New Yandex ranking algorithm Minusinsk that was announced on the 15th of April went live [in Russian] exactly one month after the announcement – on the 15th of May – according to the official Yandex Webmaster Blog. Yandex Search Team reminded that paid SEO links now negatively affect organic rankings.
Yandex gave webmasters one month to remove SEO links. Some of the most aggressive link buyers received email notifications via Yandex.Webmaster:
First implications of the new algorithm for Yandex SEO
One of Russian SEO agencies Pixel Plus created a report [in Russian] of biggest losers in different verticals. From the first glance, multiple verticals were affected, including, funny enough, SEO services. Among the losers are some big Russian SEO companies:
The penalty affected the main domains as well as subdomains of these companies. The sites lost about 20 positions for competitive search terms.
Other verticals that were affected are the most popular e-commerce category in Russia consumer electronics, travel, real estate and some others. Some examples of the sites that got hit by Minusinsk are:
- 1-tur.ru (travel)
- moskva.etagi.com (real estate)
- dveri-tut.com (doors)
- msk-stroi.com (repair and renovation services)
- nastenka.su (cleaning services)
- skif-cargo.ru (logistica services)
Interestingly, one if the penalized sites within consumer electronics vertical holodilnik.ru actually did remove a lot of links, but apparently not enough or too late.
Symptoms of Minusinsk SEO penalty
The main symptoms of the new Yandex SEO penalty as it looks right now are:
- Significant drop in rankings for the entire website including the subdomains. The drops are easiest to spot on the competitive keywords (the ones used as anchor texts for SEO links). They typically lose 20 positions or more.
- The penalty can affect even strong domains with high TIC values, Yandex.Catalog listings and other signs of authority. For example, the official website of Tyumen region in Russia etagi.com did not manage to avoid the punishment.
As promised by Alexander Sadovskiy, the first wave of penalty was applied to several hundreds of websites in various verticals and different regions of the country.
Yandex promised to come out with more information about the algorithm and the penalty in the upcoming few days. Stay tuned and clean up your inbound link profile!