[pic]The Wild Wild East: Report on Search Engine Marketing in Russia
by Alexey Iakovlev & Demfira Shakurova
[pic][pic]The Russian Internet is one of the most active developing sectors of the global network, with the number of Internet-users and resources spent on Internet advertising growing dramatically. By the end of 2006, the number of Internet-users in Russia had risen to 26 million; by the end of 2007, analytics have predicted more than 30 million users. Annual growth is between 13% and 20%.
Numbers such as these are often quoted in keynote addresses of a number of annual SEM conferences that take place in Moscow, the largest of which include:
• Russian Internet Forum – 2,200 members
• Search Engine Optimization and Site Promotion on the Internet – 1,200 members
• Internet and Business – 1,500 members
• E-Target (on Internet-advertising) – 500 members
While visiting these events, it is clear a lot of money is making its way into this marketplace, but not in a very “civilized” manner. In fact, SEO in the Runet* strongly reminds us of the era of the Wild West in the US, where cowboys roamed the range and bad guys counted on their “quick draw” techniques. How are these two disparate situations similar?
• high risks,
• high profits,
• high “death rate” and regeneration of new competitors (at least 2 newbies appear in the place of an SEO who has left the business),
• little or no scrutiny of work methods,
• many other factors that could be good or bad, depending on your point of view.
(*The Runet – the Russian-speaking sector of the Internet, where people from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and other countries work.)
The market for such events are the professionals involved in SEM, who ultimately determine the path it will take. Others – optimizers, copywriters, and other specialists – follow the trends, coming to Moscow each year to learn what the latest techniques are. Clients of SEOs attend as well.