SEO in Russia – What Do You Need to Know?

SEO in Russia – What Do You Need to Know?

SEO in Russia is a real opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to promote their products on Runet, the Russian-language part of the Internet. However, SEO services in Russia differ from what Google has accustomed us to in Europe and other sides of the world. Let’s find out what you should focus on.

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Would you believe that there is a country where only 45% of users browse the Internet with Google? Yandex is the real cream of the crop when it comes to the Russian online world. The above mentioned search engine is used by as many as 51% of users, therefore SEO in Russia is run largely according to its principles. While trying to acquire new customers in Russia or simply promoting your website you have to remember mainly about Yandex, not about Consequently, you’ll reach not only the Russian customers but also the inhabitants of other post-Soviet countries. It’s impossible not to mention other search engines used in Russia such as or, nevertheless, they’ve a noticeably smaller impact on the local SEO.

SEO in Russia - Yandex

Russian SEO – who reads your content?

Runet, the Russian-language part of the Internet, is used by almost 80 million users. The number of people using this network is evidenced by the numerous domains referring to it. It isn’t only .ru, but also .ge, .kz, .kg, .su, .ua, .md, .am. All due to the fact that this segment of the Internet is used not only by Russians but also by other countries of the former Soviet Union, such as Belarus, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Additionally, Russian is also spoken in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. As it can be seen on the map attached below, the range of Runet is quite impressive and the potential of Russian SEO is constantly growing.

SEO in Yandex - Runet reach

<10 factors that affect the position of your website in Yandex

The optimization principles for Yandex are very similar to those applied by Google and you’re probably already familiar with them. Above all else, Yandex values:

1. Content

There’s probably no place in the world and no search engine for which the “content is king” phrase wouldn’t matter. In Russian SEO it’s also the rule. The choice of keywords and their skillful implementation in the website content is important, but the quality of the content is even more crucial. As an increasing number of Russians and Ukrainians emigrate to various countries around the world, there’s generally no problem with possessing texts written in Cyrillic.

2. Technical website optimization

It’s mainly about making the website available for robots so that they can examine its content.

3. Region

Yandex puts great emphasis on local SEO, thus it’s necessary to know from which part of Runet the query comes from as in the first place the search engine finds queries from the same region.

4. Commercial factors

You have to earn the trust of Yandex search engine robots. Information about the company, payment or delivery methods and prices are highly appreciated. Moreover, the Yandex’s trust level is also influenced by comments and opinions from business partners or users.

5. Behavioral factors

Robots focus on users’ activities and their time spent on the website. This is particularly relevant when you consider SEO for online stores.

6. Website navigation

Similarly to Google, Yandex prefers a simple and hierarchical structure comprehensible both for the users and for the search engine robots. Moreover, website navigation has a noticeable impact on internal links and helps Yandex to index the page.

7. Design

It’s not a factor that directly affects how the search engine robots perceive the website, nevertheless it’s important when we consider the behavioral perception of the site by its users.

8. Keyword density

Here, Yandex is very meticulous and strict – keywords shouldn’t constitute more than 6% of the text.

9. Domain age

Similarly to Google, the older the domain, the more trustworthy it becomes for the search engine.

10. Backlinks

Yandex has developed its own weighted citation index designed to determine not only the quantity but also the quality of backlinks.

Yandex search mechanism

When using Yandex remember about paying attention to its search mechanism – it allows you to access documents not only in Russian, but also in Polish, Ukrainian, Turkish, English, French or German and these are just some of the available languages. Moreover, it needs to be mentioned that Yandex, contrary to Google, takes into account the morphology of the languages. It also stands out due to:

  • taking into account the value of the whole website, not only its individual subpages.
  • putting much more emphasis on geolocation (however, after having introduced the Google Pigeon algorithm the difference isn’t so visible).
  • paying special attention to the UX, meaning the users’ activities, how involved they’re in browsing the site and how much time they spend on the website.
  • a more stable position in the search results, however, the process of indexing and thus the whole Russian SEO is much longer than in the case of Google.
  • attaching much greater importance to content than Google.

Yandex products that support Russian SEO

The vast majority of Yandex products are similar to those offered by Google, yet some of them are even better. Below you can see the profiles of four of them that deserve special attention if you consider running SEO in Runet:

  • Yandex Direct – an equivalent of  Google Ads

At a time when Google began to make profits from sponsored link campaigns, Yandex came up with Yandex Direct, an equivalent of Google Ads. Just as in the case of the Google product, when starting a campaign you can specify its budget and location. The bids depend primarily on the selected region, but as a titbit we can spill the beans – Moscow and Kaliningrad are regions where advertising in Yandex is the most expensive. Of course, there are slight differences between these two tools, the possibilities of Yandex Direct are more restricted when it comes to managing key phrases, especially when matching words is considered. Moreover, generally with Google Ads it takes less time for an add to be approved. Internet marketing specialists suggest that in order to run an effective advertising campaign, you should combine Russian Google Ads and Yandex Direct because then the advertising will have optimal reach.

Yandex direct - SEO in Russia

  • Yandex Money

It’s an electronic wallet – you can create a completely free account and then transfer money to it using various payment methods. With Yandex Money making online payments, shopping or paying bills gets incomparably easier.

Yandex money

  • Yandex Market

It’s a service that allows the users of Runet to compare prices and goods from many shops, including these operating offline. Customers can give their opinions and rate products according to numerous parameters. So if you are a retailer and want to expand or start your business in Russia, take a closer look at this tool.

yandex market SEO in Russia

  • Yandex Merchium

It’s a free portal that enables you setting a new online store. Obviously the portal is compatible with other Yandex products and this is why the shop created with the use of Yandex Merchium is perceived well by the search engine robots.

yandex merchium, russian seo

A few words about

While running SEO in Russia, don’t forget about the Russian Google. Although as we’ve mentioned at the beginning of the article, in Runet Google isn’t used as eagerly as Yandex, it’s not the rule for each and every country. In Ukraine is used more frequently than Yandex and in Belarus these two search engines are at an even level. The number of users of the Russian Google is largely affected by the popularity of mobile devices with Android, which is a leading operating system among the Russian-speaking Internet users, especially those young. - seo in russia

Social media in Runet

You can’t forget about social media in Russian SEO and surprisingly, Facebook or Twitter aren’t among the most popular social media platforms. Of course, they’re still very important, however if you aim at promoting your business in Runet, familiarize yourself with sites such as: вконтакте –,  Одноклассники – or мой мир – These portals will help you reach Russian customers faster.

Social media in russia

What industries are bound to succeed in Runet?

Certain businesses have plenty of opportunities when it comes to the Russian market, however not all industries will fit in there. The most popular industries that can benefit from SEO activities include:

  • tourism,
  • education (young people, especially from Ukraine often look for various offers of foreign universities),
  • IT,
  • medicine (in Russian-speaking countries medicine is one of the most corrupt industries – if you don’t grease somebody’s palm, you don’t have the privilege of benefiting from professional medical care),
  • light industry.

Apart from the mentioned industries, Russians often visit their eastern neighbors to purchase building materials, cars or audio and video equipment. On the other hand, many Europeans visit Russia or Ukraine to buy sweets or designer clothes.

To sum up

Runet is a powerful market where you can try to expand your business. Local SEO can help you to become successful on the Russian Internet – you just need a pinch of creativity, texts written in cyrillic and a good game plan. Of course, the whole process is much more complicated than in the case of using Google, but impossible is nothing. Is it worth it? Well, the value of SEO in Russia is disproportionately high in relation to the costs incurred.


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Senior SEO Specialist - Milena

Senior SEO Specialist

Associated with the SEO industry for 3 years. Successfully optimizes online stores on the markets in Poland, Germany, USA and Norway. And the three keywords that accompany her after work are cactus, Hearthstone and Escape Room.

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