Is Yahoo still big in Japan? The answer may surprise you.

I get this question a lot from my clients who want SEO.

My answer is “Yahoo is no longer a popular search engine, and even if it is, it doesn’t matter at all”.

Yahoo is popular, just not as a search engine

When you search “Yahoo Japan popular” or “Popular Search Engine in Japan”, you find many articles that say “Yahoo is more popular than Google in Japan”, or “more people use Yahoo than Google in Japan.”

To be fair, it is true that Yahoo is popular, however, not as a search engine. Yahoo Japan is more than search engine. It runs an online auction site while ebay has almost no presence in Japan. It also runs the most popular Q&A site while Quara is not even localized in Japanese. Yahoo Japan also has a popular directory.

In 2015, Nielsen reported that, in Japan, Yahoo has 38,920,000 active users and Google has 24,910,000 active users. However, the active users includes users of Yahoo!知恵袋 (Yahoo Answers), Yahoo Transit, which is navigation app, Yahoo Auction, Yahoo Weather Forecast, and many other Yahoo services.

The search engine share of Yahoo Japan is less than 30%. Google has nearly 70% of the search engine market share.

Who are those 30% who use Yahoo Japan Search?

Just because many people use Yahoo Japan, it does not mean you should allocate your valuable resources to it. Japan has many old people, but you aren’t going to try to sell your cool cloud apps to old people, right?

Report of VALUES, Inc. and Shoeisha Co., Ltd. reported the the demographics of Yahoo Japan is older females who do not use the internet often. If you want to sell your cloud productivity apps, they are probably not your target market.

Yahoo Japan uses Google’s algorithm.

Yahoo Japan uses the same algorithm as Google, so optimizing website contents to Google’s algorithm is effective SEO for Yahoo, too.

In short, you don’t need to do SEO for Yahoo at all.

What you should do to optimize your website to Search Market in Japan?

SEO in Japanese is no different from SEO in English.

You need to choose target keywords, map keywords and avoid keyword cannibalism, create good contents, and measure the result.

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