Interview with A. Sadovskiy Head of web-search at Yandex

Yandex representative, Alexander Sadovskiy, took the stage on the last SEO and websites promoting annual conference “Optimization.com.ua”.

Alexander told about the exteriority of the search engine – about its interface. The first question that comes to mind on looking at the website is “Does it really matter what its design and interface are?”. But when starting working with the website you understand that interface is of great importance actually. If to think about SERP philosophy there is no Yandex philosophy as such, but there are only bastings.

Alexander compared search engines to an airport where people come in order to get into a different place (city, country), but unlike the airport search engine doesn’t guarantee a visitor will necessarily find what he or she is looking for. And this determines the whole Yandex conception – starting from “giving the answers to questions” and ending with “solving a user’s problem”, which is quite toilful. Yandex strives to give the answer to any question. However, user should be aware of a vertical search engine that focuses on a specific segment of online content. In A.Sadovskiy’s opinion a search engine must be the one-window service. This can be realized by the following means:

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• Navigation through content instead of navigation through queries;

• Search results grouping. It is really difficult to estimate the relevance and coverage of a query by a single result.

• Design in the firm of suggestions. The navigate element appears only in   case it is required.

Yandex performs testing and qualitative research of everything it innovates by means of focus groups, I-Tracking, A/B testing, and its advice to everyone is to do the same.

The main difficulty in A/B testing is assessing the results. It is necessary to get into hypothesizing regarding the changes to web pages that increase or maximize an outcome of interest.

The minor changes in web design may lead to huge changes in a user’s behavior. This can be determined only by means of A/B testing.

Also Alexander mentioned that Yandex had launched mobile applications research in SERPs, having managed to create an optimal interface for that purpose.

Questions and answers

Promodo: There was the article in Forbes in which it was said Google could manipulate users’ opinion. Quires with mistakes are corrected, suggestions are provided, etc. Don’t you think Yandex and Google can manipulate users’ behavior? And the second question is the following: Yandex wants to solve the problem – traffic jams, taxi…will Yandex be further headed in this direction?

A. Sadovskiy: There seems to be the ethical claim in the question. Manipulating means distorting the results, as well as replacing actual results with yours. Internet is the place where you can get everything at no charge and in one click. If a user feels like there is something wrong about a search engine he quits it and uses a different system. In Turkey, for example, thanks to emergence of competition people noticed the improvements for better (through the example of AdSense).

The approach of solving the problems is a time-consuming and complicated process. We move in this direction but the movement is supposed to be slow. Changing business means changing habits, changing agreements and common schemes.

Promodo: I track queries in Yandex and Google analytics. Bounce rate in Yandex paid and organic traffic is higher. Is there difference between Yandex and Google users? For example bounce rate in Google is 57%, while Yandex bounce rate is 75%.

A. Sadovskiy: There is the answer to your question and the answer to the question about your website. Websites that have positions in SERPs’ tops get more people who accept spontaneous decision being delivered to their sites. Depending on position of the website in organic search results pages and advertising positions the spontaneous audience share on the site may change, as well as the bounce rate. The second variant – descriptions in snippets. Also, if your business relates to a very specific topic, the brand can influence the situation.   

Promodo: There was the information told at a Yandex conference in Moscow that three-quarters of users use both Yandex and Google… are there any data regarding the situation in Ukraine available?

A. Sadovskiy: There are really few users who use only one search engine in case of several search engines availability.

Promodo: What is the frequency for the query “Google” in Yandex search engine?

A. Sadovskiy: this is a low-frequency query. The most frequent queries are “Odnoklassniki” and “Vkontakte”. They are even more frequent than a query “porno”.

 

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