Baidu Webmaster Platform provides tools to optimize Chinese websites. It has been in invitation-only testing for over a year and it’s just launched public beta.
Baidu Webmaster Tools, compared to Google Webmaster Tools, are very basic and premature providing six tools for webmasters:
1. Sitemap Submission to Baidu
Webmasters can use Sitemap tool to submit their sitemap to Baidu to help Baidu spider to better understand the website structure and content. Strangely, this tool is still not available for public at the moment. However, you can apply for one by sending a request email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once Sitemap tool is activated, the first step is to verify the ownership of the website by either downloading and uploading a verification file or adding a meta tag in the header section.
Once your website is verified, you can proceed to submit your sitemap by selecting the sitemap type (regular sitemap or product sitemap), update frequency and sitemap URL.
Each sitemap you submit to Baidu can be in standard XML format or text format (one URL per line), including up to 50,000 URLs and it can not exceed 10M (uncompressed). Both UTF-8 and GBK encoding are supported.
If your website has multiple sitemaps, you can submit a sitemap index file.
You can also submit a URL removal request from Baidu via Sitemap tool (yes, you need to block the URL from being crawled in robots.txt or return “404” code) and diagnose your website problems encountered when Baidu spider crawls your site.
You can access this tool directly here without logging to Baidu Webmaster Platform. You can submit your website URL or RSS feed address. This is not necessary if your website is already indexed.
If you have a Chinese blog, this is Baidu Ping address that would be helpful to you: http://ping.baidu.com/ping/RPC2
3. Optimization Recommendation
You can submit important pages of your website (or any websites) to get search engine optimization recommendations. The bad news is, you can only submit one URL at a time.
As shown in the above diagnosis of Google China’s daily deal aggregation homepage, this tool provides basic optimization recommendations on six areas:
- The length of URL. The recommended length from Baidu is 256 bytes.
- Dynamic parameters on static pages. This is to prevent repeated crawling of pages with the duplicate content.
- Meta data. Meta data like META Description is necessary for all search engines.
- Image ALT information
- Use of frames. Baidu recommends against the use of frame/frameset/iframe.
- Text description of Flash files
This tool seems only helpful to those without any SEO knowledge.
4. Security Check
Baidu will display a warning message in the SERP if it finds out your website is hacked or infected with malware. Of course, it doesn’t mean your site is secure even if you don’t see the warning message.
This tool helps you to diagnose the security status of your website. If you site was hacked, you fixed the problem and you still see the warning message after 48 hours, you can submit your complaint here.
5. Search Engine Submission
You can submit your newly launched website domain URL here.
6. Baidu Search Box
You can get code here to embed on your website if integrating a Baidu search box is valuable to your visitors. And, you can also enable Baidu Suggest function which works like Google Suggest.
Baidu Webmaster Tools are very basic at the moment; hopefully it will improve.