Posts Tagged ‘Russian search engines’

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing on Russian Search Engines.

December 7, 2010

Russian InternetWhile interest in the Russian speaking Internet is steadily growing, more businesses are exploring efficient ways of reaching the Russian speaking audience online. I’m going to take a closer look at the very relevant and controversial topic of SEO and marketing on Runet. I find it exciting because all successful businesses strive to be at the top of search engines results. No doubts, it’s important to secure the best spot in search rankings. Especially, if the company is targeting a foreign market and has to compete with local businesses. Surely, there is a big difference between Search Engine Marketing with Google and Yandex, the largest search engine in Russia and the particularities are not restricted to language itself. I call the topic of search engine marketing in Russia controversial because I heard a few opinions about some unethical tactics companies use while implementing Russian Search Marketing techniques.

I’m trying to find a Russian-based SEO agency to write a post on my blog about the state of SEO, and hopefully this will cover the topic in the near future with more professional insights. In the meantime, I asked my friend Veronika Jermolina who has done some SEO work on the Russian Internet to share her experiences on my blog. Although she may not be an expert, she has a completely independent point of view. This is what she had to say:

“For the past two years I have been working in the usability industry in the UK. In the last 6 months I have taken a keen interest in SEO, mostly through reading and working on optimising a website of a log house construction company for the Russian market. Although I am by no means an expert, I have noticed several differences between the attitudes towards SEO in the UK and Russia.

1. Use of ‘black hat’ methods of SEO

The worst offenders of using these ‘black hat’, or dodgy methods are companies who want to rank highly for competitive queries, such as ‘log houses in Moscow’. For example, link exchange schemes when site A places a link to site B in return for site B placing a link to site A. Another technique that is common in Russia is paid links, when an authoritative website or blogger is paid for placing a link to a website. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen serious businesses use this technique in the UK too, but the use of these techniques in Runet is in my opinion absolutely atrocious.

Such techniques, if discovered, are penalised by search engines. They are also counter-productive for the web as a whole. Due to manipulated ratings the user is not given the best result for his/her query. Further, this effort quickly becomes fruitless if the user exits the site immediately due to its poor content.

2. SEO viewed as a part of user-centred and persuasive design

In Russia SEO is definitely seen as one of the most important success factors for a website. In the UK the concepts of usability and user centred design are much more advanced and seen as a priority. Rather than ranking well in search engines the concern is often about being able to deliver relevant, persuasive content and functionality.

3. Lack of research

SEO in itself is a bit of a black box in a sense that no one really knows how search engines work. If people did, it would be too easy to use this knowledge to manipulate and compromise results. However, it is possible to gain a better understanding through changing variables and observing how they affect ranking over time. There are plenty of resources available to English-speaking audiences, for example SEOmoz. One problem I did come across was the lack of research in Russian, specific to Russian audiences. For example, how does transliteration affect the results?”

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Forget about Google in Russia

September 17, 2010

I think the famous saying ‘When in Rome do as the Romans Do’ is very relevant to online marketing campaigns. Ubiquitous Google is a great search engine when it comes to the English speaking audience, but if you target Russian speakers Yandex is the place to go. For search engine campaigns I recommend Yandex for PPC ads as it was designed by Russians for Russians and, with wisely chosen keywords, this service will bring a return on investment for your business.

 Yandex is the largest resource and largest search engine in the Russian Internet market, based on audience size and internet penetration. Yandex currently has over 64% of the market share in search engines and has over 10 billion web pages indexed. The closest competitors of Yandex in the Russian market are Rambler.ru and Mail.ru. Although services like Google and Yahoo! are also used by Russian users and have Russian-language interfaces, Google has about 21.8% of search engine generated traffic, whereas Russian sites (including Yandex) have around 63.4%. Yandex is therefore one of the national non-English-language search engines that outrun Google in their countries, along with Naver in South Korea, Seznam in the Czech Republic and China’s Baidu, among others. One of Yandex’s largest advantages for Russian-language users is recognition of Russian inflection in search queries.  

 Pay per click advertising on Yandex is more expensive than with Google, but it’s worth the money as you will reach more people. The payment process can, however, be an issue. Payments made with a UK credit card usually fail because of restrictive foreign currency regulations in Russia. The solution is to make a pre-payment to Yandex via an international bank transfer, but they are a big hassle to set up and take a very long time to clear. Still, they are the safest and most viable option.

 Yandex doesn’t offer a free translation of keywords with pay as you go accounts. Foreign clients have to use Google translate or an alternative service – http://slovari.yandex.ru/~translate/.

However it’s worth remembering that the keywords might differ from country to country and it’s always better to consult with a native Russian speaker before choosing the word for which you are going to pay. For a monthly fee, starting from 490 Euro, Yandex will provide an account manager who will assist in the preparation of keywords.

 Please feel free to contact me in case you want to learn more about Yandex or other peculiarities of the Runet.

Yandex.com. Another major Russian player to join the search engine wars.

June 9, 2010

The population of Russia is about 140 million people, if taken into consideration CIS countries and Russian immigrant communities globally; there will be around 300 million Russian speakers in the world.

Undoubtedly, such a huge market has many opportunities for search marketing campaigns and different types of online businesses. Broadband penetration levels in CIS countries are steadily growing and in a few years’ time majority of Russians are going to become as active online users as western netizens. Now it’s the best time for internet technologies companies to secure their positions on the Russian market, gain more popularity and retain loyal users. Yandex is doing very well to secure its leadership on the market, as seventh-largest world internet search engine has just launched the alpha version of a search engine for foreign web sites at Yandex.com last month. The search engine began indexing international sites two years ago and has so far catalogued more than 4 billion pages in foreign languages, with 80 percent of those pages in English

Russian – speakers mainly use yandex.ru, mail.ru and rambler.ru while searching information on the Internet. Personally, when I look for information in Russian I prefer yandex.ru to other search engines, because I get better results due to its ability to recognise of Russian inflection in search queries.

In addition to the search engine Yandex offers many other services and is the largest internet company in Russia, whose websites attract a workday audience of more than 19 million users (unique visitors as of March 2010) from CIS countries. About 80% of the Runet audience use the Yandex search engine, according to TNS Gallup and comScore. According to Yandex spokespeople, the company has the technology to take its service to a world-class level. For the time being, Yandex does not intend to advertise its search in the West, as the service is aimed for Russian users mainly.

I’ve read an interesting discussion of Russian social media and PR experts about Yandex’s potential of becoming a strong competitor to English language search engines. There are different opinions on the future development of Yandex . Some see the launch of yandex.com as a defence from world search giants like Google; while others strongly believe that Yandex has all chances to become a world leader in Internet technologies. In any case, I wouldn’t underestimate its growing influence on the global search market and would definitely consider while conducting online campaigns targeted at Russian speaking audience.


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