Digital Marketing

Misconceptions about SEO in B2B Marketing – What to be aware of when doing digital marketing in Japan

While SEO knowledge and techniques have been democratized in recent years, there are still many misconceptions about SEO. In this article, we will clear up some of the major misconceptions about SEO and explain some of the important points that you should know when carrying out digital marketing in Japan.

We support foreign companies who want to start digital marketing, including SEO, for the Japanese market. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about entering the Japanese market or developing a digital marketing strategy.

Misconception#1 – SEO works immediately

Regrettably, SEO does not provide immediate success. If you start from scratch and work on SEO, it will take some time before you actually feel the effects. Depending on the condition of the site and domain, it may take at least 3 months, and on average, 6 months to actually feel the benefits of SEO. And more it is not unusual for it to take more than a year to actually see results.

Misconception#2 – SEO is not important for B2B business

In B2B businesses where the business span is long, SEO can be very effective. As mentioned earlier, SEO does not provide immediate success, but once it reaches the stage where it yields successful results, it becomes a great asset. At this stage, it is no longer necessary to spend money on advertising to acquire new lead customers, which is why SEO is an extremely important marketing tool for B2B businesses that have long business spans and handle large product prices.

Misconception#3 – The importance of SEO is declining with the rise of SNS

This may be true in B2C business, but it is not true in the Japanese B2B business scene, especially for high unit price products. In the case of B2B business, the customer is obviously the corporate staff, and yet in Japan, there are still very few cases where they plan their projects based on information collected from SNS.

Misconception#4 – SEO means running owned media

Some people seem to think that launching owned media is necessary for SEO initiatives, but owned media and SEO are not always equally related. For example, a collection of past case studies in which the company’s products were utilized, along with explanations of customer issues and how they were solved, is one effective approach to SEO. Another example of SEO for B2B businesses is Indexed-content(*), which is different from owned media as generally imagined, but can be very effective for highly specialized businesses.

contents that are calibrated with dozens of pages of highly specialized content, rather than building large content sites of hundreds or thousands of pages.

Thus, although it does not have an immediate effect, SEO is still important for B2B businesses with high product prices and a medium to long-term span of business. Especially for B2B businesses in Japan, SEO can be considered a very useful tool considering its asset value.

Should your company work on SEO?

So what exactly are the criteria for determining whether or not you should really work on SEO, which requires a long period of time? The following two points are the main criteria to answer this question.

Clear big keywords exist in the area of your products

Keywords that are generic or abstract and have particularly high search volume are called big keywords. Areas with clear big keywords tend to have many crosswords and related keywords, so SEO inflows can be expected.

Examples of big keywords: insurance, loan, weight loss

Potential customers of your company are actively searching for information

SEO can be a very effective tool in areas where customers themselves search for the latest technical information, for example improving back-office operational efficiency or utilizing IoT products for manufacturing.

One way to find out if your customers are actively gathering information is to see if your competitors or other companies that handle products in similar areas are focusing on SEO. Another method is to interview existing customers directly and ask them questions such as, “How do you gather information on a daily basis?”

Is SEO something you work on in-house?

Once you understand SEO properly and find that it is an effective tool for your company, should you immediately start working on SEO in-house? In many cases, it is a very difficult challenge to get successful results with SEO using only in-house members, considering the know-how and resources required.

While each company has knowledge of its own products and its own domain, it is a very time-consuming and labor-intensive process to incorporate this knowledge into SEO on their own. In addition, as mentioned above, it takes a certain period of time for SEO to start yielding results, and it is not realistic to continue to devote resources to SEO throughout the period of no results.

Past cases have shown that a system in which major policies and objectives are shared, but the actual direction and content creation work is outsourced, has the highest probability of reaching the stage where SEO yields successful results.


  • Although SEO does not provide immediate results, it is likely to be a very effective means of B2B marketing to Japanese market, and this trend is expected to continue.
  • If there are big keywords in your product area and potential customers tend to actively gather information, it is worthwhile to work on SEO.
  • From the standpoint of time and human resources required to achieve results, it is not advisable for a company to engage in SEO on its own; the highest probability of success lies in working with a company specializing in digital marketing.

We are in the business of supporting foreign companies in entering the Japanese market. We will contribute to your company’s expansion into the Japanese market by leveraging our knowledge of SEO as seen in this article and localizing it for the Japanese market. Please feel free to contact us if you are considering or have any concerns about expansion into Japan or Asia.