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Home > Blog > Case Studies – SEO and Backlink Audit of a Penguin 2.1 Victim


This case study was created using an LRT Superhero account.

Some of the use cases explained in this case study are not available in lower plans.

The LRT Superhero Plan (and higher) includes all our 25 link data sources and allows you to perform link risk management, competitive research, professional SEO and backlink analysis for your own or your competitor's sites. You get to see your website's full backlink profile picture and this can make all the difference for your SEO success.

Penguin 2.1 Loser didn't Learn Lesson after being Hit by Penguin 2.0

We're proud to present our 2nd Penguin 2.1 deep-dive case study. We've learned a lot over the past months about the Google Penguin algorithm. And now, we even have some new tricks on how to wake up those lazy Googlebots.

Certified LRT Professional, Florian Kinslechner, has done a brilliant job finding a site that just keeps getting punished by the Penguin;

This detailed analysis looks at the many failures of SEO sadness. What can a website expect when only 3% of all backlinks are healthy? Old tactics like overused money keyword links on untrusted pages continued to hurt rankings when Penguin 2.1 arrived.

Make sure and give this one a good read.

We look forward to your feedback and always appreciate you sharing the work of our Certified LRT Professionals 😉

- Enjoy & Learn!

Christoph C. Cemper


Learn how toxic links harmed this website


1. Introduction to Google Penguin 2.1

Google’s 5th Penguin update (called Penguin 2.1.) was launched on October 4th 2013.

Matt Cutts Penguin Launch Twitter Post

According to the post by Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Webspam team, approximately 1% of all search results were influenced by this Google update.

This particular algorithm update was aimed towards paid and spam links, such as forum spam, ‘do follow’ links, blogs, blog roll spam, spammy Web-Directories and blog comment spam.

We will look into which faced a Penguin 2.0 penalty in mid-May and which has now been hit badly again by the Penguin 2.1 update at the beginning of October 2013.

When taking a look at the Searchmetrics SEO visibility index, we can clearly see how these two updates affected the websites visibility and therefore its ranking and traffic.

search metrics visibility


2. Searching for Reasons for the Penalty

In our search for possible reasons for the penalty, we started by analyzing the whole backlink profile of the website. For this purpose, we used the BLP (Backlink Profiler) Tool of LRT. This report gave us a good overview and maybe the first reasons for the drop in search engine rankings. To get the best available report, we enabled all metrics and used the site wide filter (skips site wide links after the first 5 links found) and the 5x link boost so that we got a maximum of 50,000 links.

BLP Screenshot


2.1 Anchor Texts: Money Keywords Ratio

The first thing we have to do after the report is ready is classify the anchor texts into 4 categories: Brand, Compound, Money and Other.

keywords classify

While classifying the website’s anchor texts (sorted by count), the first thing that strikes you is that the vast majority of the anchors are straight money keywords, which could be a possible reason for the penalty.

keywords classify

After we finished the classification process, we took a look at the relative distribution of the website’s anchor texts where we see that more than three quarters of the used anchors are money keywords. (To get numbers in relative percentage you have to click on the relative button beneath the chart).

most Money Keywords

Another way of looking at the anchor text diversity is to sort them by count where we can see that there is problem of too many money keywords again.

keywords by count

This backlink profile looks very unnatural when we consider that most natural links would not have anchor texts such as ‘vinyl banners’, ‘outdoor banners’ and ‘banners’. It is almost clear that this was built on purpose to ensure better ranking results for the used keywords.

This high percentage of money keywords is most likely a reason why was hit by the Penguin 2.0 update und now again by the recent 2.1 update.

After having analyzed the anchor texts, we looked for other evidence of intensive link building by looking through other metrics of the backlink profile of the website.


2.2 Power and Trust Metrics

These metrics provide us with insights as to how much juice and trust comes through the links. Over the last few years, these metrics have become more and more important as too many weak links with money keyword anchor texts are an indicator of excessive link building, and they can therefore really harm the SERPs of a website. Let’s take a look at the power and trust metrics of

Power*Trust of referring Pages:

P T of the linking site

The chart speaks for itself: Only 2% of all backlinks have Power*Trust metric higher than 2 (on a scale of 0-100). It would seem that nearly all of the links could be considered spammy. Let’s take a look at the referring top domains to get the whole picture:

Trust of referring Top Domains

Trust TopDom

While it is common for subpages, in most cases, not to have a high Trust or Power value, the referring top domains should have at least a trust higher than 3 to be considered as valuable links. In this case, more than 90% of the referring top domains do not meet this criterion. To round out the picture, we will look at the Google PageRank and the TitleRank Home of the backlinks.

Google PageRank


Even though the PR is not as trustworthy as it used to be, it matches with the other metrics as 96% of all backlinks do not even have a PageRank.

TitleRank Home

Title Rank home

Another sign that fits this pattern is delivered by the TitleRank-home metric which shows where the position of the homepage of the referring domain ranks when the exact site title is taken as a search query. We see that more than 50% of all referring domains are either ranking on a SERP of 30+ or are not even indexed by Google. This shows that Google has penalized or does not trust more than half of all domains that link to

All 4 metrics clearly show that the website has a lot of spammy, untrusted links. As this is another sign of too intensive link building, link buying or even black-hat SEO tactics, we will try to find more evidence for this assumption by taking a deeper look at the actual link sources.


2.3 Link Sources: Site Types and IP Addresses

A good start to confirm this suspicion is to take a look at the site types:

Type of Site

We find further proof of undesired link building by taking a look at website types linking to There is a huge amount of link directories, blogs and article directories that together make up more than 50% of all links. It could be that there are some link networks behind this. As usage of link networks is something that Google penalises, it is definitely worth a closer look. To do this, we checked the IP Address diversity:

IP addresses

We can see that more than 10% of all links come from only 3 IP Addresses. This definitely looks like link networks. To be sure, we check out the websites on the same IP by clicking on the IP Addresses to activate a filter showing us only the websites with the same IP.

Links from IP

IP ClassIP

3 things strike you immediately:

  • All links come from a ‘directory’ subdomain
  • All links have the same anchor text
  • All links are nofollow (If used excessively even nofollow links can be considered as spam)

This could be an attempt to ‘correct’ the Brand/money keyword anchor text ratio.

Links from IP

IP ClassIP 2

Here we can see that a lot of Links are no longer found. We will come back to that later.

Links from IP

IP ClassIP 3

It is safe to say that these are link networks which are against Google guidelines. The fact that every link has the same anchor text not only supports this assumption, but shows that this was done on purpose to manipulate search engine positions. Another alternative is that became the victim of a bad SEO attack because this link profile is exactly what Google’s Penguin updates are aiming for.

We have seen that on the Server with IP Address some of the links were already removed - ‘Link not found’. This is interesting as we can assume that bannerbuzz already put in some effort to clear up the mess. But at the moment, their actions were not enough as the website was really badly impacted by the last Penguin update.


2.4 Removed Links

To find out how many links had already been removed, we sorted the links by status:

link type

We can see that nearly one third of the backlinks have already been removed but, as we have learned before, the ratio between money keywords and the 3 other keyword classifications still isn’t in good shape, so more action will be necessary to get the website back in good health again. However, we want to know more about those removed links. To analyze them we click on [LinksNotFound] to activate the filter and then export the filtered Data as CSV. This means that we can have a closer look at them later on in a Detox Report to prove if the removal helped the website.

How to export a selection of links from BLP

link type

But before that, we want to focus on another important topic: what do the competitors in this sector do? Maybe this comparison will give us new insight on the matter.


3. Analysis and Comparison of the Competitors

Before we can analyze and compare anything, we have to find the competitors in this sector. As Semrush is a good option for the job, the free version of this tool was used to find out which websites rank for the same keywords on the US market as bannerbuzz.

Competitors semrush

After having determined 4 other main competitors (selected by most keywords in common), it is time to look at them in detail. For this task we launch the Competitive Landscape Analyzer of C. Cempers’ LinkresearchTools


3.1 Competitive Landscape Analyzer

First we have to enter ‘our’ website and the 4 competitors in the corresponding fields. We choose ‘Analyze Domain Backlinks’ and ‘5x Link boost’ to get the maximum available number of backlinks. We select the following metrics: (The more metrics you choose the more credits it costs. As we don’t want to waste our credits, we cut out the options that we do not require for our comparison):


As this is a pretty comprehensive report, it may take a couple of minutes to finish. As we have new websites and therefore most likely new anchor texts, we have to classify those anchor texts into Brand, Compound, Money and Other again. After having classified the anchors we are ready to compare the 5 domains. We focus on the problem zones of the link profile of bannerbuzz and will see if the competitors share those problems too or not, as the case may be.


3.2 Anchor Text Comparison

Bearing in mind that bannerbuzz has a really high proportion of money keywords as anchor texts, we will see which anchors the other websites are using for their links:

CLA Keyword

Compared to the average values in this particular industry, bannerbuzz has way more money keywords. The only exception is, which has almost as much money anchors as bannerbuzz. We will see if this trend continues by looking at the next metric.


3.3 TitleRank-Home Comparison

Something else that was suspicious about the backlinks of bannerbuzz is that nearly 50% of the referring domains having a TitleRank above 30 or are not even indexed by Google. Let’s look at the comparison:

CLA TitleRankHome

The Analysis again shows that bannerbuzz and speedysigns have way more backlinks from domains that do not rank with their exact site title on the first 3 result pages or that are not even indexed. As this is the second time we have seen a similarity regarding bad link profiles between the two sites, the question arises whether speedysigns has suffered from the Penguin 2.1 update as well? Let us check some other metrics first before checking this out.


3.4 Site Type Comparison

As mentioned above, bannerbuzz gets a lot of its backlinks from link directories, article directories and blogs. Link and article directories (listed as ‘other’ in this chart) can be considered as toxic links in most cases. Let’s compare this to the other sites:

CLA SiteType

And here it is again. Speedysigns has even more backlinks from link directories than bannerbuzz. As mentioned above, this is another sign for excessive link building techniques. It really is time now to check if speedysigns lost SEO visibility with the rollout of Google’s Penguin 2.1 update!


3.5 - Another Penguin 2.1 Victim?

Speedysigns and Bannerbuzz have a lot in common when it comes to bad backlink profiles. Let’s check if has suffered from Penguin 2.1 too. To answer this question we simply take a look at the SEO visibility of the website using Searchmetric tool:


The hypothesis has clearly been confirmed by just a quick glance at the SEO Visibility graph. You can see how both the Penguin 2.0 and Penguin 2.1 updates deeply impacted the visibility of speedysigns. It is safe to say that is another victim of the Penguin 2.1 update.


3.6 Deep Link Ratio

Although it seems as though we have already found the main reasons for bannerbuzz’s penalization, it is necessary to check some other metrics too so that we don’t miss out on other facts than could be important too. One other metric that should always be compared is the ratio of the deeplinks (backlinks which point to subpages and not to the homepage of a website).

Deep Link Ratio


The Deep Link Ratio of bannerbuzz is nearly fifty-fifty which means the website has more deep links than any of its competitors. Although this might look suspicious at first glance, this isn’t a big deal, as many deep links show that the subpages of a website have value too. I do not think that bannerbuzz should be too worried about this metric.

As a next step, we use the newest tool of the LinkResearchTools developers - DTOX-Genesis - to get more information on how toxic the current links are.


4. Link Detox Genesis

The Link Detox Tool gives us a great overview as to how toxic the backlinks of a domain are by considering a lot of metrics and classifying this information in an easy to understand way.

Launching the Detox report is easy: We just need to type in the URL of the domain we want to analyze and set which theme the website has (or let the tool detect it automatically). As in most cases, some links point to the top domain and some to the www subdomain of a website. It is useful to write the URL with the www subdomain and check the box below so that all links are analyzed.

More options of the Detox Report:

If you have already sent Google a disavow file, you can use the same file for the report so the algorithm ignores the links, which are already disavowed. Moreover, it is possible to try out scenarios (review mode and what-if mode) by uploading files with links you are planning so as to see how this would change the outcome of the report.

All in all, there are 4 important steps to get a good Detox analysis.

Overview of the 4 important steps

    1. Top domain and Subdomain

It is important to analyze both the top domain and the www. subdomain. In order to do so you can either enter the URL with the www. subdomain and check the box or just enter the top domain. By entering the top domain, (in this example,, the report will automatically analyze both the top domain and the www. subdomain.

    1. Classify Keywords

Link Detox has 4 new toxic rules that require at least 80% of the keywords to be classified in order to be enabled. So the first thing after the report is ready should be to classify the anchor texts and reprocess the DTOX Rules to activate the new Keyword based rules.

    1. Upload backlink source files and disavow file

If you have access to the Google Webmaster Tools account of the website, it is highly recommended to download a list of all backlinks that are listed in WMT and add them to the report. (LinkResearchTools does find the vast majority of links but it is possible that a few may be missing.) If you have sent Google a disavow file, you should add this file to the report as well in order to receive a more precise analysis. In this case study, we do not have access to the WMT account and therefore we do not know if a disavow file exists so we skip these steps.

    1. Link Rating

You can rate all links with a thumbs up / thumbs down system. This is especially recommended if you disagree with the rating of the report. Moreover this helps the algorithm to learn and become even more efficient. These ratings will be taken into account in the reprocessing step. All you have to do is tell the system if it’s a GOOD (thumbs up) or BAD link (thumbs down) and that rating is in effect for your from the next reprocessing.

As we neither have information about disavowed links nor do want to try out some what-if scenarios, we just create a classic report without uploading any additional files to see how toxic the backlinks of bannerbuzz are.

DTOX start

After a few minutes the report is ready. As we have already classified the anchor texts, we do not need to do this again. (If you are analyzing a website for the first time you need to classify the anchor texts as described above as the Detox report uses this information to enable four new suspicious rules. Thus you have to reprocess the Detox Rules by clicking the corresponding button after you have classified the anchor texts.)


4.1 How Toxic are the Backlinks of Bannerbuzz?

This chart shows the average Link Detox risk

DTox 100 KWclass

Wow – there’s not too much to say about this chart except that the links are very, very toxic. No wonder bannerbuzz was hit badly by the Penguin updates. (Every website with a link risk above 1000 runs the risk of being badly impacted by all major Google updates.) Let’s look at the Link Detox Risk in detail:

Link Detox Risk Breakdown

DTOX RiskBreakdown

The detox tool divides the toxic backlinks into 6 risk classes ranging from very low risk to deadly risk. With more than 50% of the toxic backlinks holding deadly risk and only 2% healthy links in total, bannerbuzz should take action very quickly to avoid further damage to their search engine ranking.

DTOX RiskSummary

Let’s find out if the Detox report confirms the assumption that a lot of backlinks, which have been built on purpose, (like web and article directories or blogs) do more harm to a website than actually help in your positioning since Google started its Penguin algorithms. To do this we click on the toxic links to activate the filter. Next we enable the IP Column so that we can search for IP Addresses. We want to take a look at the suspicious links from the following IP Address:, and

Detox Risk of Links from IP:

Links from IP

As we can see, all of the backlinks hold deadly risk. Bannerbuzz should try to get rid of these links or disavow them immediately.

Detox Risk of Links from IP:

Detox Risk IP

This time it’s not only dead risk but also very high risk, and the latter are not what you want when it comes to backlinks either.

Detox Risk of Links from IP:

DTOX 66 28 139 70

This time it is a mixture from moderate risk to deadly risk.

The Detox report proves that these web directories are indeed very toxic for a website. These links were clearly built on purpose to manipulate the SERPs and now the website has been penalized for using these techniques. As mentioned before, it cannot be foreclosed that was hit by a bad SEO attack.


4.2 Toxic Link Examples

Let us take a look at some of them by clicking on ‘Review these links in Link Detox Screener’:

review links


4.2.1 Examples of Web Directories linking to

Example 1 (IP:

web directory example

As we also think this link is bad and toxic, we give it a ‘thumbs down’ rating as described above.

Example 2 (IP:

web directory example

Another thumbs down.

Example 3 (IP:

web directory example

Thumbs down again. To refrain from constant repetition, the thumbs down comment has been left out of all of the following examples as they are all bad and toxic links.

Example 4 (IP:

web directory example

These webpages always show the same structure, a short paragraph with a link, which makes it easier to identify them as a link networks. Moreover, we can see from example 2 and 3 that bannerbuzz was somehow linked with the same anchor text and description from websites of the same IP address. As these links are ‘follow’ and can therefore not be claimed to be advertisement, (advertisement should always be tagged ‘no follow’ to fulfil Google guidelines), there is no other explanation than that someone specifically tried to manipulate the search engine’s ranking algorithm.


4.2.2 Examples of Article Directories linking to bannerbuzz

An easy way to find article directories is to just write ‘article’ in the URL search field. Let’s see what we get:

searching for article directorys

The search returned 479 hits. Here are some examples:

Example 1 for article directories

article directory example

The thumbs down spree continues...

Example 2 for article directories

article directory example

Besides the very deadly risk of these two examples, something else becomes very apparent: Bannerbuzz is in both cases linked with 3 high priority money keyword anchor texts. It is therefore safe to say that this does not look very natural at all and is another piece of evidence to confirm that these links where created to influence the SERPs.


4.2.3 Paid Links

By clicking through the websites linking to bannerbuzz, it occurs to us that bannerbuzz might have paid for some of the links. Obtaining links for money is against Google guidelines. Recently, the webspam-team started to gather more and more information about sites that sell links and now blacklists these domains. Although we don’t know if these websites are blacklisted or not, here are some examples of pages with links that look like bannerbuzz paid for them:

Example 1 for paid links:

LinkScreener Paid Links1

It’s all about the banner. This high keyword density and the anchor texts could not look more unnatural. It’s very likely that this placement was paid for. As it is a follow link it is definitely against Google guidelines.

Example 2 for paid links:

LinkScreener Paid Links2

This time the money keyword is signs. The density is not as high as in the first example but the two anchor texts ‘Yard Signs’ and ‘Banners and Signs’ are good hints that bannerbuzz paid for these links or built them on purpose. Another clue that this website is selling links is delivered by the fact that ‘Real Estate’ (which is a very expensive money keyword) links to another site.


4.3 Unverified Links

Some of the links have an unverified status. This means that the crawler once found the link but at that moment the server returned a 5xx (temporary) error. There is a discussion going on about whether links that return a 5xx error can influence the SERPs or not. Unfortunately, we will not be able to really contribute to this discussion as both the verified and the unverified links are extremely toxic.

But as it is an interesting topic, let’s take a closer look at some of these unverified links. In order to get this done we have to activate the corresponding filter.

DTOX Filter Unverified Links Only

Now we get the numbers for the unverified links only:

DTOX Unverified LinkRisky

With a deadly risk of 1394, the unverified links are not as toxic as the whole links in total but they still aren’t very good company. Here are some examples:

Unverified Link example 1:

DTOX Filter Unverified Links example 1

This webpage is apparently up and running. Maybe the Linkresearchtools Crawler was blocked out or the server was temporarily down when the crawler was there. However it is a very toxic link -> another thumbs down.

Unverified Link example 2:

DTOX Unverified Links example 2

Nothing there … 2425 detox risk is another thumbs down.

Unverified Link example 3:

DTOX Filter Unverified Links example 3

This website requires java script to even load, which is not very common. This will block out most crawlers. Let’s see if it works in a normal web browser:

unverified example 3 1

That’s a lot of advertisment all nicely packed into javascripts with some information like alexa and page rank of bannerbuzz! Well done! Maybe this one wasn’t built by bannerbuzz but was scraped by the website to generate content. One can see why crawlers are blocked from this page as it is of literally no value to the visitor. However, this is definitely a webpage you do not want to link to your site! Thumbs down!

We have seen a lot of very toxic backlinks so far. Let’s find out if bannerbuzz tried to react to the penalties and how.


4.4 How bannerbuzz reacted to Penguin 2.0

As mentioned above, we have seen that nearly one third of all links were already removed. As we want to know when this happened and how toxic or healthy these links were, it is time to do some more research.

First we have to find out how bannerbuzz’s backlinks evolved this year to see when these links were deleted. To do this, we visit where we can get a visual backlink velocity chart for free.

deleted links over time

We can see that link removal started in April 2013 which is interesting because Penguin 2.0 was rolled out in May 2013. We can only assume why this has been done. A possibility is that the website received a manual link warning by the Google webspam team. However the graph shows that after Penguin was launched, a lot of links were removed too. Therefore, we can assume that this was a reaction to the loss of SEO visibility due to the Penguin update. The green peak in late May shows that someone tried to react to the drop in the SERPs by building even more links, which seems a bit awkward, but as it was common practice for a long time in search engine optimization to do so it might have seem legitimate for the person in charge at this point.

Let’s have a closer look at the links that were removed to see how toxic they were and if it was the right decision to remove them.

In order to get this done we start another Detox Report in our Linkresearchtools but this time we use the ‘Review Mode’ to check the removed Links we have exported from the Backlink Profiler in ‘2.4 Removed Links’. (In the last field we have to select the file where we exported the links to – in this case it’s Workbook1.csv.)

DTOX Linknotfound start
DTOX Linknotfound start2

After the report is ready we can have a look at the results:

DTOX Linknotfound LinkRisk

What a number! It was certainly a wise decision to remove most of those links! Don’t be confused by the ‘0% Keyword classification’ as the backlinks have already been removed and there are no keywords to classify!

Although this first impression would imply that it is the best thing to get rid of all of the backlinks, it is advisable to always take a closer look.

DTOX Linknotfound Summary

24 of these links were actually healthy backlinks and maybe bannerbuzz could have kept them if they had had this report to check back on. But as we all know, sometimes losing a backlink cannot be avoided and maybe this was the case.

Overall, it was a very good decision to remove these links, but as we have seen from the current backlink profile, these actions were not enough as there are still so many toxic and spammy backlinks pointing to

Here is a list with some examples of the toxic links that were removed:

DTOX Linknotfound LinkExample

After having analyzed the toxic level of the backlinks of we compare them with the links of the competitors.



The CDTOX tool gives a great overview on how toxic your links are compared to your competitors. The procedure is nearly the same as in the Competitive Landscape Analyzer (CLA). In order to get the toxic link ratio we just need to type in the URL’s of bannerbuzz and the competitors. Correct handling of dropped (ignore dropped links) and sitewide links (skip after 5 sitewide links) is already preset for our purpose.

CDTOX start

As we have already classified the keywords in the CLA report we can go directly to the charts. Here is the report:

CDTOX link risk

This quick overview shows again the problem of bannerbuzz. There are too many toxic links. Second place in this negative ranking goes to the website of speedysigns who got penalized by Penguin 2.1. too.

CDTOX link risk2

This chart shows the link detox risk in more detail. Bannerbuzz has more than twice the amount of links with deadly risk than the average competitor. This includes speedysigns with a deadly link percentage of 35%.

This does not come unexpected considering all the metrics we analyzed before.

As we have investigated the offsite parameters of bannerbuzz in detail let’s take a short look at the onsite parameters as well.


5. Onsite Issues

SEO consists not only of offsite parameters so we will take a short look at some of the onsite problems of bannerbuzz too. This could bring new possibilities for the drop in the search engine positions.

This data was retrieved with SEO Frog.

Total URLs of 1400

Short overview of some of the onsite problems of the website

  • 20% of all pages have a duplicate title. Every page should have a unique title.
  • 10% of all pages have the same title as the H1.
  • 10% of all pages have no meta description.
  • 10% of all pages have a duplicate description.
  • 20% of all descriptions are longer than the maximum of 156 characters.
  • 10% of all descriptions are shorter than 70 characters
  • 50% of all pages don’t have a H1
  • 10% of all pages have a duplicate H1

Problems with the sitemap of the website

The sitemap of is defined in the robots.txt file:

Onsite Rotbots txt

Unfortunately an error occurs when you enter the URL of the sitemap in the web browser:

Onsite Sitemap errors

This means that the Google crawler is most likely locked out of the sitemap of bannerbuzz too. This problem should be fixed immediately, as you always want to give webcrawlers access to your sitemap.


6. Summary and Recommendations

That’s it for the analysis. Here is a summary of what we found and what we recommend is carried out next:


6.1 Summary

Possible reasons why bannerbuzz was hit by the Penguin 2.1 in October 2013

  • Too intensive money keyword link building (77% of all links anchor texts are money keywords)
  • Too many spammy and untrusted links. 93% of all referring pages have a Power*Trust score of 0. More than 50% of the referring domains are not indexed or have a TitleRank-home of +30
  • Usage of Link networks. Best example: 166 Links from various domains on one IP address all having the same anchor text.
  • Excessive usage of web and article directories, especially on website’s subdomains.
  • Average Link Detox Risk score of 1792 (very deadly). Only 3% of all backlinks are healthy according to the Detox report.
  • There are a lot of onsite issues that may not have led directly to a penalty but the website would maybe rank a little better if these problems were solved.

It looks as though bannerbuzz put a lot of effort into building a lot of money keywords links on untrusted pages and was therefore penalised by Penguin 2.0 in May 2013 and now again by Penguin 2.1.


6.2 Recommendations

In order to get a clean and healthy backlink profile the following is recommended:

  • Complete link audit of all existing backlinks
  • Manual removal of all toxic and untrusted risky links even if this means that the website were to lose the vast majority of its backlinks
  • The toxic links that cannot be removed should be exported and sent to Google as a disavow file. Disavowed links should be pinged in order to fasten the process.

A reconsideration request should only be sent after these steps have been taken.

Recommendations for the future and onsite issues:

  • New links should use brand anchor texts
  • No more excessive or high risk link building techniques
  • The onsite issues should be fixed very soon – especially the problems with the sitemap.

This case study was written by Florian Kinslechner, SEO Manager at E-Quadrat Communications GmbH, and proud user of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox.

A word from Christoph C. Cemper

Certified LRT Professional This analysis was conducted and post written by our new Certified LRT Professional, Florian Kinslechner.

Florian showed proficiency in doing a SEO- and link audit, finding a highly risky link profile and using the LinkResearchTools and pointed out quite some critical issues to fix. I am thrilled by the detail and structure he accomplished in his case study. Therefore, I'm very happy to certify Florian Kinslechner as the latest Certfied LRT Professional; by approving and publishing his research on our site.

Our goal is to provide our user community and clients with quality service and knowledge. Our certified professionals and experts are key to achieving this goal.

I look forward to his future work, and personally recommend Florian Kinslechner to work with you whenever you get the opportunity!

Certified LRT Professional Guntram Bechtold


Florian Kinslechner

Florian Kinslechner

SEO Manager at E-Quadrat Communications GmbH
Florian discovered his passion for websites and Search Engine Optimization in 2008. Since then he was worked with various clients as a freelancer and on his numerous own projects. He has experience in SEO, SEM, Social Media and affiliate marketing. He is currently working as a part-time employee in the SEO team of E-Quadrat Communications GmbH in Vienna.
Florian Kinslechner

Latest posts by Florian Kinslechner (see all)


  1. Joshua on November 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    The link pattern looks similar to several sites that we are correcting now. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Paul Kelly on November 30, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Great analysis, but with a bit of TLC it is totally recoverable, I only have the starter package and managed to get 3 out of 4 sites cleaned and have the manual penalty’s revoked

    The one site i am struggling with is the one i want to preserve some of the links, but my advice is go hard on the links you can always replace the links later with quality ones, but without the manual action revoked you wont rank at all

    Thanks for sharing

  3. Florian Kinslechner on November 30, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Thanks for your comments!
    @Paul: your link seems a little bit off topic… 🙂

  4. Riaan on November 30, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Great report Florian.

    You may want to check the images from 3.2 down seems some of the wrong images are showing up under the wrong headings.

    However, it does not affect the quality of your report.

  5. Florian Kinslechner on November 30, 2013 at 2:34 am

    thanks for this input!
    images have been fixed.

  6. Jayde Mihan on November 30, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Thanks Florian, well written and detailed report. I have used link detox previously for some clients with good results. Although it was slow, however I think I missed some onsite issues which I didn’t think was overly important at the time, how wrong I was.

    I noticed allot of the link network domains were not renewed, which in turn helped the sites that used them as the back links vanished.

    What I learnt was run as fast as I can from any kind of network, spend the time to research your links, make them high quality and start using branded anchors allot more.

  7. Pathik on November 30, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Hello Christoph C. Cemper,

    This is really very awesome case study, actually i have also checked and according to me this site is proper as user point of view, but technically i don’t know about it, so can you please inform if i am an owner of this site and i want to resolve this errors from then what is the best possible way to resolve all this and become the good position as this site was.

    What is the best possible way to resolve this issue, and what your best plan to resolve this.

    I have also 1 project which are affected and also wanted to resolve this, so what is your best plan to resolve this issue, i have also site like

    Waiting for you reply please…

    Pathik Panchal

  8. Florian Kinslechner on November 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    @ Pathik Panchal

    Please take a look at
    6.2 Recommendations

  9. Baruch Labunski on November 30, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Great Job Florian,

    I am doing the same here, I find blog spam, Redirect spam etc.

    Again Great work.


  10. John on December 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I never knew that such a link research tool actually existed. Christopher a bow to you… ! for developing such a tool.

    The only tool I was using was ahrefs but now there is something that is far more better than that.

  11. Robb Young on December 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I really hope Google starts to get a handle on this and starts to err towards ignoring bad links rather than punish them. It used to; and there’s potential to go too far the other way.

    All the while it’s quicker and cheaper to build low quality, spammy, link-network links to a competitor, than it is to pull them down; this is a very dangerous approach. Our site has hundreds of low quality links pointing at it, but we’ve built none of them. It would take me weeks and thousands of dollars to disavow them, remove them, write to the link-publisher (pointless in most cases). Whereas it take a couple of hundred dollars and 20 mins for a competitor to submit them all again via another network. It has to end somewhere.

  12. Dominik Hussl on December 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Very insightful case study Florian. I am in the process of looking at getting certified myself.

    Lots of good information here that I did not consider before reading this thing. I am in the process of trying to get a site out of a manual action now and this case study really has helped me look at things a bit more in depth then I had planned on previously. Congratulations on your certification!

  13. Florian Kinslechner on December 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    @ Dominik
    Thanks for your comment! It’s good to know that people can benefit from this case study! Let me know if you were successful with your site!

  14. Robert Tanchangya on February 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Definitely you taken more time for shared work, i’ts really hard, but impressive. Guest surely catch your beneficial case study. Thanks for your time.

  15. Elmira on March 1, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I think the graph for the power and trust of the links is a great approach to determine spammy backlinks. I’m really in shock that you did such a great in depth analyses to find the reason for the penalty. You enlightened my eyes to SEO bro.

  16. Ranjeet Singh on March 6, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    The best way to acheive your goal to write whole phrase rather than working on keywods stretegy as per the new google algorith hummingbird.

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