Yahoo Japan to be powered by Google and what this means to marketers

Yahoo Japan and Google Japan jointly announced that Yahoo Japan’s organic search results will soon be powered by Google. However, it looks more of the hybrid version rather than the pure Google search.

On July 27, Yahoo Japan and Google Japan announced that Yahoo Japan’s organic search results will soon be powered by Google. Needless to day, this change would have a huge impact on many search marketers and site owners targeting Japanese market. Today, I’d like to go over the facts mentioned in the announcements, and examine how it may change the search marketing in Japan.

Fact 1) Yahoo Japan will use Google’s organic search engine
I personally welcome this change in regards to the algorithm producing the search results. Unfortunately, it is a well known fact that those link farms and the paid links can improve the organic ranking in Yahoo right now, and many search marketers and the site owners in Japan think/believe that SEO is nothing more than the link building. Yahoo has made good money by being a part of that by selling the category listing. Once Yahoo is powered by Google, these sites that are relying heavily on the link building would drop the ranking.

Fact 2) Yahoo will provide the content data from Yahoo Auction, Yahoo Shopping and Yahoo Chiebukuro (Q&A) to Google.
Both Yahoo and Google have adopted the blended (universal) search in Japan. By pulling content from Yahoo’s auction, shopping, etc., it would further limit the number of organic page results in the search ranking shelf space. SEO is no longer limited to the website/page optimization.

Fact 3) Yahoo and Google will customize each search result for their audience
With my experience, Google performs better with older generation, professional, male, especially for B2B businesses, even though Yahoo has a bigger market share in Japan. I don’t think that this trend won’t change anytime soon, and expect the engines to cater the search results for their audience separately. You won’t get exactly the same search results on Yahoo and Google. To find the best mix for their audience, we’ll probably see the changes in the search results for a while.
See below graphic for the area of search result page that may change. (Red: PPC Ads, Blue: Organic Results, Pink: Yahoo JP Contents)

How the Yahoo search results may change

Fact 4) Yahoo Japan will use Google’s PPC platform
This is great. There are more convenient tools for AdWords than for Yahoo’s Sponsored Search. Though you’d still should adjust the keywords and ad copies for each engine.

Fact 5) PPC campaign account will be kept separately by Yahoo and Google
I wish they would combine the accounts, too. But we’d need to manage the accounts separately…

It looks like bing/Microsoft has missed the opportunity to grow the market share in Japan.

Announcement in Google Japan official blog

Announcement in Yahoo Japan official blog

Announcement in Yahoo Japan Listing Ads official blog



  1. Pingback: Merlin: Translation News, Services & Directory » Blog Archive » Yahoo Japan will soon be powered by Google

  2. Pingback: Articles » Blog Archive » How To Get Listed in Yahoo!