Yandex Islands: Markup Issues and Implementation

What is Yandex Islands? 

Yandex Islands is a new platform from the Yandex Company. Officially, Yandex Islands were launched in July; they present a new type of snippets in the search results. From now on Yandex wants to give interactive answers to users’ search queries (official information about Yandex Islands you can find here: ).

Long time before Yandex started adding elements to the search results in order to help the user estimate the website relevance.  It ended up with idea to show to the user website functionality right into the search results.  This way the search engine decreases the number of actions users have to perform to receive the answer to what interests them.

Yandex says its islands will be able to find solutions for complicated search tasks. For example, the user fills in the form to call a taxi, he writes “Place of departure” and “Place of arrival”, then Yandex sends request to the website and receives the information about costs and time for this particular case or as in an example below where we searched for the cinema:

In short, with the help of Yandex Islands users can order, buy a product, make an appointment or perform many other types of actions without leaving search results page.

What challenges from Yandex Islands should we expect?


While appearance of Yandex Islands is beneficial for the search engine users, it also brings challenges to the webmasters and website owners. Firstly, interactive snippets require much more space in the search results than simple snippets currently take. It means that less websites will be visible on one page and competition for the space in the search results will become fiercer.

Secondly, if you don’t want your website to lose to your competitors and what it to have the most beneficial look in Yandex Islands, you will need to write special markup for website correct display in interactive search results.

In this article we will give you a detailed instruction on how to create website snippets for different types of Yandex Islands.

Types of Yandex Islands


At the moment Yandex Islands could be divided into 4 types:


 Example of Yandex Island with categories 1

Note: Example of Yandex Island with categories “Work” and “Projects” for the website (Freelance platform)

Category + checkbox:

Example of Yandex Island with categories plus checkbox

Note: Example of Yandex Island with categories “Work” and “Projects” and checkbox “Without price” for the website (Freelance platform)

Category + checkbox + prices:

Example of Yandex Island with categories, checkbox and range filter 3

Note: Example of Yandex Island with categories “Work” and “Projects”, checkbox “Without price” and range filter for “Project Budget” for the website (Freelance platform)

Category + checkbox + prices + search:

Example of Yandex Island with categories, checkbox, range and search 4 Note: Example of Yandex Island with categories “Work” and “Projects”, checkbox “Without price”, range filter for “Project Budget” and “Search” for different types of work for the website (Freelance platform)

Currently, Yandex Islands are avaible in Turkey and are planned to be launched for users in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. That is why we will take freelance platform website as an example to show you how to create markup for each type of Islands we just have listed.

 Island visibility

First, let us talk about Islands visibility. We have mentioned already that Yandex Islands will change the way we used to think about snippets in the search results.  If before we could see around 4-6 websites without having to scroll down, now we will see only 2 to 4 islands depending on island size.

Let’s compare the results:

Traditional snippet VS simple island:


Traditional snippet in Yandex 5

As you can see, even the simplest island will take place of two traditional snippets, which means the number of websites visible in Yandex search results essentially decreases.

Traditional snippet VS detailed island:

Traditional snippet VS detailed island 6

Detailed island with categories, range filter and other elements will occupy the area equal to 4 standard snippets.



 General information

Yandex offers us to create snippets for our website with the help of special XML file markup. Please note that markup should be implemented in UTF-8 encoding. So here is markup which we have to create for the freelance platform website .

These are the code parts which the file should begin with and end in this case:

<site xmlns=”″



Markup content


Website main data


<title>Freelance platform</title>

<description>Best freelance platform</description>


RootUrl – a starting line which may begin either with just domain name «» or search field  «» depending on URL structure of your project.

Title – meta title.

Description – meta description.

Key parts of markup should be followed by markup for categories, checkboxes, prices, search lines.  Let’s consider each of them in detail.



So snippets with categories will look like this in Yandex Islands.

Example of Yandex Island with categories 1

Note: Example of Yandex Island with categories “Work” and “Projects” for the website (Freelance platform)

Let’s take a look at the code:


<fixed name=””>

<placeholder name=”work”/>






<description caption=”Category”>

<modifyResource placeholder=”work”/>


<dropDownValue key=”projects/” caption=”Work”>


<description caption=”Projects”>

<setParameter name=”category_id”/>


<dropDownValue key=”81″ caption=”SEO”/>

Roman Viliavin
Roman Viliavin is the Vice CEO in Promodo SEM Company, European company with a focus on complex Internet marketing approach to online promotion. He has been succcessfully operating in SEM for 5+ years and already helped many prominent companies like, BWIN,, Brocompany etc., to increase profit from their online presence.
Roman Viliavin