How To Impact Your Site’s ICS Score

Yandex stopped updating the Subject Citation Index (TCI) back in January 2018. In August, an entry appeared in the company’s blog that Yandex will no longer calculate the TCI , and the indicator will no longer be displayed for all sites. The TCI existed for about 20 years, but the situation has changed, Yandex introduced a new indicator – the site quality index .

ICS is not determined on the basis of the number and quality of links, as TCI. The quality index shows how the site is in demand and useful. Yandex states that it uses behavioral factors, information about the site and the business behind it in the calculation. The search engine receives data from the search and from Yandex services: Metrics, Zen, Maps and others.

The more users trust the site, the more efficiently they can solve their problems, the higher the ICS score.

Yandex does not list the exact factors that affect the ICS indicator, so it is unclear what exactly needs to be worked on in order for the ICS to increase, and whether it really needs to be increased. SEO-specialists’ guesses appear on the Internet, some optimizers not only make assumptions, but also check them with research.

What Affects The ICS Score?

SEO specialist Alexey Chekushin and the PromoPult team separately conducted research to find the correlation between certain site indicators and the value of ICS. Correlation does not mean causation, it is just an assumption that factors may depend on each other.

Alexey considered about 2,500 domains for which ICS is defined and corresponds to the domain, with traffic of at least 10,000 visits per month and a presence on Yandex Maps.

PromoPult at the CyberMarketing 2018 conference presented a study with a sample of 42,000 sites from Russia and the CIS, which can be identified by ICS, with a traffic of more than 100 people per month.

In both studies, the authors formulated hypotheses in order to understand what factors influence the ICS, Alexey Chekushin considers sites with a large number of visits, and PromoPult with a small one.

Alexey’s charts are in blue, PromoPult is in orange. The material used screenshots from Alexey Shtarev’s speech at CyberMarketing 2018 and graphs from the research of Alexey Chekushin.

Did ICS Inherit TIC Values?

The first hypothesis is that sites with a large TCI will have a high CRI. PromoPult reduced the sample for this hypothesis to 500 sites. The results showed that the correlation with TIC is very weak.

Some sites with a high TCI had a small IKS. For example, a spam site with low-quality content has a TCI of 4100 and an ICS 10. The traffic to this site is close to zero, perhaps its high TCI is stuck.

A high-quality site with films has the opposite situation: IKS 550, and TIC 10. Most likely, this is due to a large share of search traffic and high traffic to the site.

The research by PromoPult affirms that ICS can be improved by site traffic (enthusiams), good site retention, and ability for webpages to answer multiple (related) queries and intents


Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of