In December 2013 Yandex announced that links were being removed from their ranking algorithm for some verticals due to a large amount of manipulation in their algorithm. This was largely thought to be as a response to the levels of links being purchased and used in the Russian market. Alexander Sadovsky, Head of Web Search at Yandex, explained ‘We see a lot of paid links and even automated paid links where there is no human actually involved. The problem with these links is their frequently off-topic and are effectively cheating users.”
We’ve found a large number of websites with a primary focus on Russia have huge numbers of what those familiar with Google would class as “spammy” forum links on .ru domain names. This suggests that the change was made by Yandex in relation to commercially focused search terms.
From March 2014 Yandex began removing links from the ranking algorithm starting in Moscow and rolling out to other major cities as time went on.
However, today it’s been announced that they are changing tack on this approach and are now looking to reintroduce links as a ranking factor across Russia from 1st May 2015.
Keeping in line with the crack down on links announced in 2013, Yandex are looking to include links in their algorithm both as a positive force for visibility but also as a negative factor too. Similar to Google and the Penguin update, the Yandex algorithm will be stamping down on websites which actively buy links resulting in drops in rankings for those websites who have negative backlinks or participate in link schemes.
If you are looking to promote your website in Russia and are concerned about how your backlinks could affect your site from May 2015, please contact Oban International on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 1273 613 400.