SEO in Yandex and Google in 2023: similarities and differences
In the SEO web industry, everything is constantly changing, search engines regularly improve their algorithms, guidelines and interfaces, as well as implement neural networks to process data and provide the user with ready-made answers to queries. Recently, the advertising markets of the Russian Federation and Belarus have also been actively evolving: for example, Google Ads temporarily left these markets in the spring of 2022 along with Google My Business (although the latter returned a year later).
Rookee team experts analyzed the latest information and studied how to optimize sites for Yandex and Google today. Our material will be useful to business owners and marketers who seek to understand how Yandex and Google today relate to the main components that affect search engine promotion. Specifically, we’ll look at content and site quality, external links, local results, and mobile responsiveness.
Content (content and commercial factors)
Both search engines are increasingly focusing on the usefulness of content and the usability of search and sites. Google has already introduced a generative artificial intelligence interface that will be used in the future, while Yandex has not yet presented a similar interface, but has launched a new version of the search, which also takes into account the context and anticipates the needs of users. For example, systems remember requests and offer materials on related topics or potentially interesting goods and services.
Thus, search using artificial intelligence will become even more commercial and difficult for SEO promotion. Links to sources on the basis of which answers were generated will not disappear – ready-made answers to requests will remain additional, not the main functionality for now. Systems are simply being re-engineered from focusing on precise keywords in favor of content usefulness and ease of consumption, as well as site quality, authority, expertise, and trustworthiness.
The criteria for evaluating compliance with these parameters are based on a variety of metrics, algorithms and systems, which are described by various guidelines and recommendations. All algorithms and guidelines continue to evolve and overlap more and more. For example, Google has an E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) parameter in the guide for assessors, and Yandex has a Site Quality Index and an algorithm for assessing the reliability, expertise and usefulness of Proxima sites.
A list of what is needed for the site to meet the criteria of both search engines:
Topics of articles interesting for the target audience, high-quality texts, well-covered topic
Materials on the site signed by experts with developed personal brands and well-known in their professional environment, as well as links to sources of data given in articles
Documents confirming the expertise of the company and employees – on the website and on the Internet
Complete commercial and legal information about the business, goods or services on the site
Developed brand and good ratings, reviews, links to the resource from authoritative sources
The title and description of the page in the Google search interface is shorter than in the Yandex interface. The average length of Title in Google is 70 characters, Description is 140 characters. In Yandex – 80 and 170 characters, respectively. If you do not specify a Description, search engines will choose the relevant piece of text on the page themselves. Often such an “automatic” description of the page does not attract users, so you need to register meta tags not only for SEO, but also to attract the target audience.
Experienced SEO experts say that the length of meta tags does not affect the effectiveness of promotion, but if you still want to please both search engines, you need to focus on Google’s limits.
Site structure and local SEO
Search engines approach the geolocation of resource pages in different ways: Yandex focuses on subdomains with optimization for the region and the presence of an address in the region of promotion, while Google builds its results by the capital of the country (for example, by
Moscow for the Russian Federation) and in order for regional pages to be included in local search results, addresses must be specified on the site and in Google My Business.
Thus, it is quite easy for multi-regional sites on subfolders (“site.ru/gorod/catalog/categoriya”) to be promoted in different geography in Google, but for sites on subdomains (“gorod.site.ru/catalog/categoriya”) – in Yandex . Folders are part of a site, so inbound links to a site are propagated to subfolders as well, while subdomains are considered separate sites and don’t get any SEO metrics from the main site. Therefore, for regional promotion in Google on the site, it is necessary to obtain local links from scratch.
With the return of the Google My Business directory, it has become a little easier for Russian and Belarusian companies with resources on subdomains to promote on Google, since now you can specify the address in the company profile. However, Google still prefers using folders on the site as the preferred option.
Until the end of January 2023, it was believed that links to the site from other resources affect rankings primarily in Google, and for the domestic search engine, the behavior of site visitors and commercial information published on it is more important. Then part of the Yandex code was made public, and from it it became clear that the Russian search engine takes into account many parameters associated with links.
The leak contained only part of the search engine code, so it is impossible to assess how strongly the links determine the place in the issue. But she once again confirmed that today in SEO it is worth using an integrated approach: work on what is not considered the most important for promotion.
There are some specific parameters of the link profile that Yandex pays attention to. This is the total number of links leading to the site, the number of links from the main pages of the sites, the dynamics of the growth of links (not only the natural growth, but also continuity), their age, quality, anchors (hyperlink texts): the variety of anchors and the use of search queries in them, especially in exact entry.
Link profile of the company (website)
At the end of 2022, Yandex announced that it would engage assessors to evaluate link sources, which confirms the importance of high-quality links from sites on your topic, posted in articles about the brand.
This approach and taking into account the same metrics today will be useful for promotion on Google. Recently, Google even added information about the importance of anchors to their link guide.
Mobile version of the site
Adapting a site for mobile devices is an integral part of optimization for both search engines, but for Google it is of particular importance. Since May 2023, this search engine has completely switched to indexing based on the mobile version, that is, it first crawls and evaluates sites in their mobile version.
Google generates the issuance of search results, taking into account the convenience of using sites on smartphones. If your site is designed only for computers, then even in the desktop issue, it may not get high positions, because the system will prefer mobile-optimized sites of your competitors.
However, this does not mean that Google needs to create a separate mobile version of the site on a subdomain (for example, “m.site.ru”). On the contrary, the preferred option is responsive layout, which automatically adjusts to the screen size of the device. The main thing is that mobile devices display all the content and functionality necessary for the full use of the site, as well as that it is readable and does not contain excessive downloadable content.
It is important to note that simply having a responsive website is not a panacea. The site should also work quickly on mobile devices. It is recommended to pay attention to the indicators of Core Web Vitals from Google.
Regarding other requirements, filters and sanctions, the rules of search engines are similar. Sites can be downgraded by similar algorithms for issues such as lack of textual content, unoriginal content, too many keywords or low-quality content, lack of clear subject matter, links from unwanted and spam sites, and attempts to manipulate the algorithms.
At Yandex, most of these filters are still presented as separate mechanisms, while at Google they are already included in the main ranking algorithm. For example, Yandex uses the “AGS”, “Baden-Baden” and other filters to provide high-quality content and punish inappropriate content. Google has included its own version called “Panda” in its core algorithm.
The main difference between search engines in terms of site pessimization is that Yandex automatically fights fake sites using the “Mimicry” filter, while Google relies more on user complaints to remove such results from the search results.
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