Every SEO agent today knows something about Yandex SEO, the Russian search engine. Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia, and more than 57% of internet users all over the country use it as compared all other search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. combined. The search engine seems to be quite similar to Google, but it has a few fundamental differences when it comes to algorithms which are used for indexing of the websites. Yandex is the search giant on which a user needs to focus if he wishes to start a new business in Russia. Before going deep into the topic please read my previous posts about on-page seo and how to write prefect optimized SEO blog post too.
Yandex VS Google
The main difference which sets Yandex apart from Google is its ability to produce location-based results. The region is an essential factor in determining the website rank for a particular keyword on Yandex. While Google provides similar search results for same queries throughout the country (unless the question is based on the local listing or paid results), Yandex delivers different search results for different cities for same keywords. For example, if you search for “Business promotion” in Moscow, and Vladivostok, the two major cities of Russia, the results displayed would surely be different. The two cities are about 9000 kilometers apart, and this is the main reason that it’s almost impossible for one business to provide solutions to these two cities, and hence the variations in Yandex results are relevant. Once you search for “Business promotion” in the city of Moscow, a prefix “in Moscow” is automatically added to the query, thereby providing you the results for “Business promotion in Moscow.”
Apart from being used in Russia, Yandex search engine is also quite popular in some other Russian speaking countries like Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. While 33% of internet users prefer using Yandex in Ukraine, the number is 45% and 25% in Belarus and Kazakhstan respectively. There’s still no point using Yandex specific SEO tactics for the website when dealing with international SEO, but these points can be helpful when it comes to countries coping with the Russian language.
Critical Factors for Yandex SEO
Just in the same manner as Google, even Yandex gives priority to content which is not only knowledgeable but also unique. You need to keep your content up to date and informative for the user. Remember the critical point, you do not need to write for the search engine bots, but write it for website users and bots would be happy automatically.
Another critical factor which is unique to Yandex is the region. As already mentioned, Yandex provides search results based on the city of the user. This is the reason that you need to be specific on your targets. Russia is a big country, and you cannot target all the major cities with a single article. Choose your goals accordingly. You can easily choose your region in Yandex Webmaster tools, and if possible, you may even decide to add the same to page’s heading or content.
3. No Keyword Stuffing
The old grey hat tactic of keyword stuffing has been outdated for Google for quite some time now, and same is the case with Yandex. The only difference here is that while Google may be a bit lenient in handling high-density keyword articles by just ignoring them, Yandex may even punish you for this act. If Yandex bots see an article with high keyword density on your website, it would not only mark your site as spam but even block your website for a couple of months without any warnings.
4. Use Yandex Analytics And Webmaster
Everyone is well aware of Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools which help in analyzing the traffic stats and SEO status of the websites respectively. Even Yandex comes with its own set of Analytics and Webmaster tools with a small restriction of the Russian language. These tools are only available in one language, i.e., Russian, and there’s no way to change the language preference. These tools are now available in English too. You can simply use them just like Google webmaster tools and analytics but for that first you need to register your account at Yandex Passport.
If you have troubles in dealing with this script, it is always advisable to outsource the same. These tools are essential as apart from sending you the latest algorithmic changes in the search engine techniques, Yandex also keeps you updated with most recent warnings and errors through Webmaster tools, which you just cannot afford to ignore.
5. Keep An Eye On Backlinks
Back in the year 2013, Yandex team announced that links would not be considered as a factor for ranking of websites, but the same doesn’t seem to hold entirely to date. The thing which needs some light here is the word “links.” While backlinks from some good sites having the same niche as your blog can do pretty good to your rankings, the second case involving backlinks from spam sites can be quite disastrous.
Yandex believes in quality rather than in quantity. If you’re going to use low-end sites to generate backlinks, you better leave it at all. Websites which seek help from link building networks like SAPE often end up getting blocked for one or more months from the search engine results. You not only need to maintain strong links, but also ensure that other spam sites are not pointing towards you, and if they are, it’s best to get it removed as quickly as possible. You also need to keep in mind that links generation on good sites should be done naturally, i.e., try not to gain more than one to two links on a single day.
On the other hand, keep the website well connected internally to make it easier to navigate for the user.
6. Social Media Sharing
Sharing your content on popular social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. would not only help you gain direct visitors to your site, but it would even be beneficial from website’s SEO point of view.
7. Avoid Black Hat Tactics
Using particular tactics like inserting invisible content on the webpage, cloaking the page to appeal search engine bots, developing duplicate pages, etc. is not something which is appreciated by Yandex bots. Apart from them, you must also avoid using footer tags or empty pages on your site.