While Google is the unquestioned leader in search throughout most of the world, it is a distant second in one of the planet’s fastest-growing internet markets.

Local champion Baidu occupies Google’s usual role on top of the mountain for search engine use in China. Google’s annual profit of $300 million in China is "a rounding error" in their overall intake of almost $22 billion, RBC analyst Ross Sandler told the San Jose Mercury News. Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that work well with Google in the west may not produce the same kind of results in China.

Domestic Chinese companies have forced out several American giants in recent years, with Yahoo selling their Chinese operations to eBay rival Alibaba four years ago, and eBay itself relegated to third-tier status among online auctioneers.

Baidu is a home-grown Chinese brand, a fact of which it consistently reminds Chinese consumers in ads laden with national pride and patriotism. Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals can achieve the kind of success in China that they have in western markets only by tailoring content specifically to Baidu.