SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Russian Social Networks

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that in 2009 Russia was announced the world’s most engaged social networking audience (ComScore report). And even though I am a bit skeptical about all the social media buzz these days, I felt like I had to describe the Russian social networks.

While I mentioned Twitter in Russia a number of times in my other posts, I practically ignored the biggest Russian social marketing channel. And even though Twitter is a hot trend these days, and it’s grown up to 183.000 users during the winter, Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki is the place where most of your potential customers are.

Here is the distribution of the audience among the biggest social networks in Russia:

Website Unique users 14 310 000 7 750 000 942 000 839 000 616 000

Below I provide a short description of 3 most important Russian networks in comparison with known .COM networks. (“In touch” or “keeping contact” in Russian) is the biggest social network in Russia. It looks pretty much like Facebook, although with less functionality. Some people even say that Vkontakte copied FB and that FB tried to sue Vkontakte.. :-) I haven’t come across any official information, but still.. looking at it one can hardly deny the resemblance… social network

Front page of the Russian social network Vkontakte

Just like Facebook, Vkontakte users can create profiles with their content, connect with friends, create and join groups. Groups have more or less the same functionality as FB groups, i.e. publish links, posts, videos and photos on the wall.

Just as FB group pages, Vkontakte group pages can be programmed, rebuilt and optimized. With a good knowledge of Vkontakte internal programming language one can develop subpages and navigation menus, add banners and links to external websites etc. All in all, Vkontakte group can look rather proper.
Vkontakte also has similar to Facebook advertisement program with similar targeting options. (means “classmates” in Russian) is a popular social media platform where people search for their classmates, colleagues and university friends. The search is organized by Name, Location, University / school name, Year of graduation, Place and year or army service etc.

Every person signing up creates a profile and can connect with friends, publish photos, update status and join groups. Neither profiles nor group pages are public (i.e. are not open for search engines). There is no such thing as a fan page. There is no possibility to search for groups. social network

Front page of the Russian social network

Odnoklassniki has become a very spammy platform. I personally deleted my profile due to enormous amount of phishy links and sexually related messages coming into my inbox. It was annoying and I left :-) There are of course possibilities for paid advertisement like banners etc. provided by Odnoklassniki itself. (”My circle” in Russian) is some kind of imitation of Linkedin, i.e. a business network, where people connect with their business contacts. Job search function is quite popular there as well. social network

Front page of the Russian social network

Moikrug is owned by Yandex.

Apart from personal profiles and networking, Moikrug also allows to create groups and discussions, like on LinkedIn.

I have not looked into this so much, but it looks like a social network with various hosting possibilities, such as blogs, video and audio hosting etc. I will try to research more and write a post about this in the coming months.

Facebook in Russian

Facebook is rapidly growing in Russia and I believe will be big at some point. All the functionalitis are the same as for other languages.

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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