Yandex Search—the search engine owned by the Russian-based tech giant, Yandex—announced on Tuesday that nearly 45GB of its source code files have been leaked online, revealing 1,922 ranking factors used by the search engine.
If you’re a UK-based search marketer, you might be thinking “OK, but Yandex isn’t Google, so why should we care?” And that’s a fair question. However, there is a lesson to be learned in this latest scandal, which is a bit meta, but hear me out and I’ll get to it.
What are Yandex’s ranking factors?
For the most part, Yandex’s leaked ranking factors were pretty much what you’d expect to see and included things like
- Page authority and link-related elements
- Content age and relevancy
- Host reliability
But there were also some more surprising ranking factors, such as:
- No. of unique visitors
- % of organic traffic
- Avg. domain ranking across queries
What can Google SEO specialists learn from this leak?
As usual, there are opposing schools of thought on the relevancy of this ‘discovery’, with some people saying it’s useless information that doesn’t mean anything, and others behaving as if they now have the know-how to outsmart Google.
Not surprisingly, the most sensible reaction to these leaked insights sits somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. No, there aren’t any hacks or tricks to be gleaned from this information, but at the same time, yes, the information has value in terms of gaining a better understanding of how this particular search engine works (but not how every search engine works).
The raw, unvarnished bottom line
Make everything as easy (and relevant) for your audience as possible, and you won’t really have to worry about ranking factors and
- Ensure a clean site structure
- Feature substantial, relevant content containing relevant keywords
- Optimise for mobile
- Use relevant title and alt tags
- Ensure fast load times and site speed
- The Yandex ranking factors leak is interesting but not ground-breaking
- You can’t (and shouldn’t even try to) “game” Google
- Practise white hat SEO and user-first SEO FTW
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