SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Beta of the week: App install ads in Yandex.Direct

app-install-ads-yandex-directMobile Internet usage in Russia is increasing and so does smartphone penetration. According to eMarketer, over 58 million Russians own a smartphone, which is 55% of all mobile users and about 40% of the total Russia’s population.

Rapidly increasing adoption of smartphones, and hence mobile apps, has lead to extensive growth of mobile advertising offerings in the market. Apart from traditional mobile ad networks, both global and local (Wapstart being the largest), Internet giants such as Yandex and Group, started creating very interesting products for mobile app promotion.

VK launched their app install ads in October 2014. Later, in early 2015, Group introduced myTarget – an advertising platform merging mobile inventory of Russia’s largest social networks VK, Odnoklassniki and MoiMir. Yandex started offering mobile-specific ads in summer of 2015 and now they are launching their first app promotion format.

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Breaking: Yandex wins antitrust probe against Google

Google has been found guilty in a Russian antitrust probe initiated by Yandex earlier this year, reports Vedomosti [in Russian].

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) recognized that Google restricts the competition in the market of app stores. Agreeing with Yandex that Google is forcing manufacturers of mobile devices on the Android operating system to give up preset applications that compete with the products. In other words, Google was found guilty of “abusing its dominant market position”. Yandex believes this can help to restore the competition on the mobile market.

Google is expected to be fined with the amount of 1-15% of their turnover in the market where the law violation occurred. “Since we are talking about the market pre-installed app stores, the punishment may not be imposed on the Russian entity of Google, but rather on Google Inc. and Google Ireland,” reports Vedomosti.

This is quite a big ruling since it can lead to similar verdicts in other markets around Europe as well.

The stock exchange was not late to react on the news and Yandex shares soared over 7% on Nasdaq following the regulator’s decision reports NASDAQ.

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New on Yandex Direct: bid adjustment by age and gender

Direct NewFrom this week, you can adjust your bids for Yandex.Direct ads shown to various gender and/or age groups, as well as to your “retargeted” audience (people who have previously visited your website).

It’s not the first time Yandex introduces more options of adjusting CPC for specific categories of ads. In March, a separate bid management for mobile ads was added, which now can be set in combination with the new variables!

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New Yandex SEO penalty targets link sellers

yandex-searchYandex have been expressing their negative attitude towards link trade in Russian SEO for years.

Starting from 2009, when AGS penalty, focused on punishing low quality sites usually created for selling SEO links, was introduced, Yandex began taking actions against link sellers. Typical symptoms of AGS were de-indexing of majority of pages of the affected website.

In 2014 AGS penalty evolved and instead of removing pages from the search index, Yandex started decreasing the TIC of the affected sites to zero, making them absolutely uninteresting to both existing and potential link buyers.

This week Yandex has announced [in Russian] yet another update to their AGS penalty. From now on AGS will also negatively affect organic rankings of the websites caught selling SEO links. At the same time TIC will continue being decreased to zero. The new AGS penalty can be applied to any site, regardless of its quality and authority.

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Russia’s personal data localization law goes into effect today

The personal data localization law obliging foreign companies operating in Russia to process and store personal data they collect about Russian citizens and residents on the Russian territory goes into effect today.

A lot of large companies, such as Google, PayPal, eBay, and many others, started moving their servers to Russia already in the beginning of the year, however according to the Russian Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC), only 54% of all marker players are ready to comply with the new law at the moment.

RAEC created a portal [in Russian] where they accumulated a lot of information about the law, what it means for companies and consumers, as well as implications for non-compliance. If you haven’t moved your servers to Russia, we urge you to check it out in order to assess the risks.

Bonus: Russia Beyond the Headlines shared this useful inforgaphic that nicely summarizes the situation as of today.