It was another impressive quarter for China's most popular website as (NASDAQ:BIDU) beat estimates and continued to plump up its profit margins. For the September quarter, the leading search engine grew its revenue by 169% to hit $30.3 million. Earnings soared tenfold, clocking in at $0.31 a share, or $0.37 a share before backing out stock-based compensation.

Analysts were only expecting earnings to come in at $0.26 a share for the period. The growth bears out what Internet traffic watchers have been saying for a few weeks now: Baidu is pulling away as the top dog of online search, with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) fading in China.

Baidu closed out the period with 102,000 advertisers. That number hasn't grown as quickly as the company's top line, but that's actually an encouraging sign. It validates both the medium and the company as Baidu's base of sponsors continues to spend more with every passing quarter to reach users.

According to, only Google, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) are commanding larger online audiences these days. That has to be pretty encouraging to Baidu investors, given the company's market cap, which is just a twelfth of the smallest of the other three. China's Internet market continues to grow faster than that of the rest of the world, so who knows where the rankings will stand in a year or two?

Baidu is making the most of its attractiveness. It recently launched Baidu Space, a blogging service that enhances earlier community-driven hangouts like Baidu Knows (similar to Yahoo! Answers) and Baidu Post Bar (a popular message board hub).

For the current quarter, the company is targeting revenues to come in between $34 million and $35 million. That may disappoint Wall Street, hanging on a $36 million forecast. However, the company's perpetual margin improvement over the past few quarters should make the fourth-quarter bottom-line target of $0.30 a breeze to topple.

Like Sohu (NASDAQ:SOHU) with its market-beating report last week, there's a good vibe heading into the rest of the earnings reports out of China in the coming days. Even with Baidu tempering that enthusiasm with its guarded top-line outlook for the current quarter, Baidu is also a company that has topped profit projections every quarter but one since going public last year.

In short, "Go East" may be as welcome a refrain as "Go West" was during the 19th-century gold rush.

Baidu is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Take the newsletter for a 30-day free trial.

Yahoo! is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been to mainland China just once, but he's longing to brush up on Mandarin and make another go at it in the future. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.