Yandex ‘leak’ reveals 1,922 ranking factors in search

A former employee allegedly leaked a Yandex source code repository, part of which contained more than 1,900 factors that search engines use to rank search results.

Why do we care. This leak exposed 1,922 ranking factors that Yandex used in its search algorithm, at least as of July 2022. Possibly Martin McDonald put his best foot forward on Twitter Today: “The Yandex hack is probably the most interesting thing that has happened 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 listed by Yandex, this does not mean that Google gives this signal the same amount of weight. In fact, Google may not use all of the 1922 factors listed.

However, a combination of these ranking factors may be quite similar. So reviewing this document may provide some useful insights to help you better understand how search engines, like Google, work from a technological point of view.

The bigger picture. The code appeared as a torrent file on a popular hacking forum, it reported sleeping computer:

… The leaker posted a magnet link purporting to be “Yandex git sources” consisting of 44.7GB of files stolen from the company in July 2022. These code repositories allegedly contain all of the company’s source code along with anti-spam rules.

Yandex calls it a leak. As the code appeared on a popular hacking forum, it was first thought that Yandex. Yandex denied this and made the following statement:

Yandex was not hacked. Our security service found fragments of code 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. Code is used in this manner internally by most companies.

Repositories are needed to work with code and are not intended to store personal user data. We are conducting an internal investigation into the reasons for releasing parts of the source code to the public, but we see no threat to user data or platform performance.”

You are deeper. You can find more leak coverage at techmeme.

List of Yandex. MacDonald shared the full list of 1,922 workers here in Web Marketing School. I highly recommend downloading it, as I fully expect Yandex to try to clean this information from the internet. There too Localized version on Dropbox.

Alex Burak also has a file Twitter topic Analysis of various ranking factors. Much of what you would expect to see – PageRank, text relevancy, age and freshness of content, lots of end user behavior factors, host reliability and many link related factors (like age, relevance, etc.)

Some of the ranking factors that SEO finds surprising: the number of unique visitors, organic traffic percentage, and average domain rank across queries.

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About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & SMX. In addition to writing daily on SEO, PPC, and more for Search Engine Land, Goodwin also runs Search Engine Land’s roster of subject matter experts. He also assists with the programming of our SMX – Search Marketing Expo conference series. Prior to joining Search Engine Land, Goodwin served as Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led the brand’s editorial initiatives. He was also an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major research conferences and virtual events, and his expertise has been captured through a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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