As is now the global trend, most Russians start their online searches using search engines, but this is where the similarities end. The most common search engine used by Russians is not Google, but the Russian search engine Yandex even though the two search engines appeared at almost the same time. This is due to the fact that Yandex specialized in Russian with its Cyrillic alphabet and complicated grammar and focused on its regions and other cultural, technological and linguistic aspects that influence the quality of search results meaning that it became a much more trusted search tool than Google whose worldwide approach meant that initially it couldn’t offer the level of quality available through Yandex. Google is now investing in developing the Russian version of its search engine but it still has a long way to go before it becomes as powerful as Yandex. This all means that when promoting a website in Russia it is of critical importance to take Yandex into account. It is also important to note that it is in some ways more strict than Google in terms of penalizing spam or over-optimised websites and as such needs as much international SEO attention as Google does if you really want to benefit from it.
Russia is a rapidly growing market in terms of Internet development, luxury tourism and real estate. At Relevance Web Marketing we can explain how the huge Russian audience of potential customers uses the web to search for the services that you offer.
Social media and social search are also used when looking for information on the internet. Nearly 100% of Russian Internet-users have one, or more often, several social network accounts. In terms of statistics, 50% of users are looking for news, 42% want to share their opinions, 39% want to listen to others opinions and 23% are searching for communication with brands. In essence, everyone on social media in Russia might be interested in engaging with your business or following your news on social media in some capacity. The most popular social media platform in Russia is Vkontakte, followed by Odnoklassniki. It’s important not to forget about Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, which are commonly used by young and active Russians. We’ve explained in detail the main differences of social networking in Russia here.
Russians use the web to search for the information they need just like people from all over the world, but what are they looking for?
Tourism is one of the Top 10 searched for topics on the Russian internet (runet.) This includes tickets, accommodation, entertainment services and visa information. Flights (30% of users), hotels (25%) and package tours (35%) are all popular. A lot of people now also browse through online recommendations to help them make a choice and this is where being on social media is increasingly beneficial. If you’re interested in attracting Russian tourists, you should care about your online-image and reputation on runet.
Real estate is another popular topic of discussion online with more than 50% of Russians Internet-users interested in renting, buying or selling a property, and 15% of them looking abroad. People living in the European part of Russia tend to prefer to buy or rent real estate in Europe whereas those who live in the Far East or Siberia prefer China, Thailand and other Asian destinations. Understanding these differences in tastes between the different Russian regions is extremely important for geographical targeting and optimisation of an online-marketing campaign, especially when working with Yandex.
If you really want to catch the attention of Russian customers, you should think not only about translating your website into Russian, but creating a well-rounded and balanced online-marketing strategy, taking into consideration all the differences of runet.