With the signing overnight (31 May 2010) of a trade agreement between New Zealand and Russia, it may be of particular interest to New Zealand businesses that Yandex, Russia's most widely used search engine, have announced they are now on the global stage by launching an English language search engine at www.yandex.com. According to sources at the Moscow Times, this is a move aimed at taking on Google.
The company announced on 10 May that they have been indexing foreign websites and adding global content to their search results for two years now, with a total of 12-15% of all searches on Yandex made using Latin-alphabet based languages.
According to Yandex’s analysts, web users in Russia look for, first and foremost, locally relevant information in their own language, with foreign websites being only an extension to local search results. However, it may happen so that the user wants to receive an answer specifically from a foreign website. Yandex can now satisfy this need in only one click.
Currently, Yandex indexes more than 4 billion pages in languages based on the Latin alphabet, with the majority of these pages being in English. Yandex indexer gives priority, first and foremost, to those pages that offer the answers to the most popular user queries in languages other than Russian.
For those users, who would like to have their foreign search results translated into Russian, Yandex offers an automated translation feature which was launched in December 2009. Currently, Yandex search supports web page translation from English, German, Spanish, Italian and French.
According to analysis from comScore, Yandex sits 7th overall in the number of searches conducted worldwide with a 91% growth from 2008 to 2009. This puts Yandex ahead of sites like Facebook and Ask.com in the volume of search queries conducted.
Initial feedback appears to be quite positive, with many praising both the quality and design of their search results.
We tested it ourselves by doing a search for “fashion retailers New Zealand” and were pleased to see that a WWW Design client website ranked No. 1 out of 230,000 possibilities – www.jaggers.co.nz
Duncan Morris, of the UK-based search marketing agency Distilled, examined Yandex.com search results and asks if it’s “the best search engine in the world.”
“If you like your search engine to have a minimalist homepage, then you’ll love Yandex.
After a very brief play I’m incredibly impressed at the relative lack of spam and the quality of the results that are being returned. Not to mention the fact that there aren’t any ads.
Take for instance a search for “buy viagra online”, a hotbed of all that is bad on the internet. At the time of writing 3 of the top 5 results Google returns are from hacked .edu domains. It’s hard to look at viagra SERPS and not think spam, but Yandex returns the cleanest set of results I’ve seen for such a search.”
Its not clear if Yandex will use the site to compete with Google on a global stage, or if they plan on targeting Russian users searching in other languages. Either way, its another major search engine to keep an eye on.