From Localisation to Search Optimisation: 4 Steps to Rank Higher on Yandex

Keyword research in Yandex  

The truth is, localisation doesn’t stop at the translation phase.

Once a website has been translated, there’s an entire digital marketing eco-system to consider in order to get your content in front of the right audience.  

A key component of this process is using local SEO tools like Baidu, Yandex etc. (depending on the market you are going to penetrate).

At 20 years old, Yandex is Google’s predecessor and older sibling.

And it has an extremely loyal following in Russia!

“Yandex is more than a company – it’s a matter of national pride. Russians like to wear clothing by major international brands, but when it comes to online services, they go local”. – Russia Beyond

So, what can you do to ensure that localised content is easily searchable within Russia’s favourite search engine?

Based on my experience in both localising and optimising websites for the Russian market, here are some key steps to consider:

Keyword research in Yandex  

Beside traditional translation, I often perform keyword research in Yandex using Wordstat (like Google Keyword Planner, but tailored to Yandex).

This helps position the brand on keywords that are advantageous within the Yandex search engine, which will help pages rank higher based on local searches.

Develop a PPC Campaign Guide

It’s also a good idea to create a rough guide for marketing managers on how to set up a PPC campaign in Yandex.Direct (local equivalent of Google Adwords).

Although the concept remains the same, the best practices are different, and mastering this local variant can play a pivotal role in the success of your international campaigns.

Watch your language

Having been created specifically for the Russian market (and the linguistic challenges of the Russian language), it’s no surprise that Yandex is Russia’s preferred search engine.

The Russian language is highly inflected, and some words can have up to 20 different endings. Nouns may change depending on where they are in a sentence, as well as having a grammatical gender which affects the rest of the sentence they are in.

The words you use are important, so when optimising keywords for Yandex don’t underestimate the role of precise language.

Remember to consult an expert

One more important fact is that Yandex is much better at interpreting CrazyFont. This means that writing Russian words in Latin script (rather than Cyrillic) can be especially impactful from an SEO perspective.

When using Yandex, I ALWAYS carry out a keyword search around synonyms in Russian, rather than translate the keywords from English.

Very often, translating keywords from English leads to completely different results.

So, if you’re unsure? Consult an expert.

Global success starts with local understanding.

Being flexible in your approach to new customers and new markets is paramount, and Russia is no exception.

As I see it, this means that moving beyond linguistic differences and understanding the fibre that strings together the online landscape, along with local consumer behaviours and preferences, will go far in getting your brand in front of the right people.

If you’re serious about launching in a new market (or localising for a current one), incorporating a localised SEO approach into your product and marketing strategies will have a huge impact on campaign success.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with search engine optimisation outside of Russia! Did you take into account local search engines when launching a multilingual SEO or PPC campaign?

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