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.
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…
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.
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.
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!