Russian Search Query Intent According to Yandex

Yandex, Russia’s number one search engine, sees approximately 5 billion search queries per month. People have a lot to ask a search engine! As we all know, people turn to search engines for a wide range of reasons and expectations when they enter a query into the search box.  From searching for a specific brands to instructions on changing a tire, the queries are endless.

In a research project on search from various city sizes, analysts at Yandex divided and defined categories for Russian search query intent to better understand their users’ goals.  This data will also give you a better idea of the Russian Internet audience and how the intent of search queries give you better insight into your own target audience and what they are searching.

Yandex research analysts created the following main categories, which are each followed by more specific subcategories as seen in the chart below

Navigational: Gain access to some kind of Internet resource (find a website)

Informational: Theoretical or practical knowledge (get useful information on a topic)

Transactional: Receive ready content (access something visible or audible that entertains)

Unclear: User intent is less definable

Yandex Search Query Categories and Subcategories 2014


The overall analysis of the search goal categories shows a relatively even split with about a quarter of search goal types per category. Informational and transactional categories maintain a slight lead with 27% and 26% respectively.

Navigational Queries:

Most of the navigational searches are related to very specific queries when the user knows exactly what they need. More than two-thirds of the navigational queries are for specific service names like avito or VK. This rings true across all city sizes, which have little impact on the navigational queries

Yandex navigational queries


Informational Queries:

Similarly, informational queries show little difference among big and small cities.

Yandex informational queries

Informational queries can be pretty broad so the more specific subcategories, instructions, dictionary definitions, and reviews, only make up a small portion of information queries.

The remaining 70% of “other” informational queries includes a range of topics. Here are some examples of informational queries:

  • Addresses: [авторынок в омске адрес] Omsk auto market address
  • Prices: [сколько стоит развод] how much does divorce cost
  • Product specifications: [клиренс пежо 3008] clearance Peugeot 3008
  • Weather: [точный прогноз погоды спб] accurate weather forecast spb
  • Sports results: [счет франция чехия] score France Czech
  • Random facts:
    • [экономика сингапура] economy of Singapore
    • [влияние формы носа на успешность человека] influence of nose shape on person’s success
    • [есть ли у комаров зубы] do mosquitoes have teeth


Transactional Queries:

Video is by far the most searched online content in Russia. This isn’t much of a shock after Russian Search Marketing previously reported that Russians are world leaders in online video viewing with 69.8 million unique video viewers per month.  Users also intend to access other content like text, games, and music. For the most part, transactional queries make an entertainment category.

Yandex transactional queries

Unclear Queries:

Yandex also evaluated a final category, “Unclear queries.” Mainly this category comes from users who aren’t specific enough about their queries. For example, when they enter a celebrity’s name, they could want to read a Wikipedia entry or find content featuring the star.  Users in smaller cities tend to enter more specific (and often longer) search queries by elaborating on their specific needs.

Yandex unclear query


Generally, Russians are searching for an even amount of navigational, informational, and transactional queries. Across the board, there isn’t a significant disparity among users from major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg from other comparable cities or smaller cities. However, when analyzing each specific category and subcategory, there are some minor noticeable trends that indicate some variation among user intent from different areas.