Last week, a Russian tech company and search website, Yandex, had a supposed former employee leak 44.7 Gigabytes of data from a source code repository. The repository included internal code on how their search algorithm ranked data in their search engine results page (SERP). This took over the chatter in the SEO world as SEOs could see how a large search site ranks websites in search algorithms. So, what does this mean for SEO and does it change anything? Let’s dive into it.
Who Is Yandex?
First, Yandex is a Russian tech company that owns a popular search website like Google, called Yandex. Yandex also has many other products and services such as email, and self-driving technology, but they were not affected during this leak.
A former Yandex employee downloaded 44.7 gigabytes of data from an old source code repository and published the code online. The source code revealed how their search algorithm functioned. However, approximately 67% of the code was marked as deprecated or removed from the files.
What Can We Learn From The Yandex Leak?
From an SEO perspective, we can learn how a large search website runs its search algorithm. Here are some of the ranking signals from the leak:
- Pagerank and backlink-related factors
- Domain age and relevancy
- Content Relevancy
- Content Age
- User Behavior
- Website Host Reliability
- Site Preference (Wikipedia)
- Number of Unique Visitors
- Percent of Organic Traffic
There are also negative ranking factors. The top negative ranking factors are as follows:
- Websites with advertisements on the page get ranked lower.
- Content that is newer is ranked lower.
- Content that appears in many search results gets ranked lower to show a more diversified result.
- Websites with low branded anchor text get ranked lower.
- The location of the search and the location of the content should be from the same country.
Rob Ousbey created a site to view all of the ranking factors. Search Engine Land also gives a great breakdown of the leak.
What’s important to remember is this is just Yandex, not Google. Moreover, a lot of the files are deprecated. However, this does give us insight into how these search algorithms function.
From our perspective, this doesn’t change much in the SEO world. Many of the ranking factors are signals we already knew about. Additionally, it just further shows that is hard to “cheat” or “game” search algorithms. Instead, the search algorithms consistently rely on signals like age, relevancy, and authority.
At the end of the day, White Hat SEO work still remains supreme. Nothing beats quality content and time in the SEO world.