Yandex Asserts Itself in Russia & Innovates With "Latest" and "Social" Content
Ryan Buddenhagen, March 15, 2012
Global search is immensely important and competition is fierce - where there is competition. Google remains the dominant platform globally, but does have stiff competition in several international markets. Among them is Russia where the local search engine Yandex has successfully fended off the surge of Google. According to Search Engine Watch, Yandex leans on their knowledge of local search in Russia and their consistent refinement of their search quality. To that point, Yandex has made several recent improvements that are worth noting for their innovative nature and SEO implications.
Are Recent Results More Important?
This heading presents an interesting question to which Yandex contends the answer is - Yes. They have refined their ranking formula for queries related to the latest events and news that now returns the user a group of links of the most relevant, recent documents. That refinement utilizes a real-time robot, Orange, which is designed for indexing regularly updated websites. All results from such a search can additionally be filtered viewing those from the last three days. This refinement addresses a segment of Yandex search that receives much attention. According to the company blog, search queries regarding the latest events and news are some of the most popular on the search engine, from 3-% of all searches. As such, this improvement makes it easier to find the most recent information on Yandex's SERPs. In terms of SEO, companies should utilize news releases optimizing for relevant key terms to be able to be profiled in such SERPs.
Google made waves with their introduction of Google Search Plus Your World, and now Yandex has introduced a similar measure. Yandex added content from social networking sites across the board and when a user searches for a particular person, for example, public profile information will result. Additionally, they have instituted a partnership with microblogging site Twitter making public tweets available in search query results, thus adding in a layer of real-time content. This particular search technology is run by Topsy Labs, a company that specializes in indexing real-time social data. According to a Yandex statement, “Social networking has given people the opportunity to share the latest news and exchange links." The statement continues, "Using this information, we can significantly improve our news results and provide our users with the information that is interesting for many."
Clearly, Yandex is trying to retain the competitive edge in their Russian market. Statistics vary depending on the source; StatCounter has Google with 55.9% market share while liveinternet.ru has Yandex with 59.4% market share. Regardless of the exact number, competition is fierce between these two giants in the Russian market. As a result, businesses catering to the Russian market should be keeping a close eye on Yandex and employing SEO for both search engines. Partnering with SEO companies to optimize specifically for these major players is a good strategy, but one that also utilizes paid search and social media marketing to further drive targeted traffic is best. A similar battle is being waged by Google in China with local search giant Baidu, and we will be tracking each as search innovations continue to progress.