All of us worked with or at least heard about rich snippets in Google. Rich snippets are great, but since implementation requires some development, a lot of however neglect them. There is always a better way to spend those precious developers’ hours, so the requests for those small pieces of code often end up being pushed in the bottom of backlogs and never makes it to the top. Does is sound familiar? Unfortunately.
When working with Yandex, there are also certain tricks to distinguish site snippet in the SERPs, and they are actually quite easy to implement. In most of cases I list in this article you won’t need developers’ help at all.
1. Title and Meta Description tags
The basis of a great snippet is of course great Title and great Meta Description tags.
The title for Yandex should not exceed 70 characters, including spaces, and contain relevant keywords. Meta Description tag can be around 150-160 characters long and should describe the page content in the best possible way.
When the tags are not written in a good way, Yandex often replaces Titles and Meta Description with snippets of text from the page, or data from DMOZ or Yandex Catalog, which is often not ideal. While there is a possibility to opt out of using DMOZ and YaCa copy, it is difficult to predict what piece of text Yandex will pick up from the page to replace a carelessly written description. In the example below, instead of a could-have-been converting text with great call to action, description contains bread crumbs (poker articles >> poker strategies >> read more) and random text strings:
Favicon in the SERPs is something special for Yandex. Effective favicon can do a lot to your CTR, but being used to Google’s SERP layout, many webmasters do not take this feature into consideration. For example, compare the 3 search results for “weather in Paris” (погода в париже):
The third result without a favicon does not stand out as much as the other two.
Make sure your favicon is simple and clear, made in bright distinctive colors and stands out comparing to your SERP competitors.
Just like Google, Yandex can display sitelinks in the SERPs. Similarly, sitelinks are generated automatically based on the importance and weight of pages.
Yandex gives webmasters more control over sitelinks for their sites than Google. Using Yandex Webmaster tools, you can remove unwanted sitelinks, and choose the anchor text for each sitelink from several variations offered by Yandex.
4. Capitalization in “display” URL
Yandex allows to change capitalization in longer domain names in order to make them more readable. For example, I could configure that russiansearchtips.com would display as RussianSearchTips.com in Yandex SERP.
Here is another example from online poker industry – both domain names use the capitalization feature:
Capitalization of domain name can be configured through Yandex Webmaster.
5. Social links
Links to social profiles in snippets is one of the newest features introduced by Yandex. In order for the links to your/ your company profiles vKontakte, Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal and YouTube to appear in the snippet, they have to be present on the homepage and linked via Yandex Spravochnik (analog of Google Places) / configured through Yandex Webmaster.
I covered the process for getting social links in Yandex snippets in one of my earlier posts. Please feel free to have a look!
6. Special snippets for businesses
Yandex allows business owners to add a lot of additional information about different types of companies and organizations in their snippets. For example, for a hotel website it is possible to display its star rating, number of rooms and available facilities (in the example below Hotel Beta is displaying the following information through their special snippet: 3 star hotel; 1000 rooms; restaurant, Internet access, air conditioning and a mini bar):
Currently special snippets are available for 75 types of organizations, such as, for example, restaurants, bars, night clubs, hotels, shopping malls, petrol stations and pharmacies.
This type of snippet is only available for official sites of organizations, and cannot be used by guides or affiliates.
The information for special snippets can be submitted via Yandex Webmaster or via Yandex Spravochnik.
7. Contact information
The contact information (address and phone number) can be displayed in a snippet for an official site of almost any kind of organization, regardless if there is a support for special snippets for its type of business.
The contact information can be submitted via Yandex Webmaster or via Yandex Spravochnik.
8. Product information for retailers
For retailers Yandex can display product information and even prices right in the SERPs. In the example below the snippet displays the price of an item (iPhone 4 32GB) and area available for delivery (Moscow):
Product information in the snippets is displayed automatically for Yandex Market (analog of Google Shopping) advertizers.
For those who does not advertise on Yandex Market, it is possible to submit product information via Yandex Webmaster tools. This way is a little bit more complicated, as the product information needs to be in YML (Yandex market language), which is a special type of XML file supported by Yandex Market. Generating an YML file might require some development, but the results will pay off (especially for stores with competitive prices).
Why care about Yandex snippets?
Apart from the obvious reason that a better snippet will result in better CTR and consequently in more organic traffic, there is another important motive: Yandex gives a lot of weight to so-called “behavioral” factors in the ranking formula, and SERP click-through rate is one of them. Improving snippets and SERP CTR should be high on your agenda, because better snippets will not only bring you more visitors, but also help your site to rank better!