Russian Search Engine Yandex Enters Social Arena

RussiaRussia's ad online industry continues to follow U.S. search engine marketing emerging trends in the local and social arenas. But it requires significant resources and an understanding of the local market, according to Elena MacGurn, senior SEO specialist at Covario.

MacGurn said some global brands have established an online presence in Russia, but few have tied that into social. Earlier this year, Yandex pulled in site content from social networks, partnering with Twitter to serve public tweets and social profiles in search results. The engine estimates having about 250 million personal profile pages hosted on blog platforms and social networks.

Yandex shows country-specific data for international users and offers different search results for geo-dependent queries in more than 1,250 Russian regions, according to MacGurn. She said the search engine offers tools to support geotargeting and SEO localization.



Brands moving into the Russian market will find the cost per click (CPC) still relatively inexpensive, compared with Google, Bing and Yahoo in the United States. The $0.55 CPC for paid-search ads on Yandex in Q3 2012 fell 11% sequentially but rose 13% year-on-year, according to Covario. In Q3, CPC on Google averaged $1.41; on Yahoo and Bing, $1.08.

Russia's share of the online advertising market is expected to rise 28% in the next three years, MacGurn explains in a recent report, citing the Russian Association of Communication Agencies -- and e-commerce rates are expected to double.

Russia has not seen regulations similar to China, enabling search engines like Yandex to add more features to their algorithms, MacGurn said. There's also an emphasis on social content. The Russian SEO market has been evolving from a heavy emphasis on link factors and text optimization to more sophisticated influences of social signals. A higher emphasis has been placed on quality Web site content.

Social emerged as a focus from inception. Yandex, an acronym for "Yet Another Indexer," emphasizes personalization, but MacGurn explains how the "Ya" also represents "i" in Russian.

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