27.09.2019

How to Create SEO-friendly Content in Japanese

Anna Wildman

Japanese SEO (Titles and Descriptions)

SEO strategy is crucial when localising digital campaigns in Japan. As Japanese is a unique language grammatically, structurally, and visually, content marketers need to be aware of how to localise their messages effectively.

For example, when compared with English, the difference is clear simply by looking at the SERPs results.

English

  • Title: 50-70 characters
  • Meta description: 150-160 characters

Japanese

  • Title: 25-35 characters
  • Meta description: 120-130 characters

Optimised titles and descriptions are a key aspect of a successful SEO strategy, both to grab the readers’ attention and to obtain higher CTRs.

The Japanese writing system & keywords 

The Japanese language has three writing systems: hiragana, katakana and kanji. There are several ways to express any one word. For example, sake (Japanese rice wine) can be written as さけ (hiragana), サケ (katakana), or 酒 (kanji). However, many Japanese people actually take the katakana サケ as the meaning of salmon. It is clear from these examples that you need a native speaker’s perspective when localising your content.

Japanese-on-page optimisation such as headings and alt tags

Your on-page optimisation strategy may vary greatly depending on the region. Headings should contain keywords that help readers to understand the description clearly and alt tags and captions should be chosen with the appropriate keywords. 

Search engine market share in Japan

As of September 2021, search engine market share in Japan is approximately 75% for Google and 20% for Yahoo! Japan. Yahoo! Japan uses Google’s search algorithm, so virtually speaking we only need to focus on Google in terms of SEO.

As in other parts of the world, Google does not localise Japanese content automatically. Google’s search algorithm is built on the “user first” philosophy. Therefore, it is important to produce and distribute content from the user’s standpoint. To localise properly, you will need to have in-depth knowledge of the target country’s cultural context.

Create a SEO strategy, then execute

Creating SEO content means implementing strategies to capture organic search results that rank highly. As mentioned, Google has stated that it uses a user-first algorithm, so it is important to understand the user needs and to create content accordingly. 

First, define your marketing goals. Then, list the keywords that are relevant to those needs. Once you’ve decided on the keywords, monitor which ones perform best. Identify the sites that already rank highly and clarify the target keywords. 

Once you’re happy, make an action plan and execute on it. Be bold! Consider multiple formats like video or graphics. Careful use of infographics has resulted in high CTRs in recent years. Avoid long titles and descriptions. The text should always be accurate and easy to read. 

But don’t stop there. Gather data. Read and interpret reader responses and periodically revise. But above all, you must be familiar with the local market and tailor your language and strategy that cater to their needs.

To learn more on getting started with SEO or Japanese SEO, please refer to our articles How to get started with SEO: Essential tips and Japanese SEO: How to meet your customers’ needs in Japan

We at TAMLO are happy to help you with your Japanese SEO. Please feel free to contact us and one of our bilingual staff members will get back to you.

Writer

Anna Wildman

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