SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Regional SERPs on Yandex

In April Yandex launched a new algorithm known as Arzamas these days (Arzamas is a name of a Russian city btw). Apart from many new factors affecting rankings, such as for example duplicate content filter that removed over one million of pages from the index in one night, in the new algorithm was implemented a new geotargeting feature.

Even before it was possible to search among websites that belonged to a specific region by selecting the region manually in advanced search options. Arzamas went further. Arzamas assigns websites to a specific region automatically. How? Haha.. we wish we knew =) Sometimes it gets it all wrong…

The known factors defining a region your site is attached to are:

– location-by-IP data
– domain names
– content-related features: ZIP and area codes on your contact page
– region you assign to the site yourself when registering it in Yandex Directory

Some people speculate that origin of your backlinks has an impact, i.e. if sites from, say, Vladivostok link to you that means your site is also from Vladivostok.

You can easily find out the region a site assigned to with the help of Yandex bar. Just hover over the Quotation Index indicator. Three possible options are available:

Region – Russia. This means the site will rank the same all over the country

Yandex bar: region Russia

Yandex bar: region Russia

Region – unknown. Here it is hard to predict how this will affect your cross-regional rankings. From my experience, you can still see differences among regional SERPs for smaller sites.

Yandex bar: region unknown

Yandex bar: region unknown

Region – (city/ region name). This means your site will rank better in that particular region.

Yandex bar: region assigned

Yandex bar: region assigned

Yandex provides a tool for comparison of regional SERPs: http://webmaster.yandex.ru/wmconsole/compare_regions.xml. Please try it out. The results can surprise you =P

Right now regional SERPs fully function for Moscow and St. Petersburg from what is known officially. Algorithms for the other regions of Russia are to be released later. Yandex claimed that the goal is to distinguish between 50 regions at least.

Please note that when searching in Yandex from Europe/ US the SEPRs are completely messed up. I highly recommend to use a Russian proxy when checking rankings.

And the last note for this post. Today Yandex released a beta version of Arzamas 1.1, which you can test here: http://buki.yandex.ru/. This new algorithm will be used for all Russian regions excluding Moscow, St. Petersburg and Ekaterinburg. Apparently if you add &lr=* (* is a code of your region) while searching in this beta version, you can see your regional SERPs. By adding &lr=225 Yandex eta will show SERPs for region “Russia”.

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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11 Responses to “Regional SERPs on Yandex”

  1. Esoos says:

    Great post, basically local search for Russia. Not knowing much Russian myself (yet), it can be hard to keep up on the latest developments in Russian Search. Your blog is definitely essential reading on the topic.

  2. Verona says:

    Thanks! This new geotargeting is quite interesting, although does not work properly in many cases.
    Are you working with Russia somehow too?

  3. April says:

    Pretty cool post. I just came across your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really enjoyed reading your posts. Anyway
    I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you write again soon!

  4. Verona says:

    Thanks for good feedback! I’ll be definitely posting more. I have a lot to tell after all these years of fighting Yandex =)

  5. […] search algorithm Arzamas 1.2 will be released. It is going to be even more geotargeted than already very much geotargeted Arzamas 1.1 =) Yes.. Russia is big and there are many geo entities to target… Last week Yandex opened a […]

  6. […] up modems (for some of my clients it is about 40-50% of all visitors!)! A conclusion: dealing with regional SERPs on Yandex, be careful to not get assigned to any small region. Otherwise you will be invisible in Moscow […]

  7. oskar says:

    Love your posts Verona.

    Quick question: you mention to use a russian proxy to check russian rankings, I gather for Yandex and Google.ru. Could you expand upon that a bit more? How do you do it, by using a firefox add-on?

    Again, I am learning a lot, I just need to polish my russian now (by polishing I mean starting to learn the alphabet : )).

    Great job.

  8. Verona says:

    Hi Oskar!
    Thanks a lot! Glad you like my blog =) I’ll check your too today after work :-) And see you on Twitter as well :-)

    As for proxies.. well.. I use FoxyProxy add-on for FireFox, but you still need to get a proxy somewhere. You can try free ones (which I do not recommend. They are either slow, or don’t work at all) or buy one. There are plenty of places for that.

    Good luck with learning Russian :-P Let me know if you need help =)

  9. Peter says:

    Do you provide Russian translation services?

  10. Verona says:

    Hi Peter =) Well.. normally I don’t, although I have a translation degree. All depends on a price tag :-)

  11. […] (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 […]