Guide to Yandex: How it works, what tools it offers and why it is so important to promote your company in Russia
Chapter one: General information and how to create a Yandex account.
Let’s start the new year with the first blog post of our new series "Guide to Yandex." In the upcoming months, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Russian search engine Yandex and how to use its different services, and we will give you some practical advice on how to take full advantage of its features and tools to promote your business online in Russia and elsewhere!
But first, let’s shed some light on Yandex.
What is Yandex?
Founded in Moscow in 1997, Yandex is the most widely used search engine in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The data in the table below shows that from January 2 to December 31 of 2017, Yandex maintained its domination of the Russian search market, claiming 55.13% of all searches over Google’s 39.57%.
Why is this data important? Unlike in the US and in most of Europe, in Russia (and Russian-speaking countries) more than half of Internet users rely on Yandex instead of Google to search for products, services and information online.
So it is obvious that just as you would use Google to promote a company or product in Europe or the US, you should primarily use Yandex to reach potential Russian customers.
What does Yandex offer?
As mentioned earlier, Yandex (yandex.ru) was founded as a search engine for Russian-speaking users. It then grew with the additions of yandex.by (Belarus), yandex.kz (Kazakhstan), yandex.uz (Uzbekistan), yandex.ua (Ukraine) and yandex.com.tr (Turkey). Just like Google, Yandex has developed a wide range of auxiliary services (in addition to image and video searching and cloud services) over the years including:
- Yandex Music: for listening to music online for free (works only in Russia);
- Yandex Maps: navigation services and maps;
- Yandex Money: online payments and purchases (works like PayPal);
- Yandex Market: allows you to buy online and compare product prices on different e-commerce websites;
- Yandex Taxi: convenient taxi hailing from any PC or App for any destination in Russia and the CIS countries (it works just like Uber but is definitely the most commonly used online method in Russia).
But the list doesn’t end here! Yandex also offers powerful marketing, advertising and analysis tools that companies must master if they wish to promote and sell their products or services in Russian-speaking countries.
Here are some of the topics we will cover in our Guide to Yandex:
- Yandex Direct: for creating pay-per-click and banner campaigns on Yandex (the equivalent of Google Adwords);
- Yandex Metrica: just like Google Analytics but with an extra kick - it even allows you to see what your users do and how they behave on your website.
- Yandex Wordstat: allows you to find keywords and phrases related to your product or service and also to track user searches online over a certain period of time (similar to Google's Keyword Planner);
- Yandex Checkout: an e-commerce site service that allows you to receive online payments from credit cards or other online and offline systems widely used in Russia;
- Yandex Webmaster: an indispensable tool for monitoring the indexing of your website on Yandex (the equivalent of Google Search Console).
We are also going to write about SEO on Yandex and give some practical instructions/advice and much more.
So should I avoid using Google to market in Russia?
Absolutely not. As you will see in the table below about the use of Google in Russia in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Google is becoming more and more popular with Russians, so it makes sense to use it alongside Yandex as yet another marketing channel in Russia. However, it does not have to be your first choice.
Why do I need to know and use Yandex?
First of all, before you ask: Yes, Yandex works outside of Russia, and yes, many of its tools are available in English.
If you wish to expand your business in Russian-speaking countries, Yandex is fundamental to reaching potential customers, so you have to understand how it works to include it into your strategy.
As with Google, Yandex tools require a high level of experience to be used profitably without undermining your investments. This is why it is important to call on specialists to plan out and implement online campaigns in Russia and the CIS countries. (We at Balalaika can take care of creating and managing your Yandex campaigns. Click here to see a list of our services).
Even if you are not interested in Russian-speaking countries, Yandex offers features that Google does not, so you might still consider using Yandex tools for your web marketing and analytic activities. We will talk about that in the Guide to Yandex.
Getting started: How to create a Yandex account
The first step to accessing all the services and tools offered by Yandex is to create an account..
To do so, just click here and fill out the form by entering your full name, a username, a password (twice for confirmation) and your mobile phone number (don’t forget the country code!). After clicking on "Send Code," you will receive an SMS with a code that you must enter into the field below. Once you have entered the code, click on "Confirm."
Now you can access your Yandex email account from here .
Don’t forget your username or password because you will need them to access all the services we will discuss in the following blog posts!
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