Okay, so a lot of this is going to be highly speculative based on the way Yandex has operated with their plans in the past, and some of it will simply be a guide on best practices that are likely to stay the same for the long haul.

The fact is, that with affiliates being burned left and right by Google, it makes sense to have your backup plan in another market. By another market I mean don’t just rely on one search engine. Now this is a drum I’ve been banging for awhile, but as the interest in this market grows, I am still yet to see a great deal of people moving into it.

Click Through Rates!!!

There is so much you can do with your snippets, and Yandex has made things really easy for you. Most of the editing can be done in Webmaster Tools in terms of adding in Favicons (something unique to Yandex snippets); adding in the links to your social accounts; and, even deciding what letters you’d like capitalized in your URL. Get these things right, experiment, draw more attention to your snippet, get better click through rates (which in itself is good) and get better results.

The Move to Clean Real Links

Now this has been happening for awhile. However Yandex has been a lot more lenient than Google. Whilst I don’t expect we’ll see another huge slap down of many sites here, we are going to see the continued devaluation of the garbage. This has been the case for awhile, but as social metrics become an easy way to measure whether people have any interest in a site, expect this to play a growing role. This is a myth that I hear far too often that spam is okay. While Yandex is more tolerant, but not all forgiving. Remember as well to keep in mind brand to non-brand anchor ratios; Yandex is looking at this too.

Quality Content is Essential

No change there.

Yandex and Social

Yandex is clearly making an effort to integrate social search, they put a large amount of resource into the changes made this year for searching for specific people, adding the social profiles to snippets, indexing twitter, if they have that data they are going to use it. Whilst I have already seen some correlation of social noise and rankings there is the old correlation v causation argument, however this is such an obvious move following Google and Bing using social signals (though some still argue the contrary) that it would be madness not to accept that it won’t happen in a greater form. The main difference is that there is an extra network to be aware of in vk.com and Twitter is likely to be the ranking factor of choice due to Yandex and Twitter’s special relationship.

On Site

Stick with your standard best practices. There are a couple of interesting extras that Yandex likes, such as the noindex tag (see Yandex’s example below) which can come in handy.

<noindex>this text will not be indexed</noindex>

Google Plus

Nobody cares. This will be relegated to the realms of spammers (although in fairness this network is a fantastic gift to spammers). Don’t waste your time on this for Yandex.

Maybe not for 2013, but……

Link velocity versus social versus brand mention velocity. Now we know link velocity has been a flagging signal for a lot of SE’s for a while, and whilst I have only seen anecdotal evidence to support a tie in with link building and social noise taken into account, it does stand to reason that this would be a move major SE’s would look to implement. After all if you have loads of links appearing, but nobody ever talks about your brand anywhere else does that not look suspicious?

More information

I’m actually hosting a webinar on Yandex SEO in association with the guys over at RACE (Russian Affiliate Congress and Expo) on December 19,so if you’re looking for a little more insight or have any specific questions feel free to comment here and I’ll do my best to answer them in the webinar. (The link is here https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/433516831).

It should also be noted that this article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the staff at CAP.

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