Summary of new developments in Yandex in 2015

Anastasia Kurmakaeva

Written by Anastasia Kurmakaeva

With 2016 just around the corner, it’s time to make a small balance or summary of the year, in which we will make a compilation of the most interesting events and novelties for international search engine positioning introduced by Yandex company in its search engine and the services offered, focusing mainly on the second half of 2015.

The annihilating effect of Minusinsk

In April 2015 Alexander Sadovsky announced the arrival of Minusinsk, the algorithm that in May would become the worst nightmare of many Russian SEO consultants and successful portals that did not heed the warning for the removal of low-quality backlinks. Due to the large number of professionals using this technique to fuel the popularity of the websites in their care, it sent a crowd of people into a frenzy, The effects of which, to this day, are still in the mouths of everyone who has been affected by the drop in ranking. or is dedicated to a greater or lesser extent to organic positioning in Yandex.

Experts keep asking how to get quality links? and how long will the effects of the penalties last?

First of all, there is no concrete foolproof formula for getting links that Yandex considers natural, but the company’s representatives have clearly stated that purchased links, reciprocal links, links from aggregators and other types of bulk linking will always have a negative impact on the ranking of a web site. With respect to the duration of penalties, the Yandex’s recent Webmaster conference has shed some light on this issue.The new version of the Yandex.Webmaster tool has also introduced some relevant new features, which we will also summarize in the last section of this article.

Launch of Yandex.Delivery service to boost e-Commerce throughout Russia

The new Yandex.Delivery serviceDespite the fact that 83% of Russian Internet users do not live in the country’s capital, 47% of Russian online stores are based in Moscow. This is a major logistical problem due to the size of the country and the consequent high cost of transportation. As a result, consumers living in areas quite far from the capital do not have the possibility of making online purchases, or have a very limited catalog of choice.

And this is where Yandex.Delivery comes in. This aggregator of transport services was created with the aim of boosting e-Commerce throughout Russia, facilitating the logistical aspect for online stores. E-commerces only have to connect to the service (totally free of charge), and Yandex will offer users several shipping methods to choose from at their convenience, with all their documentation unified and in order. This service will benefit both online stores, whose conversion rate will be increased, and users, improving the reach of online shopping for everyone in the country. Click here to read the full press release published by Yandex.

What’s new in Yandex.Direct

Yandex.Direct is no slouch this year either. Let’s take a look at the most interesting new features that have been implemented in this sponsored campaigns and ads tool:

  • New features in Yandex.DirectKeyword productivity to increase PPC. A new column, the “Productivity” index, has been added. This data determines the productive value of a keyword on a scale of 0 to 10, based on multiple factors. If we click on each of the values, the tool will display a tab in which it will offer us recommendations to improve the Click-Through Rate of our ads.
  • Keyword auto-expansion tool. This option automatically adds keywords that the tool considers relevant to your campaign. The keywords are carefully selected by Yandex.Direct based on very specific factors, taking into account both the statistical data of your own keywords, as well as that of competitors’ ads belonging to the same field, complementing them with data from Yandex.Metrica. The selection of keywords can add both synonyms and phrases expressed in other ways.
  • Ad groups. Although ad groups have been available for several years now, this year Yandex.Direct has finally included the ability to work with ad groups completely through the tool’s own interface.

More detailed reports for e-commerce in Yandex.Metrica

Online store owners are in luck: a few months ago, the Yandex.Metrica tool expanded its e-commerce reports to include more detailed data, offering a new segmentation criterion. Not only can we see the sales made, but we can also obtain information about the product cards that are receiving the most visits. In this way, the managers of an online store will be able to analyze both the most successful products in sales, as well as those that enjoy the greatest interest from their target audience.

It offers the possibility of importing more specific information about specific products, with their category, brand, or other characteristics, such as model or version. This will help us to track much more accurately which products of a particular type or brand are receiving visits, but are not selling.

Additionally, along with the contents of a “shopping cart” you can see if any promotional codes have been used, or the name of the partner program.

Yandex bot has learned to read JavaScript and CSS

In November 2015 the Russian company announced on its blog that Yandex can now render JavaScript and CSS content, so that from now on the bot will see the interface of a website practically as it is displayed in an ordinary browser. This fact helps Yandex spiders to obtain much more detailed and accurate information about web pages, and use it in their evaluation and calculation of relevance in combination with other data. Yandex search managers recommend all Webmasters to open access to JavaScript and CSS files, because of the common practice of blocking them in robots.txt.

The new Yandex.Webmaster in BETA

As we had informed you in one of the previous posts, Yandex has released a new version of its Webmaster tool in BETA. Here is a summary list of the new functionalities that have been incorporated:

  • Penalties section. It includes 7 main types of violations for which a website may have been penalizedThe new version of Yandex.Webmaster includes very useful features for SEOand the effect of that penalty. In addition, a button has been introduced that allows us to send a notification to the Yandex system once we have solved all the problems in our portal.
  • Testing the usability of the mobile version. Following in Google’s footsteps, Yandex has made it mandatory to implement a responsive version of a website, and offers us the possibility to test its usability.
  • Diagnosis of a web site. Technical audit on the different problems that a website may have, and that may influence its correct indexing or usability.
  • Positioning statistics. Monitoring of a website based on all the keywords for which it appears in search results, with the option to filter criteria by groups, CTR, Top 3-10-50, among others.

Undoubtedly, 2015 has been quite a productive year for the Russian company, incorporating very important and useful functionalities for international SEO.


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Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Former SEO consultant and translator at Human Level. She is a specialist in translation and SEO, with a special focus on the Yandex search engine. She is fluent in Russian, Spanish and English, being fully bilingual in the first two.

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