Free Webinar: The Definite Guide to SEO & Inbound Marketing for Japan

Join Outrider Japan & Ginza Metrics in a Free Webinar on March 15th 2012.

The Outrider Japan team & Ginza Metrics will conduct a free webinar for SEO gurus & global marketing leads that want to get an idea of the region.

The Webinar series was started by Ginza Metrics with the goal of creating more awareness of International SEO. The first webinar will feature Andy Radovic Director of Outrider Japan & Shawn Finn Senior SEO Specialist for Outrider. The two are SEO experts managing the SEO strategies of some of the largest global brands for Japan, Korea & other countries in Asia.

The webinar series is conducted by Ray Grieselhuber CEO & Founder of Ginza Metrics an Enterprise level SEO suite of tools.

Seminar Time: Thursday March 15th, 2pm PST
Link for registration:

About Ginza Metrics
Ginza Metrics is an all-in-one scalable suite of tools for SEO. The purpose of creating Ginza Metrics was to create a solution for small business owners, agencies, & global brands. It’s also one of the most international focused toolset on the market.

About Outrider Japan
Outrider is a leading global search marketing agency and is part of GroupM, WPP‘s consolidated media operations supporting digital marketing around the world. Outrider Japan is headquartered in Tokyo and is one of the most experienced and talented agencies representing global companies in Japan and the rest of Asia.

Google adds time stamp to organic search results

I’ve just noticed that Google has started to add time stamps for article updates to the organic search results. They seem to have visually revamped a lot lately & this seems like a potentially positive change to the natural SERPs.

For users that are searching for new info it’s great to see that the article was written this month or last month, instead of an article that was written about two or more years ago.

Good going Google as I update this site more hoping to see how these changes affect my search referals.

Here’s a screenshot.


Google Ads time stamp
Google Adds timestamp

Yahoo Japan’s Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool stops updating stats

Yahoo's Keyword Tool
Who said the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool was dead?

Yahoo’s Japan’s Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool has stopped updating stats finally it seems. Now I know quite a few of you are thinking this must be an old post or something that was just reposted from 2007. No it’s currently 2011 & Obama is the president of the USA. There has been actually several Keyword Suggestion Tools since the public & overused Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool vanished around 2007 but it seems no one writes about them.

The old Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool was pretty much a staple for too many marketing tools. If the tools were used for advertising that would have been fine but many of the softwares using the tool wasn’t geared towards paid search. It was used as an SEO tool and also benchmarks for domain stats.


In 2007 Yahoo launched the first new Keyword Suggestion Tool as they promised when they shut down the old one. Everyone was happy to hear that, business as usual right? Wrong. The first tool was agency only. Each person who used it had their own individual logins. Also there was never any press release on it. Agencies used it & kept quiet. Why not? This is the tool that finally is not being updated anymore.


So I know you’re wonder how do agencies get their data now? Well that tool to us was “So last year”. We already have a new tool by Yahoo! Japan. This tool also is schedule to be updated tremendously in Fall 2011. You want to know more about this tool?

Keep reading from time to time I’ll tell you all about it.

Global Clients & Dollar Advertising Budgets

Global Clients & Dollar Advertising Budgets

Many of us are onlookers as the US Dollar is steadily decreasing in value. Even though many who read this blog reside in countries that have a primary currency other than the US dollar many of our readers have global clients that do allocate budgets in dollar.

Dollar Yen
The Dollar Yen value

With the fluctuation between currencies on the outside it looks simple. You get a budget in Dollar, you agree on an exchange rate & you bill the client that amount. Seems simple, but it’s not.

4 years ago the fluctuations started to cause concerns for us in Tokyo. The yen has steadily grown stronger & stronger in value. Using an example of how the fluctuation works we’ll look at a client that sets budgets quarterly & likes to pay quarterly also.

Let’s say that client allocates a $500,000 budget to us in May 2007 that comes to 58.8 million yen media buying power. In June the exchange rate makes that 61 Million yen buying power. The problem is by the time the client pays in August, $500,000 becomes 57.9 million yen almost one million yen less than we began.

Other than budgets there are issues concerning at performance when the client’s KPIs are set in dollar. That campaign that you finally got the CPA to be aligned to your client’s goals just increased the CPA because of the fluctuations.

What solutions can we take to resolve issues & retain transparency amongst our clients?

Here are a few solutions that work for me.

Multicurrency reporting: Give clients reports in 2 currencies. Dollar & the local buying currency. This is great for those quarter reviews when you look & see your CPA in yen has decreased a lot compared to the previous quarter even if the decrease looked minor in dollars.

3rd Party Tracking Tools: Tools like Zap Search, & Marin keep accurate daily exchange rates. I’m a big advocate of using tools like Marin or Zap search for conversion tracking & reporting. You & your clients can see historic data that the currency can be changed on the fly.

Clients Pay in Advance: Make your clients pay the monthly budget or quarterly budget in advance to avoid confusion.

So there we have it. If you have any other solutions feel free to comment.
BTW one of the solutions is a joke :-p

Japan mobile trends interesting stats

Last night I went to a presentation at Tokyo 2.0
I found a few stats about the mobile market that was interesting.

1/16th of the internet users in the world use mobile internet.
1/4th of Japanese internet users use mobile internet.
35% of the world’s mobile revenue comes from Japan
Some sites say more than 60% of mobile traffic is from females
Mixi Japan’s largest SNS stats 86% of it’s traffic comes from mobile.

IDN Domains & technology compatibility

IDN Domains & technology compatibility
After reading the post on Outrider Australia’s Blog by Ian Lavelle about IDN Domains I decided to write a post about technology compatibility. His final quote made me realize many might think that these domains are not here yet, or that search technology is not already compatible.
“Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics are two great resources for webmasters to track diagnostic issues and monitor user activity on your site, but whether Google opens their services up to non-latin character based websites remains to be seen.”
Below I have started to list a very good resource of what is compatible with these IDN Domains.
For those who haven’t heard your clients will next year be able to have full domains in written in language scripts other than latin based alphabet. For example full domains in Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Korean, and/or Arabic. This will start with ccTLDs (Country domains .cn, .jp, etc). I will use .jp as an example since I’m in Japan. Currently you can already register IDNs in dot jp. For example if I own ダイヤモンド.jp ( when approved people in Japan will also be able to own .日本 (Japan). The registry in Japan has already announced registered holders of the “” will be the ones who have the option of the “Domain.日本” for the same domain.
Since .日本 is not yet available I can go through what is already IDN domain friendly & how far technology has gotten to. I have personally been testing these domains for more than 4 years already for SEO & marketing value.
A) Search Engines
The search engines are fairly familiar with these domains & have been adding IDN compatibility over the last several years.

Search listings results show IDN domains already. Here is an example below. Keyword as an SEO factor in the domain is only an option for the Japanese market if the domain is in Japanese too. This is the same logic for Chinese, Korean, & Arabic etc.
If you search for the Domain plus extension there is a high possibility it will be the number one position in the search results. For example if a site ホノルル.jp & in English letters both have the brand in Japanese “ホノルル.jp”, if Japanese users search for the term exactly without quotes the IDN Domain only has to be indexed to beat out the because to a search engine “ホノルル” & Honolulu are as relevant as ホノルル & any other term in English.

Yahoo Japan
Yahoo Japan is also already IDN compatible. Yahoo Japan & other Yahoo sites already display IDN Domains natively in the search results. One difference between Yahoo & Google that I have found is if a user searches for the domain & extension with or without quotes it is currently guaranteed first place position in the search results. I have tested this & no amount of SEO or links can make another domain get a better ranking. On Google another domain ranking higher is possible but not on Yahoo.
Bing’s search results weren’t IDN compatible. With the revamp of Bing the domains are now shown natively in the search results. If you search for a keyword plus domain it does not have a great chance of showing up in higher positions in Bing. There still needs to be more testing.

Baidu does not show IDN Domain sites in native Unicode. It shows the domains in punycode. Even if you search for the domain plus domain extension it will most likely not show up in the search results. I also have only tried this from Tokyo.

Here is an example of the search results from Baidu.
Yandex (Russian)
The largest search engine from Russia seems to not be very IDN compatible as of yet. The domains don’t show in the results when searched for. If the domains show in the results they are in Punycode.
Daum (Korean Search)
The Korean search portal is already IDN compatible. By doing a search for a developed Korean IDN Domain without quotes Daum brought these results. This is in the middle of the page with the natural search listings. I have not tested Korea domains thoroughly.
Naver (Korean Search)Add an Image
Naver does not display the domains in Unicode & even searching for a domain with extension does not bring up a developed Korean domain. Here is one Korean IDN developed site I found in the search results.
Both Google Adwords & Yahoo Search Marketing can accept IDN in search ads. The Domain can not be displayed in Unicode yet. This is a paid search ad on Yahoo using an IDN Domain.

1. Google Mobile Japan
The search listings for Google Japan mobile are IDN domain compatible & results show domains names natively.. The algorithm for mobile search is also different from PC search listings. There is a possibility that the domain name may have more value as a factor in the mobile search results. There is not much of any published data on this as of yet. All non Softbank cell phones in Japan have Google Mobile as the default search engine.
2. Yahoo Japan Mobile
Unlike the PC search results for Yahoo, IDN domains show as punycode in the mobile search results. Domains are indexed correctly & do show in results.
1. Google Page Rank
Years ago IDN domains did not show Google page rank but currently IDN domains & Google page rank are compatible.
2. Google Webmaster tools
Google Webmaster Tools has been IDN compatible for a few years now. Domains can be used in native form.
3. Yahoo Search Explorer
Yahoo Search Explorer is also IDN compatible. This has been IDN compatible for a few years also.
4. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is IDN compatible. I have always put in the domain as punycode & named the profile with the Japanese domain name. There is only one current tracking issue. Browser stats show IE7 & IE8 as IE6. I have contacted Google about this issue. There is a code work around that I have yet to test.
This is just a really quick overview of tools we are all familiar with & their compatibility with these domains.

Google new Display URL Policy change

Google Display URL ChangeGoogle has updated it’s Adwords program display URL guideline. It seems to address the problems that most likely the initial rule of display URL & the final landing page may have caused.

The new rule is intended for advertisers who use a hosting services that allow users to make their own page. Like Blogspot, Google pages, etc. It states you have to put the subdomain also in the display URL. So if you advertise for you have to put, only using as your display url will get your ad disapproved.

I believe this will eventually lead to going one step further in the future. What about users who advertise for a youtube page? or Facebook that doesn’t have a subdomain? Will the system allow you to use just, or as your display URL?

Article references

Adwords Blog:
Webmaster World:

Baidu to launch online Video service

Baidu China’s most popular search engine has stated that it will create a separate company to provide premium video content to China’s online users.

Honestly speaking I wonder what the search engine could possibly offer that you can’t already see on Youku basically allows users to upload anything in full lenght TV shows, full movies, only porn is not allowed. People from other countries like US & Japan are blocked from watching Youku videos (to reduce bandwidth & complaints).

I wish Baidu good luck with this venture they have the Chinese market locked already.

This post was referenced from:

WTF is still alive?

From doing a completely unrelated search for a term in Japanese, I ran across an ad on Google Japan for the supposed to be closed search engine Ask.

Everyone in search in Tokyo believes is officially dead because they announced it themselves. I do believe the search engine did have some traffic & ties with various media companies in Japan. They also had a huge billboard in Shibuya’s crossing which is like billboard space in Times Square.

If they didn’t announce they were closing perhaps they would still have traffic. Changing the service to new owners would have been a better public announcement. It’s good to have options through with any services.

Anyway good luck to the new owners.

MSN Japan adds Mixi Login to front page

MSN Japan which I only ever see after being forced to redirect there when logging out of Hotmail adds a Mixi login on their site. I’m really not sure who this benefits or which company approached which.

Looking at it thought it would be a good tie up if Microsoft bought the biggest SNS in Japan. Imagine it would give them a great boost in first hand knowledge in mobile & SNS in Japan. Mixi like even my mobile sites has multiple the traffic from Japanese cell keitai users.

I guess instead of just logging off of Hotmail & being on well the Hotmail homepage afterwards is considered a waste, so they have to try to send the traffic someplace. You can log off & go to Mixi now.

You can go to Mixi at
MSN Japan at

Here’s a full screenshot