The first step to Japanese SEO: website analysis

Anna Wildman

Is there a difference between English and Japanese SEO?

There is no difference in terms of recommendations that Google makes for English and Japanese SEO (see Google's SEO Starter Guide for more information). However, there are some things you should be aware of before creating content in Japanese. For example, different languages can make a big difference in the keywords you choose. Also, cultural differences can affect the consumer behaviour of your target personas. This means that you will need to change the way you write content.

In other words, what works for SEO in the English-speaking market will not necessarily work in the Japanese market. You will need to rewire your thinking that just because something works in your home market that it will work abroad. 

In this sense, the first thing to do before starting a Japanese SEO project is to identify the problem that you are trying to solve. Put yourself back to the beginning of the project and ask yourself why you decided to focus on Japanese SEO now.

Maybe it's because you feel threatened by the shrinking domestic market, maybe it's because your overseas competitors have become more powerful through mergers, or maybe it's because you've reached the end of your contract with an overseas distributor. Depending on the issue at hand, the type of SEO keywords you select may change. 

Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console Use to get clarity on your current situation 

If you already have a Japanese website, then you have the foundation to gather the data needed. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are the best tools to gather SEO data. This is where you will discover things that you wouldn't have in your home market.

For example, you may find local words, sometimes abbreviations or slang, that you would never find in a direct translation. Or you may find a combination of words that you would not have found in your home market. In Japan, people tend to search with lists of words rather than questions. You will spot these differences by using the tools.

Of course, you will need the support of bilingual editors and native marketers at this stage. We will analyse the data in-depth and anticipate the needs of potential customers from there. Based on what we find, we then will be able to plan more content.  

It is also a good idea to set some tentative KPIs at the outset. Whether you want to increase the number of page views (PV) or the conversion rate (CVR), having some clarity on your objectives will help you to approach the project differently.

If you are looking for help with the planning and strategy stage of your Japanese SEO projects, the bilingual team at TAMLO can help. Please feel free to get in touch with us


Anna Wildman

Content Strategist


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