SEO successful case & strategy at startup company in Japanese market

SEO successful case in Japanese market - Taiwan beer keyword strategy

If you are interested to expand your business in Japanese market, SEO in Japanese language is one of the important strategies same as in other countries.

I introduce the successful case of SEO in one startup company’s traveling information site in Japanese market.


Table of contents

1. SEO strategy overview
2. Useful SEO tools in Japanese market
3. SEO successful case 1: "Taiwan Beer"
4. SEO successful case 2: "Aurora Tour" for client promotion
5. Growth with content marketing team at startup company
6. Part of our advanced SEO strategies


Why is SEO important? and its effectiveness

Before starting to tell the SEO successful case in Japanese market, I want to share why SEO is important as one of the marketing measures in Japanese market as well.

1. Good user numbers on search engines
To target the potential users for your business, there are many different ways/channels to reach.
And SEO way to use Google or other search engine websites is one option.
In Japanese market, more than half of the citizens use Google or Yahoo to get the information.
– Yahoo JAPAN: 53% (66.5 million)
– Google: 53% (66.2 million)
Obviously Googling is natural thing for Japanese people.

2. SEO makes it possible to make the logical business plans
As a marketer working for the startup company, always the overlooked but detailed business planning with sales, costs, etc is necessary.
If you have the skills of SEO and want to estimate the business plans, you can do this estimation quite accurate.

Concrete successful results I achieved with SEO in startup company in Japan
– We got more than 3 million users and 8 million page views monthly in JP, EN, ZH languages after 2 years
– We made the websites business profitable and got 2 million USD invested by venture capitols

I could achieve these results because of SEO results.

I will introduce more details and the successful case of SEO next.


1. SEO strategy overview

First of all to tell how to make the business successful with SEO, I tell you the overview of SEO strategy how to think about and how to make it possible.


Keyword Structuring

SEO strategy overview - Keywords Structuring

In SEO, we handle the user needs and potential conversion actions(i.e. Purchasing, Contacting, etc) with their searches on the search engine sites like Google.

People search with tons of different words, but we can still classify their needs(searched words).
I often think about their needs and summarize as a pyramid style structures.

Structure & Searched words example about Traveling to Thailand

- Top level
Thailand Sightseeing

- Second level
Thailand (Sightseeing) weather
Thailand (Sightseeing) gourmet

- Third level
Thailand (Sightseeing) weather clothes
Thailand (Sightseeing) weather temperature
Thailand (Sightseeing) gourmet blogs

- More levels classified can be possible


Keyword and page making planning

SEO strategy overview - Keyword and page making planning

After knowing about their searched keywords and needs, I start to organize which is the target keywords and which pages/articles to make to acquire the users to view our pages/articles for the target conversions.

To achieve our goals what to get from this pages/articles making with keywords targeting, there are some important criteria how to decide.

Important criteria

- Possibilities
Even if we want to target any specific keywords(user needs) but we do not have exact information or things to offer, we never can deliver the best needs for the users.

- Competitiveness
Thinking of other websites and competitors is also important to decide which keywords and when to make the contents.
If already other sites have enough good contents and we cannot easily deliver for the user needs, we need to think about the plan.

- Cost of time and money
If we will make all the page contents required to target user needs, logically we can be advantaged in the searched results.
But we should also think about how long it takes by we will get the results we want.
And also it costs time and money to run the team and focus on any contents making.
Therefore we should always think about those costs to decide which contents to make for the results.

- Expected values
Related to the cost, we should estimate what we can get from making the contents beforehand.
So you and the team will be agreeing with the SEO based content making works.

Also I organize the keyword types and its expected values with this kind of tables.
So depending on the project scenes and goals, I refer to the data and expectations and decide the content making plans.
Keyword status and expected results


2. Useful SEO tools in Japanese market

To make the contents making and planning faster, easily and successful, I use the tools same as other marketers.


Mieruca – AI based keyword mapping & listing tool

Mieruca - AI based keyword mapping
Mieruca - AI based keyword listing

This Mieruca tool is what I recommend the most in Japanese SEO work.
They say AI based SEO tool and it covers the following functions.
– Keyword listing
– Keyword mapping
– Analytics with Google Search Console data
– Heat map
– Keyword ranking tracker
– Search query and SERP type analytics

To use Mieruca, we can easily make the mapping diagram of the keywords based on the user needs types and the relations.
So that I can refer to this map to have the quick insight to start more details research smoothly.

They also give the keyword listing and ranking checker, so I can browse all the existing user needs on the search engine, and can check which sites already get ranked in bulk.

Other SEO tools I use for example

- Keyword research for content targeting and making
keysearch Beta

- Tracking the results, competitors research, total platform etc
Demand metrics
Deep Crawl


3. SEO successful case 1: “Taiwan Beer”

SEO successful case in Japanese market - Taiwan beer keyword strategy

Not only the logical method, I introduce the actual case and the good result with SEO.

I’m running the own traveling information website and targeted “Taiwan Beer” in Japanese language as an experiment.

I chose this keyword as this is kind of big volume(popular) which usually means difficult to get higher rank, but good to try to see if SEO strategy works or not.

As shown above, user needs & searched keywords can be mapped like this with Mieruca tool.

I classify them like the followings.
I personally met the developer of this tool and introduced how I use, and he agreed with my opinion.

- Main target keyword : Try to get higher rank and the conversions
- Sub keywords : They have closer relations with the main target keyword
- Specific content keywords : They can be kind of the body of the content for the main keyword
- Separated keywords : Not very much directly related to the main and sub keywords. Usually I make the individual separated page contents for those keywords to work SEO better with keywords relations.

After this mapping, also keyword listing and competition sites research, I decided to make the content summary like the followings.

1. Content one : Recommended Taiwan beer list with sub keywords info
 - List as many as specific Taiwan beers with the pictures
 - Introducing what each beer is with the important info of price, taste, alcohol %, where to buy and etc.

2. Content two : Taiwan beer glass to buy for the souvenirs
 - Shops to buy Taiwan beer glass in Taiwan
 - Price, shop address, types etc, which were not suggested by the tool, but logically this user needs can be assumed with the main keyword and also other similar shopping keywords.

3. Content Three : Online shopping sites to buy Taiwan beer
 - This was kind of the challenge and to see what happens as usually "online shopping" keyword in JP language is seen as difficult with Amazon or Rakuten(JP local EC site) and not worth trying. But I tried this time as I had the hypothesis to get ranked high.
 - The hypothesis is that if I include the obvious needs and user's potential needs which are not implemented by other sites at the same time to mix, I can get high ranks.
 - User wants to check the beer through some different EC sites and want to know the best ones, but each EC site just lists all the small business owners shopping pages, which means not user friendly with too much info.
 - So I searched and found best recommended beers from each ECC site and listed in my content page.
 - User mostly wants to know about the best price and tastes, so I picked the cheapest and all different kinds from as many as EC site.


SEO rank result of the target keywords

I made 3 content pages above and got quite good results.

Rank 1 for the main target keyword and 2nd one.

Also for the difficult “online shopping” keyword, I got rank 4, which is better than some of the EC sites.

Taiwan Beer: No.1 rank for more than 1 year as expected

SEO result of "Taiwan Beer" main target keyword

Taiwan Beer glass: No.1 rank for more than 1 year as expected

SEO result of "Taiwan Beer Glass" separate keyword

Taiwan Beer online shopping: No.4 rank for more than 1 year

SEO result of "Taiwan Beer Online shopping" separate keyword


4. SEO successful case 2: “Aurora Tour” for client promotion

SEO successful case 2- “Aurora Tour” for client promotion keyword research

I introduce another successful case of SEO content making, which is the client promotion project.
Client is the online travel agency, which wanted to sell the aurora watching tours to the individual travelers.

In this project, point was the keyword targeting, I can say which decided if the project succeeds or not at the beginning with this research.

In the project with the client, I always organize the SEO information and research results about targeting keywords and content making plans with the comparison table like the above.

I summarize, compare and explain with the following info.
With this reasonable information, of course I try to assume how to get the good results, and also clients can agree logically with the strategy and the plan.

Delivering enough info to the clients with followings

- Potential Target Keywords
- Types of the user actions
- Competition sites and strength
- Efficiency/Expected results from the content making
- Evaluations and recommendations


Point of the target keyword this time

In the tourism industry, of course the “tour” keywords are quite difficult to compete with other sites.
There are so many travel agencies which have the good evaluations already.

Like this project working with the small and new travel agency, we naturally need to find the niche but still good keywords to get the good results, which means bookings by the travelers.

In this “aurora tour” focused project, I did the research and found there’s niche area in the user’s search keywords and competition sites.

In the process of travelers searching about when and where to watch the aurora, it was the chance that we can target.
Not same as the results of directly searched with “Aurora Tour” on Google, even though those when & where keywords are quite exciting user needs, but there were not many strong competition sites with great information. Mostly personal blogs or similar were found.

Then we made one content according to the SEO research and user needs like the followings.
– Where to see the aurora around the world
– When is good timings to watch
– How to go to the aurora point and what to prepare


SEO successful result

SEO successful case 2- “Aurora Tour” for client promotion - ranking results
SEO successful case 2- “Aurora Tour” for client promotion - traffics results

And the results were quite good with the rankings, the actual search traffics and of course the bookings.
We got about 150% of the booking numbers compared with usual.


5. Growth of site & business with content marketing team at startup company

Growth of site & business with content marketing team at startup company - workflow

As a startup company, contents making with the team members for the target KPI in short, middle and long term can be important work.

In my startup experience, once we knew content making and advertisement business works good for the company’s profit, we started to concentrate on this.

Same as other work, work flow improvement and KPI settings are important and letting the business close to the targets.

As a team manager, I alway organize the member roles, try to reduce the less important work/time, set the KPIs, and repeatedly check for more improvement.

I introduce some of the good KPIs to improve the content marketing / making team.

- Lead Time KPI
SEO content summary making lead time
Outsourcing content writer starting lead time
Writer's content delivery lead time
Total publishing lead time

- Efficiency KPI
Expected / Actual acquisition rate (*Actual traffics / Search volume)
Defective Rate of SEO content summary
Defective Rate of content writing
Growth of site & business with content marketing team at startup company - KPI settings


6. Part of our advanced SEO strategies

Advanced SEO strategy - acquisition rate tracking

If picking up one part of unique SEO strategy I offer, it is “Acquisition Rate” of KPI I always track after making the contents.

It is simply calculated like
Actual search traffic numbers / Search volumes

Looking just simple, but there is a reason why I focus on this.

Normally the search volume is given by Google and we can simply expect the traffic numbers we can get if we make the contents to target those keywords.
But actually this rule is not always correct.
In my experience and experiment, I found the small search volume suggested by Google, but actually got like 300% ~ 1,000% compared with the suggested volume by Google.

Normally marketers decide to target the keywords with those volumes, so this kind of keywords can be ignored, so becomes niche too.

Tracking this acquisition rate, knowing the tendency, then I can intentionally target those niche and working well keywords.


More about the author: freelance SEO & Digital marketing expert in Japan

You can check more about me as a freelance SEO & Digital marketing expert in Japanese market with the following info.

I introduce about some of my careers, clients info and results.

Working as employed ERP software consultant, leading SAP support team cooperating with the developers in India, USA and Germany

– Daimler
– Nissan

Founded Japanize of the corporation as a business owner and marketer
I mostly work on the project to promote the clients with the offline marketing like the event organizing

– Tokyo Metropolitan
– City of Shinjuku, Tokyo
– University of Tsukuba
– Many local small businesses

Joined a travel tech startup company as COO
I involved in many different kind of roles like CRM, WEB director, Sales and Marketing
I started the SEO based traveling info site in 3 languages(JP, EN, ZH)
Also worked with many clients for their business promotion

– Spain Government Tourism Bureau
– Australia Government Tourism Bureau
– Many travel agencies

Working for many different clients mainly for SEO as a freelance marketer

– Webselenese (IT company in Israel)
– Compathy (Japanese travel tech startup)
– medisense (Japanese preparation school)
– The Bookmakers (Bookmaker affiliate business)
– Million Steps (Japanese consulting company)
– HAM (Coworking space in Tokyo, Japan)