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Yandex To Bring Back Links To Their Ranking Algorithm
After dropping links from their ranking algorithm for specific niches, Yandex brings back links as a positive and negative ranking factor.
In December 2013, Yandex, the largest search engine in Russia, announced they would drop links from their ranking algorithm for some verticals. That actually went through in March 2014 but it seems it was short lived. A year later, Yandex will be bringing back these links into their ranking algorithm.
The Russian Search Tips blog reports that starting in about a month, Yandex will bring back links as a ranking signal for all search verticals. The only difference is that Yandex will not only use links as a positive ranking factor but also look at them as a negative ranking factor, similar to how some of Google’s link algorithms work – like Penguin.
Initially, Yandex was overwhelmed by link manipulation in their algorithm, so they decided to try doing without them. This change will bring links back into their algorithm but also use web spam techniques to detect and punish link schemes.
This is expected to launch across the Yandex search index in May 2015.
Postscript: I asked Andy Atkins-Krüger at WebCertain, who is our Yandex expert, he shared the following with us:
Alexander Sadovsky – Head of Natural Search at Yandex, confirmed at the Bynet conference in Minsk Belarus today that Yandex will be changing the way links are handled in its algorithm for commercial queries in the Moscow region. He says that Yandex was disappointed with the inertia shown by the search industry, which showed only a 16% reduction in the acquisition of paid links even despite them being told that Yandex was ignoring them.
In order to force the issue, Yandex has decided to give negative scores to the ‘dishonest’ practice of buying links – and to balance that will also be adding positive scores to good quality natural links.
He said, “The ranking algorithm with no links for some commercial queries we announced last year was quite successful technologically, but the market turned out to be very slow to react. SEO specialists continued to buy links through sheer habit. That was the reason we decided to make links not only neutral or positive, but also negative – and to penalise websites for paid links”.”
Here is a video snippet from Andy: