Yandex.ru Becomes Top US Website

Well, this is exciting – Yandex is almost getting as much traffic in the US as Buzzfeed?  The average American knows about Buzzfeed, Home Depot, and Vimeo; their sites are gaining about as much traffic in the US as Yandex.ru, which most Americans wouldn’t recognize.

According to the most recent results from SimilarWeb, two major Russian websites Yandex and Vkontakte ranked in the top 100 US websites for 2014.  Vkontakte, Russia’s leading social network fell in at 81 and Yandex.ru, Russia’s premiere search engine placed in the 91 slot.

similar web top 100 websites in the US 2014

In comparison to the Russian rankings, Yandex.ru is the most popular website in Russia with an average of 49 million daily views on the main homepage alone. Yandex maintains 62% of the search engine traffic in Russia and offers 16 different services like Yandex.Mail, Yandex.Market, and Yandex.Taxi.

Vkontakte or VK is Russia’s second most popular site with 24.2 million users per day. As already reported by Russian Search Marketing, VK users average about 7 hours per day on the popular social networking site chatting with friends, sharing photos, and consuming TV and films.

So what are these .ru websites doing in the US? Probably catering to the 2.9 million Russians living in here.  According to Ameredia, there are currently 6 million Russian speakers in the US and Canada.  The leading states for high Russian populations include New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Just last week at a conference in Las Vegas, I met a number of Russians and was told by a few American attendees that their Russian spouses, who live in the US, use Yandex for all of their search needs.  When using their native language, Yandex really does offer the best search results for Russians, so this isn’t a huge surprise.  While many regional Googles made this SimilarWeb list, Google.ru did not, indicating Russian nationals in the US may be utilizing Yandex for their search needs the way other foreigners in the US may be utilizing a search engine geared towards their country of origin and native tongue.

Others speculate that current events in Russia and developments between the US and Russia have also peaked greater interest in the major Russian websites.  Yandex.ru’s rank change was an increase of 377 and its counterpart, mail.ru, went up by 150.

As seen on the list above, the majority of the list was expected but many other foreign based websites (mainly search engines) are also drawing in a significant amount of US traffic.