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How to Prevent a Google Penguin Penalty


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.

Protect Your Online Business From How to Prevent a Google Penguin PenaltyGoogle Penguin

Did you ever have second thoughts whether you should invest in protecting your website against the risks of negative SEO?
Did you ever worry about Google penalties?

Link Risk Management is something that you MUST do.

You should not overlook taking care of your online business. Protecting your website is just as important as signing a house insurance.

Disaster can hit anytime. Negative SEO is a real threat. Bad links can hurt your website. You must look at your backlink profile on a regular basis and remove or disavow those bad backlinks that can hurt your online business.

Check out this case study written by our LRT Certified Xpert - Harry Tschuggnall.
After reading, you can decide for yourself if it makes sense to invest in link risk management or not.

We look very much forward to your feedback.

- Enjoy & Learn!

Christoph C. Cemper

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Google confirmed rolling out five Penguin updates so far and Google Penguin is now more than three years old. Over the last three years, we have seen many companies losing millions of dollars. Some of these companies even had to close down their business because they could not survive the ranking drops. As a result, thousands of people lost their jobs.

Still, most of you out there do not have a clue what a BIG RISK you take if you choose not to invest in link risk management.

If you handle online marketing in your company, and you do not know how your company’s website link profile looks like, this is simply careless! In the times of Google Penguin, you have to know how your and your competitors’ link profiles look like. You also have to track your incoming backlinks.

Think about it: each business is protected against any possible damage like fire, theft etc. But what about online businesses? Do they choose to protect themselves against negative SEO, do they try to prevent Google penalties by monitoring their backlinks regularly? Most businesses have no insurance against any kinds of online risk.

The riskiest factor in the online world is being hit by a Google Penguin update. Not only Penguin is looking at your backlink profile – also Google’s manual penalties, as well as other filters, could put you into deep troubles!

This post is an appeal to start protect your online business’ future now – for your sake!

2. Make sure that Google Penguin didn't hit you

It regularly happens that clients order one of our link building services without knowing that they are in deep troubles already. As we always check the competitor’s situation, the link profile and the SEO visibility of our new clients before starting with link building, we regularly discover that some of our clients’ websites got hit by Penguin already!

Blindly continuing building links is not helpful in this situation at all! Rather, finding the reasons for that punishment and eliminating them is the first step that has to be taken in order to save the business’ future.

It is hard work for us to make these clients understand the long-term consequences as well as all the time and money they have to put in getting out of the Penguin trap. This is something they must do BEFORE they can expect any good ranking results as a consequence of building quality links.

The best way to find if Penguin already hit you is by checking out your website’s SEO visibility.

SEO visibility Graph - Penguin Penalty

3. Know your link profile as well as your competitors link profiles

If you see massive SEO visibility drops on Penguin update roll out days, you can be quite sure that the update hit you.

As you can see in the example above, you can get hit by Penguin several times: Each new update or roll out can make your SEO visibility drop even more. In our sample, it can be clearly seen, that there has been a first punishment on 30th of April 2012 and a second one on 14th October 2013.

If you already suffer from a Penguin penalty, you need to start a hard and long recovery process. We jumped in around August 2014 to help our customer recover. As can be seen on the green mark, the SEO visibility slowly started to increase again.

However, as this post is not about Penguin recovery but about preventing Penguin, I am going to demonstrate you how can do that.

3.1 Anchor Text Ratios

Your backlinks’ links’ anchor texts are highly important! Good rankings for specific keywords can only be achieved when having equivalent backlinks, but also a healthy backlink profile.

There are four types of anchor texts (=keywords):

  1. MONEY keywords are those keywords people want their websites to rank for. Usually, these are the keywords that are popular and often searched for.Always keep in mind: an unnatural ratio of money keyword links might help you gain high rankings now, but it will lead to an algorithmic or manual penalty in the future.
  2. BRAND keywords are those keywords that can be associated with you or your company. That can be a certain product, service or the company name / domain name itself.Brand anchor texts should me your main type of anchor texts.
  3. COMPOUND keywords are keywords that consist of both - “Brand” and “Money” Keywords. They are a mixture of these two types.
  4. OTHER keywords are all keywords that do not fit into any of the categories named above.Anchor texts like “see here” or “like that” etc. are very natural ones.
    The adequate ratios for each keyword type are the ones that are similar to the competitors’ in a certain niche.

Backlinks with appropriate money anchor texts are fundamental for the rankings. However, it is VERY important not to cross the money keyword ratio of the competitors!
Most of the time, a website that was hit by a Google algorithmic update or a manual penalty had too many hard anchor texts. It is, of course, possible to beat the competitors with other, less risky tactics than having more money keywords.

Since Google Released its first Penguin update (24th of April 2012) an over-optimization of money keywords can simply kill a business as this leads for sure to a Google punishment.

We can easily check the distribution of a website’s anchor text by creating a BLP (Backlink Profiler) report:

 distribution of a website’s anchor text BLP1

We just need to type in the domain we would like to analyze and select if we want the links to the whole domain, a page or a sub-folder to be included in the report. To get even more accurate data, it’s recommended to set the link boost to five.

Backlink Profiler Metrics

Finally, we need to check the tab “Link Check” to get information about the website’s anchor texts. Also very important: sitewide links have to be skipped. Otherwise the ratios would be falsified as Google only counts the maximum number of five sitewide links per domain.

BLP Anchor Text Chart

After we sort all anchor texts by count, we can see that the website has many money anchor text links.

In detail: the website’s topic here is all about the weather. So the anchor texts “snow reports”, “holiday weather” or “compass travel online” are for sure money keywords, which means keywords for which this website wants to be found for in Google. If you add all the ratios, more than 40% of all keywords are money keywords.

In order to determine if this ratio is too high, we must check the competitors’ ratios. We will do that using the Competitive Landscape Analyzer (CLA).

Competitive Landscape Analyzer Instructions

Step 1: Open the Competitive Link Analyzer (CLA) tool, enter your URL into the first box, select the “Quick Analysis” Mode and select the “5x Link Boost.”

Step 2: Use the “Find Competing Pages” function: type in the keyword you want to find your competitors for, select the particular search engine, country, and language.

Step 3: Before starting the report it is very important to skip the sitewide links (usually we skip it after 5).

CLA Sitewide Links Filter

Step 4: Classify the anchor texts. Select if the particular anchor text is a ”Brand”, “Compound”, “Money” or “Others“ one. Classify at least 80% of the anchor texts to get accurate data.

Competitive Landscape Analyzer Anchor Text Calssification

If you have doubts about the difference between the brand, compound, money and “other” keywords, read more about how to classify the anchor text in LinkResearchTools.
As a result we get a clear comparison chart:


To make sure the money keyword ratio is not too high; do a CLA for different keywords. That’s how you compare a website with different competitors:


The first chart shows that our client (orange bar) has a lower money keyword ratio compared to its competitors. In chart two we can see, that this ratio is almost as high as the top three average (dark green bar).

Therefore, the money keyword ratio is ok, but it should not become much higher according to chart number two.

Result: Healthy money keyword ratio

3.2 Power*Trust Analysis

The LRT Power*Trust™ determines the quality of a website according to its strength and trustworthiness. As a product of Power and Trust, the LRT Power*Trust™ allows a quick evaluation of the overall impact of a link.


Step: Klick on the “Power*Trust” tab in the CLA report.

The following charts shows how many percents of a website’s links are from websites with 0-100 Power*Trust.


Here you can see that our client has a very small amount of links from websites with low Power*Trust (0/1) and much more from Power*Trust 3-4/5-7 websites.

The more Power*Trust a website has, the stronger it is. So Power*Trust 0 websites are the weakest sites, Power*Trust 100 sites are the strongest ones.

As these ratios differ a lot from the competitors, this seems unnatural. Although this factor alone will not trigger a penalty, it can be a reason for Google to start a further investigation.

Having almost no weak links can be interpreted as a result of link building activities when focusing on building strong links to boost rankings.


  • Power*Trust distribution differs from your competitors
  • Less weak links (Power*Trust 0-1) than the competitors
  • Higher amount of Power*Trust 3-7 links.

3.3 Country Analysis

It’s more important that links are from the right countries (= target markets) to rank in these target markets.

You should also keep an eye on a website’s country ratio to recognize at an early stage if the website might have been a victim of a negative SEO attack. Suffering from a negative SEO means that someone has launched an organized effort to make your website’s link profile look bad. This usually means that someone hit the website with a ton of low quality or clearly black-hat links across a large number of domains.

For the most part, these links come from websites that are hosted in non-target market countries. The reason for having many non-target market links could be a negative SEO attack but not necessarily.

To check the country ratio, we just need the report we've created by using the CLA.

Step: Press the “CNTRY” tab in the CLA report.


Here it we can see that our client’s domain (orange balk) has less US and UK links than its competitors but many more DE, CZ links as well as links from other countries.
These abnormalities need further analysis to avoid missing any important issues.

  • Links from “other” countries
    As the “Other country” ratio is quite high, (see last small box on the chart above) we decided to do further analysis.We could see that most of them are your links from “Other” countries are coming from redirected domains, so that’s why the tool wasn’t able to identify the links’ country codes and marked them as “Other”).When checking the country codes of these links we found out that most of them are from target market countries. There is no evidence for a negative SEO attack.
  • Links from CZ
    Also, the high amount of links from CZ looks quite suspicious, as we know that CZ is not one of our client’s target markets.If these links are due to a negative SEO attack, they all would mostly have money anchor texts most of the time. Fortunately, this was not the case, only a very small number of these links had money anchors texts.
  • Links from DE
    As DE is the client’s target market, it is not surprisingly that there are many links from this country. We didn’t see any need for further investigation here.

Result: no abnormalities found.

3.4. Deep Link Analysis

The deep link ratios have to fit into the competitor’s ratios. Usually, having more deep links than start page links is highly unnatural, besides it is common in the particular niche. The data for these ratios can be found in the CLA report we’ve just created before.

CLA Deeplink RatioTab

Step: Click on the “Deeplink Ratio” tab in the CLA report.

CLA Deeplink Ratio-Chart

In this chart, you can see that the client’s website possesses far more deep links than start page links. As the competitors’ ratios are very high as well, our client’s deep link ratio fits into the competitor’s link profile. Hence, these ratios are fine.

Result: no abnormalities found.

3.5 Link Status Analysis

"Nofollow" provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines "don't follow links on this page."

”Follow” links, have the contrary effect. In general, Google doesn’t follow these “nofollow” links. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Therefore, nofollow links don’t transmit power.

Still, I believe that they transmit trust. If you think of Wikipedia links for instance, experience has shown that – although they are nofollow - have a positive effect on a website’s link profile.

You can read more about nofollow links in this interesting article written by Christoph C. Cemper. Can NoFollow Links Put Your Website at Risk?

Nofollow links are essential for a natural link profile, further a website’s follow ratio should be as high as the competitor’s follow ratio.

We did a quick check on that using CLA.

CLA Link Status Tab

Step: Press the “Link Status” tab in the CLA report.

CLA Link Status Chart

This chart shows our client has a bit less follow links / a bit more follow links than its competitors. Having a lot of nofollow links can be a signal for possessing a lot of blog spam links.

We drew samples and concluded that our client is not affected by spammy blog links. Furthermore, 7% of the client’s links have the status n/a. This means that no data is available for these links. That’s either because this website doesn’t exist anymore, is temporarily unavailable or because the website doesn’t allow bots to enter, etc.

Result: no abnormalities found.

3.6 Link Location Analysis

As we still didn’t find any abnormalities – apart from difference in Power*Trust ratios - we dig deeper with the help of a link location analysis to find a hint why our client became a victim of a manual penalty.

Depending on the location of the links on a website, there are different link types:

  • InContent Link = a link that is surrounded by text
  • Paragraph Link = paragraph linking is a special writing skill to lead readers to a destination in a certain essay, making writing more smooth and coherent.
    This means making connections between different paragraphs in an essay to make your writing seemed logical.
  • Link List = a link located on a page that merely only contains other links to other pages.
  • Footer Links = the "Footer" is the bottom of the page, so "footer links" are the links at the bottom of the page.
  • Sidebar Link = a link that is located in a sidebar, usually without being surrounded by text
  • Header = link located in the header of a page
  • Comment Link = links in forums and/or blog comments
  • Widget Link = link that is located in a widget

Step: Press the “Link Location” tab in the CLA report.

CLA Link Location Chart

Here it can be seen that our client has less “In Content” links than the competitors. The reason for that could be having many image links. We are going to examine this issue in detail in the next chapter.

The website has 4% footer links. Although this ratio isn’t very high compared to the competitors, footers are in many cases a place for spammy links. %% out of millions of links could mean 1000s of spammy footer links. Also, this issue will be checked in the next chapter.


  • Less In-Content Links
  • More Footer Links

3.7 Link Type Analysis

The most important link types are:

Depending on the location of the links on a website, there are different link types:

  • Text link = an element of text on a web page, which can be used to access other web pages.
  • Image link = an image, which can be used to access other web pages.
  • Redirect link = a link (text or image) that is pointing to website A while the whole website A is redirected to website B and therefore transmit all the link juice to website B.
    Redirects are a good way to use the link juice from links of old or non-active projects (=websites) to boost a current project (=website). Redirected domains always have to be on-topic regarding the receiving domain. Links from redirected domains should only be a small percentage of the new website’s total amount of links.
    Note: Since Google’s Penguin algorithm update, there also exists negative link juice. So if you’d redirect a website that has lots of spammy links, you would bring negative link juice to your website. If someone else redirects a spammy website to your website, it could also be a negative SEO attack.

The link type ratios can be found in the CLA report we’ve created before.

CLA Link Type Tab

Step: Press “Link Type” tab in the CLA report.

The link type ratios confirmed our assumption from the previous chapter: our client has quite a lot of image links. We took a deeper look at these kind of links and found out that almost all of these image links are from banners or affiliate banners.

Most of them either don’t have image alt-texts (=anchor text) or have brand alt-texts. As our client has a lot of affiliates, having lots of image links from affiliate banners is a normal pattern. These affiliate links have to be nofollow to comply to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.


  • Many image links
  • Many affiliate links

4. Detox your website – Get rid of all your past crimes

Identifying harmful links is not an easy thing. For example, the link itself looks natural, the website also seems OK, but maybe it is part of a big link network.

f course, with the help of SEO tools like the Backlink Profiler or the Juice tool you can do further investigation to find out if the domain is part of a link network.

But imagine you have to review 1000s of links! Then you need a tool that tells you straight away what are the risks. You need a professional off-page SEO tools and that is where Link Detox comes into play.

Based on many different link rules, the tool proves each backlink algorithmically. It exactly tells you why a link is considered healthy or unhealthy. The world isn’t just black or white. There is also a big gray zone also when it comes backlinks. Link Detox also tells you, if a particular link has a very low, low, moderate, high or very high risk.

To see if there are any more reasons for the manual penalty our client received, we wanted to check if the domain possesses spammy links and what kind of links they are.

Therefore we created a Link Detox report:

Link Detox Report

Enter your domain and select which links you want to analyze.

As we want to analyze the whole website, we select “Domain” to get all links checked that point to our domain.

Link Detox Report Settings

Select if your nofollow links should be evaluated as well. There are different opinions out there, if nofollow links can harm your link profile or not, Link Detox gives you the opportunity to decide by yourself if you want to check your nofollows.

After that, select the theme of your domain to improve the accuracy of the provided data.

Link Detox asks you if “Google sends you a manual spam action or example spam links for the domain”. In our case, as we want to prevent these penalties to occur, we assume that none of these Google messages has been received.

Link Detox Report Upload Own Backlinks

As we want to analyze our existing backlinks, we chose the Classic mode. Also, I highly recommend uploading additional backlinks from different sources like Google Search Console and other.

LinkResearchTools pulls backlink data from 24 sources and even supports an integration with Google Search Console, providing you with an extra backlink source. They automatically grab those extra links and include them in your report. This integration really saves a lot of time.

Download this free eBook
Find out more about the benefits of integrating your Google Search Console account with LinkResearchTools.

Google Search Console Integration

The more data and links LinkResearchTools can analyze, the more precise your site audit report.

Link Detox Report How to Handle Dropped Links

Before starting the report, we need to decide how we want to handle the dropped links. In our case, we will remove dropped links as we only want to see the existing backlinks and get rid of the harmful ones.

Link Detox Keyword Classification

To get an accurate rating, we need to classify at least 80% of all keywords.

Finally, this is how our report looks like:

Link Detox-Report Fields

In the a.) column we see the Link Audit Priority for the particular link. Links that have been disavowed before are marked as “disavowed”.

In column b.) you are requested to rate the particular link. If you think it is ok, simply select a thumb up, if not, then give a dumb down.

In column c.) you see the DTOX risk.

Column d.) tells you, why a link has a particular DTOXRISK

Link Detox Risk CS54

All links have to be reviewed and rated by yourself. Although Link Detox is a great tool, it doesn’t replace a manual review.

The best and fastest way to review your links is with the help of the Link Detox Screener.

Link Detox Screener View

The LinkDetox Screener gives you a quick overview of the particular link. It shows you the DTOXRISK score (see d.) + a.)) as well as all the rules that apply for this link (see a.).

You can skip all sitewide links from the particular domain by clicking the button b.). This option saves a lot of time. Some websites have 100s of sitewide links from only one domain, imagine you have to review all of them although you know already that the domain is crap.

The screener shows you a preview of the domain; you don’t need to open the URL in an extra tab. Finally, after carefully checking the link, you can rate if it is a good or a bad one, and can continue to the next one.


5. Regularly monitor your backlink profile

New links can either come naturally through real users who give recommendations (=links), through your SEO agency or - worst-case scenario – from a negative SEO attack of your competitors. In all cases, incoming links have to be tracked and checked if they are not affecting the balance of your link profile and if they do not harm your website in the sense of triggering a Google Penguin Penalty.

LinkResearchTools offers an easy solution for monitoring your backlink profile. By setting up Link Alerts, you get alerted via e-mail as soon as the tool finds new links for your website.

Setting up a new Link Alert is very easy:

Set up Link Alerts for your website

Navigate to the “Link Alerts” section in the bar.

Link Alerts Report Settings

Type in your Domain. Then choose which backlink sources should be used in order to find new incoming links. Of course, you have to give LRT access to your Google Analytics/Statcounter or Sistrix account before. This can be easily done in the “Settings” section.

After, type in the e-mail addresses where the Link Alert report should be sent to. You can also select if the report skips the sitewide links. Here you see the results of a Link Alerts report.

Link Alerts-Results

It’s very important to check your backlinks daily. As you might become a victim of a negative SEO attack. Negative SEO occurs when someone makes an attempt to lower your website’s rankings. In most cases, this attempt is link based.

Back in the days, if competitors wanted to hurt their rivals’ websites, they just built 1000s of automatic generated spammy links and pointed them to the rivals’ websites. In the meantime, Google became clever enough to identify these plump attempts as negative SEO and made sure that these links don't affect the target website’s rankings.

But negative SEO can also be much more subtle and smart. Therefore, it is always necessary to check your new incoming links and to see if there are any suspect patterns.

Learn more about protecting your website from negative SEO in this article: Negative SEO protection techniques.

The best way to do so is by importing your new links from your Link Alerts into the Backlink Profiler (BLP): simply go to your Link Alert and export the latest links:

Link Alerts Export

Then start a BLP report:

Backlink Profile Link Monitoring1

Type in your domain and upload the links that have been exported from your latest Link Alert before.
Select all the relevant metrics.

Backlink Profiler Metrics List

The Backlink Profiler report gives you the opportunity to dig deeper into different aspects of your uploaded, new incoming links.

For instance, by selecting the “Country Popularity” tab, the report shows you the amount of links that come from a particular country. If your target market is the US, but many of your new links come from non-target market countries, you should take a deeper look into that.

By clicking the “More” tab, other metrics that have been selected when creating the report will appear.

BLP Link Type Tab

Another example: the “LinkType” chart shows you all new-incoming links sorted by link type. Here we see that five links are from redirected websites. If website A redirects to website B, which has a link that points to your website, also website A should be checked, as link juice (good as well as bad one) will be transmitted to your website (assumed the redirect is a 301 one).

If links are harmful as they are from spammy websites, or if you discover links that cause a high imbalance to your link profile, then you should remove or disavow those links.

To find out if links are doing good or harm to your website, I recommend to export the list from your Link Alerts and it them to the Link Detox tool.

Link Detox Upload Backlinks

Once again you need to classify the links’ keywords to get accurate data.
With the help of Link Detox, you have to decide, which links are beneficial for you and which are not.

The easiest way to get rid of your harmful links is to disavow them. Link Detox creates a disavow file for you. All you need to do is make sure the pages or domains you want to disavow have been selected to be included inside the Google Disavow Links export file.

Simply tick the box under the "Disavow" column from inside the link details table. You can choose if you want to disavow the page or domain and then every ticked page/domain will be included in the Google Disavow Links export file.

Link Detox Export Disavow File

Then go to your Google Search Console and update your disavow file.

Important: every time you want to disavow new links or domains you need to add them to the existing disavow file. If you would just upload a list of new links or domains via the Google disavow tool, you would overwrite the existing disavow file.
It’s very important to know that there is just one valid disavow file, which has to be updated. Updating it manually can be very time-consuming. Luckily, LinkResearchTools keeps track of your disavow file in a central place, so whenever you export it from LinkResearchTools you get the up-to-date file to use.

LinkResearchTools also keeps track of all changes during the recurring disavow process, so you know when changes were made.

If you lost the file that you had uploaded already, no worries, you can find the old file in the disavow tool.

To update your disavow file, follow these steps:
- go to the disavow tool
- select your site
- select "disavow links" and again
- "disavow links" and
- "download." Here you can download your old file as a .txt file

Disavow File Download

Once downloaded the file, simply add your new links and upload it again.

Google Disavow Upload

For example, your old disavow file looks like this:

Old Disavow File

Then this is how your updated disavow file has to look like:

Disavow File Text

Make sure your upload has been successful:

Google Disavow Upload Confirmation

Double-Check in your Google Search Console:

Google Search Console Messages

You will also receive a confirmation e-mail (if you configured the e-mail settings in Search Console right):

Disavow Upload Email Confirmation
Be careful: once your links are disavowed, Google doesn’t take them into account anymore when estimating your website’s ranking.

So you also should constantly check your disavow file. Sometimes, domains got disavowed years ago but shouldn’t be disavowed these days. Or one of your previous agencies didn’t do a good job and just disavowed good and healthy links and domains.

LinkResearchTools provides a great solution for this problem: the Link Alerts with disavowing feature.

In this short video, Christoph C. Cemper himself tells you more about this feature. Check it out!

From my experience, not many people know how to identify bad links or know what signals to look for. If you are not familiar with the rating of links or if you don’t have enough experience and knowledge in SEO, I strongly recommend assigning this task to a professional SEO.

Very often, clients ask us for help, because their rankings dropped. Some of them disavowed a huge number of links which has been the reason the ranked good and now wondering why they lost all their rankings.

Others suffered from a penalty and disavowed the wrong links and now wonder why the penalty didn’t get lifted so far.

So when it comes to disavowing links, more harm than good can be done easily. So watch out who is doing this task for you!

Finally, use Link Detox Boost to make sure that Google crawls you disavowed links as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can take ages until Google recognizes your disavowed links.
Link Detox Boost
Just type in your website and add or upload ALL domains and pages you want to disavow.
Link Detox Boost - terms and Conditions
Tick the Terms and Conditions box and run the Link Detox Boost.

An easier way to boost your disavowed links is by running the Link Detox Boost directly out of Link Detox report.

If you deposited your old disavow file in the LRT settings, Link Detox will create a new disavow file for you, containing the domains and pages from the old disavow file as well as the new bad links. All these links will be boosted when running the Link Detox Boost.
Launch Link Detox Boost from a Link Detox Report

Of course, you don’t have to check your link profile every day. But once a month is a good time frame to be on the safe side.

Checking you link profile regularly should also be done because competitors change. Imagine, two of your strongest competitors lose their rankings due to a Google penalty. Then you will face of course two different ones of your hardest competitors.

6. Stay up to date with any changes in Google’s algorithm

Google’s algorithm is changing. The most important link based changes are manifested through Google’s Penguin updates.

When these updates get announced, Google members themselves like John Mueller or up to date Pros from the SEO scene actually tell you, what this update is all about and what’s the important factor every website owner should keep an eye on. Based on this information you must check your link profile again to avoid future Google penalties.

7. Conclusion

Preventing your business from getting hit by Google updates and penalties is fundamental if you want to have a safe income. Knowing your link profile and your competitors’ link profiles is essential when being serious in developing a sustainable SEO strategy that improves your rankings but doesn’t lead you in the Google penalty trap.

Regularly cleaning up your link profile is necessary to get rid of all bad and unwanted links. If you follow all the guidelines provided in this article, you will be on the safe site! But keep in mind: if you are not familiar with SEO, better hire a professional SEO agency. Otherwise, you can do more harm than good to your business!

This case study was written by Harry Tschuggnall, CEO at Mediabase, and long-time user of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox.

A word from Christoph C. Cemper
Certified LRT Professional
If you want your online business to stay alive and grow, then you have to invest in link risk management. This post written by Harry Tschuggnall, a Certified LRT Xpert, underlines the importance of investing in protecting your online business. It’s as important as investing in protecting your house, your car or your health.

Harry pointed out that having link building has no positive effect on your rankings if your link profile is not clean. Your website may have serious problems, and you must monitor all the links that point to your website. One bad link can make the difference between a Google Penalty and a first-page ranking.

Harry shows you how to monitor your backlinks and clean up the bad ones on a regular basis, using professional SEO tools.

I’m very happy to renew Harry’s LRT Xpert Certification by approving and publishing his research on our site.

Harry Tschuggnall LinkResearchTools Certified Xpert

Certified LRT Professional

Harry's company - Mediabase GmbH - was the first company to achieve the Certified LRT Agency certification two years ago. This certification allows Mediabase to market their brand and service with this highly sought after certification and receives consulting leads from us free of charge.

The goal of our certification program is to provide our user community and clients a high-quality service, and our certified experts are key to that.

I look forward to future work and personally recommend Harry Tschuggnall and Mediabase GmbH to work with you whenever you get a chance!


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Harry Tschuggnall
Harald Tschuggnall is the Founder of Mediabase, an Austria based SEO and Link Building Agency. He's holding a Certified LRT Xpert accreditation and runs the first ever LRT Certified Agency thanks to his extensive knowledge and case-studies published.
Harry Tschuggnall


  1. Mark Baldwin on October 13, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Good Article, long but good information That Google Analytics Screenshot you had was scary. As long as you diversify your link profile and go for quality not quantity you are safe as well as creating quality content where you earn links naturally then your good. and do not pay someone to build you 1000 links.

    • Harry Tschuggnall on October 23, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Mark,
      THX for your comment!

      Yes it is scary how much traffic, conversions = money websites can loos after getting hit by a google Update!

      Work future proved don´t look for fast results this days I would say!


  2. Brian Lonsdale on October 18, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Harry

    Great post – I really agree with the fact that you should keep a close eye on competitors link profiles.

    As competitors change, over time, they acquire new links so we need to consistently analyse these changes to create a stronger SEO strategy.


    • Harry Tschuggnall on October 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      Hi Brian,
      THX for your comment!

      It´s definitely a good strategy to monitor your competitor’s backlink profile. And
      even more important to monitor your own backlink profile to make sure you are not at RISK loosing all your rankings as soon the next Google Update is rolling out!


  3. Robert on November 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Another great article on Penguin penalties and how to prevent them. But it’s easy for us SEO guys to say that. The biggest issue is small businesses continue to suffer because they:

    a) Know nothing about seo, links, etc and
    b) Don’ have skill or budget to fix it

    It’s ruthless when even a local plumber is being negative seo’d because his competitor decided to send thousands of anchor text links to his site. Not necessarily spam links or porn anchors but anchors that Google see as a site trying to manipulate the search results with anchors related to his buisness. A lot of people think sending porn or pharma anchor links is the way to negative seo a site but sending “main service city” type anchors in their thousands can do the same job and get them penalised. Then they receive a WMT penalty and have no idea what they’ve done.

  4. Rafay Zafar on January 5, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Another way to analyze back link profile is to check the percentage of back link that do not stick. Spam links usually do not stick around for long whereas real links will stay there for years.

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