Yandex Webmaster tools (also called Yandex Webmaster panel) is a highly useful tool for all Yandex SEOs. It is good. It is free. It is an (surprise! :-)) almost exact copy of Google Webmaster Tools, hence it won’t take much time to figure out how to use them.
Yandex webmaster tools can be accessed here: http://webmaster.yandex.ru/. To submit your site there just go to “My sites” tab (see the screenshot below) and type in your URL. Then, just like in Google Webmaster Tools, Yandex will need to verify your site and will ask you to create a .txt file on the server or add a Meta tag to your index page. Verification goes usually very quickly. Most of my sites got verified within an hour.
Now, you are verified. What can you use Google Webmaster panel for?
1. General info: pages in the index, yandex quotation index (TIC), last date of crawling the site.
2. Structure of the website in the eyes of Yandex.
3. You can submit your sitemap.
4. Index information. It includes number of indexed pages on your site, number of links pointing to your site (the number Yandex sees – great info!) and a number of internal links.
Backlink checking interface is not very convenient to use, I have to admit. You can see number of links pointing to your site and number of domains, however there is no easy way to see which domains link to you from more than one page. It does not show the URL of the page your link is place on, but only the URL of the index page. Besides, unlike Google, Yandex does not let you download the full list of your backlinks.
5. Now the fun part – tooolzzz =) What do we have here?
– There is a robots.txt editor. Needless to explain.
– You can tell Yandex to use capital letters when displaying your domain name in the SERPs (e.g. www.SearchEngineOptimization.ru instead of www.searchengineoptimization.ru). This can be applied in case capitalization of these letters will improve user experience.
– Yandex Webmaster Tools provides a possibility to assign the website to a certain region. This option is relatively new. It was introduced after Yandex launched its new search algorithm Arzamas in March 2009 with an ambitious attempt to implement and automize geotargeting.
– There is a possibility to edit site links (or Quick Links as they are called in Yandex). This option is also very new and got some (although rather brief) coverage in the western SEO blogs.
I really like this one, because unlike Google, Yandex gives you certain control over your site links. First, it offers you several options for the anchor text. Second, you can delete a a page from site links if you don’t want it to be there. “Enabling them”, as Search Cowboys wrote, however, is tricky. Yandex gives you about 6 pages it can consider to be your site links. These pages you can enable or disable, that is true. But you cannot enable any page you want in the site links… Too bad =(
The Quick Links are supposed to be updated every week. If you change pages or anchor texts using Yandex Webamster tools, it will be implemented in the next update, so do not panic when your changed do not go live. Just be patient.
Patience you always need when working with Yandex :-D
All in all, Yandex Webmaster panel is a useful tool to have in your SEO package. Go and get’em!