Russian Search News 2022 Roundup

2022 has been a very different year for the Russian SEO scene, with major real-world events shifting the technological and consumer landscapes in ways no one at the start of the year would have predicted, and unlike anything seen during Covid (if anything, a reversal in user trends).

In this post, we’re going to recap some of the bigger changes that have affected how businesses optimize for, report on, and to an extent can rely on organic search both now and in 2023.

Sale of News & Zen to Vkontakte

Yandex Zen was a user-personalized content feed that utilizes machine learning to refresh and return content for users, and like Google News, Yandex News was an aggregator of news publications.

After the outbreak of the war, Yandex’s move to sell the two platforms isn’t too surprising to the Wester World. Yandex as a company work to be politically neutral, and whilst they legally were unable to control the content being published by news outlets – a 2017 law made them as an aggregator and distributor of the news equally as liable.

At the start of 2017, Russia passed a federal law that made news aggregators themselves liable for spreading fake news, however, news items from registered media outlets (a state-regulated media category) are exempt from the liability.

So the choices were risk distribution of news that would be seen as inflammatory by the Russian government or continuing to only distribute news from state-regulated media.

Zen, being a UGC platform also exposed Yandex to some liability – so the sale to VK isn’t too surprising.

VK is a Russian online social media and social networking service based in Saint Petersburg. In May 2021 it was estimated the platform had 656-million users.

Yandex Marketplace Changes

Throughout 2022 Yandex has made a number of changes to it’s Marketplace, including measures to prevent price exploitation, negative review attacks, and additional support to vendors.

Yandex Market on average gets 500 million visits in the last quarter (2022: Sep, Oct, Nov), whereas for comparison Russian eCommerce giants Wildberries attract around 994 million over the same period.

JavaScript Rendering

Yandex announced changes in the bypass of AJAX sites by robots. Now, instead of checking HTML versions of pages, robots will execute scripts on AJAX sites.

Importantly, pages with #! are no longer supported by the search engine.

RSN Editorial News

And on a final note, we’d like to welcome Aleks to the editorial team at Russian Search News.

Aleks will be covering the latest market changes and news, as well as producing guides and building the next phase of this website’s editorial strategy as we head into 2023 and beyond.

Our plan at present is that we will continue to cover Yandex and Russian SEO-related news through 2023 and beyond pending any major market or legal changes. As a website, we stand with Ukraine.


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