Yandex, the largest Russian search engine, reportedly penalized several hundred Web sites yesterday that have participated in buying selling to artificially inflate rankings in the search engine.
The Russian Search Tips blog reported this based on a Yandex webmaster post. The link penalty, named AGS, will “negatively affect organic rankings of the websites caught selling SEO links,” said Anna Oshkalo.
The penalty doesn’t discriminate against large or small sites, or even well-known or less well-known brands.
Yandex told Anna Oshkalo that a few big sites have been affected by this penalty, and in total “several hundreds of sites were penalized by AGS” penalty.
Google is known for issuing both algorithmic and manual link penalties, but they haven’t announced any significant penalties around links in a pretty long time.
Postscript: The story was updated to clarify that this penalty specifically targeted link sellers, not link buyers. The penalty went ahead and set the Yandex TIC score (similar to Google’s PageRank) to zero for sites who sold links. Yandex also has an algorithm that targets link buyers and that is named Minusinsk, whereas the algorithm targeting link sellers is named AGS.