This morning Yandex announced yet another feature to cater their growing mobile user base. From today the search engine starts to mark mobile-optimized pages in its mobile search results in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The “mobile version” label will automatically appear next to listings of webpages with responsive design or mobile version on separate URL (e.g. m.habrahabr.ru).
The labels will be added into mobile SERPs gradually over a few weeks’ time.
To help business owners and developers to make their websites mobile-friendly, Yandex launches a new diagnostic service in Yandex.Webmaster toolkit (new version only) that will check whether a page (not the whole site) meets their mobile-friendliness requirements.
Pages that have viewport meta tags, exclude horizontal scrolling when opened on mobile, and which are not using Flash or Silverlight content (Yandex recommends to use HTML5 instead) will be considered mobile-friendly. In the future Yandex will add more factors to its assessment mobile friendliness of the page, such as font size or distance between strokes.
Yandex also plans to launch another service, which will let webmasters know if the whole website (not just individual pages) is mobile-friendly.
How will mobile friendliness affect Yandex SEO?
Yandex tells us that mobile friendliness will not influence mobile search rankings just yet, but will be added as a ranking factor for mobile search result page in the nearest future.
Knowing how other search engines form their mobile search result, it is very likely that mobile-friendly pages (and possibly entire sites) will get a boost in mobile rankings in Yandex once the new ranking formula is rolled out. This will give a great competitive advantage to those few, who invested into creating mobile-friendly websites for the Russian market. Less than 18% of top 1 000 000 Russian sites are mobile-optimized, says Yandex.
The share of mobile traffic on Yandex search properties in Russia is currently 25.8% and keeps growing together with mobile Internet penetrations in Russia.