Technical

A look at Yandex’s Webmaster Tools

by on 25th September 2017

In the course of developing your site’s SEO visibility, you tend to become quite cyclical in your daily processes.

Check your rankings, have a look in GA, head to Search Console, find some issues and address them. Repeat.

Perhaps you’ll run a Screaming Frog crawl or take a look in Search Metrics. And to be honest, when you’re not knee deep in a big audit or migration, that’s about all you need. Technically.

So, it’s easy to get stuck in a groove with your tooling and it’s difficult to find the time to evaluate something new.

Today I decided to take a look at Yandex’s Webmaster Tools. To be honest, I didn’t even know they offered a WMT-style service – I think I saw a tweet about it and thought I’d better get involved.

On closer inspection

After you validate, there’s very little data to view.

Crawl Stats

Ah. This site wasn’t in Yandex before I signed up…

It’s me, not you.

This lack of data is almost certainly a feature of the site I’ve submitted. It’s small, not well-linked to and untested for the Russian market.

A few hours after validating the site, Yandex found 6 pages with HTTP 2XX codes and 3 pages with HTTP 4XX codes. It doesn’t seem to tell you which URLs they are though.

Get your sitemap(s) submitted

Sitemap submission seems like a good idea then. The chance of this particular site being a big deal in Russia is slim to none, but best practice and free traffic and all that…

Sitemap Submission

Arbitrary but usuable sitemap submission feature. Very difficult to tell if those files have been processed, though.

Structured data validation

The structured data validator validated my JSON-LD OfferCatalogue, OGP and so on, but the validator didn’t love the invalid use of vCard in the footer of the site. That’s fair enough; it’s probably insignificant but it’s broken all the same.

Structured Data Validator

Validated all structured data on the page except some rogue vCard (which Google ignores).

Mobile audit

Everything’s OK?!

Mobile Audit

Relax! Your site is great on mobile. Promise!

The Mobile Audit tool produces a simplistic, albeit somewhat pleasing report to review. I’m not sure if there are any recommendations to follow if you don’t get a perfect score but it certainly didn’t find anything wrong with this site. (There’s so much wrong with that site.)

There’s a collection of reasonably useful tools like a server header response checker with an IF-MODIFIED-SINCE setting, too.

Server Header Check

Server header checker will poll with a number of different user agents and optionally includes the IF-MODIFIED-SINCE request header.

See your search queries

The Search Queries tool has a neat feature, where you can upload lists of keywords and categorise them into groups using filters. Disappointingly, this particular site didn’t rank in Yandex at the time of writing, but I’d expect to see a much more comprehensively populated report the next time I check in. With the upload feature, though, I’m hoping to find a bunch of search volumes (impressions) for the keywords I uploaded.

This would make a great free keyword research tool in its own right.

Useful entry point to Yandex search

Overall, I think Yandex’s Webmaster Tools is a useful entry point to ranking in Yandex itself, and any efforts to help webmasters with SEO is really very welcome. With that said, it reminds me of very, very early versions of Bing Webmaster Tools and Search Console: simple and interesting but for now something I’d probably not look at more than once a month. With all due respect to the efforts of the team behind this platform, it seems fast and stable. I suspect the team might be smaller than their brethren at Bing and Google with a list of feature requests to last them for the next few years.

If you think I’ve missed something cool in this toolset, let me know!

Responses

  1. Hi, Richard.

    > Very difficult to tell if those files have been processed, though.

    If your sitemap is accepted by Yandex, then you’ll get ‘ok ‘ status for that sitemap in Sitemap files.

    Some other cools features in YWT:
    – is your website violating some Yandex guidelines (with a button to send a kind of reconsideration request);
    – the pages that are indexed and dropped from index;
    – the structure of directories in URLs of your website;
    – manually add some important pages to get a notification when some parameters are changed (indexation, response code etc.);
    – recrawl some pages;
    – move your website to other domain (which is not so simple as in Google);
    – backlinks data;
    – set the region of your website;
    – claim the authorship of the content on your site;
    – modify quick links;
    – add information about products and prices on your site;
    – change your site name registry in Yandex search;
    – manually remove some deindexed or deleted pages from search.

    This version of YWT is quite new compared to old one so there might be some bugs. But Yandex does a really good job and constantly improves it.

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