Yandex vs. Google: A Key to Successful SEO in Russia
If you have never heard of Yandex, you are probably not alone. As of today, Yandex appears to stand little chance to win the global leadership – Google controls 92% of search engine marketshare worldwide while Yandex is left behind with only 0.4%. Even though Yandex is yielding the leading position to Google step by step, its local market share – up to 48% – is impressive.
Being the biggest country in the world, Russia has population of around 145 million people with more than 90 million of active internet users. Digital marketing in Russia is pretty much like in China – it exists independently of the rest of the world and plays by its own rules. If you want to reach the Russian-speaking market, which, by the way, is represented not only by Russians, you’d better learn how to play the game first.
How Yandex Is Different from Google?
Generally speaking, if you are good at doing SEO for Google, SEO for Yandex won’t be a big deal for you. But it’s always better to know what you are dealing with before you start anyway, so here’s what differentiates Yandex from Google.
Yandex requires you to be patient
Unlike Google that tirelessly crawls and indexes everything new that is added on the Web, Yandex does that a couple of times per day or even a couple of times per month, depending on a type of the content. This is neither bad, nor good, this is just one of the Yandex’s peculiarities, which means that your content will take some time to start bear fruit.
Yandex loves geo-targeting
Yandex is a region-specific search engine, meaning that users do not have to bother to specify location related to their query in search. For example, if someone from St. Petersburg is searching for “birthday cakes” on Yandex, it will return results that are related to the user’s current location. In case with Google, a user who is looking to order a birthday cake in St. Petersburg, they will have to specify the location when typing in their query, and this will look something like “birthday cake st petersburg”.
Yandex cares about user behaviour
Yandex cares about users’ impressions on a particular website more than Google does. A website that is able to grab and hold user attention, engage and encourage users to interact will be valued and granted better rankings. If someone links to a website with good engagement rates, which means that the link is actually clicked, the link will bring value regardless of how authoritative the website is.
Yandex is stricter when it comes to content and technical mistakes
Yandex loves fresh, unique and valuable content just as much as Google does, but it takes content manipulations such as duplication and over optimization more seriously and can take stricter measures for rule violation.
As for technical mistakes, Yandex can penalize for things that you might have not even considered as mistakes like invalid bits of code. So with Yandex you have no option but to double check literally everything on your website, if you do not want to sacrifice higher ranking positions because of your own inattention.
Yandex speaks Russian
Yandex has a clear preference for the “high and mighty” (as they say in Russia) Russian language and so do Russians, so you achieve nothing by only using English if you want to market to the Russian-speaking audience. Yandex is better at indexing websites that offer content in Russian rather than those with exclusively English content.
Yandex treats older sites better
For Yandex, domain age is something that the website’s trustworthiness is evaluated by. Older domains are considered as more trusted ones and, therefore, as those deserving higher ranking compared to newly-developed websites. So it follows that it will be challenging to win the place in the sun for a newcomer on Yandex.
Even though the two heavyweights – Yandex and Google – are a bit different from each other, they still share something in common and this would be their hate for black hat SEO. Both search engines equally dislike to be tricked by optimization specialists that prefer unfair games, but Yandex is definitely more stricter towards them if the manipulations are disclosed.