Yandex, the most popular search engine in Russia, has rolled out a ‘mobile-friendly’ label to websites that meet its criteria for smartphone and tablet users.

A “mobile version” tag is now being attached to optimised web pages across Russia, as well as Ukraine, Turkey, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

It comes just days shy of a whole year since Google rolled out a similar feature for its own search engine.

In late November 2014, the group started attaching a certification next to sites which had avoided software not common on mobile devices, used text that could be legible without the use of zoom and placing links far enough apart so they could be tapped without interfering with each other. 

Change on the way

After introducing its mobile label, Google offered a tool that allowed website owners to check whether their own domain was ready for use on smartphone and tablet. 

Yandex has done the same with a diagnostic tool for webmasters, which is now available for use.

While the initial criteria rewards sites for not using older systems like Flash or Silverlight to load content, Yandex has promised to follow Google by looking into font sizes and the distance between strokes.

There are also plans in place to have its algorithm analyse whole sites as opposed to just adjudging a specific page to be mobile friendly. 

Russian Search Tips states that unlike Google, Yandex will not be adjusting its search algorithm to reward sites optimised for mobile. However, stern action may be taken on those that don’t, as Yandex says less than 18% of the top one-million Russian sites currently have mobile-optimised pages.