- 1 Introduction
- 2 Why should we be interested in this?
- 3 Yandex vs Google
- 4 Scraping data from different sources
- 5 Prioritization of Links
- 6 Possible positive ranking factors:
- 7 Possible negative ranking factors:
- 8 Other ranking factors
- 9 Comparison of Yandex, Google and Bing
- 10 What did the leak include?
- 11 Official Position of Yandex Company
- 12 What's Next After the Yandex Leak?
- 13 Funny comments in the code 😉
- 14 FAQ - Frequently asked questions about the leaked source code of the Yandex search engine
In the SEO world, January 25, 2023 has become a day that is sure to be remembered. Russia's Internet search engine, Yandex, has experienced a leak of its source code. But what does this mean for the SEO world, and why should we care?
Why should we be interested in this?
Although Yandex is not as popular as Google, many of its ranking factors are similar to those used by Google. The leak revealed as many as 1,922 ranking factors used by Yandex in its algorithm. This information can be the key to understanding how search engines work and what factors are important to them.
Yandex vs Google
Although Yandex and Google are two different search engines, many of their ranking factors are very similar. For example:
- PageRank: Both Yandex and Google use PageRank as one of their main ranking factors.
- User Signals: Clicks and CTR are important for both search engines. Yandex pays attention to "hard clicks," "soft clicks" and quick returns to search results.
- URL construction: Both Yandex and Google pay attention to the way URLs are constructed. For example, excessive slashes or numbers in a URL can be considered negative factors.
Scraping data from different sources
Yandex has advanced scrapers for various services. The search archive includes scrapers for such giants as Google, Bing and TikTok. These scrapers are extremely accurate and break down the scraped SERPs into their basic components.
Prioritization of Links
In the code about link prioritization, Yandex talks about lowering the priority of links with the same text coming from the same host. In other words, links from duplicate content are not counted.
Possible positive ranking factors:
Here are some of the most important Yandex ranking factors you should know:
- .com domain (FI_IS_COM): .com domains are more preferred.
- Site Traffic (FI_YABAR_HOST_VISITORS): More visitors means better ranking.
- Average Position (FI_BEAST_HOST_MEAN_POS): The average position of a page for specific keywords of interest.
- Diversity of Traffic Sources (FI_YABAR_HOST_SEARCH_TRAFFIC): Traffic from a variety of sources, not just SEO, is desirable.
- CTR Factors: Titles that attract attention are key. Make sure they are interesting and inviting to click on.
- Search Termination (FI_VISITORS_RETURN_MONTH_SHARE): The search engine rewards pages that end the user's journey. Answer the user's question as soon as possible.
- Quality Links (FI_GOOD_RATIO and FI_MANY_BAD): Quality over quantity. Try to get links from reputable sites.
- Social Media Verification (FI_SOCIAL_URL_IS_VERIFIED): Links from verified accounts are more valuable.
After analyzing Yandex's positive ranking factors, it is clear that this search engine places a high value on domain authority, user activity on the site, and the quality of links leading to the site. Diversity of traffic sources and quality of content are also important, underscoring the importance of creating valuable content and building a strong online presence.
Possible negative ranking factors:
Here are some interesting factors I've noticed:
- FI_ADV: If your site is full of ads, and if you use PPC, watch out! This can affect your positioning.
- FI_DATER_AGE: The age of the content matters. If your article is old or doesn't have a specific date, this could be a problem.
- FI_COMM_LINKS_SEO_HOSTS: Too much commercial text with links? Error.
- FI_RANK_ARTROZ: Old and outdated content.
- FI_WORD_COUNT: The number of words also matters. Avoid sites with little content.
- FI_URL_HAS_NO_DIGITS, FI_NUM_SLASHES, FI_FULL_URL_FRACTION: Be careful with URLs - avoid numbers, commas, dashes, slashes, etc.
- FI_NUM_LINKS_FROM_MP: Always link your main pages to other important content (internal linking).
- FI_HOPS: The longer it takes to access an important page, the less likely it is to reach a high position.
- FI_IS_UNREACHABLE: Don't let important parties become orphans.
An analysis of negative ranking factors reveals that Yandex penalizes sites for excessive use of ads, outdated content and unnatural URL design.
You can also use the Yandex Search Ranking Factor Explorer tool, created by Rob Ousbey, to search various ranking factors.
Other ranking factors
- Indexing depth
- Number of search queries for the site/URL
- Traffic from Wikipedia
- "Bookmarks. The more users bookmark a URL, the more value it has.
- Special ranking factors for short films (TikTok, shorts, reels).
Comparison of Yandex, Google and Bing
Yandex: Russia's Search Engine Titan.
Yandex, founded in 1997, is the most popular search engine in Russia and one of the leading players in the global market. Its history is a testament to innovation and adaptation in a rapidly changing digital environment. Yandex gained popularity due to its ability to effectively index and search in Russian, which was a challenge for other search engines. Its algorithms are focused on understanding the context and semantics of the Russian language, which makes it unique compared to its competitors.
Google: Global Leader
Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google quickly became the world's dominant search engine. Its unique algorithm allowed it to evaluate the quality of websites based on the number and quality of links to them. Through constant innovation and adaptation, Google maintains its position as the most advanced and comprehensive search engine.
Bing: America's Alternative
Bing, created by Microsoft in 2009, is the world's third largest search engine. Although it hasn't achieved the same popularity as Google, Bing offers some unique features, such as integration with Microsoft platforms such as Windows and Xbox. Its algorithms focus on understanding user intent and delivering more personalized results.
While all three search engines have much in common, there are key differences in their algorithms:
- Yandex focuses on understanding the Russian language and provides more local and personalized results for Russian users.
- Google focuses on the global market and constantly updates its algorithms to deliver the most relevant and up-to-date results.
- Bing offers more visual search results and is more integrated with other Microsoft products.
What did the leak include?
The leaked Yandex source code is not limited to the search engine. It also includes other popular services offered by Yandex, such as Maps, Mail, the Taxi service and the mysterious-sounding "SkyNet." Without proper context and related data, it is difficult to determine exactly what functions each leak component performs.
Official Position of Yandex Company
In response to the recent source code leak, Yandex issued an official statement denying that their systems had been hacked. Instead, they pointed to a former employee as the person responsible for leaking the source code repository.
In a statement provided to BleepingComputer, Yandex said: "Yandex was not hacked. Our security service found code fragments from an internal repository in the public domain, but the content differs from the current version of the repository used in Yandex services. A repository is a tool for storing and working with code. Code is used this way internally by most companies. Repositories are needed to work with code and are not intended to store users' personal data. We are conducting an internal investigation into why pieces of source code were made available to the public, but we do not see any threat to user data or platform performance."
The company stressed that repositories are a tool for storing and working with code, not for storing users' personal data. Yandex has also assured that it sees no threat to user data or platform performance from this leak.
What's Next After the Yandex Leak?
Although Yandex is not as globally popular as Google, its algorithms and ranking factors have much in common with those used by the Mountain View giant. Thanks to the leak, we now have a unique insight into how one of the world's leading search engines evaluates and ranks websites. This is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to understand how search engine algorithms work and what elements are crucial to them.
In an industry where algorithms are updated almost daily, the key to success is the ability to respond quickly to new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.
The leak of Yandex's source code is not only an industry sensation, but more importantly an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and gain a competitive edge in the SEO world. Now more than ever, SEO professionals should take the time to analyze this information and adjust their strategies to achieve the best possible results.