Yes, again.. This week Yandex released for testing its new ranking algorithm. The testing environment is somewhat similar to the Sandbox of Google and can be accessed on buki.yandex.ru.
According to Yandex, the new algorithm will analyze over 1000 variable to position websites in the SERPs. Moreover, they published a paper (in English – yey!) about how the algorithm works. Having econometrics background, I was still a little confused. SEO community also expressed very skeptical opinions and decided to try and learn instead of looking at complicated formulas.
One of the trusted SEO bloggers noticed that:
– Trust seems to be even more important now. Top positions are occupied by old sites (NB! Sites, not just old domains!) with high authority.
– Unique content seems to be obligatory now (just a year ago Yandex had a very bad ability to detect dupe content, which improved greatly with Arzamas, and seems to be even better with Snezhinsk)
– Old backlinks seem to be more valuable than newly acquired backlinks.. hehe =) not sure how he got to this conclusion, but well.. isn’t that something we always knew?
– For his projects, positions changed mostly for medium/low volume keywords, while the biggest keywords stayed where they were.
– He also mentions that Wikipedia ranks lower.
As for me, I am currently running 2 Russian projects: one site is old and trusted; the other one is rather new. For the old site Snezhinsk changed almost nothing, however, we noticed more brands on the top positions in Yandex. Can’t say that Wikipedia doesn’t rank well. For our keywords it actually went up. Damn!
The second site, which doesn’t rank that well yet, went up on geo-independent keywords and disappeared on geo-dependent. Weird! But it seems that quality linkbuilding is finally getting more appreciated.
But all in all, it seems that links, content and age (+ authority) are still the main Yandex ranking factors.
I will follow up on Snezhinsk and keep posting.