Currently Yandex holds a 53% share of the Russian search market. Google, at 35%, handles a large volume of searches as well. For Yandex, the main success factors are better processing of Russian grammar and a range of unique local services like Yandex.Probki (an urban traffic monitoring tool). While not directly related to web search, it helps Yandex build visitor loyalty.
Optimising For Yandex: The Differences
- Remember that Yandex 'understands' Russian language queries better.
- When you build incoming links, Yandex prefers keyword variety (alternating between exact and broad matches and using keyword declension). Many case forms of the same word are the foundation of Russian grammar, and Yandex sees the connection between such forms. Here, Google is not that fastidious. It is more tolerant towards more exact matches in your anchors. Still, don’t overdo it.
- Improving your Yandex rankings for business-related keywords is easier if you target geo-related search queries. Region-based SEO strategy for Yandex includes creating a regional branch of your office and dedicating a page on your site or a mini-site with a subdomain to it. Then, you need set the relevant region for this mini-site in Yandex.Webmaster panel. Local contact details are essential.
- In most cases, Google is much faster at indexing new pages. Usually the difference is several days. The effect of incoming links is more visible with Google, which adjusts your position in five to seven days (in direct relation to the quality and quantity of your links).
- Currently Yandex places more emphasis on user behavior. For Google, external site factors still seem to be more important for now. At least this is what Yandex claims, and one can assume this is an actual trend.
- When it comes to SERPs, Google can show two, three, even four results from one domain on the same page, while Yandex shows only one.
- Most SEO professionals agree that Yandex prefers a ±5% keyword density while Google is usually OK with ±10%.
- Under similar circumstances, unique texts get better rankings in Yandex. Google fights duplicate content by penalising the site while Yandex just excludes it.
- Google places more importance on internal linking. In other words, your inner linking is more important for Google than it is for Yandex.
- Page title is more important when optimising for Google. Yandex does not see the title as particularly important and can therefore sometimes give better ranking to other pages than you have intended despite exact keyword matches.
- Google prefers sites that update with new content more often. Yandex does not place as much importance on this factor. With this, one can conclude that Yandex likes static sites better while Google prefers dynamic sites.
- Yandex.Ostrova (Yandex.Islands), a platform that lets users interact with search results and site content without leaving the SERP, is currently a much better developed tool than Google Structured Data. A possible risk factor for SEO professionals lies in the situation when news sites might lose some of their visitors. Users will not need to visit the site, preferring to obtain the content and/or services they are searching for via Yandex.Ostrova instead.
- With Yandex, if you face a difficulty, you can contact the support department and, if your request is detailed and well-formulated enough, get a prompt reply with relevant tips. Google support department is much slower when it comes to responding to webmaster questions.
Yandex SEO Tools
Optimising sites for Russian users is noticeably different from the way foreign, e.g. English-language SEO professionals operate. SEO service industries in Russia and in the Western world did not emerge simultaneously and show different trends and growth rates. Russian SEO tradition is deeply linked with mass link building. Due to this, the Russian SEO industry includes many link marketplaces, automated as well as semi-automated. Let us list the most popular ones below.
Buying 'Lifetime' Links
GoGetLinks is a relatively young link marketplace that is more suitable for promoting larger sites. The vendors here are trusted sites that have been in operation for more than 6 months. This gives the links more search engine trust. The marketplace lets you buy articles, context links, and image spots.
Miralinks is arguably the biggest Russian language link marketplace. Whilst prices are higher, link quality tends to be better. It also lets you use custom text content.
Rotapost is a good marketplace with a nice selection of vendor blog sites. Affordable quality.
Buying Non-Lifetime Backlinks
Internationally known, Sape is mostly used for targeted link spot buying on handpicked sites. Clients choose from a lot of settings, which lets them select sites for their links using a wide variety of criteria.
SeoPult is a link marketplace aggregator that lets you automate link buying and ranking analysis. This is crucial when you promote tens and hundreds of sites.
WebEffector is a new aggregator for lifetime and non-lifetime backlinks. It lets you evaluate traffic, set site promotion budgets and filter out irrelevant search queries. This aggregator is known for its high quality links.
Rookee is also relatively new, offering Google-targeted optimisation features. It has a multitude of settings and has partner relations with major text link marketplaces.
Despite all the automated SEO tools offered by the Russian market, the specifics of Russian language and Cyrillic writing require businesses to hire Russian-speaking SEO professionals.