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Are you thinking of building links in Japan?

So you might just have your Japanese content in order, you might even have hired a team of SEOs in Japan.

The next step is to get some juicy Japanese links. Easier said than done.

Mr Authority currently operates around 60 Japanese sites and has worked with link building for most world-renowned brands.

I want to share some of that experience, what works and what doesn’t.

What makes SEO in Japan unique?

Japanese tend to be meticulous. In the West, link building is more of a barter. You link to me, I link to you. Or I offer your this and you get me that.

When building links in Japan you have to take into consideration that people want to make sure exactly what your site is about and who they are doing business with.

Do the Japanese even use Google?

You might have heard before that the Japanese only use Yahoo.

While it is true that Yahoo is still quite popular, Google got 74 percent of the market in Japan. Both search engines use Google’s core search algorithms.

Link building tactics that work in Japan

Create a link bait page

Instead of having a site link directly to your money page, consider creating a more informative piece of content that is relevant to both your business and the site that is linking to you.

For example, if you are building a link to a finance site, create a subpage about what companies did most profit last year in Japan.


Have a solid about us page (it matters more than you think!)

While it might not be a link building tactic itself, we have seen it boost conversion time and time again. Locals want to see how it is behind your site and know exactly what your site is about.

Spending a few hours on creating a proper About us page, even if you run an affiliate site, can yield good conversions.

Get included on comparison sites

Use SEO tools to identify which websites are linking to your competitors, but not to you.

Once you have done that, get in touch with the websites and make yourself accessible in an easy way. By appearing on comparison sites, you increase your ranking.

Create share- and linkable content

Like other countries, Japan sees great value in infographic websites, especially if the information is interesting and credible.

The links do not have to be linked to classic infographics, but can be charts or even YouTube clips. Or why not a picture that shows something interesting?

Promote your content on Twitter and Line

When promoting content through social media networks it is important to know which ones are the most popular in the specific country. In Japan, Twitter is the absolute most popular social network.

Other big players are LINE and Facebook. Not so popular as in the west world is LinkedIn, but their reputation is growing.

Work with guest posting

This is actually one of the most efficient tips when it comes to link building in Japan. This is because guest posting is not that common in the country.

Many sites may not consider guest posting since it can be viewed as “working for free” but if you’re looking into more niesched sites you might find a little more open minded people.

But, there is a little warning as well. Google did recently state guest posting as “unnatural links” so it might get harder to rank in the future. But since it’s so uncommon in Japan, it can still be worth a try and even a possible goldmine.

Make sure your links are correctly placed

The placement and position of the backlinks matters a lot so don’t hide your links in footers and sidebars. Instead, give them the attention they deserve by placing them in the top 2 or 3 paragraphs of your article or post.

Backlinks from High Authority sites are important

In Japan, reliable sources are as important as reliable sources in the EU for example, but they may not always be the same. In Japan the high authority sources can be news organizations like Yahoo Japan News, Huffington Post Japan, MSN, Infoseek, Toyo Kezai and Nikkei for example.

If your content is more nieched, don’t be afraid to link to a respected smaller source, that is well known in the particular industry.

Getting a backlink from a high source is much more efficient than a backlink from an unknown or not trusted source.

Keep your backlinks relevant

Always make sure your backlink is relevant to the content and your overall website. Don’t only rely on that the anchor text matches the primary keywords of its linked page, make sure the link is relevant to what you’re actually writing about.

Link Building tactics that doesn’t work in Japan

 Free or paid link directories

Back in the days it was common to rank your website on search engines by just entering your domain on directories like JOY or That simply doesn’t work anymore and the sites are down.

Shortcuts with paid submissions

Sites like Submit! Used to be popular to rank on in Japan, by just paying them a small fee. That doesn’t work anymore either.

Be careful with link trading and reciprocal links

First of all; there are some cases where link exchanges seem to work in Japan. But, it’s nothing to recommend and if you overuse it, it might be that you get penalized by Google.

Link exchange is most common when it comes to PR announcements where two different companies form a link trading partnership.

Like said before, it comes down to relevance at this point and we only recommend link trading if the content is relevant enough to yours and the link exchange feels natural.

Don’t buy old domains for links

When Yahoo adapted Google in Japan, most of these old techniques of ranking fast on search engines got deleted. Trying to buy an old website domain with a lot of backlinks, to redirect these to your own website simply doesn’t work anymore.