Baidu SEO: 2020 Search Algorithm Updates

This year, the world has catapulted online–no markets more so than China.

And as 2020 comes to an end, let’s look back at the algorithm updates that Baidu launched over the course of the year.

This will help search marketers and site webmasters stay up to date on rankings and organic website traffic in China to ultimately improve search engine optimization.

In this article, we discuss Baidu’s algorithm updates in 2020, their impact on Baidu search, and what actions you can take to optimize your site for Baidu.

Baidu Algorithm

Target

Date

Ice Bucket 5.0 Bad mobile search experience 2020.06.24
Illegal Content Gambling and related illegal content 2020.04.23
Power Wind Low-quality content and malicious aggregation 2020.02.27

Baidu SEO: Ice Bucket Algorithm 5.0

Announced: Jun 24, 2020

Launched: Late Jun 2020

Summary

In March 2020, Baidu released a whitepaper on app/mobile search experience to address sites that forced users to activate apps, which seriously negatively affects user experience.

Additionally, Baidu Search upgraded its Ice Bucket Algorithm 5.0 to identify and restrict sites and smart apps that force app activations/downloads.

There are two forced app download/activation violations that Baidu targeted with this algorithm:

  • When a user clicks on a picture or a button that directly launches an app, but that has no description to inform the user of the auto launch
  • When a user clicks a link on the Baidu search results page and an app is directly launched

Actions

To ensure that you don’t get penalized under Baidu’s Ice Bucket Algorithm, optimize your mobile landing pages according to Baidu’s whitepaper. And you can also reference Baidu’s other articles for more optimization info:

Baidu SEO: Illegal Content Algorithms

Announced: Apr 23, 2020

Launched: Late Apr 2020

Summary

To provide users with a safe and healthy search service, Baidu upgraded its algorithms to severely crack down on illegal content, primarily gambling and bet-style gaming, in its search results.

Actions

Ensure the content of your website abides by Chinese law and does not endorse or support gambling or bet-style gaming.

Power Wind Algorithm

Announced: Feb 27, 2020

Launched: Late Feb 2020

Summary

Baidu launched its Power Wind algorithm to control malicious construction of aggregate pages. The algorithm covers all websites and smart app resources within Baidu Search.

An aggregate page does not have a main body of content, but rather is an indexation of links to multiple different pages.

Aggregate pages can be legitimately constructed to help users find multiple resources around a particular topic. But aggregate pages can also be maliciously constructed to draw clicks without offering any value to the user.

Malicious aggregation includes four types:

Irrelevant Content

The content of the page does not match the overall site, the overall site does not have a dedicated field, and/or the content is mostly made up of collection from other sites.

Mismatched Content

The content of the page does not match the title or the tags on the page.

Static Content

There is a static search results page generated by the website’s internal search function.

Thin Content

The page is empty, has thin content, and/or no related information.

Actions

We recommend removing low-quality aggregate pages altogether and ensuring that your pages are rich in high-quality content. Follow these steps to avoid fallout from Baidu’s Power Wind algorithm:

Review your website and remove malicious aggregate pages

Even if you feel you don’t have malicious aggregate pages, it’s still best practice to review all your pages and remove any even borderline content.

Don’t create malicious aggregate pages in the first place

It’s best for you as a webmaster, for your users as people, and for Baidu as a search engine if malicious aggregation just doesn’t exist in the first place.

Ensure your content is high-quality

High-quality content means that the text, pictures, and videos on the page are highly correlated and the content answers the searcher’s query.

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As the world moves to a new normal of heightened digital engagement, it’s imperative that websites in China follow the law and Baidu’s own rules and regulations to ensure strong SEO in China and the ability to reach Chinese audiences.

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