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Penguin Update – Run, Baby Run!


UPDATE: October 22, 2012
Google Penguin Update 3 report now available!
The 42 page case study is our most extensive report on a Google update EVER.

The Penguin 3 report is here:

Decrypting the factors for Penguin punishment

Have In-Content links lost their power?
Do you have sufficient good TitleRank™ links?
We are back with another piece of the Google Penguin puzzle!

It seems In-Content links lost their power to link-lists!
Link-Lists? Over in-content links?
Your links need great TitleRank™ That's for sure now!

See for yourself what my team and I have found!
Christoph C. Cemper

Tweet this to get the full 15-page report, the list of 100 powerful Power*Trust links the winners have in common and the bonus 8-page report on "7 Deadly Wrong Interpretations of TitleRank™"

Penguin-Update: Run, Baby Run!

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Free report with all details!

Get the full 15 page report with all the details

You can download a full 15 page reports that contains

  • the sites that we analyzed
  • how we used LRT Power™ and LRT Trust™ metrics
  • how we used our brand new TitleRank™ metric
  • how the link position effects the quality of a link
  • what we found out about link lists
  • how de-indexed links played a role or not
  • which metrics decide between victory or defeat in Google Penguin
  • full interpretation of many detail charts we created
  • BONUS: downloadable Excel file with the 100 strongest link lists of the winners
  • BONUS: 8 page report with the 7 deadly wrong interpretations of TitleRank™ (see below)

Get a list of the Top 100 Link Lists of the penguin winners

Get a list of the Top 100 Link Lists of the penguin winners

Tweet this to download the full 15-page report and the Top 100 link list


Free bonus report 7 deadly wrong interpretations of TitleRank™

Get the 8 page report fresh from the desk of Christoph

This report tells you the 7 different link type cases that you might misinterprent the new TitleRank metric.

Some examples you will read about

  • The "Money Keyword" Blog link
  • The Newspaper Link
  • The "article marketing" replication
  • and four more chapters about possibly wrong decisions on your link detox!

If you are serious about Link Detox for Penguin, you have to read it today!

Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper is the CEO and Founder of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox. A well-known and distinguished expert in SEO who started link building for clients in 2003, building the Link Research Tools since 2006 and marketing it as SaaS product since 2009. When the famous Google Penguin update changed the rules of SEO in 2012, Christoph started Link Detox, software for finding links that pose a risk in a website’s backlink profile. He introduced ongoing link audits and risk management to the market in early 2011. In 2015, Christoph introduced Impactana, a new technology platform and SaaS product to measure the success of content beyond "social buzz", to find content, videos and people that make an impact.
Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper

Latest posts by Christoph C. Cemper (see all)


  1. John on July 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Interesting stuff. Surely the link list vs in-content links point is redundant though – penguin ‘losers’ have more than likely been penalized for blog network spam – but they’re not being penailzed because those links are ‘in-content’ but because they’re on spam sites.

    • Christoph on July 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      John, I think you are very right. the Power*Trust would be at least ONE additional metric to look at in addition to the “link location”. What we found so interesting is, that you can actually SEE an overdoing of “in-content” links already.

  2. Chris on July 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Am I missing something here? All indications are that Penguin targets manipulative anchor text … too much exact match vs natural etc. The metrics you mention probably do correlate with the ranking drops becuase the type of sites you can get exact match on tend to be spammy but your metrics did not cause Penguin drops… overoptimised link text did.

    • Christoph on July 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      We try to approach the link graph with TitleRank and Power*Trust to find more indicators than just “Brand” bs. “Money Keyword” links.
      Not every “money keyword” link is over optimised or bad and certainly a lot of people follow the suggestion to remove “over-optimised” anchor texts link wrongly.

      I do agree that usually a lot of the typical “made to sell links” sites allow exact anchor text, but so do highly trusted media link out with good anchor text these days.
      Looking at link-lists vs. in-content type of links is another criteria that helps digest link data.

      best regards

      • Chuck Price on July 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm

        I highly encourage all of my competitors to remove EVERY exact match text link, regardless of quality or KW mix density 🙂

        • Henry on July 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm

          What do you mean by exact match 😀 every keyword can be exact match….

  3. Alan Pilloud on July 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Hi, thanks for this study.

    I ask myself a question, the results you have here comes from really big websites ?
    I mean, I want my website to be competitive in a niche that will never be supported by any strong or very strong trusted websites (instead of wikipedia) and my concurrents won’t be too.
    So, doesn’t it depend on the context ? Maybe a low trusted websites in a niche of other low truster websites becomes a mid-range trusted website. Or is it a fixed scale ?

    • Christoph on July 10, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Hi Alan, in this case we compared absolute winners and losers – checkout the details in the report. Of course you have to do similar research for winners and losers in YOUR niche, that makes it even more precise. Usually it always depends on the content and the language, country and keywords you are trying to rank for!
      best, christoph

  4. Ted on July 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Although I think your data is interesting, I find it to be much less useful compared to some other studies on Penguin that have been published publicly. In my personal opinion, you should have mined the data to find higher percentages of matches vs. non-matches in order to make your data more meaningful.

    • Christoph on July 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Hi Ted,
      thanks for your feedback!
      We certainly try our best and think that the new TitleRank metric in addition to the Power*Trust metric are really helpful in judging on link quality.

      I would appreciate if you could give us examples of case-studies, that you find more useful.
      In fact the most that I know simply re-hash the “anchor text overoptimization” meme, without providing any new insights, sometimes not even with providing classification data.

      best regards

  5. Uncle Demotivator on July 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    To sum things up – if you are not a big brand or Wikipedia you are f*cked.

  6. Ricky Shah on July 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Oh my…look at what we have got here. So finally it is all about quality links. It indirectly also hints that negative SEO does exist.
    It is difficult to get Wikipedia links if you’re not a big brand. Let us hope that things might change in the favor of small blogs.

  7. Wolter Tjeenk Willink - Traffic Builders on July 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

    A very interesting analysis indeed. Link building has finally evolved to “authority building”, emphasizing the importance of high quality links from authoritative sites.

    From that perspective it’s kind of weird to see that link lists are more common amongst the winners than the losers by the way. Any thoughts on that? In The Netherlands, the most common link lists are practically always of very little link value.

  8. Tomas Smith on July 20, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Matt Cutts specifically said that Penguin was the first ever algorithmic linking change that created NEGATIVE link juice (obviously not his exact words – and something google has never done before, bad links, just had zero impact. this is the first algo update that passes negative link-juice). Meaning if your site is having links pointed to it from any site that got hit by panda or penguin hard, those penalties are PASSED TO YOUR SITE AS WELL. We had a lot of sites hit by both, luckily for me my number 1 moneysite wasnt touched by either (because i built it with love) – but before i learned this, one of other authority sites in the same niche that got slammed, i just pointed sitewide and contextual links from that site to my money site that didnt get hurt (expecting that the site relevance would do great things for my main money site) and what happens? within 2 days…. every page on my money site dropped from positions #1-5 to PAGES 3-15 – then i learnt about penguins negative link-juice passing factor, removed the links from panda/penguin smashed site… and within 2 days every page on my money-site had recovered completely to their original spots. i then did a little more de-optimising on-page on my moneysite [it was already good, but i took the keyword density down further to less than 1%] and all of the pages have now gained another couple positions.
    my money keyword single word has 189’000’000 competition and i am position 2.

    Theres a couple points with this fact i’m making:

    1. because of this is does make it APPEAR like its about unnatural anchor-text (but i’m sure that was more panda)

    2. HOW it appears like unnatural anchor text is because if you were stupid (like i was, really badly) you were using article-marketing with spinners (AMR,AMR,ALN etc) – and think about what that achieves.. if YOU (or an outsourcer) has created a crappy article that is keyword-dense and rubbish, then spun that through those networks.. a couple things have then happenned.
    a) ALL those places where the spun articles ended up are now panda and/or penguin penalized pages [because they were unreadable keyword dense spammy shite that you wrote or had written] and all of those articles had [usually had] your exact match anchor-text included [exact-match or not is actually irrelevant] pointing back to your money site. so.. it naturally APPEARS like its an ‘unnatural anchor-text’ penalty – but in reality, its all those panda/penguin hit pages, passing the NEGATIVE link-juice penalty ON to your moneysite.
    and secondly,
    b) To validate the point of this thread/infographic – all those sites that were taking your spun-crap to auto-populate their blogs… had absolutely NO TRUST with Google, so you copped the big double whammy!
    1) loads of UNTRUSTABLE websites pointing at you
    2) Self-created penguin-penalties passing negative penguination-power into your site.

  9. rambabu seo on July 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

    thanks to share this informative and useful case study on penguin update, yes i have seen recent aggressive change after this update for low quality and bad links practices websites which mainly focus to get rank well without caring on quality, what actually should matter in order to provide best user experience ! . .excellent job Google!

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