Building A List Of Keywords In Russian

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

Building a good list of keywords is essential task for all SEO and PPC activities, and it is a tricky job even in your native language that requires strong marketing skills. Putting yourself into customer shoes, understanding his or her rational and emotional needs, understanding behavior scenarios and search phrases used in each stage as well as estimating their frequencies and potential conversion rates takes hours and hours of extensive research.


The complexity of the task multiplies tenfold when you need to do it in different language, and Russian is not one of the easiest when it comes to building a semantic kernel for your SEO or PPC campaign. In this post I will outline the major differences between Russian and English languages that have direct impact on your keywords research process.


Russian language is notoriously famous for the large number of synonyms. While in English prepositions, modal verbs and idioms create a numerous amount of combinations from frequently used verbs and nouns, Russians tend to use new word to describe new object, action or attribute. As a result, your product can have several or even many names in Russian.


Once I was building a list of keywords for a company that was selling kitchen taps. Our team had discovered there are two different words Russians are using to describe it with almost several frequency. Further research had revealed that customer behavior differs greatly depending on which word a customer had been using do describe the product – one word sounded more colloquial and people who were using it did not know much about market landscape, brands and prices. Customers who used the second word were much better informed, they wanted to compare the prices and know the details. The reason was quite simple – the overwhelming majority of internet shops tend to use the second word to describe the product, so when customer had just been starting the research they used the first word, while progressing in their search they got more and more information from retailers and further search requests have been done with the second word.


Russia is huge, and there are regional differences in Russian language. Say, even customers in Moscow and in St. Petersburg would choose different words to describe a “monthly bus ticket”, or “building entrance”. Be ready that your product can have different names or descriptions, say, in the North and in the South of Russia.

  • Understanding the difference between the synonyms can lead to valuable marketing insights and will help to plan the PPC or SEO activities in the most efficient way.
  • Try to discover all synonyms used by customers that are interested in your product – if you are not using them, you might be missing a part of your target audience.


If you have ever studied Russian or German grammar, you know what I am talking about. 6 cases, singular or plural form and 3 genders give us 36 versions of one adjective and 12 versions of almost every noun. Endings matter. Both Google and Yandex understand the cases and plural forms and offer your search results with your keyword in all cases and forms. However, as always, the better match means the better results, therefore finding the most relevant cases and forms of the word and reflecting them on product pages shall be the part of your content strategy. When it comes to PPC campaigns both Google AdWords and Yandex Direct let you use special operators that fix the case, gender and the form of your keyword. This can turn out crucial if you are fighting for a highly competitive and expensive keyword or phrase.

  • Using exact match between search request and your keywords will decrease the coverage, but can help you save on CPC cost and concentrate your efforts.
  • Most frequent word forms shall be used at product pages as a part of your content strategy to compliment your SEO efforts.

Word Order

We Russians do not care about word order. Seriously. We change the word order in the sentence or in the phrase the way we want to express different emotions and overtones. Correspondingly, a customer can use any word order in his or her search request. As with endings, fixing a specific word order in a phrase with a special operator for exact match can save your money both in PPC and SEO activities.

Cyrillic alphabet

Well, yet another nightmare. We use Cyrillic alphabet that makes you check if your website font supports Cyrillic characters or needs to be replaced. It also has great influence on how we describe products that have original name in English. When searching for an English product some people tend to spell the name of the brand in English, or the way they suppose this name shall be written in English. Some are searching in Russian and transliterate the product name – you may be surprised with a number of ways your product name can be spelled in Russian. In combination with different product descriptions, these spelling variations can create a long list of the phrases your customers are using to describe the product. It is well worth to study geographical, social and behavioral difference between them. For example, working with recreational product market we had built a list of more than 20 ways customers are using to describe an “ATV”. We have also discovered that people from large cities in the North like Moscow and St. Petersburg tend to use Latin spelling for the product name, while people from smaller cities in the Southern regions prefer transliterations in Russian.


Russian spelling is not always easy even for native Russians, and the number of spelling mistakes can be substantial. At some point of time in the past one of successful SEO strategies was based on spelling mistakes – there were so many of them that you could advertise at much lower price by offering ads and content with misspelled keywords. Search engines no longer favor this – they automatically correct spelling mistakes and offer content for corrected word, you need to insist on your spelling to get results for the misspelled word or phrase.

  • Browsing through customer forums and discussions on your product category can bring new inspiration on how customers are calling your product.
  • Build a list of all possible options people are using to name your product – both in Russian and English, check for frequencies and try to understand customer portrait behind each option.


In conclusion, it would be worth to mention that there are several tools in Russian market that can simplify and automate the search and make sure you are not missing important keywords – we are planning to devote one of the next posts to these tools. Technologies advance, but the basic principle of building a right list of keywords stays the same – all it takes is to understand the customers and speak their language to them.


If you would like more information on expanding your online business into Russia, why not take a look at our detailed International eCommerce Russia Passport.

Interested in marketing in Russia? Call + 7 921 303 91 99 or drop me a line at - it never hurts to chat about the topic you are interested in.

About author: Olga Gusseva
Your marketing expert in Russia
+ 7 921 303 91-99,

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

Royal Mail Sponsor

Register today for unlimited article views, and unique insights

Register Now

Building an eCommerce fraud prevention strategy for Germany

Building an eCommerce fraud prevention strategy for Germany

Being the world’s fifth largest eCommerce market, Germany has become an exceptionally popular destination for online merchants looking to sell their goods and services. However, retailers should still be aware of the high levels of fraud to do with their number one payment method. Therefore, what do you need to know about building an eCommerce fraud prevention strategy for Germany?
Interview with Kai Li, Vice President of International at Revolve

Interview with Kai Li, Vice President of International at Revolve

eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit 2017 - Ahead of our annual event on 24th May, we interview Kai Li, Vice President of International at Revolve Clothing, to learn from his experience and knowledge in cross-border trading.
How does device usage differ in France, Germany, and the UK?

How does device usage differ in France, Germany, and the UK?

It is well known that the use of smartphones and tablets has grown rapidly but which device dominates the traffic and at what time of day across France, Germany and UK? And how does device usage differ between these Countries?
Delivery into Russia: what you need to know

Delivery into Russia: what you need to know

Online retailers know the opportunities that comes with expansion into Russia but entering this massive market comes with its delivery challenges. However, what do you need to know about trading and delivery into Russia?
Using non-commercial organisations to grow your online retail business in Russia

Using non-commercial organisations to grow your online retail business in Russia

Russia is frequently perceived by foreign retailers as a complicated and risky environment but there are a number of organisations in Russia that can help you understand this market environment and the rules by which the market plays. But who are they?
Agenda Announced for eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit 2017

Agenda Announced for eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit 2017

The agenda has been announced for the eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit and it boasts a wealth of retail experts with years of experience between them in expanding their brands overseas.
What can UK online retailers learn from major sales events in China?

What can UK online retailers learn from major sales events in China?

By cleverly orchestrating a string of headline-grabbing shopping holidays throughout the year, China is reinventing retail. But why are Chinese consumers embracing these shopping frenzies so readily and offers and how can overseas retailers learn from this to gain and maintain the competitive edge?
How WeChat is used for Business

How WeChat is used for Business

WeChat has been a hot topic for many marketers for a long time. However, how much do we really know about the most used social network in China? And how is WeChat used for business?
Ecommerce in Australasia

Ecommerce in Australasia

The New Zealand and Australia cross-border eCommerce markets are booming and it is looking to continue this way for the coming years. With almost 17 million savvy and highly engaged online shoppers in the region, what do you need to know about these eCommerce markets and which are the most successful retail sites there?
Ecommerce shipping to Australia

Ecommerce shipping to Australia

It’s easy for any retailer to be attracted to the impressive digital adoption Australia has taken with online retail sales of USD $9.5 bn last year. However, this success is not without its challenges as shipping into this widely fragmented country can affect your business - but how?

Contact Us

eCommerce Worldwide
2 Ching Court
49-53 Monmouth St

Tel: 0203 696 0980
2016© eCommerce Worldwide

Keep In Touch

powered by Affino

About eCommerce Worldwide

eCommerce Worldwide provides online retailers with all the information, and resources, they need to develop cross-border strategies for entering new markets around the world
Read More