Yandex - le moteur de recherche russe sur mur de brique jaune

Currently, we have a few clients who are positioned on the Russian market. Google is of course present but is referenced on the national search engine, Yandex is a vital necessity. Indeed, this search engine is the leader on its market with 49.39% in June 2019 (even if Google is gradually catching up with 46.95% at the same period – source). But then how to be properly referenced on this search engine? What are the on-site and off-site elements to take into account to do SEO on Yandex?

Yandex and the on-site elements

The most recent and main update of Yandex and its algorithm is the AGS filter which is comparable to Panda for Google. This filter is particularly attentive to duplicate content as well as to the quality of the content. AGS is much more severe than its American equivalent; this is true for almost all over-optimizations. Indeed, having less power than Google to crawl websites, Yandex is more demanding to deliver an optimal quality to its visitors. So the content of your website is one of the essential factors of good referencing for the Russian search engine.

Moreover, it will use the same tags as Google. There is no need here to develop more, except the fact that in case of over-optimization, the penalties are always heavier and longer.

However, there are differences, especially when it comes to taking into account the age of your domain. Thus, an old domain can more easily be placed in the first place. This particular consideration is in the DNA of Yandex. It appears in the first update of the search engine algorithm in 2008, under the name 8-SP1.

Thus, Yandex will be able to rank websites thanks to its Thematic Index Citation (TIC) ranging from 0 to 150,000 taking into account the different on-site signals, but also the off-site content…

Yandex and the off-site

Yandex, like Google, hates unnatural links. What is an unnatural link? These are purchased links that have only one objective, to manipulate the results of search engines. To limit the phenomenon, Yandex has implemented the Minusinsk algorithm. As always with Yandex, the measures taken may seem drastic, so that on average a page that receives a penalty loses 20 places!

We must not forget that this search engine is slow to index pages, so the penalties can also belong. Thus, it is necessary to wait on average between 1 and 3 months … It is, therefore, better to avoid cheating otherwise the consequences can be heavy.

A very important external factor is local SEO. Indeed, SERPs can be really totally different from one region, from one oblast to another. It is essential to specify the region your site is targeted in the Yandex.webmaster. But this is only an application. Yandex will check different data (site IP, address present in your contact page, domain registration information, …) to place you higher or lower in these SERPs depending on your location. Pay attention to these different data that can locate you. This way, you can be easily placed in the desired region.


Yandex is similar to Google, especially in its willingness to offer quality results. Nevertheless, it has some specificities of its own. It may be necessary to call a professional SEO to accompany you.

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