SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Study: 1st position in Yandex receives 18.5% of clicks


Most of the specialists working with SEO have had a task to estimate increase in organic traffic from improving rankings by X positions. There are plenty of studies for organic click distribution in Google that we can use, but I have never come across one for Yandex until very recently.

Yandex SERP layout is different from Google’s, and as we know, CTR of Yandex.Direct ads is on average higher than Google’s. Does this result into fewer clicks on organic search results? Let’s take a look.

CTR in organic search in Google

There’s been a new study on Google’s organic click-through rates pretty much every year since 2006. The results of those studies are nicely summarized by Moz and in the table below:


CTR of the 1st position is ranging between 17% and 40% depending on the source of data and a year.

The latest study conducted by Caphyon shows that 1st position on Google gets 31% of all organic clicks, and first five positions receive 67.6% of the total traffic.

CTR in organic search in Yandex

As I mentioned earlier, there are almost no studies about organic click distribution in Yandex. Earlier this year a Russian digital agency Tochno! published [in Russian] the first public research of this kind based on Yandex.Webmaster data from their top 20 web properties.

According to the report, the 1st position in Yandex for non-branded queries receives about 18.5% of all available organic search traffic.

CTR by position in Yandex organic search results
non-branded queries


Interstingly, unlike Google SERPs, there is a very big gap in CTR between position 3 and position 4 in Yandex.

Branded search queries, as expected, have much higher organic CTR.

CTR by position in Yandex organic search results
branded queries


As a general trend, CTR falls dramatically after the top three positions – for both branded and non-branded search queries.

CTR by position in Yandex organic search results
branded vs. non-branded queries


Of course, achieving top 3 position for competitive terms can be very difficult, but there are ways to improve organic traffic even with lower rankings. Yandex provides multiple rich snippets options, which, if used correctly, can have significant effect on CTR and traffic from organic search.

Improving organic CTR in Yandex

There are different ways to influence snippets in Yandex. Some of the snippet elements are easily configured in Yandex.Webmaster, while others require development.

Basic snippet elements in Yandex

  • Titles and Meta Descriptions

The basis of a great snippet is well-written Title and great Meta Description tags. Title tag for Yandex should not exceed 70 characters, including spaces, and contain relevant keywords. Keywords in the title get highlighted when they are a part of the search query, which attracts more attention to the snippet.

Meta Description tag should not be longer than 150-160 characters and should describe the page content in the best possible way.

  • Effective favicon

Unlike Google, Yandex displays  favicons in organic search results. Snippets without favicons do not attract as much attention as snippets with favicons, and favicons in bright colors are much more noticeable.


  • Sitelinks

Yandex gives a bit more control over sitelinks in their snippets than Google. Using Yandex.Webmaster, unwanted sitelinks can be removed, and anchor text for each sitelink can be chosen from several variations offered by Yandex.


  • Capitalization in display URL

Yandex allows to change capitalization in longer domain names in order to make them more readable. For example, I could configure to appear as in Yandex SERPs.


Advanced rich snippets types in Yandex

  • Special snippets for organizations

For local companies Yandex provides a possibility to create special snippets [in Russian] that can provide a lot of business-specific data such as opening hours, contact details and other relevant information, such as for example, star rating for hotels.



All company-specific information can be provided via Yandex.Spravochnik and if eligible, will automatically appear in snippets in Yandex.

  • Microformats

There are certain “classic” rich snippets that are possible to create for Yandex with the help of microformats. At the moment Yandex supports special markup for contact information, recipes, reviews and products.


Anna Oshkalo

Anna is a blogger and online marketing consultant specializing in SEO and SEM for Russian search engines. To see more of Anna's posts, follow her on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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2 Responses to “Study: 1st position in Yandex receives 18.5% of clicks”

  1. Janelle says:

    Hi Anna.
    This information about Russian SEO compared to Google is just what my many colleagues and I have been wanting to know. I have shared the link with them .
    Thank you

  2. It really useful information. i am new to Russian SEO. something Different from Google

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