Japanese SEO – What Are The Differences?

When we talk about the International SEO, often times, we do that under the assumption of everyone having the basic SEO knowledge and skill sets. People seem to feel more comfortable working on the European websites, especially the Western European sites. Interestingly, many of them seem to be unsure about what the SEO best practices are when it comes to Asian websites especially Japanese, Chinese and Korean sites. In this post, I cover the SEO basics and some statistics of Japanese SEO and PPC or SEM market. I will write other posts about China and Korea in near future.

Japanese Market in General

  • Population: approx. 127,186,000
  • Internet Users: approx. 118,627,000, 93.3% penetration rate
  • Japanese Language: 8th popular language on the Internet worldwide (This is remarkable considering the fact that Japanese is only spoken in Japan.)
  • Mobile Users: 77.9% use smartphones. About a half of them use iPhones.
  • B2C E-Commerce: 15+ Billion Yen, Almost 3 Billion Yen came from Mobile-Commerce.
  • B2B E-Commerce: 291 Billion Yen

Japanese Search Engines and Social Media

  • Popular Search Engines: Google Japan & Yahoo Japan (Yahoo Japan’s organic search results are powered by Google Japan.)
  • Google Japan offers AdWords SEM services. You can add Japanese campaigns to your existing AdWords account.
  • Yahoo Japan has it’s own SEM services including display and re-marketing. You need to open an account with Yahoo Japan to run campaigns with them.
  • Since Google Japan powers Yahoo Japan’s organic search results, your basic SEO best practices apply to Japanese SEO.
  • Facebook is gaining user base, but Twitter is more popular in Japan. LINE is used by all the generations as a popular communication method. Many businesses use LINE to communicate with their customer base.

What Are The Differences?

The main differences come from the user behaviors and interests, which creates different personas from your home market. Other differences come from seasonalities and calendars/holidays, which creates different customer journeys. We encourage our clients to invest in researching the trends, interests, search queries, and customer behaviors on your site to create a unique set of marketing plans for Japanese audiences. It helps to create the messages and content that are more appealing to Japanese, and to present the right products and the services at the right time for them.