Andy Atkins Kruger: “everything that’s written about Yandex from an SEO perspective is wrong”

Andy Atkins Kruger knows all about international search. And so he knows all about Yandex. The Russian Search Engine is growing rapidly and is doing some pretty interesting things there. At SMX Advanced Rand Fishkin made a special ‘Whiteboard Friday’ with Andy talking about Yandex. And Andy decided to give us some very valuable insights into Yandex.


A few highlights from the video:

– Yandex is the same age as Google.
– It is about the structure of the language
– Yandex launched some new technologies that have actually been very successful for them, using particularly machine learning.
– Virtually everything that’s written about Yandex from an SEO perspective is wrong. It’s out of date.
– Yandex’ algorithm is created basically by what human assessors think of web pages
– As an SEO, you’re in a fairly difficult position because it’s going to move around all the time.
– “Google’s likely to follow suit.”

Note: the point Andy was making about “everything being wrong” is that because the algorithm shifts, as soon as you’ve written down what it does, its’ moved and you’re out of date

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

17 thoughts on “Andy Atkins Kruger: “everything that’s written about Yandex from an SEO perspective is wrong”

  1. It’s interesting to see two very successful, the same age search engines with completely opposite approach to search. It’s also quite surprising how little we know and write about Yandex and its technology- it looks like the language barer still exist in XXI century, despite all those innovations/ apps etc. Maybe, now, since an English-language service launched last May, there would be more research/ tests taken in English? Yandex is also pretty impressive with regards to the way they expand: they bought WebVisitor, tool for tracking user behaviour on a website and merged it with their Yandex.Metrica options- the tool is very helpful for marketers and received many good reviews in Russia. Should Google feel a bit threatened? Apparently, Yandex holds a 65% share of Russian search and expanding. It would be interesting to see how they grow in “English-language market” through the next years…

  2. Before claiming that everything written about yandex is wrong one should read something first. I wonder how many Russian SEO blogs this expert has read.

    1. Hence the note:

      “Note: the point Andy was making about “everything being wrong” is that because the algorithm shifts, as soon as you’ve written down what it does, its’ moved and you’re out of date”

      It is not literally that everything is wrong but more that things change so often it is hard to keep track

      1. Google makes changes in their algorithm every day or even several times a day as well, yet nobody makes this kind of bold statements. On the contrary actually, if you look at the number of SEO blogs 🙂

        1. It’s because of this part in the video:

          Andy says: “Because the issue with Yandex is the way that they use machine learning comprehensively for their algorithm. So their algorithm is created basically by what human assessors think of web pages, and they set those as targets and then the algorithm tries to achieve those targets.”

          Google does that differently.

  3. That is correct, but it’s not like Yandex has an army of people asessing manually every single industry and every single page. What they do a lot is they look at behavioral factors.

    The search results do not change every day and the quality standards do not change every day. Quality relevant content, good user experience and strong links will always work. This algorithm is very well filtering out spam and irrelevant pages, especially in cases when the same word has several meanings etc. That’s what I’ve been seeing in my segments anyway.

    I might have misinterpreted all these sharp comments about all SEO blogs being wrong, of course, but this speech to looks to me like one of those “SEO is dead” articles, if you know what I mean.

    1. I understand what you mean and I am partly guilty of that by taking this statement as the title, but it seems to work since people do read, comment and share it 😉 and it does make people think about Yandex, which is the crux of this interview.

      The essence of the talk is that an SEO has to look at Yandex differently and that it should really really take Yandex into account. I think we can all agree on that. I think he really is talking about Western blogs also, but I can’t say that for sure, I’ll ask him. The general idea is that most Western SEOs need to look into Yandex.

      Also I do think Andy gives some really valuable insights into Yandex, especially for Western (European and US) marketers who really sometimes have no clue of what is going on there.

      1. Sure sure, it is all awesome, but there is really no need to offend people. Saw on Twitter today, even some Yandex employees got annoyed, not mentioning SEO people.

        In any case, tnx for the interesting discussion Bas =)

        1. Oh really? Were they? I missed that discussion, is there a link or is it in Russian? 🙂

          I think that is the opposite effect of what was meant in the talk, namely that we need to take Yandex seriously. I for one (as you can read in other posts on this blog, see the Yandex category ( feel very strongly about this and both me and Andy were stressing this in a panel we were both on recently. So Yandex people shouldn’t be upset at all.

          I wasn’t also aware that people were offended by it, there is no intent for that, so I would really like to stress that and take that feeling away. Can you explain to me how people feel offended? (You can also e-mail or DM me on twitter if you want)

          1. It is indeed in Russian, since some guys actually translated the interview ) My favorite comment was something like “suprise for you guys that we bears with a bottle of vodka and balalaika can also make search engines” 🙂 I got somewhat annoyed, since I myself have a blog and it’s not very nice to hear that all I write is wrong. But as long as people discuss and share 🙂

  4. Ok, well “Random Russian” (great name 😉 ). Maybe you can tell them for me that it was definitely not intended that way, that we take them very serious and that in fact it is more of an acknowledgement that you are actually doing the right thing and that your content is not bad or wrong at all, but that it was aimed at the Western bloggers who blog about Yandex.

    Maybe it is nice to actually get in touch and do a ‘real insights’ about Yandex with you guys here? Could make a great post and great insights for us Western SEOS 🙂

    1. I agree with Bas, it would be great to read more about Yandex! As I wrote above, we do dont have enough insight into their technology. Could someone feed us with that knowledge, please?

  5. What a fascinating thread! Just to pick up a few of the points in there. If you listen to what I actually say — which is of necessity abbreviated in the headline — i say that everything that is written about SEO for Yandex is wrong because it’s out of date the moment it’s written — including things written by me.

    I do read information written by Russian bloggers — and I’m a particular fan of Verona who writes at because she kindly writes in English. Whilst I can read a little Russian, that makes it easier for me.

    Now the point about the difference between Yandex or Google is that Yandex currently makes much more extensive use of “machine learning”. Google has traditionally steered away from machine learning in their natural search although they use it extensively for Adwords. More recently, Panda uses machine learning techniques — but mainly to assess the quality of sites not to run the whole algorithm.

    It is trues that Google makes a great many tweaks to its algorithm and that it’s effectively changing every day. The difference with Yandex is that their Yandex is learning from its own results all the time and making constant tests and constant tweaks.

    You can argue that Google and Yandex in the end are doing the same thing — but the speed of change is perhaps the main difference. If Yandex learns today that it’s results of a particular type are not generating results its users like — it will have already changed by now.

    Thus, if as an SEO you target a set of results because a blog writes that a particular approach is successful (x number of keywords + links from a particular network + headings etc) it is quite likely that the criteria for that result has already been tweeked because of what Yandex folks described to me as “SEO Pressure”.

    I did not mean that there are not great bloggers in Russia — in fact I didn’t say “Russian bloggers” I said “everything that is written about Yandex” and I meant globally.

    By the way, I’ve also been accused of repeating Yandex press releases but this is not so. I visited Yandex and interviewed a large number of their team.

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