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Measuring Up: Yandex Vs. Google
Written by Doc Sheldon
Monday, 12 August 2013 13:03

Google Vs YandexA couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across an article that talked about the European search engine, Yandex, and it led me to take a closer look at them. It's probably been about a year since the last time I poked around in there - the change was impressive, if not entirely satisfying.

The first thing to do, of course, is to switch to the English version, which is easily accomplished by clicking on the small flag icon in the footer and selecting UK English. Doing this, I steeled myself for what I expected to be a Google Translate-like mish-mash of near-English.

I was pleasantly surprised to see I was wrong. The English versions of their pages was every bit as good as Google's... to the point I could easily believe it was written by an native English speaker. So that was pleasant surprise #1. Note: they also offer French, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Tatar and Kazakh. So far, that's all.

Pleasant Surprise #2

Playing around for a while with their search results proved to be enlightening, too. Comparing their SERPs to those of Google and Bing showed few differences, in the universals. I noticed two striking differences - one which dismayed me, while the other pleased me.

First, at present, Yandex has no UK, ES, US, CA or AU version of search. Their index, however, does return results - even some obscure ones - from the US, UK, CA and AU, as I specifically checked those. But providing  localized results outside of their immediate market area appears to be a challenge they haven't yet seen the necessity to address. That was a disappointment.

Within Russia, though, they seem to have a fairly sophisticated local search capability. Here's a decent English description of how it works. While I wouldn't say it's on a par with Google, by any means, it's a start.

Yandex Serp

The part I liked was the total absence of ads on their SERPs. [see my big happy smile here] MAJOR treat, that, after watching Google gradually push everything in the SERPs below the fold. How long that will last, of course, remains to be seen.

More Differences

I also noted that there was no parallel to Google Instant. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I've gotten so used to Google Instant that I immediately noticed the lack of a similar search assist.

One other thing I pinged on immediately was that my results didn't change, between logged in and logged out, even though I did a dozen related searches before I tested. That's not a lot of history, of course, but it does leave the question open regarding to what extent, if any, they cater to personalized search.

I also see that they respond to standard search operators like site:, inurl: and intitle:. But one other minor annoyance was that the SERPs don't state the quantity of results returned.
Their webmaster tools is an area in which I think they excel. They offer a few handy features in there that appeal to me more than what GWT offers. It's efficient, intuitive and seems to be fairly accurate.

In Summary

Yandex certainly isn't up to Google's speed yet, but they seem to have come a long way. I've been wondering how long before they decide to dip their oar into North America, but they may be further from that step than I thought.

I think before any SEO or Internet marketer is going to take them seriously, they're going to have to expand their geo-specific abilities quite a lot. If we can't drill down more than is possible now, it's strictly a users' search engine.

Next, I want to give their analytics a spin around the block, but as yet, I don't have enough data there to do so.

Doc Sheldon -

Doc Sheldon is a retired business management consultant, and a perpetual student of all things SEO. He’s also a copywriter, providing professional webcopy, articles and press releases. He’s been involved in SEO for a little over five years, and writing professionally for over thirty.

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0 #1 Michael Martinez 2013-08-13 13:29
I have always liked Yandex. I find their technology is very impressive (they invested in machine learning early on). I believe all the UIs are engineered in native language (not translated) but I could be mistaken. It's been a while since I did any research on that but they have an English language crawler (or used to) and I would assume that they use similar technology for other languages.

"But one other minor annoyance was that the SERPs don't state the quantity of results returned. "

Google's hit estimates can't be trusted anyway. I once asked Matt Cutts about that and he did not *quite* put it this way but I came away with the impression that the numbers are just sort of "made up".

I inferred that when you have 1,000 machines working on the same query some rapid math takes place. He couldn't explain to me why they publish that number (perhaps because of non-disclosure requirements).
0 #2 Doc Sheldon 2013-08-15 19:18
Hi, Michael. Overall, I like Yandex too. Yes, I recall Matt saying once that the number is "an estimate". But it's still nice to have some idea of the volume... particularly when trying to compare results with those of other SEs. Seeing an estimate of 863 results versus 863 million can certainly raise a flag. ;-)
0 #3 statusbesiktning 2013-09-03 12:28
Great article, as usual – this one caught my eye right away. Here’s to quality content. I agree with everything you’ve said – thanks very much for articulating it so well.
0 #4 Myoptimind 2014-02-12 01:45
Another search engine! :D
I tried to search our company there with our specific keyword we're targeting and I'm glad I've found it on the first page.
0 #5 Web Designers MN 2014-02-19 04:21
Yandex is just another search engine..however, No one can beat Google at this time.
0 #6 vietweblink 2014-02-25 10:04
It's great, they create the feeling for the user
0 #7 App Developer 2014-03-14 10:43
Yandex is good one.But no one can beat Google.
0 #8 فراگیر پیام نور 2014-03-16 13:46
Google is not de-indexing free directories. directories which are not maintained properly making and allowing spam post
0 #9 تور ترکیه 2014-04-05 06:19
Very useful post. Thanks for sharing with us.
0 #10 سایپا 2014-04-07 07:32
I congratulate you

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