Why Yahoo Japan should be part of your search strategy for Japan

Did you know that Yahoo in Japan is a completely separate business from Yahoo in the rest of the world?

Since 1996, Yahoo Japan has been the premier search site and portal in Japan.

Since he started using Google’s organic search results instead of his own search engine, some companies, especially foreign ones, seem to think that you don’t need to consider or monitor them separately. .

But it really is not.

Read on to learn about some of Yahoo Japan’s unique features and why it should be part of your digital marketing strategy for Japan.

Yahoo Japan services

Yahoo Japan is a portal site and offers over 100 popular original content and other services, including:


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  • Questions and answers
  • News
  • Purchases
  • Finance
  • Card
  • Library
  • To post
  • Automotive navigation
  • Rail navigation
  • Encounter
  • Credit card
  • Mobile networks
  • Hotel reservation
  • Auction
  • Advertising

Because they are unique Yahoo Japan properties, they provide different research and digital marketing opportunities for businesses and website owners.

They also provide additional content from partners in these specific services and industries.

For example, their hotel and restaurant reservation services are provided by Ikyu.com, and the video streaming service is offered by Gyao, a subsidiary of Yahoo Japan.

Yahoo Japan User Profile

Yahoo Japan device sharing

Yahoo Japan has about 70 billion pageviews per month, according to their report.


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They also report that 75% of PC internet users in Japan are active Yahoo Japan users, and an astonishing 90% of Japanese who access the web through smartphones are their active users.

On average, 63% of their active users access the site via a smartphone, which represents around 57 million unique users in a month.

Male and female active smartphone users are evenly distributed, and nearly 90% of them are between 20 and 59 years old.

Yahoo Japan SEO: what’s different?

Although Google provides the organic search results to Yahoo Japan, the search results pages can be quite different, depending on the search queries.

Yahoo Japan often injects its own unique content.

This unique content provides businesses with additional ways to gain unique visibility opportunities in search results.

The two images below show a list of related search queries that Yahoo Japan and Google Japan provided for the Japanese phrase “hurricane” when entered in the search box in Japan. The screenshots were taken when Hurricane Florence was about to hit the Carolinas.

Why Yahoo Japan should be part of your search strategy for JapanWhy Yahoo Japan should be part of your search strategy for Japan

Even if you can’t read Japanese, you can “see” the differences in popular “hurricane”-related search queries between the two listings.

For me the biggest difference is that “Hurricane Florence” is listed second on the list by Yahoo Japan, but hasn’t even made the list on Google.

Whenever I review search results and popular queries for clients, I often find the big differences in search queries between the two sites.

Even for the same word or topic, people seem to be looking for different information on these sites.

If you dig a little deeper, the search results for “Hurricane Florence” by these two sites are also different.

On the Yahoo Japan screen, the content inside the red boxes is from their own content – Yahoo News, Naver Matome, Yahoo Images, and Yahoo Q&A in that order.

Yahoo Japan vs Google Japan search results

Double arrows point to the same page on each site. You can see the slight differences in some rankings.


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The most interesting conclusions of these two results are those of the green boxes. These pages are only in the top 10 on one of them.

This is by no means a scientific test, but the fact that the page ranking at the top of search results on each site is not on the other site indicates that you cannot assume that your pages perform well in Japan when you monitor performance in Google.

The above research results were taken where the personalization shouldn’t have had much of an impact.

But in the real scenario, with more popular queries, personalization plays a big role in presenting search results to users on both sites.

As Google tries to present the best search results based on their user data, Yahoo Japan also presents search results based on their user data.

The different results reflect the different interests of users and the actions taken on each site.

Instead of just chasing the rankings, I suggest you take a look at the search results for several key terms so that you understand what and how the content is displayed.


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Look for different types of content opportunities to show in search results, in addition to web pages.

Yahoo Japan’s category searches (eg, images, videos, news, finance, shopping) are also very popular, and the results are quite different from Google Japan’s.

If you have good content that should show up in these category searches, be sure to optimize them as well.

Announcement options

Keep in mind that although Yahoo Japan’s organic search results are generated by Google, Google’s ads do not appear on Yahoo Japan and its content.

Additionally, by selecting “Japan” as the target country, your Yahoo.com ads will not appear on Yahoo Japan.

These three companies are separate entities.

In order to advertise on Yahoo Japan properties, you need to create an account with them to run the campaigns.

Some of Yahoo Japan’s marketing solutions include:

  • Sponsored search ads for search results.
  • Retargeting research.
  • Display advertising network.
  • Retargeting of sites.
  • Video ads.
  • Premium ads.
  • Content discovery.
  • Sponsored content.


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This article is not about which service is better than the other.

It is about understanding the different services and the unique audience of the two sites so that you can make an informed decision to grow your business in the rapidly growing Japanese market.

If you focus on just one of them, you might be missing out on half of the business opportunities in Japan.

More international SEO resources:

Image credits

All screenshots taken by author, September 2018

Brandon D. James