A former employee allegedly leaked Yandex’s source code repository, part of which contains more than 1,900 factors that search engines use to rank search results.
Why do we care? The leak revealed 1,922 ranking factors that Yandex used in its search algorithm until at least July 2022. Martin MacDonald put it best on Twitter today: “The Yandex hack is probably the most interesting thing to happen to SEO in years.”
Yandex is not Google. If you plan to read the full list of Yandex ranking factors, remember that Yandex is not Google. If you see a ranking factor ranked by Yandex, it does not mean that Google gives that signal the same amount of weight. In fact, Google may not use all of the 1,922 factors listed.
However, many of these ranking factors can be quite similar. Thus, reviewing this document may provide some useful insights to help you better understand how search engines like Google work from a technological standpoint.
The bigger picture. According to reports, the code appeared as a Torrent on a popular hacking forum Leaky Computer:
… the leaker posted a magnet link to what he claimed were “Yandex git sources” containing a 44.7GB file stolen from the company in July 2022. These code repositories claim to contain all the company’s source code, along with anti-spam rules.
Yandex calls it a leak. Yandex was initially thought to have been hacked, as the code appeared on a popular hacker forum. Yandex denied this and issued the following statement:
“Yandex is not hacked. Our security service found code fragments from an internal repository in the public domain, but the content differs from the current version of the repository used in Yandex services.
A repository is a tool for storing and working with code. This is how the code is used internally by most companies.
Repositories are necessary for working with code and are not intended to store private user data. We are conducting an internal investigation into the reasons for the public release of the source code fragments, but we do not see any threat to user data or platform performance.”
You are deeper. You can find more coverage of the leak Techmeme.
List of Yandex ranking factors. MacDonald shared a complete list of 1922 factors here In Web Marketing School. I highly recommend downloading it, as I expect that Yandex will try to remove this information from the Internet. There is also one Translated version on Dropbox.
Alex Buraks continues Twitter thread analysis of various ranking factors. There are many things you can look at – PageRank, text relevance, content age and freshness, many end-user behavioral factors, host reliability, and many link-related factors (eg age, relevance, etc.)
Some ranking factors surprise SEOs: number of unique visitors, percentage of organic traffic, and average domain ranking per query.
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