The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Japan in 2024


The Potential of SEO in Japan

To begin, let’s delve into the essence of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO stands as a strategic tool aimed at enhancing a website’s visibility within search engine results pages (SERPs).

This is important because the higher your website ranks in search results, the greater the likelihood of attracting visits from users.

Now, is there potential for SEO marketing in Japan?

The answer is “YES.”

One reason for this is the high internet penetration rate and the widespread use of digital devices in Japan.

As of 2022, the personal internet usage rate in Japan stood at an impressive 84.9%.

INternet Penetration in Japan. 総務省 第2部 情報通信分野の現状と課題.

For the age group of 13 to 59 years old, the internet usage rate is nearly 100%, and even among those up to 79 years old, more than half are using the internet.

Internet Usage by Age. “歳” means “age”. 総務省 第2部 情報通信分野の現状と課題.

Additionally, according to a research by Nikkei Pasokon, 86.5% of Japanese seem to use internet search more than once a day.

These data shows there is a certain potential for SEO marketing in Japan.

Basic Information about SEO for Japan

Google and Yahoo! are The Common Search Engines

In Japan, with Google being the dominant player, the search engine landscape is similar to that of the West.

According to a survey conducted by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the market share of search engines in Japan is as follows:

On PCs, Google holds approximately 75%, Yahoo! has 14.2%, and Bing has 9.6%.

On mobile devices, Yahoo! gains a slight advantage, with Google at 75.2%, Yahoo! at 24.2%, and Bing at a mere 0.3%.

On DesktopsOn Mobile Devices
Popular Search Engines on Each Device. (総務省 日本における検索エンジンのシェア(利用端末別))

While there is a minority of users who use Yahoo!, it’s important to note that Yahoo! Japan leverages Google’s search engine through their partnership.

This means that if you optimize your website for Google, you’re also effectively covering Yahoo! Japan. Therefore, focusing your SEO efforts on Google is a practical approach in the Japanese market.

70% of Japanese Users are Accessing Internet Via Mobile Devices

In Japan, mobile devices are the primary means of accessing the internet, followed by desktop computers.

According to a survey conducted by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, nearly 70% of users access internet via mobile devices.

The trend of using mobile devices to access the internet is more prevalent in East Asia, including Japan, compared to Western regions.

Therefore, it’s essential to adopt a “mobile-first” approach in designing your website for the Japanese market.

This means ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile devices, providing a seamless and user-friendly experience for mobile users is crucial.


Tips for Launching a Website for Japan

Use English for Domain Names and URL Slugs

When it comes to SEO in Japan, it’s highly recommended to use English for domain names and URL slugs.

This doesn’t mean using Japanese is detrimental to SEO. However, URLs written in Japanese can become excessively long strings when copied, making it difficult to discern the nature of the site just by looking at the URL.

For Example if you copy the url ‘日本語.com’ ( , the url will automatically be changed into ‘’.

Therefore, it is advisable to use English for domain names and URL slugs.

In practice, most companies in Japan also use English for their domain names and URL slugs.

In the following video, John Müller, a Google Webmaster Trend Analyst, explains how Google handles non-English language in URLs: