Minusinsk: Yandex’s latest algorithm update

Anastasia Kurmakaeva

Written by Anastasia Kurmakaeva

It has been two months since the launch of the update of the new algorithm for the Russian search engine Yandex, Minusinskspecially developed to combat massive spamming of low quality linksThis practice was used by many users in order to improve the position in the search results of a website. In this article we will explore in detail the effects of the penalties and the results it has had on the positioning in the Russian market, as well as the procedural options in case we have been hit.

The Minusinsk launch

Minusinsk against the use of Black Hat SEO

Last April Alexander Sadovsky, head of Yandex’s natural search department, announced the launch of Minusinsk. Through a notification on Yandex.Webmaster urged users and webmasters that remove within one month those SEO backlinks or backlinks that are considered low quality, bought or reciprocal links to promote their web portals, emphasizing that they should do so as soon as possible. This action would avoid the devastating consequences that the new algorithm would have on the popularity and positioning in search results of websites that practiced so-called “Black Hat SEO”.

In the first round of Minusinsk penalties, 63% of the “targeted” users lost an average of 20 positions in the SERPs, and their organic traffic plummeted.

Logical and simple solution, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. In the first round, the purchase of links was only reduced by 14%, and 37% of the notified web portals took advantage of the warning. The remaining 63% of the “selected” users were unscrupulously penalized by Minusinsk, losing an average of 20 positions in the SERP, and consequently suffering a nosedive in organic traffic to their portal.

Using a method similar to Google’s algorithm, which releases updates from time to time, Minusinsk works in rounds, giving webmasters more time to apply relevant modifications to their sites and for content to be reindexed. The second round came without warning, and among all those who have already passed through the filter of the new Yandex algorithm are both large companies and businesses that enjoyed a strong presence on the Runet, as well as smaller portals. Apparently Yandex are not joking around and the penalty applied (differentiating according to the individual severity of each case) can last up to 6 months, before the affected portals can climb positions again. That is, as long as they remove all spammy links and refocus their strategy using ‘benign’ means of promotion, such as continually working on offering quality content to the user.

How to proceed, then, to recover the popularity of a site affected by the Minusinsk algorithm?

First things first, and before jumping to hasty conclusions, the ideal situation would be to contact Yandex technical support staff by submitting our doubt or question through the form of the webmaster tool to confirm that, in fact, the catalog of our products is backlinks is the big culprit and the Minusinsk robot is penalizing us for it. Once we have established this fact, we have no other choice but to get down to work and start the laborious task on the links that could be considered unnatural, giving preference to the most harmful ones before any others. For this we can again resort to the help of Yandex, if we are not sure of the characteristics that define them, and make an initial screening through the Yandex.Webmaster tool. Among the links worst rated by the Minusinsk robot we will find those links that are specifically oriented to influence the ranking of our page in order to trick the search engine. Typical examples are those purchased through link aggregators and link feeds.

When we proceed to “clean up” unnatural backlinks, it is important to be careful and not to perform too dramatic actions, so as not to lose positions in Google.ru as well.

Once this step is completed, we will move on to a more exhaustive analysis, and also taking care that this “cleaning” does not negatively affect our positioning in Google, as if that were not enough. It is recommended to work at the same time on other improvable aspects of the indexing of our portal, including its architecture, the value and quality of the contents, since the more we take care and update the information we publish on our portal, the more points we will gain. It is also a good idea to find other ways to get natural links to improve your page authority.

Done, now what?

After the application of these measures, we have no choice but to wait and keep abreast of updates in traffic and popularity of our portal with the tools offered by Yandex. It is possible to contact technical support again to negotiate the penalty, providing proof of the corrections made.

The effects of Yandex and its Minusinsk

Will Yandex succeed in eradicating this common practice that until now has been plaguing the web search results of Russian speakers with Minusinsk, and re-educate SEO consultants to use more honest measures? From Human Level we will be attentive to the updates of the Yandex algorithm and many more news in the international positioning in Russian search engines to tell them in our blog.

Human Level Communications offers international search engine optimization services in search engines such as Yandex or Baidu and SEO consulting for the internationalization of Web sites, fields in which it has accumulated extensive experience since 2005.

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Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Former SEO consultant and translator at Human Level. She is a specialist in translation and SEO, with a special focus on the Yandex search engine. She is fluent in Russian, Spanish and English, being fully bilingual in the first two.

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