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5 SEO Backlink Analysis Tips to Prepare for Penguin 3.0

Posted on 6.30.2014

:: By Chanelle Harbin, Direct Agents ::


As SEOs, we don’t always see when the Google algorithm updates are on the horizon. This is why it’s essential to ensure that your site follows SEO best practices in order to prepare for any algorithm updates. The most recent Panda 4.0 algorithm update has impacted 7.5 percent of English search queries. 

Now that the most recent Panda algorithm update has rolled out, we are on the verge of another algorithm update, Penguin 3.0. To avoid being negatively impacted by Penguin, there are permanent SEO strategies that can be implemented to use the Google updates to your benefit. 

First, it’s important to know what the Penguin algorithm entails. 

The goal of Penguin is to target sites that have used unnatural linkbuilding practices in order to gain an advantage in Google search results. It impacts sites that use spammy backlink tactics, exact match anchor text, paid links and irrelevant links. 

People have been known to manipulate the search engine results, which is why Penguin was put into action.

Google will continue to roll out updates that will impact site owners who violate their webmaster guidelines. Here is a list to help you get Penguin ready as it’s better to prevent, than to treat.

Backlink Analysis

Use tools such as Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools to analyze your backlink portfolio. 

Manually review links taking a close look at:

1. Anchor Text Usage – This can be analyzed using the Moz Open Site Explorer. 

Aside from branded terms, if you observe a phrase or keyword that has a high number of root domains containing a given anchor text (overly optimized anchor text), this should raise a red flag.

2. Link-to-domain ratio (Linking Domains vs. Total Links) – This is calculated by comparing the number of inbound links pointing to your site versus the number of unique domains linking to your site. 

For example, it should raise a red flag if you have 550,000 links coming from only 200 domains. This looks unnatural and puts your site at high risk of being hit with a penalty.

3. Domain Authority/Page Rank – This information can also be found using the Moz Open Site Explorer tool. 

Domain Authority was created by Moz to identify how well a website will perform in search engine rankings. The higher the domain authority, the more authoritative and trustworthy the website is to the search engines.

Page Rank identifies how well the specific pages on a site will perform within the search engines.

4. Removal Request - Once you’ve created a list of unnatural and/or spammy links, reach out to the webmasters to request their removal.

Reaching out to webmasters does not always garner a response, which is when the disavow tool comes into play. The Disavow Tool was created to allow website owners to ask Google to not take spammy links into account when evaluating a site.

It’s essential to ensure that you don’t have any links pointing to your site that could have a negative impact. Being able to conduct a backlink analysis will help you identify anything that looks unnatural that Penguin may target.

Google isn’t done rolling out updates that target site owners who violate the webmaster guidelines. It’s important to be ahead of the curve to avoid being a victim of algorithm updates. Even though your website may not need a backlink portfolio clean-up, continue to follow SEO best practices. 


Chanelle Harbin is an SEO Specialist at Direct Agents, a digital marketing agency that specializes in customer acquisition solutions across multiple channels.

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