In the same month Google announced its launch of Instant Search, China SEO practioners will be interested to know that Baidu quietly released Search Open Platform to all the webmasters and web developers. The search result is displayed in a very similar way to Google OneBox. Below is how the search result looks when we search “Shanghai weather “ in Google and Baidu.
However, SEO China specialists will find that Baidu open platform is not just a replica of Google Onebox. One major difference is that Baidu open platform is free and open to all the webmasters and web developers.
The process of submitting Baidu open platform is simple: choose the keyword, choose a template, set the update frequency and submit the data source. It is quite hard to get approved by Baidu though. Google Onebox touches fields like news, music, stocks, movies, and travel etc, whereas Baidu open platform touches more industries and is not just limited to information display.
The various forms of information which can be displayed or inputted in the Baidu Open Search Platform are as follows:
Customer Service Number in open platform
This actually protects a lot of big brands, especially in the China market where telephone fraud happens quite a lot.
Software download in open platform
People can click on the download button in the search results to download the software they searched. The user does not even need to go the website.
Job Search in open platform
When searching the keyword “上海招聘” (Shanghai recruitment), there will be a search function like below shown in the result. People can type in the job that they are searching for, and they will be led to a dedicated job search page in Baidu with the list of vacancies.
TV Search in open platform
When searching for any TV shows, the videos on qiyi.com will be shown in the top of the result. It is worth mentioning that Qiyi.com belongs to Baidu.
Train Information Search in open platform
The train information search function will be shown in the result when searching the keyword “列车时刻表 (train timetable)”.
As you might notice from the examples above, most open platform results are displayed in the first position. Therefore, successful submission to the open platform has the advantage of getting good ranking positions and thus good overall traffic. Useful and accurate content is the key success factor for SEO China practioners to consider in getting approved and indexed in the Baidu open platform.
Although we see the benefit that Baidu open platform brings to the user, there is much controversy about its stopping users going directly to the website of listed companies. For example, the user can download the software in the search result without going to the website. Webmasters believe that they will lose traffic if they develop the data source for the open platform.
As I see it, it really depends on what the goal is and how you use it. If the goal is listing the product or service, then the only thing that really matters is the number of subscribers. It doesn’t really matter whether traffic is from your website or Baidu open platform, as they are just distribution channels and overall your product or service is still getting traffic.
In addition, Baidu open platform should not just be the tool to get more traffic or subscribers. Companies can make good use of it and extend its potential to customer services in order to achieve better customer satisfaction. For example, camera manufacturers can create user manual data sources for different camera models.
There are now more than 400 indexed resources on Baidu open platform, so are you ready to be the next one? It is in my opinion an additional useful search engine functionality to use in SEO in China for marketing and supporting your company’s products and services in China.