Struggle with Yandex: how I spent more than a year to bring the site to the top

    Hey. My name is Andrei Greznev. I am SEO analyst fintech group ID Finance (brands MoneyMan, Solva, AmmoPay, Plazo). In this post I will tell you how from 72 places in Yandex, by the most frequent and competitive request in the subject of microfinance, I managed to move the site to the top 10. It took me over a year, taking into account errors and false hypotheses. It turned out to be a story: in order to raise the site, I needed to figure out what was wrong with it and try several solutions to the problem.


    In 2016, the site was under the "Minusinsk". This is such a Yandex algorithm, it limits the issue of sites that are massively buying SEO links. The company did this three years ago (and who did not), so the site’s Yandex results were low and there was no traffic. After a year, restrictions on the site were lifted, but the situation has not changed much.
    The company turned to external auditors, they shrugged: they said that the position was undeservedly low, but they could not understand the reasons. When I joined the company, in the summer of 2017, at the request of “loans online” (37,773 frequencies “! WS” Russia), the site ranked 72nd in Yandex.

    Then the company had an SEO contractor. He wrote articles and worked with links. Traffic grew slowly: mostly branded (search by brand name). Google had positive results. In Yandex for the year of work there were no changes at all.


    The first thing that occurred to me that the site was under the filter for re-optimization, too many key phrases were used on the page. I wrote to Yandex, they denied the presence of a filter. Three letters a year with the same answer. "Webmaster" also did not show any problems. I began to find out when traffic fell for the first time and whether it was at all.

    Non-brand traffic from Yandex in six years

    It turned out that, at the request of "loans online", there was almost never any traffic in Yandex. Thanks to the service I saw that in May 2014 the site was in 12th place. This is the highest position, which was then able to get on-demand "loans online."
    The drop in attendance was at the request of a microloan +, the site was in the top 10, but in early May lost all positions, and with them the visitors.

    I studied the screenshots in the web archive , and also looked through all the updates that were at that time and came to the conclusion that there could be two problems:

    • Bulk purchase of links, while this tool was actively used in the market
    • Spam text. He was optimized with key phrases every week and, possibly, in the end, he re-spammed.


    In the summer, I decided to understand how our site differs from competitors. Took the top 100 sites in Yandex and Google. I collected data for each on such parameters as uniqueness, number of words, number of stop words, unique lemmas, classical and academic nausea, variability, wateriness, nausea of ​​digrams and trigrams. It was necessary to check how our site differs from the leaders of the list for each of the parameters. I studied the performance of local sites 50+ and those in the top 10.

    There are two tables in the figure. In the first - a comparison according to the words on the main page, in the second - according to the description of the service (article) on the main page.

    Average values ​​for the top 10 "loans online" and

    He came to the conclusion that the main page MoneyMan loses in the number of trigrams and bigrams, that is, nausea is much less than the competition from the top-10. But if you take only the description on the main page, then the competitors have the same indicators. So I decided to distribute the keywords throughout the page and rewrote the description on the main page. Positions have not changed. I concluded that even if the problem is in the text, there is something else that prevents rank properly. Then I began to remove links from sites of poor quality donors.

    It’s much harder to fight with links: for Yandex, there is no file yet where you can write down all the garbage and quietly move on (there’s such a file on Google - this is disavow). It is impossible to contact the owners of donor sites, plus the contractor himself added fuel to the fire and put such links, for which the site in 2015 was already under Minusinsk. I decided to remove all references of the contractor. In the autumn I removed the first batch, in December I cleaned out the remnants.

    Some more hypotheses

    In the fall, I added several articles to the site on “how not to get into debt”, “how to get a tax deduction”, “where to find a down payment on a mortgage, etc.”. As a result, on key queries, the site hit the first lines of Yandex. These were non-commercial inquiries, and commercial (“loans online”, etc.) did not go up. The first thought is that the site does not pass on commercial factors (there is no help desk phone in the header, no online chat on the main page, etc.) Conducted an audit, implemented some of the tasks. But there was no result. Due to inefficiencies and failure to comply with agreements in the winter, we fired the contractor.

    In January, I decided to actively engage in attracting links from quality resources. Compiled a list of all donors to our competitors, set a plan for 20 links per month and started to work. In the same month I bought article links from trust sources (Vedomosti, Arguments and Facts, etc.) In February, I cleaned all the chains of redirects, together with the developers, we increased the speed of loading pages.

    In March, for two pages, I conducted an experiment with internal links: on one page I made all the inbound links with the exact occurrence of the request, on the other I blurred all the entries. No reaction from Yandex (from Google, by the way, either). All this time, Moneyman occupied 50 - 100 line in the issuance of Yandex on the request "loans online."

    Even in the winter, I noticed that on sites in the top everyone has a description of the service “loans online is ...”. I suggested that Yandex considers it necessary for the user to talk about what this “loan online” is, and having a definition is a criterion for getting into the top. I made a block with the definition, but there was no reaction from Yandex.
    In June, added a direct support number 8,800 and online chat to the site. A month later, he removed both the phone and the chat from the site, leaving only Yandex Dialogues. These changes did not affect the position fluctuations.

    First result

    In the spring I bought several links with anchor “loans online”. Transferred the block with the definition above on the main page (on screen 2, before this block was at the bottom of the page) and in May received the first jump in positions.

    Fixing positions at

    The site for the first time ranked above 50 (hit 36). Then the jumps were repeated. I studied each jump in order to understand the reason for it. The first thing that caught my eye was that the position changed abruptly only for one day: on the next after the jump, the result fell. In June, I noticed that the position changes on the day when the text changes on the page. For example, when news comes out, where there are words “credit”, “crediting”, but not “loan”. Perhaps the page had few first words and too many second ones. I rewrote the product description, replaced the “debt” with “credit” in the text, added another news about lending and waited. July 24, there was another leap, and the position was fixed.

    Finally, in the top

    August 5 hit the top 10 for the most frequent and competitive request in the subject of "loans online". It took 427 days to achieve this result. On August 6, Moneyman moved up to 1st place in Moscow in Yandex. There are slight variations, depending on the region, the position may vary slightly. In the desktop, fluctuations in the top 3, in the mobile phone top 5. On average, the position in Russia is slightly lower - top 5 according to Yandex Webmaster in the desktop and top 10 in mobile phones.

    Data on the position change in

    I repeated the exercise with the request “microcredit” and “loans” and the result is 1st place in Yandex for 3 weeks.


    During the 14 months of the project several hundreds of edits and technical assignments were made, I told in the article only about the most significant of them. For 427 days, non-brand visits from Yandex increased from 23 to 510 per day, and the position on the request for “loans online” increased from 72 to 1 place.

    What to do?

    What in my opinion works for Yandex now:

    • behavioral factor (a bad product will not stay in the top, I consider the percentage of return in issue a priority today);
    • links (if it were not for the removal of old and extraction of new links, the site would not have been promoted);
    • content (LSI for strong, synonyms, no re-spam, the text should be useful for people, it should be as high as possible on the page);
    • work speed, technical literacy.

    I decided to finish the post with some small tips. Make a good product, clearly and simply describe it, be unique, work on links, experiment, increase the speed of getting what your client came to you. Examine your target audience, maybe you are making a website for yourself, a wife, a friend or a friend's wife, and you need to do it for your consumer. Write the text yourself, work as a support, answer calls and messages, induce a designer for the day, create the page yourself, induce a lawyer, a marketer, study the product and only then offer it to the client. SEO is not only links and relevance, it is also the organization of all processes for the benefit of the consumer. Well, a little bit of magic.

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