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A ‘leak’ from Yandex reveals 1,922 search rankings.

One of the most significant algorithm updates this month did not concern Google, but rather Yandex. Yandex is a Russian technology company best known for its search engine, which has a 50% market share in Russia and a 0.55% global market share, making it the world’s fifth-largest search engine.

In addition, its search ranking factors were leaked this month, revealing 1,922 signals that indicate how websites are ranked in Yandex search results. 988 of the factors on the list were marked as deprecated, implying that 64% of the document is no longer in use or has been superseded by new ranking factors.

Although many of the descriptions of the ranking factors were brief, it is extremely useful for SEOs to gain an understanding of how a search engine works.

Important Yandex ranking factors

Here are a few key Yandex ranking signals to be aware of:

PageRank: The first ranking factor mentioned; Yandex undoubtedly employs some form of PageRank.

URL construction: Yandex considers numbers, capital letters, and the number of trailing slashes when constructing a URL structure.

Freshness: The age and date the page was last updated are ranking factors.

Clicks and CTR: Yandex ranks websites based on metrics such as the ratio of clicks and how frequently users click.

Dwell time: It is mentioned in 63 of the ranking factors (the time users take to evaluate the page).

Backlinks: The age of backlinks, the relevance of each link, including its non-commercial nature, and the ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ backlinks.

Metrika: The use of data from the analytics platform Metrika, including how the number of similar visitors and average time spent affect rankings, has been confirmed. The confirmation of Metrika data usage is one of the most intriguing ranking factors here, as it validates that both paid traffic and direct traffic can impact organic traffic on Yandex. There are hundreds of other leaked Yandex ranking factors to go through, so we recommend doing your research to get a complete picture.

If you’re interested, you can view the original list of ranking factors in code format.

What does this have to do with me?

Unless you’re specifically trying to rank on Yandex, the leak will not affect you. However, there is much speculation about how the Yandex ranking factors relate to Google’s mysterious ranking factors.

Yandex and Google are two different search engines, so we can’t say that the ranking signals used by Yandex are the same as those used by Google. However, Yandex’s source code has brought to light some significant ranking signals that the SEO community might not have been aware of and understanding these factors might give us an advantage moving forward.

Regardless of whether Google employs any of these ranking factors (in some cases, they have explicitly stated that they do not), it is critical that as SEO professionals we remain alert to Google’s signals and continue to optimize on-site content ethically.

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