SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Local search on Yandex – some testing

geo-targeting-yandexThis week I got the first client with local ties on Yandex, or to be more precise, it’s region in Yandex Webmaster Tools was “Moscow”… That was unexpected since the client was strictly e-commerce website without any regional contact details, without region in Yandex Catalog … nothing like that. Just hosted in Moscow…Weird.

Hence I had to see how the rankings differ among the regions (which you can do on portal – here).

There are only 6 regions available for testing: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, All Russia (all regions in Russia except Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg ), Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

I took 4 sites in the segment:

–    The client site (region Moscow)
–    A competitor with good rankings for many keywords (region Moscow)
–    A competitor with extremely good rankings (no regional ties)
–    A competitor with good rankings for main keywords, but with worse rankings for smaller keywords (no regional ties)

I picked around 20 keywords and checked the local search results in all 7 regional SERPs of Yandex. Here are the main conclusions:
1.       It looks like the positions are generally lower in Moscow than in other regions if the site doesn’t have regional ties. If the site is assigned to Moscow region the rankings in Moscow are slightly better.
2.       It looks like if the site is assigned to Moscow it generally does not rank very well in the Ukraine and Belarus.
3.       It looks like if you rank in Top 10, the difference among regions is very small (+/- 0-3 positions), but if you rank lower than top 10, the difference increases up to 20-30 positions sometimes (no matter if the sites are assigned to a specific region or not)

Today Yandex announced that its new version of local search algorithm Arzamas 1.2 (with all keywords classified into geo-dependent and geo-independent) is now live. I will repeat the testing in the next two weeks to see if it really makes difference….

So, the story about Yandex local search is definitely to be continued.

Anna Oshkalo

Anna is a blogger and online marketing consultant specializing in SEO and SEM for Russian search engines. To see more of Anna's posts, follow her on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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