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).
Yandex as a search engine was created 16 years ago, back in 1997, and became a brand in 2000. A lot has changed during the years, both for users and for SEOs. Let’s have a look at the evolution of Yandex search algorithm.
There are no records or announcements about Yandex ranking formula dated earlier than 2007. 2007 was the year when Yandex started actively working with their search algorithm and communicate the changes to the community. Ever since, every new ranking formula was named after a city in Russia, and the logic behind naming them is taken from an old Russian game called “cities”: each newly introduced formula’s name starts from the last letter of the previous formula’s name:
Magadan -> Nakhodka -> Arzamas -> Snezhinsk -> Konakovo -> Obninsk -> Krasnodar -> Reykjavik -> Kaliningrad. On the map this journey would look like this:
Let’s look a what this journey looked like for Russian SEO.
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:
In September 2011 Yandex processed over 3 billion search queries, reports comScore. This allowed Yandex to climb 2 positions up passing South Korean NHN Corporation (Naver) and eBay.
The leader is, obviously, Google with 118 billion queries (globally), followed by Chinese Baidu with 11 billion queries.
Mail.ru, the 3rd largest search engine in Russia after Yandex and Google.ru, with 7% market share, announced their plans to invest into developing their search technology. The company plans to double the amount of specialists developing their search engine.
In the past search on Mail.ru was powered by Yandex, but replaced by Google’s technology in 2010. At the same time, a part of queries in Mail.ru is processed by their own algorithm. According to Mail.ru CTO Vladimir Gabrielyan, this makes sence: Google’s engine is used for general queries, while Mail.ru can focus on improving, for example, local search.