Study: Ikea, Global Furtniture Giant

Ikea is one of the largest furniture retailers in the world and its flat-pack furniture has often been popularized in TV culture, such as the Shøp parody in The Simpsons.

However, over the past 12-months, the furniture giant has seen it’s organic search visibility within Google Russia half from ~86/100 to ~43/100 in terms of visibility.

Whilst Search Visibility isn’t necessarily the best indicator, Sistrix’s is one of the more reliable indicators of organic search performance (from the plethora of search visibility metrics available on the market).

It’s not possible for us to say if Ikea is aware of the issue within Russia, or perhaps they are already working on resolving underlying issues. What is clear is that fixing it would bring a significant boost to their search visibility in what is a large consumer market.

As you can see from the Sistrix graph below, Ikea’s visibility in Russia halved in the past 12-months:


Ikea’s organic search visibility in Google Russia. Source: Sistrix

The markers on the graph being:

  • A. March 2019 Core Update
  • B. June 2019 Core Update
  • C. September 2019 Core Update
  • D. January 2020 Core Update

Of course, Google updates happen daily and not all are declared/noticed by all sectors. So whilst we can be speculative as to what’s happened, the two main drops have occurred during July 2019, and December 2019.

Are All Reports Showing The Same?

Whilst the Sistrix visibility shows a halving of visibility, other tools, such as SEMrush are showing an estimated increase in traffic over the same period Sistrix is showing a drop:

SEMrush showing an increase in estimated traffic for Google Russia

Technical Analysis

Relying on third-party tools is all well and good, but confusing when they all use different data and measure metrics differently. However, we can use third-party data to look at the site from a technical perspective.

Crawling Issues?

Looking at WayBack machine to view previous site versions, one interesting note is the dip in WayBack crawling between September 2019 and February 2020.

WayBack Machine stopped archiving parts of Ikea RU for the last quarter of 2019.

Whilst it’s not causative or even correlative of Google having crawling issues, it is odd from an outside perspective that the site had been cached almost daily for 3 years by WayBack Machine and then for the last quarter of 2019 and start of 2020 to then resume daily caching is odd.

Missing Hreflang Tags

We know from Yandex’s own documentation that the search engine supports Hreflang through the <head>, however, from testing the in tools like and other third-party tools, I found that:

  • There is no Hreflang implemented via the <head>
  • There is no Hreflang implemented via the HTTP header
  • Hreflang is implemented via the XML sitemaps

Hreflang isn’t just important to Google, but also to Yandex:

If your site has pages in different languages or is intended for different regions, you can send information about this to the Yandex robot. This information will help the robot determine which version of the page should be shown to a particular user in the search results.

Adding in Hreflang to the <head> would be a big help for Yandex, although in the third-party data I’m not only seeing non-/ru/ru URLs ranking within the Russian market, and from validation suspect there are some issues with the XML approach. Given Hreflang is universally supported in the <head>, aside from Baidu, I would place it there.

Mobile Subdomain Migration/Redirects

Looking through ranking data in Sistrix, SEMrush and Ahrefs, an m2. subdomain keeps appearing prominently, and according to WayBack Machine this path ( was accessible throughout 2019 and again, was not cached during the last 3-months.

When accessing m2. subdomain URLs, they all appear to redirect fine – so it could be that Google is still processing the redirect, albeit slowly:

Ikea’s M2 subdomain is still ranking in Russia

Serpstat also has a large number of m2. path URLs within the live database for both Google Russia and Yandex.

Please let me know in the comments if you’ve noticed any similar drops on websites around July and December 2019!


For information on how Sistrix calculates search visibility, please click here.


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