Yandex as a search engine was created 16 years ago, back in 1997, and became a brand in 2000. A lot has changed during the years, both for users and for SEOs. Let’s have a look at the evolution of Yandex search algorithm.
There are no records or announcements about Yandex ranking formula dated earlier than 2007. 2007 was the year when Yandex started actively working with their search algorithm and communicate the changes to the community. Ever since, every new ranking formula was named after a city in Russia, and the logic behind naming them is taken from an old Russian game called “cities”: each newly introduced formula’s name starts from the last letter of the previous formula’s name:
Magadan -> Nakhodka -> Arzamas -> Snezhinsk -> Konakovo -> Obninsk -> Krasnodar -> Reykjavik -> Kaliningrad. On the map this journey would look like this:
Let’s look a what this journey looked like for Russian SEO.
I bet all of you have seen “Social Network”, the movie about Facebook. Apparently a Google movie is also coming up. Following their Western colleagues, Russian film makers decided to produce a movie about yet another IT success, the most popular Russian search engine Yandex.
The movie under production title “Startup” is a joint effort of producer Irina Smolko, screenwriter Dmitry Sobolev and director Roman Karimov. The basis for the plot is the development of the Russian IT industry from the 90s until today, where Yandex is obviously one of they key figures.
Roman Karimov. Image credit: http://www.kinopoisk.ru
It’s a well known fact that Google uses human raters in their search quality assessment. Yandex mainly talks about their machine learning and other fancy technologies, while not many know that human factor is involved in Yandex search just as much as in Google’s.
How Yandex collects the assessment data
Russia is a big country, and having committed to displaying perfect (or almost perfect anyway) local search results, Yandex needs a lot of human raters in all regions of the country (which they do). The raters work remotely, from home, and the results of their work are closely monitored by Yandex.
Interestingly, Yandex hires a lot of these people through Amazon Mechanical Turk service.
The latest gossip in Russian Internet circles is that the next step for Yandex after their NASDAQ IPO, successful launch in Turkey and recent partnership with Czech leading search engine Seznam is to launch in Poland. Rumors say that Yandex has already hired a business developer in Poland, with a very impressive track record including companies like Dell and Apple.
Polish Internet audience is estimated to be around 40 million people, where Google holds 97% market share. Entering a market with such strong Google presence might sounds like a strange idea, especially given 2 facts from the recent past:
In September 2011 Yandex processed over 3 billion search queries, reports comScore. This allowed Yandex to climb 2 positions up passing South Korean NHN Corporation (Naver) and eBay.
The leader is, obviously, Google with 118 billion queries (globally), followed by Chinese Baidu with 11 billion queries.