March 28, 2023

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Massive Yandex Code Leak Reveals Russian Search Engine’s Ranking Factors

Massive Yandex Code Leak Reveals Russian Search Engine’s Ranking Factors

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Nearly 45GB of source code files, allegedly stolen by a former employee, have revealed the underpinnings of Russian tech giant Yandex’s many apps and services. It also revealed key ranking factors for Yandex’s search engine, the kind almost never revealed in public. […] While it’s not clear whether there are security or structural implications of Yandex’s source code revelation, the leak of 1,922 ranking factors in Yandex’s search algorithm is certainly making waves. SEO consultant Martin MacDonald described the hack on Twitter as “probably the most interesting thing to have happened in SEO in years” (as noted by Search Engine Land). In a thread detailing some of the more notable factors, researcher Alex Buraks suggests that “there is a lot of useful information for Google SEO as well.”

Yandex, the fourth-ranked search engine by volume, purportedly employs several ex-Google employees. Yandex tracks many of Google’s ranking factors, identifiable in its code, and competes heavily with Google. Google’s Russian division recently filed for bankruptcy after losing its bank accounts and payment services. Buraks notes that the first factor in Yandex’s list of ranking factors is “PAGE_RANK,” which is seemingly tied to the foundational algorithm created by Google’s co-founders.

As detailed by Buraks (in two threads), Yandex’s engine favors pages that: – Aren’t too old – Have a lot of organic traffic (unique visitors) and less search-driven traffic – Have fewer numbers and slashes in their URL – Have optimized code rather than “hard pessimization,” with a “PR=0” – Are hosted on reliable servers – Happen to be Wikipedia pages or are linked from Wikipedia – Are hosted or linked from higher-level pages on a domain – Have keywords in their URL (up to three)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.