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The answer to this question is fairly simple. If you are looking into Eastern European market and trying to attract clients from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus or Khazahstan, Yandex is crucial for successful expansion and future growth in the region. In 2014, Yandex was used for 45% of searches in Belarus, 33% in Ukraine and impressive 60% in Russia. Overall, it opens the access to 83m users – the largest European Internet Population. At the same time, it is not just Russian version of Google and simply translating the website won’t give you the first page slot. In fact, it works in a surprisingly different way and we are going to discuss the differences here.
10 Things You Should Know About Ranking on Yandex
It’s not Google – Yandex uses dramatically different ranking algorithm
This point can’t be overemphasized – these two search engines are working in different ways, they have different audience and they share nothing but purpose. SEO for Yandex will not be the same as SEO for Google. Even though the core concepts of optimisation are the same (you still will be working with links, content, social media, etc), the proportions, relationship between different factors is different. The search algorithms were simply developed on two opposite sides of the planet.
Low quality content is penalized – machine translation or poor grammar are discouraged by the engine
Quality of text to be more specific. Striving to provide relevant content to its users, Yandex built a system that checks the grammar of sites and the overall quality of text. Simply translated versions of your site won’t rank high until they are optimised for native speaker’s mind
Regional search and optimization are crucial, region has strong effect on search results
Influence of regional optimisation on rankings is incredibly high. The same search query would return completely different results for Moscow and St. Petersburg. This means, if possible, define clearly your region of interest and optimise for it.
Link building is tricky – links from irrelevant sources hurt ranks, unnaturally fast linking is bad for our site
In 2014 Yandex SEO has changed completely. In efforts to fight link building manipulations, the engine algorithm has been changed to exclude links from the mechanism at all. In 2015, the team announced links are coming back but only partly. Any unnatural speeds of links pointing towards the site might still cause a penalty, links from irrelevant sources won’t help either.
Much slower index update – Yandex updates it’s index on a much slower pace
As another proof of differences of SEO for Yandex and Google, Russian network crawls sites significantly less often. In fact, you should expect your SEO efforts pay off in 2 month even for low competition searches.
Yandex has its own auction-based ad platform
In order to get the most of this engine, you would have to dive into its own ecosystem. That includes their own ad platform that requires some getting used to as well.
The ranking algorithm is more sensitive to keyword stuffing than Google
This point speaks for itself – Yandex SEO is very sensitive to overusing keywords and you don’t want to make this engine hate you.
Yandex uses its own local listings directory called Sprav.
Similarly to Google Maps and Places services, Yandex Maps have its own Sprav. (from Russian ‘spravochnic’ – directory) service, which does essentially the same thing as Places – it’s a local listings directory.
Search result snippets are hard to influence
With Google everything is easy – you make a meta description relevant to the content and expect it to show up in search results snippet, when someone finds it. But in case with Yandex, snippets are not influenced by administrator, they are generated by the engine based on what it considers relevant.
Display space – text takes much more of the space on screen.
The nature or Russian language is different enough to cause serious trouble, when trying to translate the names of buttons, tabs, etc. Quite often, one English word might need 2 or 3 Russian words in translation. Again, it all comes back to native translation that makes sense to both search engine and users.If your business wants to attract Russian-speaking clients, it is highly recommended for you to get some sort of relationship with Yandex SEO. This would also mean on-site changes that would make your website competitive and representative even in a foreign language. No matter what business you have – from online services to international tourism and travel agency, SEO for Yandex is a way forward, if you target Russian clients. Have in mind, however, optimisation will take a lot of efforts and time due to the specifics of the language, the engine and search algorithm. If you think you need help with optimising your business website for Yandex, feel free to contact professional SEO specialists and we will make sure your website holds on to your company’s standards.
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