algorithm 3.0 integrates standards from the Baidu Search and Download Station Quality Specification with breeze algorithm 1.0 and breeze algorithm 2.0 and conducts a comprehensive review of the title cheats, fraudulent downloads, and bundle downloads.

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

Make sure that you provide the correct resources for your downloads.


The Hurricane Algorithm 2.0

Announced: September 13, 2018

Launched: Late September 2018


Hurricane Algorithm 2.0 targets websites that have copied and duplicate content. Excessive plagiarized content renders the information unintegrated, the layout confusing, and the article sometimes unintelligible. Obvious traces of collection, such as article splicing and poor logic, creates a poor reading experience and offers no value to the user. Additionally, excessive copied content not related to the theme of the site indicates that the domain has poorly concentrated and maliciously obtained traffic—for example, if a technology website collects a large amount of entertainment gossip news and social news.

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

The power of content to improve a website’s ranking performance is without question. Strong website content is characterized by clear, concise information that contains keywords relevant to the page and user need. As such, it is imperative to provide high-quality content with strong readability and a good user experience—and remember not to just collect unrelated content from other sites and WeChat public accounts.


The Drizzle Algorithm

Announced: June 28, 2018

Launched: Mid-July 2018


The Drizzle Algorithm promotes the healthy development of B2B and industry directories (such as the Yellow Pages site). The algorithm focuses on combating two tactics that contribute to low-quality content:

Title Cheating

This occurs when offending websites pretend to be the official site of a popular brand and/or when offending websites keyword-stuff their titles.

Content Cheating

This occurs when offending websites frequently include excessive and unnecessary contact information in the content of their webpage.

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

Do not keyword-stuff your titles, pretend to be a website other than your own, or add excessive contact information to the page.


The Aurora Algorithm

Announced: May 31, 2018

Released: Late May 2018


Baidu launched the Aurora Algorithm to specify time-stamp requirements and give greater precedent to pages that are time-stamped with the publication date, the date of the latest changes made (if applicable), and any reply dates (if applicable). The algorithm generally targets news sites and informational sites.

Additionally, Baidu launched its Search Landing Page Time Factor Specification guide. Webmasters can optimize their time-stamps and landing pages according to this guide.

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

Update your pages with applicable publish, change, and/or reply dates.


The Thunder Algorithm 2.0

Announced: May 23, 2018

Launched: Late May 2018


Baidu launched Thunder Algorithm 2.0 to punish click cheating. This upgrade from Thunder Algorithm 1.0 mainly targets maliciously manufactured cheating super chains and malicious brush click behaviors. The algorithm limits the search performance and cleans cheat links and cheat clicks for offending websites. Additionally, cheats are recorded to the history of the site. Repeat cheaters will be permanently banned.

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

Don’t create malicious cheating chains or fake clicks.


The Beacon-Fire Algorithm 2.0 (mobile)

Announced: May 17, 2018

Launched: Late May 2018


Baidu launched Beacon-Fire Algorithm 2.0 on mobile search to combat malicious hijacking. This algorithm severely punishes offenders for stealing user data and malicious hijacking (for example, the act of maliciously stealing private data, such as the user’s mobile phone number, without the user’s permission and/or the malicious hijacking of Baidu traffic).

Offending sites will be permanently banned.

How can you resolve these offenses as soon as possible? Baidu offers two suggestions:

  1. Hijacking caused by websites with malicious code: improve your website security through HTTPS transformation.
  2. Malicious code on the webpage: clean the problem page.

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

The key takeaway is to improve the security of your website through HTTPS transformation. Most search engines have confirmed the ranking boost of HTTPS websites. Search engines treat HTTP and HTTPS websites differently. If you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, search engines will treat this as a site move with a URL change. As such, redirect your users and search engines to the HTTPS page or resource with server-side 301 HTTP redirects. Baidu Webmaster Tools provides an HTTPS certification tool to notify Baidu when the site is updated to HTTPS protocol.


The Breeze Algorithm 2.0

Announced: April 19, 2018

Launched: Early May 2018

Official statement


Baidu launched the Breeze Algorithm 2.0 to combat two types of download cheating:

False Download Descriptions

Websites will be punished when the actual download resource does not match the description; for example, the title of the download web page describes a book download, but the actual download resource is an app, or the page title description is for app 1 download, but the actual download resource is app 2.

Missing Download Resources

Websites will be punished when the download link is provided but there is no actual download resource available; for example, the webpage title describes a game download or an app download, but after the user clicks the download link, the page prompts “no resources” or redirects to another site.

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

Provide the correct resources for downloads.


The Thunder Algorithm

Announced: November 20, 2017

Launched: Late November 2017


Baidu launched the Thunder Algorithm to combat click cheating. The algorithm improves the user’s search experience and promotes the development of relevant search content by punishing:

  • Website search sorting by brush clicks
  • Click traffic cheating
  • Websites with a penalty record (in severe cases, the site will be banned)

Actions to Optimize for Baidu

Don’t make fake clicks for site traffic KPI. Real traffic leads to sustainable progress.

Make sure to follow each of these updates and related optimization tactics to stay ahead of your competitors on Baidu!

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