LRT Link Research Tools

How does Pure Spam look like? A deep dive into FittedWardrobes

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penguin 2.0 case study FittedWardrobes.com

Learn from the Google Penalty of FittedWardrobes.com

Google called a site “pure spam”. The site owner shortly after complained about the manual penalty he received and obviously his drop in traffic.
That made us curious what Google refers to as “Pure Spam”.

And here is the result – we proudly present the 7th deep dive case study by a Certified Link Research Tools Professional.

We look forward to your feedback and
greatly appreciate you sharing this quality piece of work by Harry Tschuggnall

Enjoy & Learn!

Christoph C. Cemper


Table Of Contents

Introduction

I recently found this post in the Google Webmaster Forums where the webmaster of fittedwardrobes.com complained about his site being manually penalized for “pure spam” as Google called it.

Ann Smarty picked up the topic on Threadwatch shortly after as this was the first time Google called something pure spam in a message.

 

She also mentioned the definition by Google what they called “pure spam” earlier:

QUOTE: Google on Pure spam
” They appear to use aggressive spam techniques such as automatically generated gibberish, cloaking and scraping content from other websites“

Looking at the "manual penalty" graph, it seems like Google is getting much more aggressive with removing "pure" spam sites:

Then doing a site search on Google (site:fittedwardrobes.com) we get this result:


No results. That means the website got de-indexed fully! So we thought: Let’s find out why this happened!

The day after

 

It looks like that reaction on Threadwatch caused a couple things only a few hours later

  • So called “Google Top Contributors” replied with discouraging and not so top comments at all

  • The post was from June 19 – one day later looking at Google’s forum where I found the post, it is gone, just the comments are left. Now the forum post looks like this:

Makes you wonder who actually deleted that post – a frustrated site owner?
Or the moderator?
Or Matt Cutts himself?

  • Surprisingly, the following day, Google listed the results for fittedwardrobes.com again, at least via the SITE: command

 

 

What happened to fittedwardrobes.com?

So what happened? Was the de-indexing of fittedwardrobes.com a mistake made by Google? And why is the question gone from the Google Forum? Unfortunately, it is not possible to answer these questions for us now.

What we can do is to look at the link profile in detail and also do a Link Detox because as you can see later, the site has already been hit before twice by Penguin so it is very likely that also the de-indexing was link based or at least those links caused many red flags to go off.

Did fittedwardrobes.com have a good visibility?

First, I am curious if fittedwardrobes.com had a good visibility, so I am going to check this issue on Searchmetrics:

Wow! They already dropped around the 5th of October (Penguin #3). It seems to me that either fittedwardrobes.com didn’t realize this drop of their visibility or they didn’t react to this first drop.

After that, they have been hit by the last Penguin Update (Penguin #4 or 2.0) and now they dropped further and were even de-indexed due to that manual penalty.
It seems to me that Google tried to get rid of fittedwardrobes.com two times but did not succeed so they finally de-indexed the domain.

As we know, Penguin is a link-based algorithm.

So let’s check fittedwardrobes.com’s link profile in order to find out why it got de-indexed.

So let’s start the tools!!

Did fittedwardrobes.com have lots of suspicious or toxic links?

 

To find out the reasons for the de-indexing of fittedwardrobes.com, we use LinkResearchTools and in particular we use the Link Detox tool to see if it might have a lot of bad or toxic links.

First we simply enter the URL: fittedwardrobes.com and select the theme of the domain.

Because we know from the Google Webmaster Forum thread that fittedwardrobes.com already got an “unnatural link warning”, we pick „Yes“ and paste the text we found in the original post. Link Research Tools now collect all singular emails to relate them. This ultimately improves the analysis results, as Google now gives example links with their warning e-mails as mentioned recently on Search Engine Land and anounced by Matt Cutts.

Because we want to check the existing backlinks, we pick “Classic Mode”. As we don’t have any backlink files for fittedwardrobes.com (i.e. their link building reports, exports from other link tools, etc.) and also don’t have access to their Google Webmaster Tools, we skip the next step and don’t upload additional backlinks or a disavow file.

These are the metrics the tool is going to look at. OK so let’s „Detox my site“!

Wow! Look at this:

 

Here we see the summary of the results:

Well, it seems to me that fittedwardrobes.com has got a lot of spammy links!
Let’s scroll down and look at the links in detail!
First let’s look at the „Link Health Breakdown“:

As u can see, 170 links are looking suspicious, 37 are toxic and only 45 links are healthy.
Second, let’s check the „Link Detox Risk Breakdown“:

Third, we check the „Detox Rules Breakdown”:

To see all of the rules that are applied here, I downloaded a spreadsheet:

So the tool tells us exactly why it thinks the link is toxic or suspicious. These will be the rules apply in our case (There are about 20 rules the tool is able to process). Their meaning in detail:

SUSP15 
Links coming from typical web link directories. This is a common way to inflate link popularities and/or sell links. Not recommended these days.

SUSP4 
Page has CEMPER TitleRank™ 30+, CEMPER Power*Trust™ Domain < 5 and CEMPER Power*Trust™ < 5.

TOX1
Domain is not indexed in Google. Usually a sign for a penalty.

SUSP1 
Page has no CEMPER Power*Trust™ and CEMPER Power*Trust™ Domain < 5 – a page without external links on a weak domain.

SUSP3 
Page has more than 10 backlinks from 1 Class-C, CEMPER Power*Trust™ Domain < 5 and CEMPER Power*Trust™ < 5 – possible Link Network.

SUSP16 
Links coming from typical article directories. This is a common way to automatically spread content on many domains. Not recommended these days.

SUSP14 
Page has no PageRank™ but at least some weak links. This could be a sign for a page punishment by Google. Google PageRank™ is more and more inaccurate and many webmasters don’t trust that metric anymore.

Spammy link breakdown

As you can see, fittedwardrobes.com has

  • 88 links coming from typical web directories,
  • 57 links from pages that rank for their title but having a Power*Trust < 5.
  • 37 links are from domains that are not indexed anymore,
  • 15 links are from domains that have no backlinks at all
  • 4 links come from pages that don’t have PageRank
  • 2 links are from typical article directories and
  • 2 links com from an older domain ( > 6 months) either having a missing Google PageRank Domain or a Google PageRank of 0
  • 2 links are from Pages that have more than 10 backlinks from 1 Class-C

 

Now we know what kind of links fittedwardrobes.com has. The next step is to filter the toxic links and to look at them in detail:

Let’s click on some links and see what’s coming up:

http://mail.afionline.org/Business/Furniture

Ah! A web directory that gives SEO tips as well ;-) This site has been de-indexed as usually low quality or spammy sites (TOX 1 rule applies).

Let’s look at another one:

http://www.webmaster-dir.co.uk/business_and_economy/Games/home_and_garden?p=6

Another webmaster Directory, also Tox1 (de-indexed)

So the Link Detox tool did a good job in finding the toxic backlinks of fittedwardrobes.com.

Let’s have a look at some of the suspicious links:

Let’s check some pages to see what comes up:

I select the first one which is „High Risk“and SUSP 15. Please note that “High Risk” usually triggered many more signals, and you can see those when clicking the (+) besides the URL.

This one is also a web directory:

http://www.dirlinks.co.uk/business_and_economy/blogs/home_and_garden?p=3

Ah! The website looks almost the same as the site before did but on this website the headline is „Dir Links UK“ (before it was „Webmaster Dir UK“) Further, they even have the same owner. Let’s use the Quick Backlink Profiler (QBL) in order to see how big this network is.

Is fittedwardrobes.compart of a link network?

First we start the QBL:

Look, the page has almost no CEMPER Power™ and super low CEMPER Trust™! We also have to look at the anchor text ratio, but let’s do that later. The breakdown doesn’t promise much except money keywords.

Now we want to try to identify the link network. After receiving the results from the QBL:

Let’s scroll down to see all the links in the table. Then we copy the URL of one of the assumed link network websites into the URL filter box:

Now we scroll to the right to find the details we are looking for (REG, IP, DNR, DNS…).

In the next step, we reset all filters and type in the IP address from www.dirlinks.co.uk to see if fittedwardrobes.com has other backlinks from this IP address as well.
This procedure did not generate any results. So we reset all filters and try to filter by Domain Registrant (REG) information. BINGO! 128 websites have the same Domain Registrant (REG) Information.

So the Link Detox Tool was right.

I just realized that we just could have looked at the Link Detox report to find out if this is a typical web directory – lets double check that.

Let’s open the Link Detox report we generated before and let’s enter one of the domains for which we assume that it is part of a network into the “From URL” search filter so see what comes up.

If you click the “+” sign next to the URL, the Link Detox tool will show you the rules that have been applied for this link:

 

And you can see the Link Detox tool did a good job it also classified the link as SUSP 15 (Link Directory Links)

Checking 128 “Pure Spam” Link Network by RobinGupta.

A quick check for the registrants name says “RobinGupta.com” and when typing that in we find a pretty good confirmation of why these 128 sites we found seem to be a very poor link selling network.

The offering on this website that claims to be the “Brain behind your business” is more or less the toxic link silver bullet to kill your business in my book.

This is the typical Cheap-labor offshore SEO shop that offers you promising stuff like “manual link building”, “guaranteed directory submissions”, and even a “premium package for quality link building”! This is not the One-Stop Shop for Complete SEO Services but for a sure penalty.

It appears that all those “guaranteed manual links built” were actually just added to their huge network of own spammy sites as seen above, that’s exactly what Google forbids in their recent reminder by Matt Cutts himself:


Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations.

Loud and clear enough?

Now I am not sure which of these offerings was bought

Was it PR2+ Niche Link Building?

Was it Guaranteed Directory Submissions?

Was it authority manual link building?

Or a toxic mix from all of the above and some of these?

Anyway, advertising for PR (Google Pagerank) and then putting your company name in all those 128 sites that you “manually” enter the clients link within a couple working days for crazy dollars is far from good.

I would call this SEO malpractice.

Of course in the case that the site owner did NOT purchase those links there, we would have the case of Negative SEO. Any competitor could have done that do him, so we leave this question and possibility up.

The point is – those are harmful links for several reasons, and I hope we could make a point here. The problem is – there are still hundreds of shady link snake oil sellers out there and anyone should he super careful not to buy from and of these services.

If it sounds too good to be true, extra caution applies.

Enter Competitive Link Detox

Now let’s use the new Competitive Link Detox Tool (CDTOX). It allows you to compare your link detox risk with that of your competitors. So the Competitive Landscape Analyzer allows you to compare the backlink profile of your website that of your competitors – with the Competitive Detox Tool you are able to compare your link detox risk with that of your competitors.

The CDTOX tool does not only show you how bad your backlink profile is in comparison to your competitors, but let you go after their collective healthy links that you don’t have already – easily.

First we enter the URL and select the “Theme of the Domain”.
Then we are going to pick the Theme of the Domain to help the Link Detox to handle the rules better.
After that we can add up to 10 competitors or we can let the tool find the competitors for us for a specific keyword by clicking “Find Competing Pages”.

As all of the competitive reports are based on a keyword, we need to find out for what keywords fittedwardrobes.com wants to rank for.
But how can we figure that out if we are not the owner?

Let’s have a look at fittedwardrobes.com’s page source to check if we can find some meta keywords. Meta keywords are the wish list for unprofessional SEOs till today…
Of course, there are more professional ways to find this out namely with special SEO tools, but to solve this problem quickly this is a convenient method in a fast and easy way some might have forgotten.

These are some of the keywords we’ve found:

Let’s take the first keyword to find the first competitors:

fitted wardrobes, fitted wardrobes bedrooms, sliding wardrobes, built in wardrobes, walk in wardrobes

We just need to enter the keyword “fitted wardrobes”, select the right search engine, the right country and hit “Find Pages”.

The tool shows us 10 competitors. These are the websites that are ranking on the first page on google.co.uk for the keyword “fitted wardrobes”:

Now we just hit the “Run Report” button and see what’s coming up:

 

Wow, look at that! So any further questions why fittedwardrobes.com got removed form the index? ;-)

Let’s also look at the brand new Detox metric profile:

 

As you can see in this chart, fittedwardrobes.com has got only 17% healthy links but 15% toxic and 68% suspicious ones – a lot worse than their competitors.

Looking at the new Link Detox Risk profile chart, we see that the website has got a very high amount of “Very High Risk” links (30%). Further, it has 7% “Deadly Risk” and 8% “High Risk” links. Again, this is a lot worse than the competitors.

The Link Detox Rule Metric also shows that there are 44% SUSP 15 links.
(SUSP 15 = These links are coming from typical web link directory footprints which were often just setup to artificially inflate link popularities and/or sell links from.
While it was practice for years to fill up link profiles with these types of links for many SEOs, this practice cannot be recommended these days anymore.)

Now let’s look at the backlink profile of fittedwardrobes.com in order to see if we can find something interesting in there.

Did fittedwardrobes.com have lots of weak links?

We decide to take a closer, deeper and more precise look, so let’s start the Backlink Profiler (BLP):

  • First we enter the domain “fittedwardrobes.com” in the “URL/Domain to Analyze” box.
  • Now we can choose if we want to look at “Domain Backlinks”, “Page Backlinks”, “Subfolder Backlinks” or an uploaded file only. We choose first option: “Domain – links to whole domain as we want to see links to all sub-pages”
  • We also have the possibility to upload a list of own backlinks – in this case we don’t have any own lists, so we can’t upload any.
  • To get as many links as possible (up to 50.000!), we choose the “5x Link Boost” option.

 

After our report is finished, we are going to have a look at some basic SEO metrics: at the anchor text ratio, the Link Locations and at the Power*Trust metrics. Hence, we just tick all the boxes you see below in the screenshot:

First let’s look at the Power*Trust metric (this metric is very similar to Google’s PageRank combined with TrustRank, but updated almost daily – that’s why it is more precise and accurate than the PageRank or other similar metrics).

Here you see that fittedwardrobes.com has a lot of very weak links. Almost all of its backlinks have Power*Trust 0. That means most of the websites linking to fittedwardrobes.com do not pass any Power or Trust to the site.

Did fittedwardrobes.com have an unnatural link profile?

 

The next metric we are looking at is the keyword breakdown:

You can see, fittedwardrobes.com built a lot of compound and money keywords.

Let’s check the ratios in detail:

Here we see that 52,5 % of its links have the keyword “fitted wardrobe company reviews”
Wow that’s a lot! Very overdone actually.
As we have set the sitewide links filter to 5, the reason for that high number can’t be the site wide links. Also the keyword “fitted wardrobes” looks quite over optimized.

Let’s look where the links are coming from:
If we just click at the keyword “fitted wardrobe company reviews” the QBL is going to show us all the backlinks of fittedwardrobes.com with this keyword:

 

In this list, we find our old web directory friends again (we already found them in the DTOX report).
All backlinks from the directories are having exactly that same anchor text. That’s not very natural – or what do you think?
If we select the keyword “fitted wardrobes” we get the following results:

WOW– a Wikipedia link

Look! The website also has got a Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wardrobe

Well, that’s the only good link I’ve found so far ;-) I still wonder if that commercial website is the best possible citation for fitted wardrobes, or was just sneaked it.

Let’s look at some more links:

http://heyitsmikey.com/

http://heyitsmikey.com/considerations-to-choose-a-right-fitted-wardrobe/

Ah! Another blog network site! It is very easy to identify blog networks:

  • Look at the navigation points Home, About and Contact – these do not look natural
  • Look at the sidebar. The section “My Links” includes “Cell Phone Center” “Classic Cars” “Kitchen Corner” and so on. All topics are mixed. Looks like paid links.

  • Almost each article has 3 outgoing links (in most blog networks you are allowed to place 3 links, so… what a coincidence…)
  • All links have exact match anchor texts
  • Most of the articles have about 400 words
  • Affiliate banners are there as well

 

Competitive Landscape Analysis on keyword ratios

We don’t want to focus on the toxic or suspicious links alone.

Let’s dig deeper into fittedwardrobes.com link profile by using the Competitive Landscape Analyzer (CLA) for analyzing 5 more keywords:
The steps for using the CLA are the same for each keyword. Therefor I’ll just explain them for the first keyword ”fitted wardrobes”.

As always, we enter the domain we want to analyze, and we’re happy with the quick analysis for now…

Then we use the “Find Competing Pages” function to fetch the competitors:

This tool is going to crawl backlinks from 22 different backlink sources. As we want to look at the domain backlinks, we select “Analyze Domain Backlinks”. To get as many links as possible we pick the “5x Link Boost”.

If you look at the “Metrics” section, you’ll see all the metrics we will get for each link (if you need information based on more or on different metrics, you can run the CLA in “Detailed Mode” and choose between 92 link metrics).

 

One last important step to get accurate values is to set the site wide links filter to 5. This means the tool will count only 5 links per domain.

I guess you think right now “But if I do not count all the sitewide links, I cannot make any conclusion about ALL backlinks.” Well, that’s right but it will be the same for your site and the sides of your competitors and you don’t want excessive site-wides skew that comparison.

The problem is this: Let’s just say a website has only 1 link with the exact anchor text “xyz”. This link is located in the footer of a big website template and this website has got 10.000 subpages. The same website has 100 links (not sitewide ones) with the anchor text “abc”. The anchor text ratio for the keyword “xyz” would be much higher than for the keyword “abc” although the website has much more “real” links (non sitewide links) with the anchor text “abc”. Hence, all the metrics wouldn’t be accurate anymore. You may say “ok, but what about Google? Don’t thy count each link?”

Well, I don’t think so. 1. links are submitting link juice 2. sitewide links are submitting link juice as well just as 3, 4 and maybe 5 sitewide links

But what we have seen in our studies, the times when it was possible to have a good ranking because of having only one or two good sitewide links are gone. On the contrary, last studies have shown, that lots of sitewide links do hurt the ranking rather than help it.
So let’s get back to our CLA report:

As soon as the report is finished, we get a nice overview of the domain and its Top10 competitors for the keyword ”fitted wardrobes”:

Strong competitors and another spam site?

Wow! It looks like fittedwardrobes.com has got very strong competitors! Only Nr. 9 – londonbespokeinteriors.co.uk – has less Power*Trust than fittedwardrobes.com!

londonbespokeinteriors.co.uk has Power*Trust 2 but it is ranking on Nr 9.!? I haven’t seen this many times before, so let’s see what’s going on!

Again, we start a Link Detox report to get a quick overview:

Can you believe that? This site is ranking on Nr. 9 for the keyword ”fitted wardrobes” in google.co.uk, although it has almost no Power*Trust and lots of toxic links!

This website is not the focus of our case study, but let’s look at the backlink profile quickly to maybe find out why this site is ranking that high.

Ok. Please don’t ask me.
I have no idea why this website is ranking for Nr. 9 on google.co.uk! ;-)

If you look at its backlink profile, you see that the website has 100% money keywords!
I have never seen that before!

They also have 94% Power*Trust 0 pages!

Well, in this case, Google really messed up!

One last thing I want to do is to look at the website’s visibility. Although I couldn’t find any redirects, I am pretty sure the site is ranking because of its redirected links.

Well, in this case, Google really messed up!

One last thing I want to do is to look at the website’s visibility. Although I couldn’t find any redirects, I am pretty sure the site is ranking because of its redirected links.

 

The tool could already classify 17 % of all keywords. The rest, we have to classify manually. To get a visible chart we need to classify at least 50% of all the keywords. But pay attention! In order to get accurate numbers we need to classify about 90% of all keywords!

There are 4 main categories of keywords. If you have problems to distinguish between the keyword types, here you find detailed information about how to classify a keyword.

Here you see some examples for keyword classification: “ikea” is a brand keyword for www.ikea.com, “john lewis” is a brand term for www.johnlewis.com. The keyword “website” has to be categorized as “other”. If you would compare some web design companies for instance, the word “website” would be a money keyword (not an “other” keyword).
Generally speaking, it doesn’t necessary have a negative effect for your outcomes if you classify some of the keywords wrong if you classify them for all websites you want to compare in the same way – so the relation is going to stay the same.

Looking at the Power*Trust metric we see that fittedwardrobes.com has twice as much Power*Trust 0 links (85%) than the total average (42%). We can also get detailed information in the table below:

Alright, let’s look at the other 4 keywords:

  • keyword "fitted wardrobes bedrooms"

 

Also here have been built far too many Power*Trust 0 links.

  • keyword "sliding wardrobes"

 

For this keyword, there have been built too many weak links as well. For the keywords "built in wardrobes" and "walk in wardrobes" we got the same results, so I am not going to show you these charts too.

Now we need to have a look at the keyword metric. As you remember, before we categorized all keywords in order to get an accurate keyword metric chart for fittedwardrobes.com.

Here we see that fittedwardrobes.com’s keyword ratio does not fit at all into the link profile distribution of its competitors.
Can this result be O.K.? Let’s check the keywords we’ve categorized already again – maybe we did something wrong.

fittedwardrobes.com is an exact match keyword domain (EMD). Times changed so we are treating exact match keyword domains in the same way like any other domains (because Google does so).

That’s why we categorized the keywords this way:

Well, in my opinion we categorized the keywords the right way.
fittedwardrobes.com is an EMD and sometimes these domains are hard to categorize but if you consistently categorize the keywords in the same way for you and your competitors, the result will be

OK.

As one keyword is not really meaningful, I want to analyze 2 more keywords:

  • keyword "fitted wardrobes bedrooms"

These ratios look even more unnatural than the link profile for the keyword "fitted wardrobes” because here also the money keyword ratio is over the top.

  • keyword "sliding wardrobes"

Also for the keyword "sliding wardrobes" the keyword metric looks very unnatural.

Let’s look at the CNTRY metrics – the hosting locations. As we know, it is important to have the right kind of links from the right websites. This includes having the majority of your links from the country you want to rank for.

  • keyword "sliding wardrobes"

fittedwardrobes.com wants to rank in UK but has most of its backlinks from US websites. Also this country distribution looks very unnatural!

  • keyword "fitted wardrobes bedrooms"

This chart shows almost the same values as in a.). Also the CNTRY ratio for the other keywords looks quite similar. That’s why we are not going to look at them in detail.

Did fittedwardrobes.com have lots of sneaky redirects?

Another important aspect are redirects. Does fittedwardrobes.com have many sneaky redirects hurting it?
We are going to answer this question by looking at the BLP report we created before:

 

To get the numbers of fittedwardrobe.com’s redirects, we simply click at the “Link Status” tab. Here we can see that the website has 6 redirects (1,6 %).
Now we become curious and want to see what kind of links these are. All we have to do is to click the “Redirect” button to get detailed information about them:

If we scroll to the left, we can also check if these redirects are also passing link juice (redirect 301) or not (redirect 302):

What we see: 5 out of 6 redirects are passing link juice.

Let’s get some more information about the particular redirects by simply clicking on them. We are going to start with first entry “http://valuemycar.org/“:

As you can see by means of the redirect checker or simply by clicking on the URL, we get redirected to fittedwardrobes.com.
We see in the table above that all the 6 redirects are coming from only 2 domains: http://valuemycar.org/ and http://www.lookforuk.co.uk. 1 of these redirects does not submit link juice, so there is no need to look at this one in detail.

Let’s carry on with analyzing the other 5 redirects. Therefor we need to run a BLP and a Link Detox report to see if these domains are transferring massive negative power to fittedwardrobes.com.
Now we know that there are 301 redirects from http://valuemycar.org/ to fittedwardrobes.com so actually we need to run a Backlink Profiler and a Link Detox report because maybe this domain is passing massive negative power to fittedwardrobes.com.

Once again, we start a new Backlink Profiler: Enter the URL http://valuemycar.org/, skip the sitewide links, select full link boost and there you go again:

The domain that redirects to fittedwardrobes.com has got almost 15.000 links! To me it looks like someone just redirected a dropped domain or an old project to boost its rankings!

This massive amount of links (almost 15.000) from http://valuemycar.org/ transfers 2/3 of its link juice to the domain fittedwardrobes.com. (from my experience and from projects we did
If have seen that if links are redirected

If we click at the “14,904 Links” button, the LRT gives us the following information:

As we can see, most of these links are sitewide links. But still there are links from 88 pages, 42 domains and 38 topdomains (root level domains).

This is huge! Let‘s take a deeper look, maybe this domain has got lots of quality links that helped fittedwardrobes.com to get good rankings.

First we take a look at http://valuemycar.org’s Power*Trust metric:

Remember: Having Power*Trust 0 is almost as having a PR of 0! So 94% of the backlinks are not doing good.

Again, we see a very unnatural link profile. As you know by now, the backlink profile of a website on its own is not an accurate source in order to see if the link profile of a website is unnatural or not. This question can only be answered by comparing the website’s backlink profile with the backlink profile of the website’s competitors. For that reason we simply run another Competitive Landscape Analyzer (CLA).

Look what I’ve seen while I classifying the keywords:

 

Well, if you are trying to rank for keywords like “fitted wardrobes”, I would not recommend redirecting a totally off topic page like this to your project! (See the anchor texts “Value my car” “how much is my car worth”, e.g.)

I think at this point there is no need to look at any other details more. What we have seen already is that fittedwardrobes.com’s backlinks are of very bad quality and also off topic.

But as I am a very curious person, I want to start another Link Detox report for the domain http://valuemycar.org because if good link juice is getting passed via 301, also bad one will pass. Similar assumptions were made in this case study about the penalty of HOME24 after Penguin 2.0 rolled out. So let’s look if we find some toxic or suspicious links from http://valuemycar.org that would also be toxic for fittedwardrobes.com.

On more time, we start the Link Detox report in “Classic Mode” and get the following result:

Hmm this doesn’t look too good – What do you think? Let’s look at the summery:

Now we can be quite sure that this redirect is more hurting then helping!
Another important aspect: Being part of a link network could also be the reason for de-indexing!
In this case, speaking of de-indexing is not the right term as fittedwardrobes.com got back in the index some hours ago. Therefor I suggest, being part of a link network is not the reason why fittedwardrobes.com got de-indexed as got back to the index again. But let’s check this issue to make sure if I am right or not.

For it, let’s use another tool out of the LinkResearchTool kit: the Juice tool.

Normally, we use the Juice tool to get metrics of lots of links at the same time. The Juice tool will show you up to 93 metrics for your links, so with this tool you are able to get a very nice and clear overview. But this time we are going to use the tool in a different way.

First we need to copy the URL we want to analyze into the “URLS to Analyze” box. By the way, let’s look at both of the URLs (note how we could actually paste in 2.000 URLs or 10.000 with a boost ticket)

 

It is important to run the tool in “Detail Analysis” mode because by doing so we can get much more metrics than by running it in “Quick Analysis” mode:

Because we want to find out about the IP addresses or registration details of the domains, we need to tick the “Domain Registration Details” box and the “Domain Expiry & Registrar details” box and run the report.

Aha! fittedwardrobes.com and http://valuemycar.org are having the same IP address (For some reason the tool was not able to give more details for these domains).

Now we have the IP address, the name of the person who registered the domain, the DNR (Domain Name Registrar) and the DNS (Domain Name Server). With these footprints we can go back to our backlink report and search for it:

So we open the BLP Report we have created before and type in the IP address into the filter box.

9 Pages are coming up. I checked these URLs and found out that all of them are subpages of http://valuemycar.org/. We already knew about that so let’s reset the IP filter and enter the REG Name:

Now we got 14 results. You can see, there is also an IP address with the number “37.26.106.189”.

This domain is running on totally different IPs – very strange (The also have different DNS and DNR Data). Let’s give it another try and do a search using the DNS.

Searching for the DNS brought up the same results as we saw using the IP.
So I think we can stop here – it’s late already and I am tired ;-)

Did fittedwardrobes.com remove some links already?

To be able to find out if some links got removed already we again open the Backlink Report we just looked at:

In order to see if fittedwardrobes.com removed some links after its de-indexing, we just have to re-run this BLP report.

We need to do another report with the same settings but this time we want to see fittedwardrobes.com’s dropped links. Therefor we just select “Dropped Links Handling”:

Choose “Remove Dropped Links” and run the report. Now we can see the numbers of links:

Before the de-indexing, fittedwardrobes.com had 1.378 links. You can also see if a website dropped a lot of the links by using the “Competitive Link Velocity” Tool.

What? The report that was made before the de-indexing found more links than the report that was made after the de-indexing? Well, I guess they got a lot of new links within the last 3-4 days. Let’s see if my presumption is right:

Did fittedwardrobes.com get a lot of new links?

We want to check why fittedwardrobes.com got back into the index. To find out if they got a lot of new links within in the last days we use the “Competitive Link Velocity” (CLV) tool.
The tool works in the same way as almost all the LinkResearchTools so a) enter the URL b) we use the “Find Competing Pages” function (we will use the keyword “fitted wardrobes“) c) we select the option “last 30 days” d) we hit “Run Report”.

After these steps we get the following results:

To get accurate numbers you need to switch to “Domain Popularity”, otherwise the chart also shows you all the site wide links.

Generally speaking, the darker the green fields are, the more links the domains got this day.
So you see they got some new links the last days (maybe because some people like me were writing about it).

If we click on the “Deleted Links” tab, we can also see if links have been removed during the last 30 days:

So we could see, they got some new links and also removed some old ones. But the problem is we don’t know if they disavowed links – so we can’t exactly tell what happened.

Well, I don’t know why the domain was out of the index and came back so quickly, but I found out some major issues:

Conclusion

OK, you may say there are also other reasons for the de-indexing of fittedwardrobes.com!
You are right! So let’s look at some other possibly factors:

What I have to point out is that the reason for the de-indexing can be technical issues on fittedwardrobes.com or even technical issues on Google‘s side.

Maybe fittedwardrobes.com got de-indexed because it was cloaking or had some doorway pages or something like that. But what you could see from the link based analysis; we found once more the very unnatural link profile and the high amount of toxic and suspicious links.
As you could see in the visibility chart, Google already hit this site 2 times (Penguin #3 and Penguin #4). These facts also speak for a linked based issue.

Then finding those obviously paid links by RobinGupta for almost 50% of the backlink profile speak for themselves. If nothing else, THAT would be a reason to penalize the site.

Another big thing that we’ve found are the 301 redirects from the domain http://valuemycar.org to fittedwardrobes.com. Because the power of these links is very low and because http://valuemycar.org has a big amount of toxic and suspicious links, I am quite sure these redirects hurt a lot! If good link juice gets transferred – why shouldn‘t bad link juice get transferred as well?

All these factors have caused the drop in my opinion.

<speculation>
And THEN, maybe they filled in a re-inclusion request, hoping Google would thank them for their e-mail and restore their rankings. Instead, a Google spam engineer looked at the site in their own “deep dive” process and could see what was obvious to see for us now as well… Pure Spam.
</speculation off>

Final note: if something in this post reads like the low quality or spam links were created by the owner that is a misunderstanding. Actually based on the public data that is public, you cannot decide if spammy links were built by current site owners, past site owners or even a competitor (in lieu of a Negative SEO attack).

What do you think?

Thx Harry

This case study was written by Harry Tschuggnall, CLRTP and was reviewed and approved by Christoph C. Cemper for publishing as part of his Certification work for the Certified LRT Xpert level.

What do you think about this Penalty Analysis?

Let us know!

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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 Certified LRT Agency thanks to his extensive knowledge and case-studies published.

Harry Tschuggnall

Harry Tschuggnall
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20 Comments

  1. chris July 2, 2013

    WOW that’s one in depth report and its interesting to see the number of big players that do not have perfect link profile even with BIG budgets being spent

    reply
  2. Clint Butler July 2, 2013

    I guess the next big question is, what would you do now. i.e. If you can’t get the webmasters to remove all the toxic and suspicious links. Do you submit to Google Disavow all of them?

    reply
    • Harry Tschuggnall July 2, 2013

      Hi Client Butler,
      yes if you cant get the links removed can disavow them.

      thx
      harry

      reply
  3. Andy Drinkwater July 2, 2013

    I went to get a coffee when I saw how long this was – Kudos on a fantastic post!

    I am seeing quite a few of these (but not as bad as this) and as long as you aven’t completely p****d Google off, you can pull back out with relative ease. It’s just time consuming.

    Andy

    reply
    • Harry Tschuggnall July 2, 2013

      Hy Andy!
      Glade you liked the post – I also need some cups of coffee to write it :-)

      thx
      harry

      reply
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    reply
  5. don July 2, 2013

    Great report, really in depth..

    One item worth discussing, the impact of directory listings on a website, this seems like such an easy way to target negative seo along with comment spam, that if sites are getting so easily “de indexed” based on these 2 items.

    I am not saying this is purely the case, but the report says “deadly risk” seems like this may be a bit overboard. Would be interesting to take 20 – 40 sites that are in these “directories” to see which ones rank and which ones dont rank.

    Clearly this site was working all of the quick spam techniques.

    reply
    • Harry Tschuggnall July 2, 2013

      Hi Don,
      Yes you are right would be rely interesting to compare some of this sides.
      Maybe I find some time and update the post.

      thx
      harry

      reply
  6. James July 2, 2013

    Impressive analysis, Harry. This must have taken a long time to research and write?

    reply
  7. Justin Taylor July 4, 2013

    Very comprehensive analysis, great work Harry.

    Coincidentally we have recently finished cleaning up the backlink profile of a a good company that employed a bad SEO company and have been hurt badly by Penguin, they had links from over 300 RobinGupta domains plus many other equally poor domains.

    Interestingly the site had not received a manual penalty, just an algorithmic one

    Once again great work

    reply
    • Martin July 4, 2013

      Please taylor when you have positive results later date after cleaning links, write here your experience.
      I also cleaned my comments site links, suspects, etc. and I have not obtained any
      I have no knowledge of any site that will be made after the penguin recovered

      reply
      • Harry Tschuggnall July 5, 2013

        Hi Martin,
        we saw some sides recovering after penguin #1 but its rally hard to say like Justin also mentioned – because sometimes it just is a keyword filter…

        If you are really hit by Penguin 2# you need to wait for the next algo update to see a recovery (John Mueller form Google just recently confirmed that)

        thx
        harry

        reply
    • Harry Tschuggnall July 5, 2013

      Hy Justin,
      yes we also saw many cases like this without getting a manual penalty :-)

      thx
      and have a nice day!

      harry

      reply
  8. Ben Hansen July 11, 2013

    very interesting thanks for the report!

    reply
  9. Dennis February 28, 2014

    Harry this is an awesome article!! Just came across it but still very relevant! What has been your success with the Google disavow process? Does it work or does it raise an additional red flag with Google?

    reply
    • Harry Tschuggnall March 3, 2014

      Hi Dennis,
      we have seen good results using the Disavow File.
      I am sure that it will not raise a red flag with Google!! ;-)

      Thx
      Harry

      reply
  10. @pblomsterberg June 3, 2014

    Pure link spam deep dive case study http://t.co/fYVKZnVQP4

    reply

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