SEO in Japan: Boost Traffic to Your Website

What is SEO?

SEO, an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, is extremely valuable for your brand. If you have a website, you should always check the SEO for users to easily find your site

In this article, you will see benefits both in the short and long term and increase online traffic.

Why Is SEO Important in Japan?

To earn customer trust, the first step is to gain positive reviews and be well ranked on the main search engines. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, they are the most trusted source of information in Japan.

Source: 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brands We Trust? – Japan.

Japanese Internet users want to know what others think about your company and if you are reliable. They pay great attention to the number of stars your product has (even though many sellers pay to have positive reviews), they are looking for quality, convenience, and value.

Info Cubic also observed that half of their Japanese site traffic was due to organic searches.

How to Improve Your SEO

First thing first, use the correct domain for your website. The main ones in Japan are and .jp. Your website will rank higher for Japanese users with one of these domains, so you will have more visibility from them. If your traffic is already good with a .com domain, you can keep it and add a /jp. Hosting your site in Japan or offering a Japanese version will attract more people and help you earn trust.

Japan has three writing system: kanji, hiragana, katakana or romaji. So always check if the keywords are in one of the three writing systems. The same thing applies to hashtags. If you use the wrong characters, you will reach out to fewer people. To know which script you should use, check on Google to see how many results pop up.

For example, if Japan is your region setting, you will see 14.7 billion results for ‘body’ in kanji (体 karada), 197 million in hiragana (からだ), 91 million in katakana (カラダ) and 4.8 million in romaji (karada). Therefore, if you want to use the word “body” in your keywords or hashtags, using the kanji has a farther reach than the other writing system. 

However, it is better to avoid using characters other than romaji for URLs, for not only aesthetic, but also encoding issues can occur when sharing a link with Japanese characters.

For the most part, a few Japanese are fluent in English. So you should adapt to them rather than wait for them to adapt to you. Learning how to speak Japanese or hiring people to do so is not enough. You will need to have a cultural understanding of Japan. If you don’t you might use, for example, use the numbers 4 and/or 9. This might be fine in a western language, but in Japanese, they have the same pronunciation as ‘death’ and ‘agony.’

In terms of a website, you might have to change or add a page for the Japanese. For westerners, generally, sites are clean, and whitespace filled while the majority of Japanese sites are compact and full of information design. So take a look at the Japanese website and emulate what they are showing.

Finally, check on search engines to see your website’s popularity. Unline in America and Europe, Yahoo! is as popular as Google in Japan. Also, when users visit your website, they should feel as if they were on a Japanese one. So structure it in a way that emulates or is similar in designer to Japanese websites.

Try making and using a mascot to represent your company. This allows factor recognition from people.

According to Manga Plus and WordBank, it:

  • ‘Increases the average visit duration by 1 minute 12 seconds.’
  • ‘Decreases bounce rates from 78% to 62%.’
  • ‘Increases conversion rates from 0.36% to 0.87%.’

Of course, knowing the impact of SEO can improve your business. Reading about this subject can allow you to gain recognition and success. If you need help entering the Japanese market, you can also contact us! We will be glad to help you with your product launch!