Starting from 2009, when AGS penalty, focused on punishing low quality sites usually created for selling SEO links, was introduced, Yandex began taking actions against link sellers. Typical symptoms of AGS were de-indexing of majority of pages of the affected website.
In 2014 AGS penalty evolved and instead of removing pages from the search index, Yandex started decreasing the TIC of the affected sites to zero, making them absolutely uninteresting to both existing and potential link buyers.
This week Yandex has announced [in Russian] yet another update to their AGS penalty. From now on AGS will also negatively affect organic rankings of the websites caught selling SEO links. At the same time TIC will continue being decreased to zero. The new AGS penalty can be applied to any site, regardless of its quality and authority.
Yandex confirmed to us that a few big sites have been affected, without naming them. In total several hundred of sites were penalized by AGS yesterday.
The penalty is automatic. This means that once paid SEO links have been removed and Yandex bot has re-crawled the site, the lost rankings can be restored.
Earlier this year Yandex also took actions against link buyers with their new search algorithm Minusinsk. The new algorithm introduced a new SEO penalty – for buying links – which hit a lot of sites, including some of the large Russian e-commerce players as well as several high profile SEO agencies.
Official Yandex figures state that the total of 3683 sites were affected by Minusinsk penalty, and only about 20% of them, or more precisely 687 sites, managed to get the penalty lifted so far.