Yandex Search Ranking Leak Factors: Insights

The search marketing community is trying to make sense of the leaked Yandex repository containing files listing what look like search ranking factors.

Some may be looking for actionable SEO pointers but that is probably not the real value.

The general consensus is that it will be helpful to gain a general understanding of how search engines work.

If you want hacks or shortcuts, those are not here. But if you want to understand more about how a search engine works. There is gold.

— Ryan Jones (@RyanJones) January 29, 2023

There’s A Lot To Learn

Ryan Jones (@RyanJones) believes this leak is a big deal.

He has already loaded some of the Yandex machine learning models on his own machine for testing.

Ryan is convinced that there is much to learn but that it will take much more than just going through a list of ranking factors.

“Although Yandex is not Google, there is a lot we can learn from this in terms of similarity.

Yandex uses many technologies invented by Google. They refer to PageRank by name, they use Map Reduce and BERT and many other things as well.

Obviously the factors will vary and the weights applied to them will also vary, but the computer methods of how they analyze text and link text and perform calculations will be very similar across search engines.

I think we can glean a lot of insight from the ranking factors, but just looking at the ranked list is not enough.

When you look at the default weights applied (before ML) there are negative weights that SEOs would assume are positive or vice versa.

There are also a LOT more ranking factors calculated in the code than what is listed in the lists of ranking factors floating around.

That list appears to be only static factors and does not account for how they calculate question relevance or the many dynamic factors that relate to the result set for that question.”

More Than 200 Ranking Factors

It is often said, based on the leak, that Yandex uses 1,923 ranking factors (some say less).

Christoph Cemper (LinkedIn profile), founder of Link Research Tools, says friends have told him there are many more ranking factors.

There is much more to map.

Probably the most surprising to many is that Yandex has hundreds of factors for links.”

The point is that it is much more than the 200+ ranking factors that Google used to require.

And even Google’s John Mueller said that Google has moved away from the 200+ ranking factors.

So maybe that will help the search industry move away from thinking about Google’s algorithm in those terms.

Nobody Knows Google’s Entire Algorithm?

What is striking about the data flow is that the ranking factors were collected and organized so simply.

The leak in question is the idea that Google’s algorithm is heavily guarded and that no one, not even at Google, knows the entire algorithm.

Is it possible that there is a spreadsheet on Google with over a thousand ranking factors?

Christoph Cemper questions the idea that no one knows Google’s algorithm.

Christoph commented to Search Engine Journal:

“Someone said on LinkedIn that he couldn’t imagine Google “documenting” ranking factors exactly like that.

But this is how a complex system like this must be built. This leak is from a very authoritative insider.

Google has code that could also be leaked.

The oft-repeated statement that even Google employees don’t know the ranking factors always seemed absurd to a techie like me.

The number of people who have all the details will be very small.

But it has to be there in the code, because code is what makes the search engine work.”

Which Parts Of Yandex Are Similar To Google?

The leaked Yandex files tease a look at how search engines work.

The data does not show how Google works. But it does offer an opportunity to see part of how a search engine (Yandex) ranks search results.

What is in the data should not be confused with what Google might use.

However, there are interesting similarities between the two search engines.

MatrixNet Is Not RankBrain

One of the interesting insights that some are digging up has to do with the Yandex neural network called MatrixNet.

MatrixNet is an older technology introduced in 2009 ( link to announcement).

Contrary to what some claim, MatrixNet is not the Yandex version of Google’s RankBrain.

Google RankBrain is a limited algorithm focused on understanding the 15% of search queries that Google hasn’t seen before.

A Bloomberg article revealed RankBrain in 2015. The article states that RankBrain was added to Google’s algorithm that year, six years after the introduction of Yandex MatrixNet ( snapshot of the article).

The Bloomberg article describes the limited purpose of RankBrain:

“If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it doesn’t know, the machine can guess what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more efficient at handling never-before-seen search queries.”

MatrixNet on the other hand is a machine learning algorithm that does many things.

One of the things it does is classify a search query and then apply the appropriate ranking algorithms to that query.

This is part of what the 2016 English-language announcement of the 2009 algorithm says:

“MatrixNet makes it possible to generate a very long and complex ranking formula that takes into account a multitude of different factors and their combinations.

Another important feature of MatrixNet is that it allows to customize a ranking formula for a specific class of search queries.

Moreover, adjusting the ranking algorithm for, for example, music searches, will not undermine the quality of ranking for other types of queries.

A ranking system is like a complex piece of machinery with dozens of buttons, switches, levers and gauges. Often, any single turn of any single switch in a mechanism will result in a global change in the entire machine.

MatrixNet, however, allows you to adjust specific parameters for specific classes of questions without causing a major overhaul of the entire system.

In addition, MatrixNet can automatically select sensitivity for specific ranges of ranking factors.”

MatrixNet does a lot more than RankBrain, clearly they are not the same.

But what’s great about MatrixNet is how ranking factors are dynamic in that it ranks search queries and applies different factors to them.

MatrixNet is referenced in some of the ranking factor documents, so it is important to put MatrixNet in the right context so that the ranking factors are viewed in the right light and make more sense.

It may be useful to read more about the Yandex algorithm to help understand the Yandex leak.

Read: Artificial Intelligence from Yandex & Machine Learning Algorithms

Some Yandex Factors Match SEO Practices

Dominic Woodman (@dom_woodman) has some interesting observations about the leak.

Some of the leaked ranking factors coincide with certain SEO practices such as changing anchor text:

— Dominic Woodman (@dom_woodman) January 27, 2023

Alex Buraks (@alex_buraks) posted a mega Twitter thread on the topic that has echoes of SEO practices.

One such factor that Alex highlights has to do with optimizing internal links to minimize the crawl depth for important pages.

Google’s John Mueller has long encouraged publishers to ensure that important pages are prominently linked to.

Mueller discourages burying important pages deep in the site architecture.

“So what’s going to happen is, we’re going to see that the homepage is really important, things related to the homepage are generally pretty important as well.

And then … as it moves away from the homepage, we’ll think that probably this is less critical.”

Keeping important pages close to the main pages through which visitors enter the site is important.

So if links point to the home page, then the pages that are linked from the home page are seen as more important.

John Mueller did not say crawl depth is a ranking factor. He simply said that it signals to Google which pages are important.

The Yandex rule cited by Alex uses crawl depth of the homepage as a ranking rule.

#1 Crawl depth is a ranking factor.

Keep your important pages closer to homepage:– top pages: 1 click from homepage– important pages: <3 clicks

— Alex Buraks (@alex_buraks) January 28, 2023

It makes sense to consider the home page as the starting point of importance and then calculate less importance the further you click away from it deep into the site.

There are also Google research articles that have similar ideas (Reasonable Surfer Model, the Random Surfer Model), which calculated the probability that a random surfer can arrive at a given web page simply by following links.

Alex found a factor that prioritizes important top pages:

#3 Backlinks from main pages are more important than from internal pages.

Make sense.

— Alex Buraks (@alex_buraks) January 28, 2023

The rule of thumb for SEO has long been to keep important content no more than a few clicks away from the homepage (or from internal pages that attract internal links).

Yandex Update Vega… Related To Expertise And Authoritativeness?

Yandex updated its search engine in 2019 with an update called Vega.

The Yandex Vega update introduced neural networks that were trained with subject matter experts.

This 2019 update aimed to introduce search results with expert and authority pages.

But search marketers sifting through the documents have yet to find anything that correlates with things like author biographies, which some believe are related to the expertise and authority that Google is looking for.

Learn, Learn, Learn

We are in the early days of the leak and I suspect it will lead to a greater understanding of how search engines generally work.

Featured image: Shutterstock/san4ezz

What are the major factors for ranking?

Ranking factors can relate to website content, technical implementation, user signals, backlink profile or any other characteristics that the search engine considers relevant. Understanding ranking factors is a prerequisite for effective search engine optimization.

What are the main ranking factors? In no particular order, the main factors for ranking in Google are:

  • High quality content.
  • Mobile first.
  • Page Experience.
  • Page speed.
  • On-page optimization.
  • Internal links.
  • External links.

What ranking factor traditionally has the largest impact on rankings?

Content Quality. Quality content is the ultimate ranking factor. You can have a website that is perfectly optimized for SEO.

Which is the most important factor to affect on search engine ranking?

1. Relevant, high-quality content. The single most important Google ranking factor is the quality of your content. This correlates to the consistent publication of high quality content, user engagement and niche expertise in the chart above.

How many ranking factors are there?

Did you know there are over 200 Google ranking factors? Ranking factors are used by Google to judge how well your website content matches a particular internet search. And Google is by far the most popular search engine on the planet.

How many ranking factors are in the Google algorithm?

You may already know that Google uses over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm…

How many keywords can you rank for?

It’s easier for pages to rank if they focus on one topic, so you should focus on two or three main keywords per page that are reworded variations. Targeting four or more keywords is difficult because there is limited space in the title and meta description tags to target them.

What main things affect search rankings?

Almost as important as your link building efforts, website speed and performance play a crucial role in SEO and search engine rankings. Anything from compressing images, using browser cache, or reducing redirects can affect website and page speed.

Which of the following negatively affects the search results of a web page? Page speed not only affects your ranking, but it is important for user experience. Pages with longer load times tend to have higher bounce rates, lower average time-on-page and a negative impact on conversions. A slow page speed also means that search engines cannot crawl as many pages using their allocated crawling budget.

What is the difference between Yandex and Google?

It is said that Yandex indexes pages more slowly than Google. However, it is possible to submit a new website to be indexed using your Yandex Webmaster account. Unlike Google, Yandex doesn’t allow you to take your pages and force the bots to recrawl them.

Do Russians use Google or Yandex? Despite the global dominance of Google as the main search engine, Russian consumers gave their preference to domestic Yandex and

How is Yandex different from Google?

While both Yandex and Google work as search engines, there are a few key features that differentiate the two from each other. Yandex emphasizes local SEO and regionality more than Google. Yandex performs geo-dependent searches that only show websites from a specific region.

Which is better Google or Yandex?

For most languages, Google Translate is more efficient. However, Yandex is better for translations into Eastern European languages.

Which is better Yandex or Google?

For most languages, Google Translate is more efficient. However, Yandex is better for translations into Eastern European languages.

Is Yandex bigger than Google?

At the time of writing, Yandex has a 44% market share in Russia (for search) compared to Google’s 53%, making this one of the closest battlegrounds Google has for supremacy. Yandex is much more than a search engine, however. It has diversified over the past two decades to become a consumer technology company.

Is it safe to search on Yandex?

Although it protects you from bad and malware websites, it is not safe for online privacy, and Yandex itself collects more data than other websites. Yandex Browser collects users’ personal data, including identity, contact number, age, email, website, search, etc.

Is Yandex safe to search? Yandex Browser uses its own integrated security system called Protect, which scans downloaded files for viruses, blocks infected and fraudulent websites and disturbing advertising, and secures user passwords, credit card data and Yandex Browser settings.

Does Yandex track you?

For example, web analytics services and advertising networks may collect information about your online activity and use it to show you targeted ads or collect statistics. In Yandex Browser, you can prevent them from doing this. By default, the Do Not Track option is disabled in Yandex Browser.

Does Yandex Browser track?

Yandex collects user data harvested from mobile phones before sending the information to servers in Russia. Researchers have raised concerns that the same “metadata†can then be accessed by the Kremlin and used to track people on their cellphones.

Does Yandex track users?

Yandex. Metrica collects depersonalized information about user sessions on your website. The service tracks users through anonymous browsers that are stored as cookies. This report contains a list of users who have visited your site and the history of their sessions and actions on the site.

Can you trust Yandex?

Yandex Browser is Safe Because the browser itself has built-in protection, and when you go to a dangerous website page or even automatic pop-UPS, the Browser itself automatically BLOCKS THEM, telling the user that this website or something else is not safe or viruses are detected.

Does Yandex keep your photos?

– All email attachments, including photos and documents, are automatically saved in the Yandex Disk cloud and can be accessed from any device.

How do I remove a picture from Yandex?

In the management console, select the folder that the image belongs to. Select Cloud Computing. On the left panel, select Images. In the row with the desired image, click and select the Delete command from the menu.

Does Yandex save uploaded images?

Yes, it is safe. When you upload your image to do a reverse image search, Yandex does not index it. It only matches the uploaded image with the images that are already indexed in its database.

Why is Yandex image search so good?

Yandex, which is like a Russian Google, is a gold mine for reverse image search. It provides additional sizes of the same image, visually similar images and many results where similar images are presented on pages. Yandex tends to be the strongest search engine for face matching and location identification.

Is it safe to reverse image search?

Yes, reverse image search is a safe and secure tool. However, as with all online tools, it’s important to use this technology with caution – especially with sensitive personal photos.

Should I use Yandex Browser?

Yes, the Yandex download is safe to use. The software has no malware and our antivirus has not detected any problems with it. However, even if the software is not malicious, it can still send your data to third parties, so in that regard, Yandex is probably not the best choice.

Why do people use Yandex Browser?

The popularity of Yandex can be understood due to the fact that it is specifically designed for the Russian language. With a different alphabet, Russian is very different from English. Yandex has the ability to interpret the language and provide relevant search results in a way that Google cannot.

Does Yandex sell your data?

Yandex collects user data harvested from mobile phones before sending the information to servers in Russia. Researchers have raised concerns that the same “metadata†can then be accessed by the Kremlin and used to track people on their cellphones.