SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Rain or shine – what do Russians search online?

Yandex has recently shared its research where it analyzed what places the Russians users are searching for, depending on a season. A pretty good read, I should say.

Some findings are quite predictable: skating-rinks get more popular in winter and bicycle shops in summer and spring. Yet, in a country as big as Russia, with some seasonal trends you might need to get more local knowledge to make sense of it. Let’s check it out!

Experts found out that every day Russian users type over 5 million search queries in such web services as Yandex Maps, City or Navigator (also available as apps). Approximately 80% of them search for addresses or locations. The rest look for specific places: shops, cafes, etc. And while banks or pharmacies interest users all year round, popularity of some places depends a lot on the season.

Since Russia is vastly stretched along three climate zones, some organizations become popular at different times in different cities in Russia. For example, searching for tire shops directly depends on the weather conditions in different parts of this country. In some cities, car owners were changing summer tires for winter ones in October, while in other cities they did it only in November. And according to the search queries from Krasnodar, the burst of interest in tires happened there just in December and February 2014. See the graph below:


The interest in shops that sell coats depends a lot on the temperature outside. For example, in Siberia and the Urals the users were much more active in searching such shops, compared to other regions, while people in Novosibirsk seemed to be particularly interested. The search data even revealed the local abnormalities: the February frosts of 2014 in Rostov-on-Don caused a surge of queries about warm clothes, as shown in the graph below:

Weather clothes

And finally, besides the weather-triggered queries, some shops and facilities create hype only when special events and holidays are coming. This trend may not strike as new – Christmas bazaars get the users interest just before the New Year, while bookstores are particularly searched for in the back-to-school season. However, when it comes to events, the use interest is more locally specific: Yandex data shows that sport clubs got extremely popular in online search during the latest Winter Olympics in Sochi. And I think the last example (graph below) perfectly shows how user habits are linked to traditions, often not observed in other countries. It’s quite common to see that users search for flowers a lot on February 14, but in Russia the real peak of ‘flower’ interest is March 8, the Women’s Day:

FlowersSo, what’s in it for us, online marketers? I guess it’s just a nice reminder that geo-targeting and cultural factor is not something to leave ‘on default’ in any marketing campaign for Russia. The search behavior across the Russian regions is quite dynamic, so knowing its patterns helps us adjust regional settings and select better keywords and strategies to raise the user interest and reach our conversion goals.

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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2 Responses to “Rain or shine – what do Russians search online?”

  1. […] Rain or shine – what do Russians search online?, […]

  2. […] geographical size of the country is one of the biggest early challenges. has an interesting write-up of a recent Yandex blog, wherein search habits are related to both seasonality and cities. For example, whereas there is a […]

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