Earlier today Yandex announced a new mobile page ranking formula “Vladivostok.” Yandex’s Vladivostok, named after the Russian city with the highest mobile Internet use, assesses a page’s mobile friendliness when delivering search results for m0bile users. Currently, the new algorithm is only applicable in Russia, but will be rolled out for Yandex users in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey in the coming few months.
In November when Yandex began tagging mobile-ready webpages in its search results, only 18% of Russian websites offered mobile versions to users. Yandex started marking the mobile pages in advance of this ranking algorithm to give webmasters a chance to create responsive designs or mobile versions of their website pages.
Web pages that have yet to be mobile optimized will not automatically disappear from search results, but their position on SERPS may differ depending on whether a given user searches on their mobile or desktop device. Although mobile compatibility is only one of hundreds of ranking factors, Yandex prioritizes users’ needs including increased mobile use. The algorithm change encourages webmasters to make sure it’s easy for users to interact with the webpages Yandex delivers on any device.
According to Yandex, a page must meet the following criteria to be considered mobile friendly:
- Webpage content (text, images, etc) must fit a small screen
- Vertical, rather than horizontal, scrolling
- Accessibility on mobile devices (Java applets, Flash and Silverlight plug-ins are not supported by 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 check if their website or webpage is mobile-friendly by using this testing tool at Yandex.Webmaster.