Is Yandex as good as Google?

Overall, both Yandex Browser and Google Chrome offer impressive performance and speed. However, if you’re looking for a browser that is more efficient and won’t slow down your computer, Yandex Browser may be the better choice.

“Yandex”? If you have then you may have already dealt or plan on dealing with the Russian internet market. While Google is the dominant search engine across the world, Yandex is by far the largest search engine in Russia with more than 57% of Russians relying on it as their main search engine and it’s currently ranked as #1 Internet company in the country.

While most of the fundamental principles of promoting sites on Google also apply to Yandex, there are some key differences that you need to be aware of if your target audience is based in Russia and you plan on mastering Yandex SEO.

If a website does not have serious technical issues, has useful content, is properly optimised, and has a naturally growing portfolio of backlinks, it usually ranks well on both Yandex and Google. With that being said, quite significant differences exist between the algorithms of each search engine:

Yandex Promotion

One of the main ranking factors on Yandex is regionality. On Yandex, local search plays a much bigger role than it does on Google. So, basically, if you are based in Siberia and your query doesn’t have a location word in it, then the most relevant local results will appear. Google, on the other hand, places more value on the popularity of the source.

This means that your site can rank differently depending on the location of the searcher. It would depend on the following:

  • How users from different locations react to your content i.e. how useful they find it
  • Local NAP on the site
  • Whether your site is cited in Yandex’s directory and on the map
  • Whether your site has the name of your location in the domain name. Many Russian SEOs tend to adhere to the strategy of creating multiple local subdomains, as duplicate content is not an issue on Yandex, whereas, as we know, it’s strongly discouraged on Google. Example:
  • Yandex gives preference to the sites with local IP addresses of the servers
  • Country specified in your TLD plays role
  • Domain .ru will work best for promotion in Russia


Yandex is said to index pages slower than Google. However, it is possible to send a new site to be indexed through your Yandex Webmaster account. Unlike Google, Yandex does not allow you to fetch your pages and force the bots to recrawl them. Yandex’s bots will recrawl your new pages at their own rate and will let you know once that has been done on your Webmaster account.

Bear in mind: if your site has been indexed by one of the two search engines, it doesn’t mean that it has been indexed by another.

Fresh content – Google

Yandex is said to care less about the freshness of your content and how many times it’s been updated in the past, whereas Google views positively sites that have content that is regularly updated with fresh information.

Citation building

Building citations in well-established directories, such as Top100.rambler, Yandex, Yahoo, and Yelp, will positively affect your rankings across both search engines (provided you have a high-quality website that is not engaged in any manipulative schemes).

Quality Content

Quality content will get you far on both search engines. With that being said, make sure not to over-optimise your content, as both search engines have AI algorithms that focus more and more on the overall meaning of your page and synonyms used, in order to present the pages that best match users’ intent rather than the exact keyword user typed in the search panel.

Content Volume

The volume of quality content that is required to rank well on Google is higher than that of Yandex. Google’s top 10 results usually cite a lot of “long-read” pieces of content, whereas on Yandex you can rank well with a lot less text.

Behaviour Metrics

Yandex pays a lot of attention to the number of visitors and how much time they spend on the website. The more the merrier. Google is less concerned with it. As a result, many Russian SEO’s used to buy fake website visitors to increase these metrics (these practice is becoming obsolete as the algorithm is becoming more sophisticated). Needless to say, such a tactic will lead to penalisation by Yandex. Metrics to pay attention to: visits, page depth, bounce rate, pogo sticking, and time on site.


Each search engine has its own algorithm for penalising websites. Yandex’s Minusinsk is said to be much stricter than Google’s Penguin.

Yandex Tools

Yandex is said to be actively using data on each website from the search engine’s list of tools. It is therefore it’s advisable to have accounts on Ya.Market, Ya.Directory, Ya.Catalog, 2GIS, etc.


Backlinks play a far more important role on Google than they do on Yandex. In many cases, a site with very few backlinks can be ranking at the top of search results on Yandex. That can be achieved on Yandex through internal optimisation, fixing technical issues, ensuring logical, user-friendly site navigation, populating the whole website with quality content, etc.

Below is a table that shows that 70% of sites that rank in the top 10 on Yandex for “repair lenovo” have very few links (sites with lots of links are highlighted in red):

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