Yandex has said that they have rolled out their mobile-friendly ranking algorithm for their Russian index today. This update has been called Vladivostok, which is the name of the largets city in the Russian Far East. That is where most of the mobile internet users seem to be concentrated in compared to other regions in Russia.
A spokesperson from Yandex said that the new mobile-friendly algorithm is only available in Russia, but will soon be available to Yandex users in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey in the next few months.
In preparation for the release of the algorithm, Yandex started labeling mobile-friendly pages in their index back in November of 2015.
Those websites that are not mobile-friendly aren’t going to removed from Yandex’s index, but like Google, they probably won’t rank 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,” said Yandex. 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.”
What is mobile-friendly to the folks at Yandex? The definition of the term doesn’t seem to be much different from what Google or Bing thinks it is:
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.
If you’re a webmaster who wants to test their pages to see if they are mobile-friendly can do so using the Yandex Webmaster portal.
For those who are interested to know, Google released their mobile tool almost two years ago with the mobile-friendly label, and Bing rolled out their mobile-friendly testing tool last year and has had the mobile-friendly label for a while.