Another episode of the Click Intelligence notebook with James Owen. In this episode James talks about How To Prepare For Google Penguin Update.
Not sure how to conduct a backlink analysis? or would like a health check of your websites backlink profile? Why not drop him an email for a free consultation to discuss, You can contact James Here.
Find out more about the technology that James Owen was using here: Click Intelligence Link Discovery Platform
Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Click Intelligence notebook. This week I want to talk about how to prepare your website for next Penguin update. In recent weeks, Google has come out with a sort of fresh news fat. They’re going to be definitely launching a next Penguin update this year. I believe it’s going to be either mid or towards the end of October and toward the 10th and 12th of this month, Google has been again reinforcing that will happen. This was on the 12th, John Mueller discusses the fact that Penguin 3.0 will most likely launch in 2014.
The reason I believe it’s going to happen potentially in mid or end October is because, the last few weeks of August, maybe the 1st week of September, on Social Round Table, they had up various posts about some webmasters are seeing decreases in some such visiting traffic. I believe Google was testing and refining what they’re working on and then they’re going to begin a launch out to their index.
Something else was a bit more transparent which is quite interesting, something I was a little bit of aware of but now Google has come out and agreed to it and is being very transparent about it is the fact that if you’ve been hit by Penguin before, last year for instance, and you’ve tried to remove links, done a bit of disavowing, even improved your content, user ability of site or whatever it might be, just to see what you can improve on your site, you may or may not have seen any increases in terms of search viability or traffic. Now what Google is saying is, if you’ve been hit by Penguin and you’ve done things to improve your site like backlink profile or improving visibility, what might be, not that I’ve asked them to do Penguin, but you might want to just improve anyway, Google may or may not give you the full value of what you’ve carried out to improve your backlink profile. They only do that once they refresh the Penguin update.
That’s very interesting, the fact that a lot of webmasters, a lot of business owners have been seeing an issue where they’ve removed their links but have seen nothing and to the point where they may have to ditch that domain and start a new domain. It’s interesting that Google has come out and sort of said this; hopefully they’re going to update Penguin or Penguin refresh as soon as possible. So, we’re waiting for this, we’ll be able to see exactly what work they’ve actually accomplished and actually see some results from that.
But for everyone else who’s concerned about the Penguin update and waiting for it, and to see what happens at backlink profile will start reducing traffic. But there’re a few things we can start looking to prepare your backlink profile for this. It’s still a couple of weeks, there’s still time to figure out what’s wrong with your backlink profile and fix it or attempt to fix it and hopefully, if there aren’t any major problems with your backlink profile, you can try and get them fixed before Penguin update comes along.
The first place I look on any site that we may be working on is to look up a backlink profile and we use Ahrefs, you can use Majestic, Moz, Link Research source as well is good for finding problems with your backlink profile. But I like using Ahrefs and that’s the example I’m going to use. The first thing I look at is how many backlinks there are versus referring domains. Now, this one is pretty healthy, it’s not really a big issue, this one. If I saw 10,000 links from twin to foresee, I would say 100 referring domains,that would essentially be a big issue to start with. Maybe you saw a link; you’re spamming off one domain, so on and so forth. This one is ok so we can move down but that’s the first thing I look at.
We scroll down slightly to the next graph which I’m quite interested. Of course if it is your own site, you would know this but let’s say I was consulting and asked to look at a site, I’d be looking also at your new and last backlinks, unfortunately this only gives me a small date set but if let’s say there’s been a huge amount of links being built over the last two or three months, we’ll see a huge spike in blue and that also gets the same full spike in red. If you saw a spike in blue, if a client didn’t bill any links, it would be quiet links, links would be quiet a little while ago and has it picked up or was it actually someone trying to spam your site with low quality links.
Again, also with losing links as well, Google looks at that value. We may want to look at how I’ve lost a lot of links, why is this, is it a natural thing where we’ve linked from a blog and maps or bit of content been repurposed on many pages I archive, tags, home page, so and so forth. So, you’d expect a little drop off on links from there as the post slips from page one. So, those things you look at, if they look a bit weird, it doesn’t look quite right then start to investigate that. We’re going to renew lost links in a little while.
Next thing, I look down here is, where do you get links from? Now you would expect potentially, you can’t see the domain, but this is a UK business, so you’d expect to get a mix of .com and .UK link and route domains along with a spread mix of .net, .org, maybe info.uk potentially and to other domains made up in there, maybe for European domains also. Straightaway you may see something here a bit weird; I can say it’s not a hosting company. I don’t speak Russian so straightaway I’d be concerned; they’re getting a large portion of links from Russia. I’m not saying any domain links from Russia are bad, but it’s a UK business realistically and haven’t gotten a Russian division in it but straightaway alarm bells would be ringing, what is wrong with my domain? They’re not a hosting company. They’re an event company, something completely different, so straightaway you’ve got problems. These are anchor tech cloud. So only a small portion, sort of 6.2% of linking re-domains are coming from Russia, that’s quite large. As you can see, it’s populating via the anchor cloud, this map here is representing it also.
When you’re looking at a UK business, you expect some .com UK, not from Russia; again, that’s a bad signal. I’m not saying any Russian site is a bad quality but when you can’t see what it says, alarm bells do ring.
Moving down again, it just literally goes through here. As you can see, all of the anchors here, Russian, a bit weird, stuff to look into. So that’s that. Straightaway in this example, if this website hadn’t already looked into it or had to start looking into it, alarm bells should be ringing that, okay. Has this site been penalized before? Should we start looking to make this have more links or also remove links at the same time?
Moving on to new and lost. This actually gives you a filter by date which is quite useful, so you can see when that link was actually built or lost. I’m looking at the new right now and you can look at all backlinks or just look at one backlink per domain, so that’s quite important and we’re looking basically at when it was placed and when it was first found. From here, we can see it was potentially placed on the 1st August and potentially found on the 13th potentially. Again, you can’t trust the date completely but it gives you a general idea if it was something stored in a database, in date set, in Ahrefs or something completely new.
So, this could be quite interesting something to look at. If you’ve seen a huge spike up in links over the last couple weeks then you look straightaway in here. From what I can see, the links are those Russian links have been around for a while.
What do I do next? At this point, we ought to start to delve into data. Now, at Click Intelligence, your business, we’ve been developing in the background for internal use only, a system that allows us to download any APR, any raw data, Ahrefs, Majestic, Link Research as well as Moz, Google Webmasters. Otherwise, recommend that you download from the main source if possible, our system then takes that information, It will then go and crawl the data and then basically come back with some answers.
This is something we did recently. Again, I’m not going to show you what the domain is but it’ll give you a general idea. So what the data does, it pulls a link, it gives me a response code, let’s see what’s going on here. Okay. It gives me URL, it gives me response code, what the tattoo is, what’s it linking to, what’s in the text, is it follow/no follow, is link live yes or no.
Tell me if the RP address wasn’t resolving very much information but that’s not a big factor right now as we’re interested in links. It gives me a page rank of the exact page, domain page of foresee. That’s going to give me what domain is, is it a blog, website, is it a forum, is it a profile, website, social website, whatever it might be. Now, I’ve prefilled this but I’ll go for it. Basically once we’ve got the information to the blog, is it going to be a comment, a text link, is it a contextualized link, and where is it placed, is it in line text, is it within the text. These are quite important things.
Now for this specific client, I built a lot of comment spam back in the day and you could find out if it was a blog and I was then able to pre-fill so as many and find out exactly what type of link it was. At this point, it give us the options, we know realistically you can’t get rid of comments links. It wastes time. If you do outreach to a webmaster, he’s going to come back and say, “You know what; you put a link on there, not my problem. I didn’t lay you my site, you link yourself.” We’ve outreached on many occasions with that and we get a similar response. So comment links are a complete no, no.
So basically you’re looking for links from potentially from master directories, web directories, maybe guest book paste where, this site’s not great, it’s been built a while ago. Most other sites that you know you can outreach and say, “Hey, they didn’t charge to remove your link, it’s not really relevant anymore to us, come on, remove it.” You have passed a more fee for that to be removed but at least then you can get it removed and you can document that. On our sheets or preforms, basically I can start to say link removed yes or no, so link removed yes and then if you ought to disavow this, you can also.
So basically that’s what we do for every sort of link. Okay. We do it all by hand, there’s a certain amount of information on the site, it tells you what domain it is. We haven’t quite got it out to the point where it tells me what type of link placement type it is but we can go through, we can pre-populate really quickly and get a really good feeling of the backlink profile.
You’ve done some work, let’s say you’ve done backlink now, says you’ve worked out that you’ve got removed say 1,000 links, you ought to disavow, let’s say 2,000 and you’ve got helped to improvise worth of 5,000 links total. You’ve done all you can because obviously it’s a small timeframe now between here and the end of October, you remove as many links as possible, you disavow links that you ought to disavow that you ought to remove and now it’s time to wait.
You’ve done your best. You know what links are out there now which you can’t remove, all documented, that’s all you can do from that standpoint. The best thing to do now is wait and also to monitor. Now what I suggest one does is, if you haven’t already gotten a large historic database of keywords is start to benchmark keywords, what you rank now and then when Google Penguin hits, what’d you rank afterwards.
Obviously as a process I’ve gone through about how to remove links and disavow links, that’s not so comprehensive but your percent you may remove some links. So if you have already removed links and you’re so confident no more links are being built or you’re aware of links being built, then you can potentially skip that point and then if you haven’t got a good enough database of rankings and rankings you’re ranking right now, it’s definitely worth investing a bit of money, a bit of time into uploading some keywords onto AWR or any of other page ranking tool. I can give you a general rank on a weekly basis so you can start trending out.
Also Google Webmasters look at trends. If it does hit, have you lost a lot of visibility, have you increased visibility, you want to measure this. Another tool that we internally use quite a lot is asset metrics. I’ve used an example of why.com in GB so Google.co.UK just today because basically we’ve lost a bit of traffic, a bit of visibility, don’t know why. I wouldn’t want to speculate.
Basically what you’re looking for is a trend on the date that Google Penguin refreshes, do you see a dip or an uplift from the update and you’re basically trying to find. If you’ve been hit, it’s going to be seamless, fall off a cliff and then you’ve got to see what else you’ve got to do recover. I think potentially I’m going to do a video about covering once Penguin has refreshed their index. But until then, I think that’s a really good process and once you go through, so look at your backlink profile right now, see if anything is joking around that you weren’t aware of, document it, and link hold it. If you need to outreach to sites that you believe you should to remove links to, disavow as much as possible, date stamp and document everything you’re doing, run reports on a weekly basis, or even daily basis if you can, use search metric, Google Webmasters to measure your lost up until Google Penguin and then also after.