What Is Yandex? [Everything You Need to Know]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jul 19, 2022

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Google’s crown is shaky these days. Local browsers are gaining popularity. 
Take Baidu, for example.72% of the whole Chinese market is held by the Beijing-based company.
But what about Yandex? 
Here’s everything you need to know about the Russian search engine.

What Is Yandex?

In the 1990s, university students Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich invented the Russian alternative to Google. They launched it on September 23, 1997. 

There are two possible versions of how the search engine got its name:

  1. The name comes from the Russian (I am - “Ya”) and “index”
  2. The founders named it after Yet Another INDEXer

The Moscow-based company has become a tech leader in Russia and had its first market capitalization in 2011 when the firm was listed as an IPO. The company then reached a market cap of just under $18Bn.

However, what is Yandex used for?

There are many applications and services that have been developed by Yandex’s teams, such as:

  • Online media agency
  • Self-driving cars
  • Email services
  • App analytics
  • Maps
  • Smart home technologies
  • Web Browser
  • Voice Assistant
  • Music Streaming app
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • eCommerce Solutions

The patents and trademarks make Yandex incredibly unique from its competitors, as it’s the only one of its kind in its industry. The Moscow-based enterprise currently has 167 registered patents and 29 trademarks in the scientific and technological services category.

What Is Yandex Search Engine?

Let’s see how the Russian platform looks and works.

Yandex search homepage

From what we see in this picture, there’s nothing different from other search engines. Of course, you should remember that the results won’t be the same.

That’s because the browser has been designed to serve predominantly Russian-speaking people. It’s still a viable option for other nationalities.

Yandex search engine results

As you can see, its results are similar to Google’s.

Yandex vs. Google

Before we start the comparison, there’s something highly important we should know. Less than 6% of traffic in Yandex is paid. On the contrary, Google has 10.14% paid traffic, or over 70% more.

Yandex Images

Yandex image search is also impressive. You can pick different options like:

  • Size
  • File
  • Wallpaper
  • Orientation
  • Type
  • Color
  • On This Site

To further elaborate:

  • File - You can pick between a JPG, PNG, and GIF.
  • Wallpaper - If you would like to look for a new wallpaper for your desktop
  • On this site - Let’s you search for the term on other sites by pasting the target URL in the box

Bear in mind Yandex doesn’t provide much additional information about the pictures you find on the search engine. You should contact the website administrator to get more details.
In our opinion, the SERP does really well. While there are some improvements to be made, Yandex photo search does the job way better than we expected.

Yandex video search

It’s safe to say that Yandex cannot compare to Google in this field since the biggest streaming platform YouTube is owned by them. Still, the Russians offer many streaming platforms, making it quite good.

While the search capabilities are decent, the UI doesn’t seem to offer a Google-like experience, which we found problematic. 

We feel Yandex Video Search doesn’t perform well and a YouTube-based search would turn out a lot more possible results.

Yandex Translate

Yandex Translate

Yandex Translate supports 100 languages, but its most popular language pairs are English to Russian, French to Russian, and Spanish to Russian. By default, the option is English to Russian and vice versa. In comparison, Google boasts about 111, so there’s not much difference.

It also includes the toggle option for language Auto-Detect, which eases the translations for users.

100 supported official and regional languages are impressive stats. We’ve tested the software with satisfactory results. 

Yandex Search Market Share

But what’s Yandex without its user base? Let’s find out how the Russian alternative to Google performs.

According to Similarweb, 93% of the market share the search engine generates comes from Russia

It’s also popular in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and other post-Soviet countries. Even after Ukraine banned the Russian search engine (mainly due to political reasons), many still use it with a VPN

Whether it’s traffic from Russians in Turkey or Turkish companies targeting the Russian-speaking market, one thing is very astounding – Yandex has a  20% market share in this non-Cyrillic country.

How to Оptimize for Yandex?

Yandex SEO tools are quite different from Google, and this is the first thing you should consider if you want to rank high. This section will review why you need to think about the search engine and how to optimize it properly.

Why Should You Optimize for Yandex?

Although the majority of businesses optimize their website for Google, Bing, and Yahoo, there are some serious advantages with Yandex, such as:

  • Low competition
  • A significantly lower CPC rate
  • Easy to use
  • Less sophisticated algorithms

This comes as a relief to people aiming at the Russian market since bid placements on Google for some in-demand keywords have become insane lately.

How To Optimize for Yandex?

It’s good to know what you’ll face as potential challenges when you try to rank on Yandex. Keep these things in mind:

When optimizing your page for Yandex, focus more on your content rather than building backlinks. It’s less stringent than Google regarding the quality of links pointing to a page, so there isn’t a need to invest as much time or money into your link profile. It’s interesting to note that Google is also trying to boost websites with more topic authority.

Geo-targeting plays a significant role

The Yandex search engine strongly focuses on local results, making it critical to optimize your website according to regional terms and search patterns. They use machine learning to personalize results, enabling your website for specific geo-targeted phrases. This will pinpoint people from that region when they perform a local query.

Using help tools

Of course, keyword tools play a vital role in Yandex, and people who optimize pages on it often rely on software solutions. The best of all is that even without expensive programs, you can still rank well if you know what to do.

Yandex Metrica

Just like Google has Google Analytics, they have Metrica.

Yandex metrica

It was launched in 2008 - 11 years after launching, and three years after Google released its analytic tool.

Yandex Metrica comes with some very promising features, even surpassing Google in many regards.

  • It’s free - nowadays, it’s hard to find data software for free. However, Yandex refuses to charge anything.
  • Unlimited traffic limit - whereas Google’s free version caps at 10M hits.
  • Unlimited sites per account - once you sign up, there’s no limit with managed websites.
  • Site monitoring - another reason to trust Metrica is that it monitors your website. If there are any issues, you’ll receive a report.

We could write an entire article on just Yandex’s analytic tool. It’s sufficient to say, however, that it performs exceptionally well. In our opinion, it overshadows Google Analytics in many respects.

Safety

The most significant factor in rating search engines and overall pieces of software is security and safety. So, is Yandex safe?

Yes, and no. Their native browser is extremely fast and offers multiple security options as well as ad-blocking technology. It protects against phishing and hacking attempts and prevents malicious ads from infecting your computer. They let you browse the internet safely, quickly, and discreetly.

On the other hand, we see articles concerning some of the very dark shadows following Yandex. Also, there are frequent reports linking them with the Russian government, which is very concerning.

Wrap Up

What is Yandex? For the majority of Internet users, the Moscow-based company means nothing. But for many Russian-speaking people, it’s an essential search engine optimized to connect local businesses with people from the community. 

Of course, it isn’t limited to just local firms. International companies can explore the Russian market better by optimizing their searches in the SERPs on Yandex.

While there are still some crippling concerns about how data is collected, Yandex will continue to be the go-to option for most people living in Russia and the region.

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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