Paid Links & Mutual Links

Carbon Offset Your Server

You can get a link from a PageRank 0 through 3 (depending on your luck) page by buying a Green Site License for ¥5,000 per year from a company named RAUL. This program lets you pay to offset the carbon footprint of your server. Unlike such programs in the West, they don’t seem to care what kind of server you have (or how many), so the offset is apparently a wild guess. For a little more money you get a certificate, which is probably not worth it unless you want it as a prop to photograph for your “We’re green” page, if such a page will help your rankings in your niche.

There are various other website “certifications” in Japan that might get you links, such as privacy programs, if you want to look around for them.

Paid Links and Trading Links

I don’t think that paid links are as common in Japan as they are in the United States, and I don’t know of any marketplaces for them. In general, Japanese bloggers don’t make it as easy to contact them as overseas bloggers do.

The same problems apply to link trades. But there are websites (and directories) that actually solicit mutual links. Mutual links have traditionally been considered rather effective from an SEO standpoint in Japan, because Yahoo’s ranking algorithms didn’t seem to downgrade their worth. But with Google taking over Yahoo! Japan’s SERPs things may change.

If you want to try mutual links, you can make a “link-shu” page to ghettoized them, and you can track whether your link partners keep your link alive and dofollow with software like Advanced Link Manager. Here’s a list of sites that do mutual linking, to get you started.

Here’s a template for a link request, which your Japanese copywriter can modify for your purposes:

お世話になってます。

「YourWebsite.jp」のYourSurnameと申します。

この度は弊社のサイトに、御社のサイトをリンクさせていただきました。ご確認いただけますでしょうか。リンク場所は以下になります。

http://YourWebsite.jp/linkshu.html

また、よろしければ相互リンクしていただければ幸いです。リンクしていただく際には

——————–ここからタグ——————–
Your Website
——————–ここまでタグ——————–

↑上記のタグをコピー&ペーストしていただけますとありがたいです。

今後ともよろしくお願いいたします。

You can hire a Japanese contractor to track down bloggers, associations and vendors using advanced Google search syntax. For example, you can limit to Japanese organizations by using site:.or.jp, try to find link pages with intitle:リンク集, and look for pages about services in Yokohama with inurl:yokohama. So if you want to find companies in the food business that list their partners, you can search for site:.co.jp intitle:代理店 食品. And don’t forget that you can further narrow down results to just blogs by clicking on the Blog tab in Google. You need to closely look at the first 50 results for these kinds of searches and try many search query variations, contacting the best prospects for links. This is tedious and is best outsourced. A bright contractor will be able to figure out the Google stuff pretty quickly.

Spam Blogs

When doing back link research you’ll notice that some companies will have dozens of links from “blogs” that contain nonsense content and have a bunch of irrelevant links. These don’t seem to be paid links, but rather little blog link farms set up by whatever company did the website development. A website development company may specialize in sites for, say, ramen shops, and they’ll set up a bunch of ostensibly ramen themed blogs. Then their local ramen customer base will run dry and they move on to auto body shop website development. Suddenly these ramen sites will start to sprout auto body links. Later on dentist links will begin to appear as the company expands to a new niche.

I suspect that these blog link farms were effective when Yahoo! Japan was providing is own search results, but I suspect that such links will be less effective in the Google era. I don’t think that the sort of spam blogs that exist in the United States, which seem like real blogs at first glance, because they are stealing real blog content from the RSS feeds of other blogs, will emerge in Japan to any great extent. Japanese seem to be much more touchy about copyright, complaints would be more like to be made, and I expect ISPs would dump customers very quickly who stole content.