SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Yandex SEO is maybe not dead, but links are

yandex-no-linksThe day has come when I can start writing articles ala “SEO is Dead” about Yandex SEO. Today at IBC Russia comference Alexander Sadovskiy, Head of Web Search at Yandex, announced that in the beginning of 2014 they will roll out a new ranking algorithm that does not takes links into considerations.

Just as most of the previous scary changes, the new Yandex algorithm will affect commercial search queries. The reason is that there is too much link spam in commercial verticals, explain Sadovsky. There are fewer “SEO links” in informational sites’ link profiles, and since the links are mostly natural, it is fine to use them as a ranking signal, and Yandex will continue doing so.


The new algorithm will be rolled out in Moscow region in the beginning of 2014, and in other big regions later next year. The algorithm has been tested, and the quality of search results stayed on a very high level, acocrding to Sadovskiy.

ssylkomaidanOf course the news created a lot of negativity in the audience and in social channels, since Yandex SEO was based on link buying for many years, and the link selling industry had a turnover of millions of US dollars. A group of activists even created a hashtag “#ссылкомайдан” (link Maidan) in Twitter, named with relation to the anti-governmental movements in Ukraine that take place on Maidan square in Kiev.

There is no information about what will replace links in the new Yandex ranking formula, however Sadovskiy tells us not to panic: there are about 800 factors in Yandex algorithm today, and only a few dozens of them are link-related. There are still 750 factors left to work with.

Of course, SEOs are already speculating about the next big thing after links and ways to manipulate them. The candidates are behavioral factors, social signals, content, structured data and usability. The products that can fake behavioral factors and allow buying tweets, likes and shares are already plenty, but Sadovskiy advised to refrain from using them claiming that Yandex already developed a penalty for this kind of manipulations.

2014 will be an interesting year. Stay tuned!

Anna Oshkalo

Anna is a blogger and online marketing consultant specializing in SEO and SEM for Russian search engines. To see more of Anna's posts, follow her on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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17 Responses to “Yandex SEO is maybe not dead, but links are”

  1. […] kereső, beleértve természetesen a Google-t is. 2014-től ez megváltozhat: a Yandex mérnöke Alexander Sadovskiy bejelentette, hogy olyan új rangsorolási algoritmust fognak elindítani, amely nem fogja figyelembe venni az […]

  2. That’s really bold and a cool move. I wish that other search engines would follow. Will be fun to see how Q1 in 2014 will play out.

  3. […] Yandex SEO is maybe not dead, but links are Russian Search Tips – SEO and SEM for Russian Sear… Interesting direction, Google has a habit of stealing these kind of ideas from other search engines (disavow tool anyone?) so it should be worth keeping an eye on […]

  4. @joe_graf says:

    We are happy about this actually, now quality webwriting is really going to rule. We ve been looking forward to this for ages) behaviour and good text are going to be appreciated by yandex at least. Hoping for google to follow one day;)

  5. interesting facts about Yandex, and glad to see that world is adopting quality over quantity.

  6. […] Yandex SEO is maybe not dead, but links are […]

  7. […] A ruský mráz nakonec, Yandex prý od příštího roku bude testovat algoritmus, který u komerčních stránek nebude brát odkazy jako hodnotící faktor. […]

  8. […] im letzten Wochenrückblick haben wir darüber berichtet, dass Yandex in Zukunft keine Links mehr als Ranking-Kriterium heranziehen möchte. Diese Woche folgen ein paar Details zu dem brisanten Thema. Die Veränderung […]

  9. […] Einen vollkommen anderen Weg scheint nun Yandex gehen zu wollen. Die große russische Suchmaschine will für konversionsorientierte Themenfelder vollkommen auf Links verzichten. Im kommenden Jahr soll der neue Algorithmus ausgerollt werden, der die stark durch Spam verseuchten russischen SERPs desinfizieren soll. Gestartet wird das Ganze in der Region Moskau und andere größere Gebieten sollen dann im Verlauf des Jahres nach und nach folgen. Laut Yandex soll der neue Algorithmus bereits erfolgreich getestet worden sein und zu einem sehr hohen Qualitätslevel bei den Suchergebnissen geführt haben. Für die extrem stark an gekauften Links orientierte russische SEO-Welt ist diese Botschaft natürlich alles andere als ein Grund zur Freude. So heißt es hier und dort bereits theatralisch: „SEO is Dead“. Mehr Informationen zu diesem Thema finden Sie auf russiansearchtips.com. […]

  10. […] weight distribution of ranking indicators – especially with alternative search engines like Yandex doing away with links […]

  11. […] weight distribution of ranking indicators – especially with alternative search engines like Yandex doing away with links […]

  12. […] Internet behemoth Yandex, which is also the country’s most popular search engine, has announced a new ranking algorithm that does not take links into […]

  13. Vera Grig says:

    Is there any way to find the list of most popular keywords on yandex? It seems one can only check the stats for particular word or phrase, but not find the list of top 100 of most popular…

  14. Anna Oshkalo says:

    Hi Vera, thank you for your comment! The Yandex keyword tool won’t show the top 100 keywords right away, but you can try different keywords, export all the keyword ideas to Excel and filter by search volume. To speed up the process, you could also try using paid tools, like SpyWords (http://www.russiansearchtips.com/2013/01/analyze-your-yandex-seo-competitors-with-spywords/).
    Hope this helps! Cheers, Anna

  15. Vera Grig says:

    Спасибо :)

  16. Anna Oshkalo says:

    Не за что :)

  17. […] headlines started inundating news feeds saying that “link building is dead”. The fact that Russian search engine Yandex recently abandoned links as a good ranking signal only added fuel to that […]

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