Yandex, Russia’s leading search engine, has moved up in the worldwide search engine rankings to reach fourth place, according to the most recent data from comScore qSearch.

Google retains a comfortable lead for the top spot, with more than 62% of the market, followed by China’s Baidu with 8.2%, Yahoo with 4.9%, Yandex with 2.8%, and Microsoft with 2.5%.

Yandex first cracked the top 10 online services at the end of 2007. It overtook Microsoft for the first time in November of 2012, when it processed 4.62 billion search requests versus Microsoft’s 4.48 billion that month, leaving them both tied with roughly 2.5% of the market. The Russian search engine’s lead widened a bit further in December, giving it a 0.3% advantage in market share.

However, Microsoft still attracted 268.6 million unique searchers in December, and Yandex just 74.4 million, which suggests that Yandex aficionados tend to use their search engine more intensively.

The growth of Yandex has been underpinned by the rapid growth of Russia’s Internet penetration. “It’s thanks to the Russian audience that the number of Yandex searches grew,” said Yandex spokesperson Tatiana Komarova.

“Internet penetration is still relatively low in Russia and it continues to grow by adding older people and residents of small towns,” she added.

Yandex dominates the Russian search market with an estimated market share of 62%, far above Google’s 26%.

Outside Russia, Yandex has significant market shares – up to 40% – on the Kazakh, Ukrainian, and Belorussian markets.

The Russian company has started to enjoy some traction in Turkey, where it launched its service in September 2011 in a bid to challenge Google’s domination on the local search market.

In 2010, Yandex launched an English-language version, earning praise for the accuracy of its results, according to US business magazine Fast Company, but without significant success in terms of traffic.

On the NASDAQ, where Yandex began trading in May 2011, shares of the Russian company jumped 1.7% to $24.33 on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported, nearing its initial offer price of $25.

The Russian company now trades at 28.6 times estimated earnings, more than six times the average valuation of companies listed on Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index.