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

WARNING: Steal Your Competitors Search Rankings, Traffic & Income

Resources In The Video

Download Your Backlinks

SEO Tools

Don’t Like Videos? Follow This Instead!

Did your website get hit with penalties from the last Penguin update? This tutorial will show you how to evaluate your backlink profile to check for previous and future penalties.

We’re going to collect all the data required for analysis and use that to make a plan of action to recover from the penalties.

Backlink Profile Spreadsheet

I created my own spreadsheet that has the the backlink profile of two different websites. The columns make it very clear so I can keep track of all the data easily.

I can see clearly what processes I’ve used on either websites, the social media data and keywords which I removed for the video. The backlink data is broken down into two sections – all and indexed links.


The metrics for the backlink data are this:

  1. Total links to the website
  2. % of those links coming from unique domains
  3. % links that match the anchor text
  4. % links that match broad anchor text
  5. % links with no anchor text
  6. % links from deindexed domains
  7. % unindexed links but the domain the link is from is indexed

The metrics for indexed data goes are the same except they’re only for the links that are indexed in Google. I’m assuming Google only cares about the links that are indexed which could give you a heads up on the next Penguin update.

Website 1 Analysis

Website 1 has over 30,000 links but not even half are indexed. 91% of the indexed links have an exact anchor text which is unusually high. The rest of the unindexed links can help lower that percentage.

If you go to the all backlink data, 90% of them have an exact match anchor text which is high as well. Too bad it wasn’t around 20% or else we could have just indexed the links with no exact anchor.

To save website 1, I would create this plan of action:

  1. Index all links that have don’t have an anchor match
  2. Remove or update exact anchor links
  3. Build a balance for generic anchor links for a natural looking profile

Website 2 Analysis

This website is much smaller, with only 191 links with 112 indexed. If you look at the numbers, there is a fairly good mix of broad match, exact match and generic anchors.

So what made this site’s ranking tank?

Take a look at the % links from deindexed domains. 25% is fairly high with Google not trusting 1 out of 4 backlink domains. Care to venture a guess as to what links were used to rank this website?

That’s right – high PR websites. This website was hit with the negative effects of the mass high PR blog deindexation.

Luckily Penguin was not behind this hit so we can build a straight forward recovery plan. I would simply build more links with less of an emphasis to high PR websites and begin tiered link building instead.

How to Analyse Your Own Website

First download all of the backlinks to your website for analysis. There are several tools that can help you do that:

I like to use as many tools as I can so I don’t miss anything. As soon as you got all the URLs, download the excel spreadsheet that I use to sort out your links.

Click on tab 1 and paste in your links there.

site 1

Remove the duplicates and expand the selection.


Next we need to gather some additional information like root domain, anchor text used, status, URL indexed, domain indexed and the page rank of the URL and domain.

To do this, I like to use Scrpebox. Open up Scrapebox and paste the URL list from clipboard.


Click on Trim to Root and export this list. Copy it and paste it in the root domain section of the spreadsheet.

To check the Page Rank, click Check Page Rank and Check Domain Page Rank.

page rank

Click on Export and save as an XLS file. Now to see if the links are indexed, click on Check Indexed and export that again as an XLS document.


Now we need the URL and domain page rank. Clear your list, paste our backlink list again and click Check Page Rank and URL rank.

url rank

Again export both lists as an XLS file and we just have a few more pieces of information to put together.

Remember to name all the XLS documents appropriately so we can differentiate them easily later on!

Open up a text file and paste our links of backlinks into there. Save it and open up another one with just the our actual URL.  Back in Scrapebox, tick the Check Links and open up your website in “Website” and the list of backlinks in “Blog List.” Click Start to begin checking links.


Export and save it again as an XLS document. Now that we got all the information we need, it’s time to export all of that into our spreadsheet.

These are the steps to fill in the anchor text, links to and the status columns:

  1. Open your links found spreadsheet
  2. Type “=vlookup(” in the links to column in our spreadsheet
  3. Click on the backlink in the first column of the links found sheet for the label to pop up – something like A2 and add another comma
  4. Go to the second sheet with the links found and highlight all the sections
  5. Type comma, 2 for the column with the links to, false and a bracket to close

links to

For the anchor text, copy the code and paste it under the anchor text column. Change the 2 in the code to a 3 and repeat the process and change the 3 to a 4 for the status. Highlight the three columns and double click to fill it out.

anchor status links to

The last four columns are filled in the same way. Type in the same code as earlier with =vlookup( except now open the indexed URLs spreadsheet and highlight those columns. Finish it off with false and a bracket like before.

Repeat this process for the rest of the columns for domain indexed, URL page rank and domain page rank. When you’re all done, it should look something like this.

complete list

Now that we’re all done filling out the necessary information, hold select A to highlight everything and then select C to copy it all. Right click, select Paste Special and choose Values. That will turn all our formulas with actual values.

Next we need to delete the backlinks that no longer link to our site. Click Status and then Filter. We want to uncheck “Found” and click OK.


After it filters, highlight everything and delete it since they are the links that don’t link to the website anymore. Go back up to Filter, click Found again and this will bring back all of our live links.

We can finally start filling out our spreadsheet!

Enter in the keywords, click on “# Links Exact Match Keyword”  and replace the red text with your keyword. Do the same for broad match and anywhere else that is red and says “Insert Keyword.”

insert keyword

To find out how many root domains we have, go to the spreadsheet with our backlink profile, highlight it, copy and paste it into another sheet and remove duplicates.

After removing any duplicates, highlight the Root Domain column all the way down to find out how many we have and enter that number back into our analysis spreadsheet.

To find the indexed root domains, go back to the spreadsheet and filter the domain index by those with Yes. Highlight those to see how many we have and enter it into our analysis spreadsheet again.

Now all the correct data is in and our spreadsheet should be completely filled out for website 1.

all data

Now we need to hide all the numbers columns that start with a hash so highlight those and right click to select Hide.


Finally we have all our spreadsheet filled out with the right information. Let’s take a look to see what our backlink profile tells us.

This website is currently ranked on page 1 of Google so it should have some good results. Here’s the analysis so far:

  • 132 links, 46 indexed
  • 11% exact match anchor
  • 6% broad match
  • 83% generic terms
  • 7% links come from deindexed domain

So from these numbers, you can tell this profile is overall pretty decent. My only recommendation is to start indexing the current links since there’s only 46 out of 132 indexed so far.

The Importance of Your Backlink Profile

I’ll make this spreadsheet available to download under the video along with the sample links I used in this tutorial.

You can even use it to analyze other aspects as well like the top keywords and their anchor text percentages.

It’s really important to keep your backlink profile up to date so it doesn’t get hit with penalties and this spreadsheet is really useful for seeing how your site can be improved or figure out why you did get a penalty.

WARNING: Steal Your Competitors Search Rankings, Traffic & Income

Resources In The Tutorial

Download Your Backlinks

SEO Tools

126 Responses

  1. Wajahat Raja

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

  2. Wajahat Raja

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

  3. 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?

    • August 16th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

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

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

    • August 17th, 2012 at 9:54 am

      OK now I saw it 😉 Thanks Matthew.

  4. Robert Lam

    Is there a software that do all this automatically?

    • August 17th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      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.

    • Spencer Padway
      September 12th, 2012 at 6:34 am

      You can go to 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.

    • September 13th, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      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) ^^

    • Joseph Chambers
      November 6th, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      When are you thinking that will happen?

  5. 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.

    • September 10th, 2012 at 6:50 am

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      Excel is the daddy for things like this ^^

  6. Spencer Padway

    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.

    • September 13th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      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 :)

  7. 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 :(

    • September 17th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      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 ( 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.

  8. Andrew Thomson

    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?

    • September 19th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      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!

  9. 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.

    • October 4th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      I have 50 semi dedicateds from 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.

  10. Jack Brutschin

    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.

    • November 2nd, 2012 at 9:44 am

      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

  11. David Purcell

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

    • December 13th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

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

  12. Alice Chen

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

  13. 12.30.2012

    Hey Matt,

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

    • January 4th, 2013 at 12:14 am

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

      • January 4th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

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

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

        • April 15th, 2013 at 8:34 pm

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

          • April 16th, 2013 at 7:19 am

            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.

          • May 7th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

            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

          • May 9th, 2013 at 9:18 am


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

          • February 2nd, 2014 at 9:41 pm

            Can also not access the excel file, already fixed?

          • February 3rd, 2014 at 10:02 am

            Yeah what problems are you having?

  14. 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.

  15. Mark

    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?

    • March 8th, 2013 at 12:08 pm


      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!

  16. 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

  17. 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.

    • April 8th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      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.


    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?


    • April 15th, 2013 at 7:45 am


      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 – s**** creek, nay paddle.

  19. Diego

    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!!!

    • April 19th, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Diego,

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

      I’ll tell you whats crackin :)

      • April 23rd, 2013 at 7:45 am

        Hi Matthew,

        Here is the image of the %, thank you!

        • April 25th, 2013 at 9:20 am


          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.


    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?

  21. extremeluck

    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.

  22. Walter

    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?


    • April 25th, 2013 at 9:16 am

      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

  23. 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!

    • May 24th, 2013 at 8:38 am

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

  24. 5.23.2013

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

  25. Karyn

    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?


  26. 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

    • June 11th, 2013 at 10:10 am

      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 😛 )

  27. dikkill

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

  28. 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?

    • June 24th, 2013 at 9:03 am


      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

  29. 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?

    • July 16th, 2013 at 8:01 am


      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

  30. 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? : (

  31. 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.

    • July 15th, 2013 at 7:33 am


      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

  32. Matt

    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,


    • September 2nd, 2013 at 2:48 pm

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

      • November 13th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

        Got it! Thanks man.

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

        • November 14th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

          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.

  33. Emma

    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?

    • September 8th, 2013 at 2:50 pm

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

  34. Sam, Candlemaker

    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.

    • September 21st, 2013 at 10:32 am


      I’m not qualified to answer that question sorry

  35. 10.10.2013

    DOH! Its ok Matt, I used the wrong file 😀

  36. 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?

  37. Duncan

    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?


    • October 18th, 2013 at 11:16 am


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

  38. 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!

    • November 1st, 2013 at 11:28 am

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

  39. Ray

    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 and (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!

  40. 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?

    • November 19th, 2013 at 7:34 pm

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

  41. 12.4.2013

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

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 1.31.2014


    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.


  45. 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.

  46. Andy

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

  47. 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 :)

    – Vikas Kumar

  48. 6.3.2014

    Hi Matt, I’m really glad I found this post. It helped me out a lot. Regarding the spreadsheet, what exactly do you mean by “link process”? Are they just different types of backlinking tactics and strategies?

    • June 3rd, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Yeah I have different strategies with different names to refer to them

  49. 10.2.2014

    I’m trying to stay away from buying links and stuff, hopefully I’ll be rewarded sooner or later with high rankings. 😀

  50. 10.20.2014

    Excellent tutorial, thank you!

  51. John

    Great Stuff Matthew. The one thing I was wondering about if there is any software that can give you a percentage of the different parts of anchor text groups e.g. Phrase, exact, brand etc… I guess no software can categorize your anchor text into groups like this it will need some human interaction. But would be nice if you can take all your anchor text and put into a spreadsheet and it tells you you got 50%phrase, 5% exact etc…This would be really useful.

  52. akwin

    is there any way to analyse bad backlinks by 1 software automatically?

    • February 16th, 2015 at 7:43 am

      You could look at linkresearchtools if you’ve got the money

  53. 7.8.2015

    You share some great stuff Matthew. And I do love the way you use autoresponders etc. to get people back to your older posts too. High five. There’s a lesson to be learned for everyone just in the way you operate yourself! 😉

    • July 8th, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Thanks Paul – just trying to make the most of my time :)

  54. Atinder

    Well, penguin is dangerous, specially for those who are not aware of Good Link building strategies. They can get hit by this algorithm update quite easily and recovery for them is also very difficult. Being faced this scenario in my blogging career, I can easily understand the pain of recovering a blog from Penguin penalty, as it can months to remove bad backlinks and then, wait for the penguin refresh, sot hat our blog gets free from penalty. Anyways, I must say, the post is quite good, well written. Thumps Up for this.

    • August 10th, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      No problem, sorry to hear you had problems but I bet you learnt an awful lot and are stronger for it!

  55. 8.28.2014


    Thanks :)

    1) Obviously moving to a new country without knowing the language first has its challenges, but theres no problem that can’t be solved

    2) Yes a lot lot lot cheaper, cost of living is around 20%

  56. 8.30.2014

    thanks bud! looking at flights now!

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