SEO Analysis: The Russian Finance & Credit Sector

With increased IT infrastructure spending forecast across multiple regions, and with the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) to promote protection for Russian start-ups and a better-regulated technology market, the Russian financial sector (both personal and for businesses) is set to see increased activity.

Midway through 2020, like with most countries, Russia has seen a consumer shift towards digital services as cashless payments are now the preferred choice for most physical retailers.

Increased consumer activity can be seen through Yandex Zen. In June 2020, more than 20.1-million users consumed Zen content focused around finances, both organic and promoted (examples of the latter can be found further on in this post).

In this post, I’m going to look at the current organic search landscape of some of the leading Russian banks and financial institutions, and keyword analysis around personal credit cards and business banking cards. I’ll also highlight how some companies are specializing in the business financial sector, such as Tochka (Точка).

All data used in this post has been acquired through third-party tools.

Market Landscape (Organic Search)

To analyze the organic search landscape, I’m looking at data from 8 Russian financial companies and banks, these being:

  • Sberbank
  • Tinkoff
  • Banki
  • Alfa-Bank
  • Gazprom Bank
  • Raiffeisen
  • PS Bank (PSB)
  • Tochka

Not all of these companies compete in the same verticals and offer the same products, especially the smaller players like Tochka, but they’re still competing against these larger web giants.

Organic Search Visibility

The below chart uses third-party data to demonstrate the changes in perceived organic search visibility for the aforementioned banking and financial services websites in Russia:

Organic search visibility of Russian banking and financial websites from November 2018

For the most part, has remained dominant but, alongside Sberbank, has seen some decline at the start of 2020. Also notably, Tinkoff”s rise seems to half stuttered around May 2020. Outside of these top three, Tochka and PSB sit behind Gazprom Bank and Raiffeisen, with Alfa Bank placed firmly midtable and stable.

Brand Search Traffic

Whilst organic search visibility is one thing, a lot can be also be learned from exact match brand search volumes – as a positive brand comes from years of investment in both marketing and customer service.

Recent examples of players in this market investing in building the brand can be found, like with most examples, in sport, with Tinkoff signing a reported $5,725,125 (408,000,000₽) sponsorship deal to become the title sponsor of the Russian Premier League.

The below table shows the exact-match brand search volumes for the 8 websites/brands we’re looking at. For comparison, I’ve taken Google Russia search volume from SEMrush, and Search Impression data for Yandex from Wordstat.

Search Volume Google Search Impressions Yandex
Сбербанк 40500 29,227,463
Тинькофф банк 110000 744,163
Банки.ру 60500 25,457,310
Альфа-Банк 673000 2,904,607
Газпромбанк 246000 1,219,895
Райффайзенбанк 201000 640,193
ПСБ 135000 311,931
Банк Точка 40500 6,754,054

The high search volumes (Google) show a competitive brand market that may be difficult for new challenger brands to get into the mainstream without strategic investment and tactfully chipping away at the market as opposed to a full-frontal assault.

Keyword Analysis (Non-Commercial – Credit Cards Кредитные карты)

Search Volume Google Search Impressions Yandex
Кредитные карты 18100 1,189,052

The SERP for Credit Cards in Google Russia returns a very, heavily commercial list of search results with one double listing. As you would imagine, all four ad slots are taken at the top, and all three at the bottom of the SERP – so adverts included there are 17 clickable results plus the “similar searches” feature for users to engage with.

The 10 organic results being:

  6. (Moscow focused page)
  7. Raiffeisen
  8. (credit card comparison site)

Keyword Analysis (Commercial – Business Cards Бизнес-карты)

Search Volume Google Search Impressions Yandex
Бизнес-карты 390 48,601

Despite lower search volume and impression numbers, it’s estimated that the term Бизнес-карты returns ~2-billion search result in Google Russia, and the change in intent from personal credit to business-focused banking is clear from the SERPs.

Interestingly, only two ads spots were taken on the tests I performed compared to the seven on personal credit cards, and Google was compensating with the PAA (People Also Asked) box most of the time, potentially showing no clear dominant interpretation of the query. That being said, it’s clear that Business Cards is a financial query in this market and not related to personal business cards…



Promotional Zen Content

More and more organizations are using Yandex Zen as a way of connecting to existing and new users.

Below are some examples of sponsored Zen content from financial sector companies that have performed well in 2020, including content from the likes of Sberbank, Tinkoff, and Alfa-Bank, as well as financial sector commentary websites and magazines:

Due to the size of this sector, and activeness of the consumer base, there are a number of opportunities to sustainably grow a brand and achieve levels of organic search performance.

The commercial business banking sector is less competitive than the personal banking sector, by comparison, but both have large brands and established players in the market places.

For both sectors, Zen will become a more important and integral part of your search strategy.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of