Yandex has told us they have rolled out their mobile-friendly ranking algorithm for their Russian index today. They code-named this update Vladivostok, the name of the largest city in the Russian Far East, where the share of mobile internet users is the largest compared to other regions in Russia.
A Yandex spokesperson told us that the new mobile-friendly algorithm is currently available only in Russia but will be available to searchers in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey in the coming few months.
In November 2015, Yandex began labeling mobile-friendly pages in their index with the goal to release this new algorithm.
This doesn’t mean Yandex will remove pages that are not mobile-friendly, but they may not rank them as high as mobile-friendly pages for mobile searchers.
“Vladivostok implementation doesn’t mean web pages not optimized for mobile experience will now disappear from search results, but their position on SERPS may differ depending on whether the user search[es] on their mobile or desktop,” they told us. They added, “although mobile compatibility is only one of 800 of ranking factors, the needs of our users is our top priority. We want to make sure it’s easy for them to interact with the webpages we deliver on any device.”
How does Yandex define what is mobile-friendly? It doesn’t differ much from Google or Bing’s interpretation:
A mobile-friendly webpage is a webpage whose content (text, images, etc.) fits the small screen, features vertical, rather than horizontal, scrolling, and is accessible on mobile devices (Java applets, Flash and Silverlight plug-ins are not supported by most of mobile browsers). Flash Video media files, for instance, cannot appear in search results on the mobile version of Yandex’s video search and hosting service, Yandex.Video, which only supports the HTML5 format.
Webmasters can test their pages in the Yandex Webmaster portal to see if they are mobile-friendly.
Bing just rolled out their mobile-friendly testing tool last year but had the mobile-friendly label for some time. Google released their mobile tool almost two years ago, with the mobile-friendly label.