Yandex is the name of the Russian equivalent of the search engine Google. The name is short for “Yet Another Indexer.” In fact, it is the most popular search engine in Russia. This is probably because it is primarily for Russian websites and text is in the native language of that country. It is estimated that Yandex has between 50 and 60 percent of the market share for regional search engines in Russia.

Like any other search engine, it has its own algorithm for indexing and ranking websites. Search engine optimization (SEO) is just as important for a website listed in Yandex as it is for Google, Yahoo, and Bing and how it’s done is really not that different. Here are a few considerations you should make and some tips when doing SEO for Yandex.

It is helpful to understand a little of the history behind Yandex. By knowing some of the history, you understand the context that you are working in when doing SEO for this engine. Yandex first came on the web scene in 1997 in Moscow, Russia. It was designed to specifically be a Russian language search engine and can handle the semantics of search queries done in the country’s linguistics system. It was founded by CEO Arkady Volozh who had the vision of making the search engine a formidable competitor with Google (which is now the case).

Yandex is somewhat similar to Google in that both use a ranking metric for their pages. Google uses the famous PageRank while Yandex uses what it calls a “Quotation Index.” The quotation index is a metric used to show how trusted a website is in the domain of Yandex. Whereas Google has a very narrow Pagerank (0-10), the Yandex scale ranges from 0 to 150,000. There is really no comparison between the two metrics because those doing SEO in Google desire a higher Pagerank while those doing the same in Yandex seek lower values. For example, trusted, non-public websites in Yandex have values between 150 and 1,000. Just as with Google, Yandex offers a toolbar allowing you can see the quotation index for a site.

Backlinks affect the quotation index of a Russian website. The goal for SEO with Yandex (and with Google) is to get a high number of backlinks to the website being optimized. But volume of backlinks is not the only important factor here. You also want to make sure that the backlinks come from high-quality (trusted) websites already in the Yandex index. Another factor that weighs heavily on backlink quality is the region of the site linking to yours. Not surprisingly, backlinks from Russian websites are given a higher weight. And the same as with Google, relevant backlinks are likewise counted as more significant. In other words, if your website advertises curtains for sale, backlinks from a website selling residential windows would be appropriate.

Keywords are just as important on pages indexed in Yandex. However, is not a good source of keyword metrics coming from Russia. In other words, your first choice in getting keyword suggestions would not be from Google Adwords. This is because Google has a significantly lower usage rate among Russian internet users. Yandex has an equivalent to Google Adwords named Wordstat. Wordstat shows trends of searches categorized by keywords allowing you to choose those you wish to target. Another tool used in the Google world is known as Google Insights where internet users can analyze the topmost popular searches and Yandex has covered this area as well with Yandex Interests.

Yandex has also developed their own information tools for SEO specialists. They have also created a set of webmaster guidelines and they have an equivalent for all the Google webmaster tools. Additional tools allow a webmaster to assign a region to a website and to edit site links (Quicklinks). 

This search engine has some special priorities. Paid advertising seems to override organic. This is potentially a problem for some who wish to resort to only organic SEO methods. But Yandex has to pay the bills like everyone else. There are also differing opinions as to whether or not Yandex will allow a non-Russian site into its index although it you can find non-Russian sites in its SERPs (search engine result pages).

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