As you might probably know, someone leaked the source code of Yandex, which is the 4th most popular search engine on the web. A part of the leak contains 1,922 possible ranking factors used by the Yandex search algorithm.
This is probably one of the most exciting hacks for SEO professionals, who can dig into the code and find out more about the ranking signals used by Yandex to rank websites in search results.
While Yandex is not Google and lots of these factors might not be used anymore or simply not genuine, it gives us an interesting insight into how this stuff works behind the scenes. After all, Yandex is somehow a local Google clone.
If you don’t have time to go through all 1,922 factors, here is a summary for you provided by Rob May:
1. Age of links is a ranking factor
2. Traffic and % of organic traffic are ranking factors
3. Numbers in URLs is bad for rankings
4. A lot of slashes in URLs is bad for rankings
5. Hard pessimization (penalty) equals PR=0
6. Host reliability is a ranking factor (less 40*/50* errors, better for your organic traffic)
7. Separate ranking factor for uplifting Wikipedia
8. A lot of ranking factors connected with user behavior – CTR, Last Click, Time on site, Bounce Rate
9. Document age and last update, both are ranking factors
10. Average domain position across all queries is a ranking factor
11. Time of day & day of week impact the search results (i.e. Restaurants near me at 10 am would show breakfast places where at 4 am would show places for dinner etc…)
12. YMYL exists/existed – 15 factors related to medical, financial and legal topics
13. Yandex has page quality scores
14. Uses URL & Title to determine if a webpage has one product or has multiple products listed on it
15. Crawl depth is a ranking factor (top pages 1 click from homepage, important pages <3)
16. Backlinks from main pages are more important than those from internal pages
17. Number of search queries of your site/URL is a ranking factor (more = better)
18. Traffic from Wikipedia is a ranking factor
19. If the URL is the last of the search session (the user has found what he needs) – this positively impacts rankings
20. The more users bookmark your URL, the more factor value it has
21. Special ranking factors for short videos (TikTok, Shorts, Reels)
22. Maps js-api on a page (i.e. Google Maps) is a ranking factor
23. Keywords in URL is a ranking factor (optimal would be to include up to 3 words from the search query
24. Returning users is a ranking factor (building products with good customer retention will benefit your SEO)
25. Percentage of CAPITAL LETTERS in <title> is a ranking factor to combat Search Spam
26. Percentage of direct traffic is a ranking factor (if all traffic came from Organic, it’s suspicious and would negatively affect rankings
27. Embedded video on a page is good for rankings; Is a Content Quality ranking factor
28. If the backlinks anchors contain all words from the keywords in the search query – it’s good for SEO (Exact Match Anchor Text)
29. A ratio of good backlinks vs bad backlinks is a ranking factor
30. The overall quality rank of texts on the domain (i.e. pages with low quality content affect the entire domain
31. Amount of advertisements on a page (Less = Better)
32. JS from Google Analytics is a ranking factor
33. Backlinks from 100 best websites by PageRank impact the rankings
If you do have time and want to dig deeper into the code, here is the file in English translated by Alex Savy and provided by Steve Toth.
You can download the translated file in .txt format below. Note that it only contains the first 1,000 ranking factors.
Alternatively, you can open this Google spreadsheet with the English translations provided by Yiğit Konur.
Good luck analyzing the code, let me know if you found anything interesting in the comments below.