Backlink Profile Analysis Made Easy – How To Recover From Penguin

If your site has a penalty at the moment then this backlink profile analysis tutorial 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. You can find that out with a quick google penalty check.

Once you know that – fixing it is pretty straight forward.

I created a personal spreadsheet to help with backlink profile analysis 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 download my backlink profile analysis template underneath the video.

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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 profile analysis spreadsheet template
  4. How to use the data to create a positive & focused plan of action


Backlink Profile Analysis Video Transcript

Hi guys Matthew Woodward here with a new video that will teach you how to analyse your backlink profile for current and potential penalties in the future.

You’re going to learn how to analyse backlink based penalties quickly and easily. How to collect all of the data that we need to complete the analysis. How to import this data into my backlink analysis spreadsheet template and how to use this data to create a positive plan of action to move forward.

So let’s get straight into things with a quick tour of the spreadsheet I created. I have the backlinks of 2 sites plugged into this spreadsheet which provides me with all sorts of actionable data.

I’m always testing and developing my backlink process so the link process column helps me keep track of exactly which process I have used on which site. I also have the keyword in the general section which I have removed for the purpose of this video.

I also like to keep track of social data such as likes, tweets and votes on Google+

I break the backlink data down into 2 parts, all backlink data and then the same metrics just for just indexed links.

These metrics are-

The total amount of backlinks pointing to the site or page
What percentage of those links come from unique domains
What percentage of those links are the exact match anchor text such as pay day loans
The percentage of those links that use a broad match anchor such as cheap pay day loans online
The percentage of links that have no anchor match such as your URL or generic anchors like click here
The percentage of links coming from deindexed domains
The percentage of links that are not indexed but the actual domain the link is coming from is indexed

In the red section you can see the similar metrics only for the backlinks that are currently indexed in Google.

The reason it is broken down like this is because I’m making the assumption that Google ranks site based on the indexed backlinks it knows about and doesn’t count any efforts from links that aren’t indexed.

This could be used to give you the heads up on an upcoming penguin based penalty.

Both of the sites on this spreadsheet have different problems based on their backlink profiles.

So let’s take a closer look at site 1 first, it has over 3,000 links but only 966 of them are indexed at the moment. Looking at the percentage of indexed links with exact match anchor we can see that is unnaturally high at 91%.

Perhaps some of those 2,000 unindexed links could be used to save our skin and lower that percentage. If we come across to the % links exact match anchor text in the all backlink data columns we can see its sat at 90%. It would of been nice to see this figure sat at closer to 20% because then all we would have to do is index all the backlinks that don’t include our exact match anchor, no dice this time though.

If you haven’t figured it out already we can clearly see the site is going to be hit by penguin if it hasn’t been hit already.

As a plan of action to save this site I would-

First of all I would make sure all of the links that have no anchor match are indexed and that would be these 10 percent here
I’d then see if there are any opportunities to bulk remove or update the links with exact match anchors, for example most of the sites linking to this site are wiki links that can easily be edited.
I would then look to put together a plan of action to build x amount of links with generic anchor texts until these percentages look more natural

So lets move onto the 2nd site.

This has a much smaller link sample of just 191 links of which 112 are indexed. The exact match anchor percentage isn’t fantastic but it’s not high enough to trip a penalty either at the time of publishing this video. In fact there is a pretty good mix of exact match anchors, broad match anchors and generic anchors.

So what is it caused this site to drop like stone in the serps?

The clue lies in the percentage of links from deindexed domains. At 25% that is pretty high, that means google explicitly states they do not trust the domains of 1 in 4 backlinks.

Can anyone hazard a guess at what types of links were used to rank the 2nd site?

You guessed it, it was high PR blog networks.

This site tanked around the time of the mass high PR blog network deindexation which included everything from ALN to private networks. This created a huge negative velocity in links and trust that was flowing to the site overnight, and just like that the rankings disappeared.

Knowing that penguin is not to blame I can come up with a pretty straight forward plan of action to recover the site. It’s just a case of building more links to it with less of a reliance on high PR blog networks and move it over to the tiered link building process instead.

I hope you can see the benefit in taking the time to put a spreadsheet like this together, it really does make things very easy to work out and move forward positively.

To analyse your own website the first thing you need to do is download all of the backlinks pointing to the page that you want to analyse.

All we want to end up with is a raw list of the URLs.

My first point of call is the SEOMoz Open Site Explorer, if you do not have a subscription you can get a 30 day free trial which you can use to grab your links, the link for the trial is underneath the video on my blog.

I also have a subscription to Ahrefs.com which I prefer to use over MajesticSEO. If you don’t have a subscription, the free account will give you some of your backlinks.

SEO Spy Glass is part of the SEO Power Suite and that will go out and hunt down your sites backlinks from a range of sources.

You can also log into Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Site explorer to download link samples.

I prefer to download my backlinks from as many places as possible to make sure I haven’t missed any, the more accurate your source data is, the more accurate your final analysis will be.

Once you have a raw list of the URL’s you can move onto the next step.

Download the template spreadsheet from the post on my blog and open it up. Come over to the site 1 tab down here, paste in your list of backlinks.

Once you’ve done that come up to data and remove duplicates, expand the selection and remove duplicates and just hit on ok.

Once you’ve done that we then need to get the additional points of data that you can see up here. They include the root domain, where the backlink actually links to, the anchor text that’s used, whether the backlink is still there or has been deleted, if the actual URL is indexed, if the actual domain is indexed, what the URL page rank is and what the domain page rank is.

To get all of this data I’m going to use scrapebox. The first thing that you want to do is import your url list and paste it from the clipboard. Then trim to root. Now export this URL list and copy it to your clipboard and paste it into the root domain section.

We are also going to check the page rank for these domains here. To do that click check page rank, check domain page rank. I’ll resume this video once this process is finished. When that’s finished you will have all of the page rank values for the domains here. Just click on export, export as xls and save it as domainpr.

Next we want to check if these domains are indexed or not so we just hit checked indexed and whether they are Google indexed or not. I’ll resume the video once this is done.

Ok so the index check for the domains is now completed we just need to export that as xls again domainindexed.

So we’ve now got the data for the domain indexed column and the domain pr column, we need to get the url indexed and url page column in the same way. So if clear this list, import our list of backlinks again and then go with check page rank first and make sure you click on get URL page rank and I’ll be back once that’s finished.

Ok so the page rank check is complete, then export urls & PR as XLS and we’ll call it urlpr click save, ok and then run the index check and I’ll be back once that’s completed.

Ok the index check for the URL’s is completed hit ok, export that list again as xls and that is urlindexed and hit save.

And the last bit of data we need to collect is the links to, anchor text and status columns. To do that we need to create two text files. The first text file is just going to be a list of our backlinks. So if we just save that as listofbacklinks.

And the second file needs to be our actual url which is www.opendoorloans.co.uk and we’ll just save that as our website.

I would just like to point out that this isn’t my site I just picked a result of the first page for payday loans which is a pretty competitive niche. I have no idea how this analysis is going to turn out so let’s hope it provides us with some actionable data at the end of it.

Anyway once you’ve got a text file of your list of backlinks and your website url you can come down to here hit check links, open your website and then open your list of backlinks here. I always do this check without any proxies in use and then just come here and click check links. So you can see it’s going to check 232 websites for our link to this 1 website. So just click start and sit back and wait to finish and I’ll be back in a moment.

Ok now that’s completed export links, export all as excel. And I’m just going to call that linksfound and hit save.

So now we have all of the data that we need and we just need to get it into excel which is actually pretty straightforward to do.

Ok the first thing that we are going to do is populate the links to, anchor text and status columns. To do that we need to open up our spreadsheet called links found and then in this links to type =vlookup( click on our backlink here a comma, come onto our second sheet, click up here and scroll all the way across to column D. Click up here, enter a comma and then we want to return this column of data and then we write comma false close brackets hit enter. And you can see there that has pulled in where that pages links to.

And then copy this, paste it into here, change this 2 to a 3 which brings our anchor text in and then paste it in again but this time change that to a 4 which tells us if the link is found or not. Then highlight these just double click here and that will fill it down for all the backlinks.

So now all we need to do is populate these last 4 columns in a similar kind of way. So we open up the URL indexed spreadsheet first. Come across to here, =vlookup( click on the URL, comma, come across to this sheet, highlight these 2, comma 2 comma false close brackets and then we can fill that down.

Close the URLindexed sheet, open the domain indexed sheet. =vlookup( this time we click on the root domain, hit comma, go over to this sheet, highlight these comma 2 comma false close bracket. And then fill that down.

I’m just quickly going to do the last 2 columns so I’ll be back in a moment.

So now we have a complete set of data to work from but there’s a few things that we need to do. First of all you need to press ctrl + a to select everything, press ctrl + c to copy it, right click, click paste special, values and ok. And that will replace all of the formulas here with the actual values that the formulas returned.

The next thing that we need to do is remove any backlinks that are no longer linking to the site. So to do that we just click on status here and then filter, and we want to untick found and click on ok.

And then down here we can just highlight all of these, right click delete row and then in the status column up here select found and this will return a list of your current valid backlinks that are linking to your site right now.

Now there’s just a final few things that we need to do to get all of the stats to load in here correctly. First of all lets update the keyword here which is payday loans and if you come across here to where it’s red insert keyword, payday loans.

We also need to insert the keyword here, payday loans. And keeping coming across until we see something else in red. And this is the last keyword that we need to change here.

And then these insert number, to get the number of the root domains because I couldn’t for the life of me work out the formula to do it. If we come to our backlink profile, select all copy it and come to a new sheet, paste it and then click on the data remove duplicates. We want to unselect all and just remove the duplicate root domains and click on ok. In this case there were no duplicate values hit on OK.

And then if we select all of the root domains here we can see there is a total of 131. So if we come back to our template sheet which I’m having trouble finding, there we go. We can just type 131 into there. Then we need to know how many of the root domains are actually indexed.

So if we go back here and filter it, domain indexed, just yes and then have a look at this number here and that is 122. So we can just type that in there.

Ok we now have all of the data in place everything’s looking up correctly. We need to hide the number columns here anything that starts with the hash here, so highlight those right click and hide.

And the same for these 2, hide. Then come across here and hide these columns here. And that it we’ve now got all of the data so let’s have a look at what it all means.

Bear in mind that this site currently ranks on page 1 of Google for payday loans so we are going to expect it to have a pretty good backlink profile. You can see there are a total of 132 links of which 46 are currently indexed.

The anchor text break down is actually pretty good, 11 percent exact match, 6 percent broad match and 83 percent generic terms. And that is also reflected in the indexed backlinks as well.

What’s also interested is it only has 7% of its links coming from a deindexed domain so that’s pretty good especially when you compare it with 25% of the example I showed you earlier.

In general this site has an overall very good profile, the only plan of action that I would recommend is that theres only a low percentage of the current links indexed so I would look at getting those indexed to move the site further up the rankings.

I’m going to save this spreadsheet now and upload it to the site so you can download it. The download link will be available underneath the video. I’ll leave all of the payday loans links things in there so you’ve got a sample of stuff to get you started.

And then you just need to repeat the process you’ve seen throughout this video but for site 2 using the site 2 tab down here.

I hope all of that made sense to you and you now have the ability to analyse your backlink profile for potential penalty problems.

You can use this spreadsheet for other things as well such as analysing the top 10 results of a keyword to replicate what they are doing and see their how anchor text percentages compare and so on.

You can build on this spreadsheet further by adding other metrics such as average URL and domain PR.

Or you could use something link seo tools for excel to beef up the spreadsheet even more, check out the link to it under this video you will be very impressed with what it can do.

If you want to see more videos and tutorials like this then head over to my blog at www.matthewwoodward.co.uk and sign up to my email list.

I never send out any emails promoting products or guru spam, I only ever send an email to let you know when a new post or tutorial is available.

If you want to say thanks, You can do that by simply sharing the video with others!

See ya[/spoiler]

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 Analysis Spreadsheet

I created my own backlink profile analysis spreadsheet that has the the backlink profiles 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.

backlink profile analysis spreadsheet

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 link profile analysis

Remove the duplicates and expand the selection.

removed duplicates

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.

scrapebox backlink profiler

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.

check 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 backlink profile analysis 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.

Resources In The Tutorial

Download Your Backlinks

SEO Tools

155 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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2012 at 8:02 am

      Let me know if you need anything else :)

  3. Daniel Neubauer

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 16th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      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

    • Mammut Medien
      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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      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 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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      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. Jeff Terry

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      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. Jack Willis

    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 :(

    • Matthew Woodward
      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 (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.

  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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      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. Jack Willis

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 4th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      I have 50 semi dedicateds from https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/get/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.

  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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      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, http://directoryready.com/list/business-directories/ , so it'd be nice to analyze where the traffic is coming in from sometimes.

  13. Mike Buyco

    Hey Matt,

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

    • Mike Buyco
      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.

      • Matthew Woodward
        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 :)

        • David
          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.

          • Matthew Woodward
            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.

          • Tom
            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

          • Matthew Woodward
            May 9th, 2013 at 9:18 am


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

          • remco
            February 2nd, 2014 at 9:41 pm

            Can also not access the excel file, already fixed?

          • Matthew Woodward
            February 3rd, 2014 at 10:02 am

            Yeah what problems are you having?

  14. Maciek

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      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. Matt Ambrose

    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. Tom Davidson-Marx

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      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?


    • Matthew Woodward
      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!!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 19th, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Diego,

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

      I’ll tell you whats crackin :)

      • Diego
        April 23rd, 2013 at 7:45 am

        Hi Matthew,

        Here is the image of the %, thank you!


        • Matthew Woodward
          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?


    • Matthew Woodward
      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. Tyronne Ratcliff

    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!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 24th, 2013 at 8:38 am

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

  24. Tyronne Ratcliff

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 24th, 2013 at 8:38 am

      no worrys :)

  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?


    • Matthew Woodward
      June 10th, 2013 at 11:14 am

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

  26. Alex

    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

    • Matthew Woodward
      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 :P )

  27. dikkill

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 13th, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Rollin Rollin Rollin’

  28. Neil

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      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. Neil

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      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. Dee

    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? : (

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 15th, 2013 at 7:51 am


      Sorry about that, sent you an email with it!

  31. Elazar Gilad

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      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,


    • Matthew Woodward
      September 2nd, 2013 at 2:48 pm

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

      • Matt B
        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. :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 21st, 2013 at 10:32 am


      I’m not qualified to answer that question sorry

  35. Ian

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 11th, 2013 at 8:30 am

      Hahaha sods law :P

  36. Phil

    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?


    • Matthew Woodward
      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. Tom

    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!

    • Tom
      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!

      • Matthew Woodward
        November 11th, 2013 at 10:19 am

        Hahaha I know that feeling!

  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 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!


    • Matthew Woodward
      November 18th, 2013 at 6:17 pm


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

  40. Iain Swanston

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 19th, 2013 at 7:34 pm

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

  41. Raees Hussain

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 5th, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Thanks Raees!

  42. James

    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. James

    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. here


    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. Perig Vennetier

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 7th, 2014 at 11:01 am

      Thanks for the heads up!

  46. Andy

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2014 at 8:56 am

      No worrys!

  47. Vikas Kumar

    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

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      You don’t need to do anything with formulas

  48. Jayden

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 3rd, 2014 at 7:59 pm

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

  49. Matthew Woodward


    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%

    • Daniel Hutt
      August 30th, 2014 at 8:23 am

      thanks bud! looking at flights now!

  50. I. C. Daniel

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 3rd, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Buying links works just as well now as ever before

  51. Chad

    Excellent tutorial, thank you!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 20th, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      No worrys!

  52. 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.

  53. akwin

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 16th, 2015 at 7:43 am

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

  54. Paul Graham

    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! ;-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 8th, 2015 at 10:51 am

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

  55. 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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      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!

  56. Nick

    Thank you Matthew I learned a lot !! I’m still learnng btw lol

    I stole backlinks from my competitors.
    I took my 5 keywords then with market samurai, its easy to find SEO competition.
    Then I took each competitor’s URL with SpyGlass to get all of their BackLinks.
    Now I’m following your guide here using ScrapeBox but unfortunately, PageRank button does not work for some reason.
    I don’t yet figure out what have to do with these backlink but.. as I said, I’m still learning. :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 1st, 2016 at 3:28 pm


      How is that helping you with traffic/rankings?

      • Nick
        March 1st, 2016 at 3:31 pm

        Well, I bought Scrapebox so all features are working now ^^
        I’m still looking to find better way to get backlinks for my URL link.

        but already, I got some organic traffic. Will see in few months.

  57. Alex Bronsky

    Got manual slap on the 15 years old site.
    did it all that above
    sent disavow links, requested reconsiderations about 10+ times.
    never heard anything from a33holes at gwt except – denied
    looked for tips at google commuity forum. Zero
    gave up after 3 months of trying.
    Angry like hulk, just not green but very angry

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 20th, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Which manual penalty did you get?

  58. Simons

    Great article,

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 29th, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Thanks :)

  59. Kent

    What is your opinion on using fiverr to get backlinks? I am always afraid of paying someone to get backlinks, but there seem to be some well reviewed folks that claim to generate high PR backlinks over time.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 26th, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Well you get what you pay for, but you can find some gems on there!

  60. Ramdav

    Great stuff, I learn a lot from this post .It’s very impressive and informative Thank you for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 22nd, 2016 at 10:59 am

      No problem Ramdav :)

  61. Leo Nezgoda

    Great learning, easy to understand tutorial. Thank you very much!!!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 31st, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      No problem Leo!

  62. Tapmad

    Hi Matthew your content is very use full Great Thanks for sharing …

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 4th, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks Tapmad!

  63. mohcine

    hello, thank you for your tutorial, i want just know what’s the link that i have to disavow ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 3rd, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      How do you mean?

  64. kunal

    thnx to share this with us

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 2nd, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      no problem

  65. mohan


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 2nd, 2018 at 2:03 pm


  66. Lyrics Take

    Good information on backlink topics. got lots of knowledge from your tips and suggestions.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 2nd, 2018 at 10:31 am

      Good to hear!

  67. Abdullah Jan

    Nice article

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 2nd, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Hi Abdullah, thanks for visiting

  68. ledien

    Good information on backlink topics. got lots of knowledge from your tips and suggestions.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 5th, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Great news

  69. Ravi Tarvan

    nice post on baclink

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 31st, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Cheers Ravi

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