The newest Russian search engine Sputnik was launched in spring 2014 by state-owned telecommunication company Rostelecom. According to the creators of the search engines, Sputnik’s search algorithm is oriented towards providing users with “social rather than commercial services”, like finding medicines in the nearby pharmacy or times available in local movie theatres. Sputnik is Rostelecom’s attempt to keep up with the growing Internet usage in Russia as well as to uncover potential for new revenue streams.
The search engine did not make any sizeable monetization efforts until last week, when Sputnik became a part of Yandex Advertising Network (YAN).
Well.. new or not, but as of today, search at Mail.ru is 100% powered by their own search engine.
Previously Mail.ru search displayed results from Yandex, and since 2010 – from Google. Shortly after signing the contract with Google, Mail.ru started working on their own search technology, and from mid-2012 a part of Mail.ru search results was already delivered by their own algorithm (including such important areas as local searches in Moscow). In the end of 2012 Mail.ru announced the plans to switch to their own search engine in 2013. And here we go, today is the day.
Mail.ru today stands for 8.6% of the Russian search market, which makes it the 3rd largest Russian search engine with monthly audience of 39.5 million users.
Russian SEM spend in 2012 was valued at 1.4 billion US dollars, which is a 44% increase comparing to 2011, reported Russian bid management service eLama.
In 2012 Yandex remained the leader of contextual advertising market, followed by Google.ru and lastly Begun.
While the main players are still the same as in 2011, there are some major shifts: Begun lost significant part of the market, while both Yandex and Google gained market share.
During 2011 Yandex lost 4% of searches in Russia to Google.ru, reports Vedomosti (in Russian). I heard mentions of this fact throughout last year, but here is how it looks in absolute numbers.
According to LiveInternet statistics, in December last year search market in Russia was divided between Yandex, Google.ru and other smaller search engines as shown below:
How much is too much?
The recent statement of Matt Cutts during Pubcon about the possibility of being penalized for having too many ads on the page triggered a lot of discussions among SEOs this week.
Not many know, however, that Yandex made a similar announcement just a few weeks ago.
New Yandex ranking formula
In the beginning of October Yandex incorporated “site usability” into its ranking formula. While usability is a very broad term, Yandex gives some hints that the algorithm change is mainly about ad placement on the page:
“As a first step we learned to detect if ads distract the user or add relevant information and value. The ranking formula now includes several ad-related factors. We detect if the ads prevent the user from viewing the main content, if the ads overlay the content, and if the page containing these ads still interests the user. Resources, where the ads are placed in appropriate way, often rank higher than the ones overloaded with advertizing.”