Yandex Behavioral Ranking Factors

In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized many fields, including search engines. Yandex is at the forefront of this transformation, utilizing advanced AI to determine the quality and user-friendliness of websites. However, defining a high-quality site involves more than just advanced algorithms; it requires understanding user behavior.

Defining a Quality Website

For Yandex, a quality website is one that ranks high in search results for any key query. This ranking is determined by numerous criteria, collectively known as ranking factors. These factors can be classified into three major groups:

  1. Internal Factors: These include the presence of an SSL certificate, site age, loading speed, and the use of key queries.
  2. External Factors: These encompass the number of backlinks, the relevance of these links to the text, and the number of referring domains.
  3. Behavioral Factors: These include metrics like click-through rate (CTR), direct visits, viewing depth, and bounce rate. Due to their significant impact on ranking, behavioral factors are treated as a separate category.

Approaches to Ranking

Yandex employs several approaches to rank websites:

  1. Authority-Based Ranking: Historically, algorithms like PageRank were used to assign relative importance to sites. However, this method is now less relevant due to its susceptibility to manipulation.
  2. Behavioral Factor-Based Ranking: This approach considers user actions on a website, which search robots use to rank the site.
  3. Machine Learning: Yandex’s proprietary Matrixnet algorithm balances various ranking factors, incorporating machine learning to enhance accuracy.

Importance of Behavioral Metrics

Behavioral metrics are crucial for understanding how users interact with a site. These metrics are gathered through several tools:

  • Search Results Pages (SERPs): Provide data on page views, CTR, and returns to search results.
  • Web Analytics Systems: Services like Yandex Metrica and Google Analytics offer comprehensive user behavior data.
  • Browsers and Extensions: Proprietary browsers like Yandex Browser and Google Chrome send data about page usage and crashes to search engines.

Key Behavioral Metrics and Optimization Tips

  1. CTR (Snippet Click-Through Rate):
    • Improve text quality and titles.
    • Use quick links and a relevant favicon.
  2. User Actions on Search Results Page:
    • Enhance landing page relevance.
    • Maintain competitive prices.
    • Encourage visitors to bookmark the site.
  3. User Actions on the Site:
    • Reduce bounce rate by improving design and usability.
    • Increase time spent on site with engaging content.
    • Enhance viewing depth with relevant internal links.
  4. Cursor Movement and Page Interaction:
    • Search robots use cursor movement data to detect and prevent fraudulent activities.
  5. Transitions to Social Networks:
    • Linking to social media accounts can boost site quality and increase engagement.

Natural Methods for Optimization

Yandex recommends using natural methods to improve behavioral factors and avoid the risk of sanctions. Regular content updates, useful and engaging information, and a user-friendly interface are key to achieving long-term, high-quality optimization results.

By focusing on these aspects, websites can enhance their rankings, increase conversion rates, and drive more traffic. Yandex’s commitment to leveraging AI and behavioral metrics ensures that users receive the most relevant and high-quality search results, reflecting true user preferences and behaviors.

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