What is Yandex

Yandex is a Russian Internet company, it is the largest search engine in Russia, with a market share of 62%. More details:

  • 6th largest search engine worldwide
  • 25.5 Million daily users
  • Website is available also for Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Turkey
  • Yandex’ main source of revenues is the paid search service called Yandex.Direct
  • Yandex offers also other services such as news, mail, shopping, etc.
  • It is sufficient that products and services are legal to be advertised on Yandex  (e.g. weapons can be advertised)
  • The structure of the paid search results change from search to search, however usually 3 ads are shown on the top page and 4-5 on the bottom of the page

Account Structure

  • No more than 3000 campaigns in each account, of which no more than 1000 can be active
  • Each campaign can be up to 1000 ads
  • To each ad no more than 4096 keyword characters can be related (including negatives)
  • A keyword phrase cannot contain more than 7 words
Billing Information
  • Minimum weekly budget 300 RUB. The payment has to be done before the activation of campaigns.
  • The campaigns automatically stop when the budget cap is reached
  • Big agencies or heavy spenders are allowed to use special payment options such as a monthly bill and a credit-line for up to the double of the usual monthly expenditures
  • Given this payment options, it is a good practice to create an empty campaign (so called “wallet campaign”) and assign a budget to that; the “wallet campaign” can be used to quickly transfer budget to other campaigns in need of money (only available for big clients)
  • For companies using foreign currencies it is used the official exchange rate of the day when the money transfer occurs

Ads Structure

  • We can use multiple ads for a specific keyword
    • A/B testing can be applied. Thus, deltamethod ideal structure (an aggressive ad, a non-aggressive ad, a generic ad being displayed equally) can be applied here.
  • Ads can be written in Russian only or in a mix of English and Russian
    • English is allowed only for brand names or for slogans, but only if their meaning is doubled in Russian
    • There is a manual check on the quality of the ad
  • Sitelinks are shown only for the first position and only text sitelinks are allowed
  • We can use exclamation marks in ads
  • The ad structure is made of one headline (33 char), one description line (75 char) and the URL (1024 char)
    • The display URL is not available in Yandex

Keywords Matching Options

Matching Options
  • Officially Yandex uses a phrase match-type option by default, however this phrase match-type is different from Google Adwords’ one
  • The phrase match in Yandex is broader than the phrase match in GA
    • For a keyword to be triggered, all the words present in the keyword have to be in the search query as well
    • When matching, every order of the words in the keyword and the small variations are always taken into account

Special characters

  • The reach of a keyword can be refined by using the following special characters:
    • Quotation mark
    • Exclamation mark
    • Square brackets
    • Plus symbol
  • Quotation mark: restricts the reach of the keyword to the search queries that contain only the words included in the keyword
    • E.g. “buy car” is not matched to buy car in Moscow
  • Exclamation mark: the keyword is not matched for small variation of the word(s) in the keyword
    • E.g. buy !car is not matched to buy cars
  • Square brackets: the keyword is not matched to order variations of the keyword
    • E.g. [Moscow Berlin] is not matched to Berlin Moscow
  • Plus symbol: since Yandex’s algoritmh neglects prepositions, conjunctions, interjections and pronouns, when we are interested in considering such elements we have to put a + in front of the word
    • E.g. hotel +in California in order to avoid to be matched to hotel California
Broad-like match-type
  • Broad- like match type is enabled by the activation of the option called “impressions for additional relevant keyword phrases”
  • The activation of this option allows for the automatic matching of:
    • Synonyms
    • Common typos or misspellings
    • Alternative spellings of a product/service
    • Translation and translitteration of words (e.g. Russian to English)
    • Different grammatical cases (e.g. accusative, genitive, etc.)
    • Associated words
  • Negatives are set by putting a dash sign in front of the word
    • E.g. word1 word2 –negative-word1-negativeword2
    • Each word is a separate negative, no negatives phases are accepted
    • Negatives are taken into account for the character limitations
    • Negatives are exact matches by default at Yandex
Differences with Google Adwords

Default match type Yandex: comparable to modified broad in Google

!: fixes the word (removes close variations)
“ “: exclude other words (even stopwords) that aren’t within the “ “
[ ]: fixes the word order (the word order is not fixed by default)

Basically this allows for the use of a lot more match types than in Google. Our suggestion is to use only the following match types in Yandex accounts.


Exact as we know it in Google:

[“!red !shoes”] -> red shoes
[“!shoes !red”] -> shoes  red


We will use two phrase matches in Yandex.

  1. Phrase as we know it from Google:[!red !shoes] -> buy red shoes, red shoes sale etc
  2. A phrase match which allows for broken phrases (preventing these from going through broad)

!red !shoes -> red cheap shoes, red shoes, shoes in red color etc.

Both of these will be put to match the same ad together with the exact keywords.

This means that all traffic containing the words of the keyword will end up going to one ad and no broken phrases ending up in broad ad groups.

!! Pay close attention to the keyword character limit of 4096 symbols (including spaces and negatives!) per ad block. We need to be prepared to split the ad block into smaller ad blocks if the number of necessary keywords/negatives becomes too big.


Modified broad:

Red shoes -> red shooes, schoes red, etc.

The keyword listed above is the default match type in Yandex and is equal to modified broad in Google. We can also transform the modified broad into normal broad (including synonyms) if we choose the option “match to other relevant search phrases”.

!! We need to put the exact keywords as negatives for the modified broad keywords.

Pros with this structure:
1. we will separate the traffic that exactly matches the keyword from the misspellings and will be able to do a better bidding/performance analysis based on this.
2. We can always switch off the broader phrase keywords if we feel like we want to use the Google structure instead.



Exact/phrase ad blocks:
[“!red !shoes”] -> exact as in Google
[!red !shoes] -> phrase as in Google
!red !shoes -> broad phrase (unique match type)

Broad ad blocks:
red shoes -> modified broad in Google
(red shoes (+relevant phrases) -> broad in Google)


Bidding and auction
  • CPC can be set for each keyword or for all the keywords at once
  • The ranking placements in the search results page are divided in four types and there is a minimum CPC for each of this placements
    • The minimum CPC is dependent on the level of competition and on the QS
  • The auction rules are that of a Classic Auction
    • The auction is won if the result of BID x CTR is higher than that of competitors
    • The CPC charged is the bid of the most proximate competitor plus 0.01 rub
Quality Score
  • The principle behind QS is similar to that of Google Adwords: keywords with higher QS will have to bid less in order to win the auction
    • Higher QS will result in lower minimum bid
  • The QS is affected by:
    • % rejected ads in the account
    • % rejected and low CTR keywords
    • Combination of keywords
    • Performance of the domain
    • Client’s performance
    • Campaing’s performance
    • Keyword phrases’ performance
    • Ad’s and Ad block’s performance
  • Contrary to Google Adwords, QS will not directly affect ad position and actual CPC
Bid Price Categories
  • The four types of ranking placements have a corresponding bid price category:
    • 1st premium placement cost – if this amount is bid the ad will be shown first above all the ads on the top of the page
    • Premium placement entry cost – if this amount is bid the ad will appear on the left part of the screen above the organic search results
    • 1st place cost – if this amount is bid the ad will be shown as first on the list of ads on the right side of the page
    • Guaranteed displays entry cost – if this amount is bid the ad will be surely shown among the ads on the right side of the webpage
    • All these suggested minimum bids are available on the web interface for each keyword