How Yandex indexes sites
A site on search results page

Tips for webmaster

How does a quality website differ from a faulty website from Yandex’s point of view?

We are determined to find an answer to every question and provide all necessary information and links to it on our search results page. When developing our search engine, we lean to our understanding of what our users need and what information is valuable for them.

This understanding can be reflected in a number of principles. Not to be taken as strict rules, they still may serve you as guidelines how to improve your site's positions in Yandex search results.

Basic principles

  • Create a site with interesting and useful content or services. Advertising alone is not the reason why people come to your site.

  • Think about users first and search engines later. Ask yourself if your site or its elements would still look the same if search engines did not exist.

  • Add links that may be useful and interesting for your visitors. Do not add them because you have been asked to.

  • Work through your site’s design and navigation. A well designed site allows users to easily find the information they are looking for.

  • Think about the words (search queries) you want to promote your site for. Make sure that they reflect your site's content and purpose. Be honest. You can probably make people find and hit your site for any query, but they will not stay if the site provides no answer to their question.

Undesirable techniques

Listed below are some of the most common and widespread deceptive techniques aimed at search engine ranking manipulation. Using techniques like these will negatively affect your site's ranking or lead to the site being partially or completely excluded from the search database. Therefore, we highly discourage you from using these practices.

The list is not complete and we might have left some of the similar techniques unmentioned, but it does not justify their use. Rather, follow the general spirit of our recommendations, and your site will not experience problems in Yandex.

We do not approve of:

  • Sites with little or no original content (including content aggregators and affiliate programs with no extra value of their own)

  • Doorway sites existing solely for the purpose of redirecting users to other domains

  • Auto generated (gibberish) text

  • Keyword stuffing, i.e. overloading pages with large numbers of keywords

  • Hidden (or barely visible) text and links

  • Excessive and aggressive advertisement, including the usage of pop-up, pop-under and click-under ads

  • Linking to other resources solely to increase their ranking in search results

  • Link farming, i.e. having a group of sites hyperlinking to each other site in the group

  • Cloaking, i.e. presenting different content to users and search engine crawlers

  • Malicious behavior such as infecting users with malware, redirecting them to infected domains, phishing, parent window redirection, etc.

  • User behavior emulation

  • Groups of sites belonging to the same owner and offering the same goods or services, multiplied to occupy as much positions in search results as possible.

Forums and advertising boards with large amounts of non-moderated spam may also be excluded from search results. We also do not include site search results pages and recommend disallowing them in robots.txt.

What does Yandex think about SEO links?

When generating a response to a user's query, we use every possible factor that would help us to provide the most complete and relevant answer. Links from one site to another are one of the oldest and most important factors in estimating the trust level for a certain site as a source of information. When webmasters place links to help or advise their visitors, or because they simply like the site, these links help us to further improve our search quality.

However, as the large role that links play in the ranking algorithms is universally recognized, it inevitably leads to attempts of search engine manipulation through their usage. Moreover, link trade has long ago become an industry.

The situation when the large percent of links are placed on the pages for commercial reasons depreciates their value and makes it much harder for us to estimate the real degree of trust to a given site. Therefore, we have since taken measures to reduce the influence of SEO links and make sure that:

  1. Link trading sites would lose the ability to manipulate our ranking.

  2. Link purchasing would not lead to the purchasing site's rank being increased.

We also do not guarantee that the ranking of link trading sites will not be decreased.

How does pop-under and click-under advertisement affect the site’s ranking?

We believe that advertising should not get in the way of comfortable navigation and should not make it harder for users to find necessary information. One form of online advertising that makes the experience less comfortable is the pop-up ads. These ads, which often display adult content, move up and down as the page is scrolled and often cover the main content, thus blocking the access to the information. The ads usually have a close button, but in fact will often navigate the user to the advertised site when the button is clicked on. This is deceptive behavior. They also constantly strive to avoid the ad blocking tools.

Since we want to make sure that our users find their answers in an easy and comfortable way, the site may receive a lower ranking if it uses such forms of online advertising.

The same policy applies to sites that make use of pop-under and click-under ads. In this case the ad appears behind the main browser window and may remain there unnoticed until the browser is closed or minimized.

What pages may be excluded from the search database?

We crawl millions of pages daily, and not all of them have the same informational value. Some pages contain little or no information and will never be able to provide a relevant answer to any question. Thus all indexed documents are analyzed by our special algorithms and pages with no informational value are not included in the search database.

It must be noted that, since these excluded pages would never appear in search results anyway, their exclusion does not affect the site’s attendance and traffic. At the same time, they continue to be crawled regularly, and may yet be included in the search database at some point if so decided by the algorithms.