This past week Russian blogs and websites dedicated to SEO and SEM have recently focused on a particularly hot topic, Runet rankings of the most popular websites. The data was recently released from Vedomosti, a Russian news resource.

Certainly the numbers prove that Russians remain loyal to their local sites but some globally successful Western sites have gained popularity.

Russian Dominance:

Let’s start with Yandex maintaining it’s position as the king of RuNet.  Internet users between the ages of 12 and 64 turn to Yandex more than any other website – obviously, it’s Russia’s favorite site built specifically on Russian language and algorithms!  That’s why it produces the best search results and offers users what they want.  The Russian search engine serves 28.6 million users per day who average about 10 minutes on the site.

Social media site, Vkontakte, and email and entertainment site, Mail.ru, are neck in neck for the next position below Yandex. While Vkontake serves 24.2 million users per day, it does beat it’s competitors when it comes to duration of time spent online.  Russians hang out on VK for an average of 39 minutes per session and only 11 minutes per visit to Mail.ru.

Realistically, most users will dedicate more time to social media sites where they can view media, share photos, and communicate with friends so these numbers make sense.  Users also spend an average of 32 minutes per session while cruising around Odnoklassniki, another popular social media site. Traffic on Odnoklassniki averages out to about 16.3 million users per day.

4.1 million Russians spend about 10 minutes each day searching for jobs, cars, and services on Avito.ru, Russia’s largest online classified page.  2.5 million Russian’s also turn to Gismeteo each day to check the weather and forecasts for an average of 3 minutes per visit.  Gismeteo is keeping Russian informed about the dropping temps these days!

Western players competing on RuNet:

So now to the meat and potatoes for Westerners who are curious about finding their Russian target audience on familiar sites.  Your AdWords campaigns may be in the best idea in the everywhere else in the world but not in Russia. Users in Russia only average 5 minutes per day on the popular Western search engine Google. Moreover, Google.ru maintains about 13.1 million users per day, which is less than half of Yandex daily users.  For years, Yandex has maintained over a 60-65% market share while Google continues to hold about 20-25% of the market.

Facebook users spend an average of 5 minutes per day on the social media site, which sees 3.7 million people log in every day.  Obviously, there are far fewer users than the popular Russian sites but the website has gained some popularity and made headway as the 4th most visited social media site on the RuNet.

Another popular Western site, Youtube, draws in 9.9 million Russians’ daily attention for an average of 19 minutes per day.  Surely, Youtube beats out the local competitor RuTube.ru that sees much less traffic and ranks as the 87th website in Russia. Head to head this is the sole social media site that really beats out it’s local competitor.

According to this research, Twitter and Instagram draw in 1.6 and 1.7 million users respectively.  However, smartphone and mobile users were not considered in this data, which obviously drives a lot of traffic for these types of social media sites.  Users only spent 2 minutes on Instagram and 3 minutes on Twitter, which is most likely low in comparison to the way users spend a lot of time on these sites while scrolling on their phones during a commute or waiting in line places.

Conclusions:

As Yandex continues to improve and maintain great search abilities in addition to offering a number of services, Russians will also continue to use Yandex.ru as their main avenue for search but also for such things as ordering a taxi, navigating a map, or making online purchases.  Local social media sites like Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki will continue to promote social media interactions among locals who also turn to these sites to watch online videos and television. Still, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become a top 15 site in Russia as they grow in popularity and offer different user experiences and capabilities for Russians to explore.