In one of my posts in the end of last year I was writing about social signals and Yandex SEO. Back then I said that social as such did not affect organic rankings, but I also mentioned that had a feeling that it was about to change. The step towards social was logical for a NASDAQ company, which Yandex is. Google and Bing use social signals in their search algorithm, and Yandex was bound to follow.
Some month ago Yandex started displaying links to social profiles in site snippets in their SERPs. Then it became obvious that something was about to happen, and indeed, just a month later Yandex announced Twitter integration and Search in social networks.
Social networking is huge in Russia. Already back in 2009 Russians were pronounced the most engaged social networking audience in the world. The latest statistics, according to rocID.ru (in Russian), say that 82% of all Internet users in Russia (which is by the way 70 million people) have an account in at least one social network. In 2010 only 52% of Internet users were socially engaged, so the increase is quite significant, as you can see.
The most “popular” Russian social network, according to rocID, is Odnoklassniki.ru, with 73% of all Russian Internet users being registered there, followed by vKontakte (62%), MoiMir @ Mail.ru (31%) and Facebook (18%).
Interestingly, only 5% of Internet users had Facebook accounts in 2010, according to last year’s research.
Microblogging is a hot topic in Russian press. Only recently I wrote that Yandex indexed 1.68 million Russian Twitter accounts and that Mail.ru created their own microblogging service Futubra. Last week Ria.ru reported (in Russian) from Paris, that French Semiocast counted 5 million Twitter accounts that belong to Russians.
According to Semiocast research, Russia is 20th country in the world in terms of registered Twitter accounts. The leader is, of course, US with 107,7 million accounts, followed by Brazil (33,3 million accounts), Japan (29,9 million), UK (23,8 million) and Indonesia (19,5 million).
As Yandex noted before, Russians are not exactly active Twitter users. Semiocast reported that only 27% of Russians logged in and wrote at least one tweet during the period from September 1, 2011 till November 30, 2011. This percentage, as low as it seems, is the same as, for example, in the UK.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Yandex displaying links to companies’ profiles on different social media sites in snippets:
In July 2011 Yandex reported that Russian-speaking audience of Twitter crossed 1 million mark. Today Yandex’s Twitter user rating includes 1,68 million accounts. This is over 50% growth in the last 6 month!
Vedomosti.ru, one of the major Russian newspapers, writes that a lot of this growth happened during Russian Parliament elections time in December 2011 and that some of Cyrillic terms such as “выборы” (elections), “Путин” (Putin) made it into worldwide trending topics. Many argue though that thousands of Twitter accounts were created during- and after-elections period to tone down the protests, which might have contribute into the growth figure.