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How to get a key client out of Minusinsk (after getting there)

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Long-term cooperation is a reason for the pride of any agency. This is an excellent indicator of the client’s trust and the quality of the contractor’s work. That is why the logos of such clients adorn the site, portfolios, and presentations, this is the trump card in cases, at speeches and negotiations.

But for some reason, not all agencies are ready to tell you that over the years of cooperation, not everything goes absolutely smoothly. Problems do happen, and the main thing in such situations is to find the right solution and maintain a relationship with the client, transforming what happened into a positive experience.

Therefore, we will now tell you how one of our key clients, being in our promotion, fell under Minusinsk, why this happened, and what we did to fix everything.

Our cooperation with CDEK began back in 2012 when we were promoted to the TOP only by frequency queries, and buying links was considered one of the key ways to promote. More precisely, without a certain number of resources linking to the site, it was almost impossible. Therefore, everyone bought links. But someone tried to embed links into articles in meaning to make it look more or less organic, while someone simply paid for the unexpected “buy a brick” or “order windows in Moscow” with a link to the customer’s website on the pages about fortune telling, horoscopes, predictions, and other questionable things.

Approximately such “surprises” from previous promotion contractors were discovered by us after we ourselves prepared a number of articles with links and posted them on thematic resources and in social networks. But first, we managed to carry out a lot of work to optimize the site:

  • optimized landing pages on the site,
  • filled the site with optimized content to drive traffic for less frequent requests,
  • worked on increasing the conversion from feedback forms,
  • expanded geography by adding promotion regions,
  • fixed various technical errors.

As a result, for 80-90% of requests, the CDEK website entered TOP1 Yandex and TOP5 Google in large regions, in less competitive – 100% of requests each, additionally we improved positions for medium and low-frequency requests (and this is more than 1000 requests in TOP10 in each region of Russia), improved the usability of the site, increased its conversion rate.

Despite the positive dynamics and good statistics, on December 5, 2015, during a routine check of the positions of clients’ sites, in the then beta version of the new Yandex. Webmaster, a notification of a fatal violation “Use of SEO links” was discovered. CDEK’s website fell under Minusinsk.

Link filters were then introduced for the same reason that ai has now been introduced into the search engine, smart feeds in social networks, and other ranking criteria – against cheating and artificially inflating positions in the search results. Links not only littered blogs, for the sake of them sites with completely meaningless content were created in order to quickly promote and sell advertising spaces for placing links. As a result, high-quality, but young sites sometimes did not make it to the TOP30.

At that time, about 8000 domains referred to the CDEK website, 1714 of them were purchased “eternal” links. If we analyze the situation now, then without these links we would hardly have brought the site to the TOP10 for high-frequency queries, but, on the other hand, we would not have gotten under Minusinsk.

Getting into the TOP10 and holding positions there for several years gave a huge result: every month more and more users went to the site for vital queries (containing the name of the company or domain name), so after getting under Minusinsk, there was no tangible loss in search traffic – it continued to grow as before.

Therefore, thanks to the high-quality work done, the only thing that subsequently affected Minusinsk was the reduction of our bonus part by about 2.5 times, which depended on finding the individual requests specified in the contract in the TOP-5 of Yandex and Google.

And then a long correspondence with Yandex began and the removal of unnecessary links (which, by the way, turned out to be not such an easy task, since we did not have access to the links purchased before our work, and the connection with many sites simply disappeared).

You cannot influence incorruptible Yandex on an individual basis, no matter how large and well-known your company is.

Initially, we wrote to Platonov (under this name Yandex’s technical support communicates with users) that in principle a lot of resources refer to the CDEK website because CDEK is the largest delivery service in Russia, with which many stores work, but Yandex was adamant: “ Shoot SEO Links ”and a couple of examples of purchased links.

For the next 4.5 months, we actively removed purchased links, contacted webmasters, exchanges, accelerated the reindexing of pages with removed links, and in April we wrote a new message to Yandex:

“Over the past 4.5 months, we found all the links purchased by the optimizers in the exchanges (there were 1,714 of them), contacted the webmasters about their removal.

As a result, it was possible to remove or agree with the webmaster to delete the page with the link – 1489 domains. Thus, as of April 18, 2016, almost 87% of links from the total number of purchased links were removed. ”

Another 225 links (which is 13% of the total) could not be removed, because the site owners did not respond to requests. Yandex treated this situation with understanding and replied that the restrictions will be lifted automatically when the number of removed links reaches a certain threshold.

It would seem that you can calm down, continue to work in the same rhythm, and just wait. But no.

Some owners of sites from which we previously removed links, repositioned them on other pages of their sites and began to ask for money for removal. On other sites where our competitors removed (perhaps for the same reason) links to their sites, they began to replace them with links to CDEK. With this problem, we immediately contacted Yandex.

As it turned out, Yandex foresaw such situations, and therefore the criterion “age of SEO links” was provided in the algorithm.

As a result, we reached the required threshold only in the update on November 23, 2016 – on that day, almost all requests returned to TOP6 – TOP10, and by the beginning of January 2017, most requests were already in TOP3. That is, 1.5 months after exiting the filter, the visibility for tracked requests has almost doubled.

If we compare the indicators “before” and “after” Minusinsk, then the visibility for tracked requests in early January 2017 was 1.5 times higher than in November 2015. There was no big jump in traffic since over the past year, even more visitors began to come in for vital queries. And all these newly appeared transitions on promoted queries simply disappeared into the general mass of the rest of the vital search traffic.

And the conclusions will be as obvious as possible:

1. Check what promotion work for your client was done by the previous contractor. You may find not very pleasant surprises, which some call professional services.

2. Work efficiently, take a comprehensive approach to the tasks. Then any (almost) problem will not be fatal for you, and while you are looking for a solution, “the transcript will work for you.”

3. Look for real stories that analyze the causes of problems and explain their solutions, rather than a happy and rainbow case. When Yandex launched Minusinsk, many large projects fell under the algorithm, but for some reason, most agencies are still silent about this. The process of promoting a project is rather unpredictable, and what was recommended for promotion to the Yandex TOP yesterday may be taboo tomorrow. Anyone can find themselves in such a situation, the only difference is how your contractor behaves.

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