How To Analyse Your Backlink Profile To Recover From Penguin

How To Analyse Your Backlink Profile To Recover From Penguin

If your site has a penalty at the moment then this post will help you work out what’s going on and how to recover.

A lot of people have no idea what they need to do when their site receives a penalty. I find lots of people on forums offering what they consider solid advice without actually knowing what the problem is.

To properly diagnose a penalty you need to know exactly what the problem is. Once you know that, getting out of the penalty is very straight forward.

I created a personal spreadsheet to help diagnose backlink penalties quickly which can be used to create a plan of action moving forward.

I have made a video showing you around the spreadsheet and how to use it to diagnose your own sites. You can dowload the template underneath the video.

What You Will Learn

  1. How to analyse backlink based penalties quickly & easily
  2. How to collect all of the required data
  3. How to setup my backlink analysis spreadsheet template
  4. How to use the data to create a positive & focused plan of action

Click Here to Read the Transcript

Resources In The Video

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110 Responses

Wajahat Raja
8.8.2012

Hello Matthew,
Great Analysis. Can you add the download link to the spreadsheet. It's apparently missing.

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Wajahat Raja
8.8.2012

Oh Sorry Got it. Missed the last line. Download links appeared once shared.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Let me know if you need anything else :)

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8.16.2012

Another superb video by Matthew. Can you add the download link for the spreadsheet? It is missing like the download links on all the Tiered Linking tutorials are as well. And last but not least you mentioned in the beginning that you can change wiki sites. But how are you going to change a couple hundred wikis to show another anchor text? I guess you will not do this by hand do you? So the question is, what kind of software do you use for this task?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

The download links are there, your just not reading hard enough :P

Doing it by hand doesn't take that long, or you could use a VA or do something with ubot/zenno

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Mammut Medien Reply:

OK now I saw it ;-) Thanks Matthew.

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Robert Lam
8.17.2012

Is there a software that do all this automatically?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Unfortunately not, there is nothing that can go out to every available link source and compile the data in this manner. It's very much a custom solution based on what I want to see.

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Spencer Padway Reply:

You can go to LinkResearchTools.com They have some amazing link analysis software. Unfortunately, it is meant for people who are doing tons of link analysis and costs $240 for the base package and I think around $500 just to unlock basic usage of all the tools.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

I have a better of way of doing things coming soon ;)

I can't see myself paying the costs of Link Research Tools ever no matter how many backlinks I had (and I have a lot) ^^

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Joseph Chambers Reply:

When are you thinking that will happen?

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9.5.2012

honestly this is superb, EXACTLY what I needed. I think most people doing SEO don't see the value in this, but as someone who's been at this for awhile, this is much more important than any offpage SEO because this research should be made extensively for each keyword/niche before even building 1 link. There is another blogger creating an online app or whatever that does this but it's in beta and not released yet. However, this is free and ultimately better imo.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for your kind words.

Excel is the daddy for things like this ^^

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Spencer Padway
9.12.2012

I really enjoy your videos, the content has been great. One thing is I wish sometimes you would slow down or explain things, as youtube can be hard to see, especially when watching on a phone. When you say things like "double click here" and move on very fast, it makes it incredibly hard to follow. The sequel to this video should be more information on what to do with these results. Now that we can compile them, what should we look for and what looks "natural" to Google.
Thanks for the vids.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Spencer,

Thanks for the feedback I will take that into consideration with future videos, I hadn't considered people might be watching via a phone.

If you need to know what is 'natural' to Google, complete the same analysis for the top 3-5 results in your niche and see how they stack up against you :)

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9.17.2012

Hi Matthew,
A great video that was very useful. Do ever look at the diversity of links? Any tips on doing this? I use MajesticSEO which doesn't show the link diversity like ahrefs does :(

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Jack,

Not really no – I build my campaigns from the ground up to tackle diversity but even so I like to keep things simple and as far as I'm concerned a good backlink = a link that is indexed in Google regardless of whether thats a social bookmark or a wiki post.

I did a video this week for Terry Kyle's Sunday SEO subscribers (http://sundayseo.net/) that shows the tool I'm using to monitor/track my backlink platform that will provide you with that information in the next update they are working on now.

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Andrew Thomson
9.18.2012

Hi – This is great stuff. Would a high percentage of links that were not indexed be a low quality signal (something that would kill rankings) as well?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

I dont think so personally but can't say for 100% sure either way.

What I know as fact though is a link from a deindexed domain is bad. A link from a page that isn't indexed but the domain is indexed is far better!

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10.4.2012

Where do you get your proxies from? I use Proxy Goblin (elite filtered) but when checking PR and index, I get results for about 50 out of 300. If I turn proxies off I get around 150 (top half of the list) but really I need to analyse the whole list.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

I have 50 semi dedicateds from http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/BuyProxies which never seem to stall when updating PR/index status for ~50k links at a time via Inspyder Backlink Monitor.

I used to use Squidproxies but their 'dedicated' proxies were awful and showing results as you have with proxy goblin.

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Jack Brutschin
10.29.2012

I tried to apply this knowledge over here in the Netherlands. But my excel version isn't accepting this system due to different signs, like ; and , etc. I decided to import everything into Google docs and now it works perfectly. Thanks for the great info.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Jack,

Strange those symbols don't work as they are pretty standard in the formula syntax :S

Glad you got it working though =D

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David Purcell
12.11.2012

The media fire link is now dead for violation of terms.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Will resolve shortly, looknig for alternative hosters – do you know of any?

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Alice Chen
12.23.2012

I use an entire list of business directories, http://directoryready.com/list/business-directories/ , so it'd be nice to analyze where the traffic is coming in from sometimes.

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12.30.2012

Hey Matt,

I lost the excel spreadsheet file template. Is there anyway to download it again?

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Mike Buyco Reply:

I’ve already tweeted and share this in facebook. I still can’t get it back. The last time I only tweeted it.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Working on a fix, works when im logged in as admin :S

Sent you an email with the link in the mean time :)

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David Reply:

Matthew, I twitted and shared the link on facebook, and I still dont have the download link for the excel spreadsheet. Please help.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Strange – will investigate.

Can you send me an email please, normally I would just send them to you but I’m out of the office at the moment.

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Tom Reply:

Hi Matthew,

Excellent video, I too have tweeted link but I cannot see a download link for the spreadsheet. Could you please email me the link? Many Thanks. Tom

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Ahh working on a fix now – in your email :)

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remco Reply:

Can also not access the excel file, already fixed?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Yeah what problems are you having?

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1.16.2013

Another great tutorial Matthew. Thanks so much for the spreadsheet – it will prove usefull in my current project.

I would have some questions to you, if you don’t mind ;)

1. Is it possible that a single page got hit by Penguin but other pages of the same domain not? I started to analyse one page I need to work on in the next weeks and it has a pretty awfull history – 100% exact match anchors (about 1000 links), all coming from PR0 domains, lots of them are deindexed. Simply put – the dirtiest spam. Of course the page does not rank for its keyword. My question is – is it Penguin or some regular filter?

2. Do you know any free tool that can bulk check the anchor texts for me? I managed to do all the things you mentined in the video with free tools but I don’t know any free tool which checks the anchor.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Maciek,

Glad you enjoy it!

1. Yes that is possible

2. Not that I’m aware of but check http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tips/the-best-free-seo-tools-internet-marketing-software/

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Mark
3.8.2013

I’ve heard that it’s very difficult- if not impossible- to remove penalties. The usual advice I see is to delete the domain and start over unless the site is incredibly valuable. Sounds like you’ve been able to successfully remove penalties– is that right? Where would you draw the line in terms attempting to recover versus starting over?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Yes that ‘usual’ advice is offered by inexperienced SEO’s. I would draw the line at never starting over unless it is a churn and burn site which well, was always going to get slapped from day 1 so mehh!

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3.11.2013

Bit off topic, but which plugin did you use to create the social media gateway for your downloads? I’ve been battling with wplike2get all day and hoping there’s an alternative. Thanks, Matt

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Hi Mark. I have read the transcript and PLEASE excuse the noob question, I get most of this but seem to be lost on this point — of are you saying once we have found a large percentage of damaging links (I went overboard on Build My Rank + when I wasn’t looking a crapload of sloggers did a lot of damage) … are you using the Disavow Tool here in this process? Is this not a good idea? Sorry Matt if this indicates I missed the main point, and sorry to take yr time.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Tim,

I would say removing the links is better and well worth the effort. BMR give you the one click option to remove links across their entire network.

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BOUNCINGNRG
4.12.2013

Great vid, im not sure if I missed it, but what would a plan of action be if a site as a high % of links from de-indexed domains? Ask the owner of the site to remove them I gues but what else, set about a massive linking campain to dilute that number?

Cheers
Mark

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Get the links removed, be polite/nice about it – the majority of link removal requests are aggressive and threatening, these people pay upto £100 for their link to be removed.

The kind/polite guys pay nothing.

If that doesn’t work you can send DMCA takedowns to the host and the person if you own the content, if you don’t – shits creek, nay paddle.

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Diego
4.19.2013

Hi Matthew,

Thanks for the nice tutorial, I did everything of the tutorial but now with the spreadsheet completed and the results I do not know how to read it well. Can you write down 2 different sites % to see how them look:

1. Healthy site
2. Penguin penalized site

In case the site is penalized,What is the best approach to detect the links that are worst in order to try remove them?

Thank you!!!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Diego,

Post a screen shot of your %’s – use imgur.com to host the image.

I’ll tell you whats crackin :)

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Diego Reply:

Hi Matthew,

Here is the image of the %, thank you!

http://i.imgur.com/bB74Crb.jpg

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

I would say the top one is looking like its heading towards penguin territory.

A good thing to do the same analysis for the number 1, 2 and 3 ranked site to see how yours measures up against them and what is ‘natural’ in your specific niche.

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BOUNCINGNRG
4.19.2013

Finished the analysis, *gulp* 32% are from non indexed domains. It looks like quite a few from when I was using senuke, so I’m going to try and get the domains indexed with gsa – guest post or may-be a fiverr xrumer gig – what do u think?

And about 20% of these non indexed domains are from a forum that I used to use a lot, but weirdly it’s from test pages, it looks like every single post, there is a duplicate test post, weird, don’t know what I can do about that, I’m guessing is a type of back up for the forum?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Were the domains ever indexed to begin with?

If they have being deindexed you should be looking to remove the links.

Watch http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/the-ultimate-guide-to-tiered-link-building-part-5/ for indexing tips.

Get in touch with the forum owner and explain to him how having that duplicate content is holding his site back in the SERPS – he’ll fix it quicker than you can blink!

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extremeluck
4.23.2013

Hi Matt,

Why does the video show up in such a low resolution? I mean when I fullscreen it I can`t really read what you are doing. Something simillar to 240p.

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extremeluck Reply:

I checked other videos and they are the same. They weren`t like this before or I think I just seen them on your youtube channel on 1080p.
What`s up with that?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

They have being like that for months, since this in fact http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/experiments/case-study-how-to-increase-video-conversion/

I’ll be publishing the results of that tomorrow :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Because of what I have setup through http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/experiments/case-study-how-to-increase-video-conversion/

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Walter
4.23.2013

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for these great tutorials, I’m really glad to see there is one legit SEO blog out of all the non sense out there, you really have won my trust.

I have a question about ranking for many long competition and low traffic keywords that are fairly easy to rank for. I have used the method in your videos and it has seemed to work quiet well.

But since I have a lot of other keywords I want to rank for, I really don’t want to spend writing articles and then spinning them manually as it takes a long time. Is it okay to use the same spintax for building links to other keywords as well? Or do you actually create unique spins for every keyword you’re building links for?

Thanks.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Walter,

No worrys :) Plenty more to come!

I apply each run of the tiered link building process to one page of a site which might target 3-8 keywords.

Feel free to mix it up though :) But thats how I do it

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5.23.2013

Great tutorial Matthew, I downloaded that excel addon from SEOTools and plan on buying all of the tools necessary to get the job done. I’ll buy through your link as well since you give away so much free information you probably could of wrapped up in an information course, you rock bro!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks very kind of you – yeah I could of made a paid course, but meh! lol

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5.23.2013

Great tutorial Matthew, I just downloaded the excel addon and plan on getting the other tools that you recommend as well.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

no worrys :)

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Karyn
6.6.2013

Like others have mentioned, great video with really interesting information. Is there a company/person, using your methods – spreadsheet, that can produce this report as as paid for service?

Thanks

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Yes – me. Except I do a whole lot more than that ^^

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6.11.2013

Hi Matt,

Fantastic video (and accompanying spreadsheet). You’ve made everything really quite simple here and it’s shed light on a site that I’ve been pondering on for a while – top stuff.

Near the beginning of this tutorial you pointed out that tiered link building might be the way to go for one of the sites in your example – That seems to be similar to the problem I’ve got with a site (based on your spreadsheet)…. I’m still keen to get your views on services offered by companies such as SEOlutions – they do a “paint it white” tiered package. I would love to do it myself (as in your other tutorials), as then I know exactly what I’m getting, but don’t currently have the time.

Anyway, top stuff – Thanks again

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Cheers Alex!

Just remember anyone you hire to do SEO for you has more control over the success of your business than you do.

Be careful who you trust with that (I only trust me :P )

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dikkill
6.12.2013

Always up to date top sh*t!Keep them coming Matt :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Rollin Rollin Rollin’

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6.22.2013

Hi Matt, brilliant information.

Some questions…

1. when using seo/moz and majesticseo should fresh index or historic index be used to find backlinks?

2. when downloading links from Google Webmaster Tools and Bing are ALL backlinks used or just those to the root domain or relevant landing page. ie. in Google WMT do you use the list from “Who links the most” or from a selected url in “Your most linked content”- ie.. homepage.

3. How are ‘de-indexed’ pages found if they they are NOT in the Google or Bing index?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

1) Both

2) Downloading them in a csv pulls them all

3) You mean how do the tools find them? By following links from other websites – same way Google finds them and chooses whether to include them in the index or not

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6.24.2013

Hi Matt,

Just to confirm.

If I want to check the index page of my website. I can get backlinks ONLY to my index page from Bing and also Majestic (and I think moz), but from WMT I can only get actual backlinks to all pages of my domain.

The only way to get backlinks to the index page from WMT gives me a list of the referring domains and NOT the referring urls. (unless I cannot see the option to get that) So should I use the referring domain option or just use Bing and Majestic where the data seems clearer. The number of backlinks showing in WMT to my root domain is 4,000+ whereas the total number of backlinks to the entire website (including the referring page BUT also including all website pages is 10,000+ – although only 7,000+ get downloaded).
So… how to I get the referring pages/urls to ONLY my root domain?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Just download all the backlinks, then look up the data to see if they are still live, where they link to and what anchor text. You can then use excel filters to look at the link to a specific page.

See the tutorial for more details

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Dee
7.12.2013

This information is gold, thank you very, very much!!!

But I guess I’m an idiot with poor eyesight, because I can’t figure out how to download the spread sheet. I Liked and plus-oned the page, but what I assume is the download link isn’t live. I tried refreshing the page, no luck. Is there something I’m missing? : (

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Sorry about that, sent you an email with it!

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7.14.2013

Thanks Matthew,

Great video. I also removed links that lost there PR rank and become PR 0 from PR 4- or 2.

What is your opinion regarding footer and site wide links?
I prefer to remove them or mark them as NO FOLLOW with brand name insted of money KW.
THanks

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Yeah I would nofollow them and brandname them up ^^

OR if you are in full control over them, leave them as they are but only have 1 on the homepage

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Matt
9.2.2013

Has anybody else had trouble exporting the URL Indexed file? Whenever I do it I get just a list of URLs, but no indication whether each URL is indexed or not.

Thanks in advance,

Matt

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Yeah they changed it, instead export just the indexed (or unindexed) ones to a text file

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Matt B Reply:

Got it! Thanks man.

I think a tutorial on bringing a site back would be awesome. *cough, cough. :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Unfortunately thats nearly impossible to do. Every site is different and has very unique problems – there isn’t a one size fits all solution =\

Although out of the sites I have worked on, they all had serious on site issues. And all the site owners blamed the backlinks.

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Emma
9.4.2013

Hi Matt, you mentioned:”I would say removing the links is better and well worth the effort. BMR give you the one click option to remove links across their entire network.” How do I do that? I thought BMR is closed already and how can I even login to do that?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

That was a very long time ago – drop the support team an email and see what they can do for you.

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Sam, Candlemaker
9.21.2013

Hi Matt,

Thank you for the great video. I loved it so much. Anyway, have a question, regards the images that you just compiled it from Google. Normally, images have copyright issues. How come you just select randomly and put it in articles without purchasing it?

Hope you can share your comments on this matter.

I am newbie to this online stuffs.

Thank you and appreciate answer.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

I’m not qualified to answer that question sorry

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Ian
10.10.2013

DOH! Its ok Matt, I used the wrong file :D

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hahaha sods law :P

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10.16.2013

In the video you mentioned that the only thing you would do is index the de-intexed links since everything else looked good.

How would you index the de-indexed links?

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Duncan
10.16.2013

Hi Matt,

Maybe I’m being daft but it seems the ‘keyword’ box on the spreadsheet only allows for one keyword so i would have to repeat the process for each page I want to check, is this correct?

Cheers

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Yes for each ‘page’ but you could have multiple rows for the same page with different keywords

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Tom
11.1.2013

Returns a vlookup error following the steps, N/A, at about 11.45 mins. I know it’s something simple. Literally tearing my hair out right about now!

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Tom Reply:

I wasn’t specifying the column. Now I feel dumb. It’s been a long week. Great tutorial by the way!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hahaha I know that feeling!

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Ray
11.18.2013

Hey Matthew. Been following your tiered backlinking process with great interest. Unfortunately, before I could even begin, one of my sites got hit by Penguin 2.1 (there were sudden drops on 10/4) and its rankings went from the 10s to not even being on Google’s radar (the site’s subpages still exist, though).

I ran your spreadsheet analysis and came up with a weird result where my exact match domain were 0% for both all backlink data and indexed backlink data so I was careful about that (is that too low?), and my % of links on deindexed domains is only 5%. But I have a lot of links coming from only a few social bookmarking sites like bookmark4you.com and ttlink.com (I made a huge mistake with Socialadr by overly adding them) so my % unique root domains is only 15%. Anyways, I’m at a loss at what to do. Is there anything I should look out for besides what’s included in your video (i.e., besides exact match domain and deindexed domains) like too many backlinks with low PR or too many backlinks coming from only a few domains?

Anyways, I’ve included an Imgur of the spreadsheet below. Thanks so much!

http://i.imgur.com/JWWIiQD.jpg

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

You could run your links through something like http://www.linkdetox.com/ to get a more detailed analysis.

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11.18.2013

Hi Matthew

Can you explain how using the different backlink checkers you suggest and a few others each one comes up with 1) a different total number of backlinks and 2) different individual backlinks?

Is Google therefore the definitive backlink reference tool?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

They all have their own database / crawlers – there isn’t a single definition reference.

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12.4.2013

I like your blog, the way you are presenting the posts, its admirable. Keep it up.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks Raees!

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1.15.2014

Extremely impressed with the article, thanks a lot Matthew.

I think when a site drops in ranking the tough thing is never knowing if it was the backlinks or other factors. I noticed that the website used in the example has completely tanked out of the rankings for that keyword. Do you have any kind of suggestion as to why? Seems Google rankings are ephemeral thing.

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1.15.2014

Extremely impressed with the article, thanks a lot Matthew.

I think when a site drops in ranking the tough thing is never knowing if it was the backlinks or other factors. I noticed that the website used in the example has completely tanked out of the rankings for that keyword. Do you have any kind of suggestion as to why? Seems Google rankings are an ephemeral thing.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Well first you would use something like http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tips/how-to-check-which-google-algorithm-update-penalised-your-site/

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1.31.2014

Matt,

Is there a tool that checks your backlink profile to check if any of your backlinks have been deindexed. Obviously you could do this manually but I was wondering if there is a legitiimate service that might do this?

Essentially, if one of your backlinks goes from a pr 3 to a pr n/a, you know they got hit with something. It would be awesome if there was a service that notified you so you could remove that backlink.

-Will

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

I don’t think so to be honest – I don’t think they even tell you when they are indexed so =\

I think you could use http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/reviews/inspyder-backlink-checker-tool-review/ to create custom alerts for that sort of stuff though.

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2.7.2014

Thanks for the video. Funny how your example of your site #2 is exactly what happened to one of my site, right around the end of March 2012.

FYI the link to SEOMoz is broken.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks for the heads up!

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3.10.2014

Wow, impressive, thank Matt for a very outstanding video and transcript

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

No worrys!

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4.11.2014

Hello Mat,

I have been a big fan of you and have been following you from a long period of time. Now, what I wanted to ask was that I am clear with the formula that you used in your spreadsheet. Can you please write it down here with a little description :)

Thanks
- Vikas Kumar

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

You don’t need to do anything with formulas

Reply

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