These days, Google is synonymous with search engines. When you need to find out some information it’s likely you go straight to Google for the answer. People even use Google as a verb, making comments along the lines of ‘let me Google that’.
You may use other search engines like Bing and Yahoo!, but given Google’s superior analytical tools, webmaster tools and additional features like Google Docs, it’s pretty hard to bypass the search engine completely.
But what if you’re missing out on accessing a target audience that simply doesn’t use Google that much? You could be neglecting tons of organic traffic just because you’re not implementing SEO strategies that will help you out on other search engines.
Today we’ll be looking at what Yandex search engine is, why it’s important and why you should care about your site ranking there.
Yandex is a Russian tech company known for creating its Yandex search engine. Yandex is the second largest search engine in Russia. According to Statcounter, Yandex had a 39.6% market share in Russia compared to Google’s 57.9% in July 2020.
Although Yandex was originally just available in Russia, there’s now a global English version at yandex.com
As a tech company Yandex is also known for:
Yandex works like any other search engine. There’s a search bar where the user simply plugs in their search query, hits enter and a bunch of results pop up.
A list of related web pages will appear along with some images and videos depending on the search term.
While it works like most other mainstream search engines, there are some key differences that distinguish Yandex from other competitors.
Source: Russian Search Marketing
While both Yandex and Google function as search engines, there are some key features that differentiate the two from one another.
Yandex’s popularity can be understood due to the fact that it’s specifically designed for the Russian language. With a different alphabet, Russian is very different from English. Yandex has the ability to interpret the language and provide relevant search results in a way that Google can’t.
Yandex grew in popularity when Russian Android phones decided to no longer use Google as a default search engine in 2017. There’s a choice to set up Yandex as the default search engine and many users choose to do this.
While achieving a solid Google SEO strategy always has to be the priority, optimising your web pages for Yandex will increase your organic traffic from particular sources.
Although you may not have heard of Yandex previously, it’s actually currently the fifth most popular search engine in the world. Even if it doesn’t form the majority of your SEO strategy - Google always should - it’s still a good idea to consider Yandex and other search engines.
Here are some of the most compelling reasons why you should optimise for Yandex:
If you need to target a Russian market, optimising your web pages for Yandex will help you access your target audience. Ranking well on Yandex will give your product or service a lot more visibility within Russia.
While Yandex is predominantly used in Russia, it’s also a popular search engine in other countries like Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ukraine. Not only will you be able to target Russia but you’ll be able to optimise you web pages to reach users in other countries too. Yandex continues to grow in popularity in nations outside of Russia.
Continuing to grow out from its home country Russia, Yandex created a .com site for an English speaking audience.
The increasing popularity of Yandex and continual growth means you should consider implementing some targeted SEO tactics so your web pages begin to rank.
Optimising for Yandex as opposed to Google requires a different thought process and the application of different SEO strategies.
Source: Search Engine Journal
While optimising for Yandex differs from Google, some of the processes overlap and will benefit your site’s rankings across other search engines too.
Yandex places much more importance on location than other search engines. They sort searches into two different categories. Geo-dependent searches concentrate on products or services that are localised. Geo-independent searches provide search results that could be useful to anyone, no matter the location.
Although content is king on pretty much every search engine, including Google, Yandex takes the importance of content to the next level.
Like other search engines, Yandex rewards content that provides the most relevant and comprehensive answers to search queries.
The best way to leverage this in your favour is to consistently create original, valuable content that readers will find useful. Always put humans first and search engines second - this will help you create relevant content that will ultimately rank better.
Remember that Yandex is particularly tough on duplicate content and keyword stuffing. Algorithms are also in place to detect spammy content or text that’s been obviously copied and pasted from elsewhere.
While Google also issues penalties for these offences, it seems more difficult to recover from these offences on Yandex than other search engines.
While Google takes meta data into account, Yandex takes it more seriously. Ranking well on the search engine means ensuring your meta tags, page titles, URLs, canonical tags and description tags are exactly right.
These finer details are key to ranking well on the search engine. Make sure each piece is relevant and accurate. Equally, there shouldn’t be any duplicate information that Yandex could then penalise.
Just like Google, Yandex realizes the growing popularity of mobile search. For that reason, web pages must be optimised for a seamless mobile experience.
Part of this means ensuring that page load times are fast and web pages are formatted in a way that will easily translate to a smartphone screen.
Perhaps the most critical Yandex ranking factor is user-experience and how long visitors remain on your site.
Creating intuitively designed web pages, clear branding and engaging useful content are the top ways for boosting user experience on your site.
If your web pages fall short in any one of these categories, your visitors are more likely to jump back to the SERPs to look for another web page. Poor user experience is directly connected to a high bounce rate which does nothing for ranking well in search engine results.
Improving your user experience will positively impact your rankings and boost your web page in both Yandex and other search engine results.
While Yandex is a very different type of search engine to Google, optimising for it is not that different from any other search engine. Although there are several factors that Yandex emphasises more than others, placing importance on these will actually help you rank well on other search engines too.
As with ranking well on Google, it’s clear that relevant useful content along with high-quality user-experience are key factors. Implementing these strategies across your site will ensure your site performs well across multiple search engines.