How to Analyze Your Link Profile to See if You’re at Risk of a Google Penalty

An ounce of prevention is definitely worth more than a pound of cure when it comes to link-based Google penalties. If you want to play it safe with your site, and avoid the disaster that a Google Webmsater Tools Unnatural Links Warning or Penguin penalty can bring on… it makes sense to be proactive about removing spammy links from your link profile. This video will teach you how to perform a link audit on your site so that you can take action before it’s too late.

Video Transcript

What’s up everybody? It’s Brian Dean from Quick Sprout. And in this video, I’m going to show you how to analyze your link profile to see if you’re at risk of a Google penalty.

So your first step is to identify the links that are pointing to your site. And you can do that using Moz’s Open Site Explorer. So head over to the opensiteexplorer.org. And put in the home page of the site that you want to check and then click search.

And when you do that, you’ll get the report for the site. And obviously, in the case of Quick Sprout, this is a natural clean link profile. This is what I’m going to look at first. And later on the video, I’ll show you a site with a less saver link profile to show you what a dangerous link profile looks like.

So the first thing you want to do is make sure you’re only looking at external links. So to do that, click on this all button here. And make sure it’s set to only external. And the reason you want to do that is because by default, it includes internal and external links. And obviously, internal link can’t really hurt you. So you want to pay attention to external links from other websites.

So change that to only external, and click on filter button. And when you do that, you’ll get all the external links. So what you really want to look at first is link anchor text. So just take a quick look. And usually from this alone, you can tell whether or not this is a natural, clean, safe link profile because this has a lot of branded anchor text. So it’s quicksprout.com. So people tend to call it Quick Sprout, which is makes sense.

If you saw a lot of exact match keywords like blogging tips or SEO information or website traffic, that’s how you’d know that the site probably doesn’t have a natural link profile. And if you want to get really deep into the anchor text, click on that anchor text tab here. And this will show you the most commonly used anchor text terms across the entire site.

And in the case of Quick Sprout, it’s just variations of the brand name, neil patel, obviously, that runs [to] the site, the domain name, the URL. So it’s just a nice mix of natural anchor text. So that’s really want you want to look at first because, usually, just from that check alone, you can see whether or not a link profile is natural.

So the next place you might want to look is Majestic SEO Site Explorer. So head over to Majestic SEO. And put in quicksprout.com or whatever site that you want to check. And click on the magnifying glass button. And then have a lot of their own information about anchor text and such. But we’re going to pay attention to with Majestic is this area here called link profile.

So we have on the left, citation flow. And on the right, we have trust flow. The citation flow is just a measurement of how authoritative the site is. So how many other authoritative sites are linking to it. Sort of like their version of pagerank or domain authority.

And on the right, we have trust flow. And that indicates how trustworthy the links that are pointing to that site. So in general, a good rule of thumb that I use is that you don’t want the trust flow to be less than half of the citation flow. So this is not a relative number.

So trust flow, you don’t just want to be like, “Oh it’s ten, it’s okay. It’s 30, it’s okay.” It’s always relative to the citation flow. So just make sure that this is more than half. And that usually indicative of a natural link profile. But you also, obviously, have to look at the anchor text itself.

Finally, you can do a lot of this analysis in one place using (inaudible). So head over to (inaudible) and put in the URL of what you want to check. And click on search links. And this shows you some of the same information in a different way. So what it does is it shows you that anchors [cloud].

So this is just like a visual representation of the anchor text pointing to the site. So this is just a different way of looking at it than with Open Site Explorer. We just kind of [eyeball] down the list.

So if you see that money, keywords, or exact match keywords are bigger than brand name keywords, etcetera, that’s probably a sign of a gained link profile. And you can also look at the anchor text in this form, which is pretty much what we saw in Moz’s Open Site Explorer. And this is the referring domain. So this is how different domains refer to Quick Sprout in an anchor text, which is, like I said a normal distribution in this case.

So that is a natural looking link profile. If you want to dig deeper, you can alway look at the links themselves. So one way to do that is in (inaudible), which is in my opinion, the best of the three that we looked at today.

Click on the external tab. And then you just want to take a look on the list and see if the [site] profile looks natural. Does it look like it coming from other related websites. Are these websites real websites?

Those are basically the two things you want to look at. In this case, we obviously have sites like kaiserthesage.com, moz.com, typepad.com, dailyblogtips.com. These are all related sites, and these are real sites that are linking. So if you see blog networks or low quality directories making up the majority of the links, that’s probably a sign of a dangerous link profile.

So now that we look at Quick Sprout, let’s look at a shady site to see what a dangerous link profile looks like. So I just found this random payday loan site. And we just kind of look at that in Open Site Explorer.

So you just put that in there. And if you click on the anchor text tab, which is the first thing you should look at, you can see that this is not a natural link profile just based on this alone because this thing is called earlypayday.com.sg.

Generally, a site called early payday would have anchor text like early payday in different variations. But in this case, it’s all exact match money keyword, anchor text, personal loans, emergency loans, student loans, a cash lending. And in this case, we do have early payday mentioned, but it’s not the most common.

And if we look at Majestic SEO and we look at their link profile, we can see that the trust flow is just a little bit more than half of the citation flow. That’s a sign of potentially dangerous link profile, especially when combined with the anchor text information that we saw.

We can also look at (inaudible). And what you really want to pay attention to is this referring domains area. So this shows how many different referring domains are linking to the site. And as you can see, no one is linking for so long. And that all of a sudden, all of these sites are linking.

Sometimes that could happen naturally if the site gets big or piece of content goes (inaudible). But generally, that’s a red flag, especially when combined with the anchor text information that we just saw.

As you can see, the anchors cloud in this case. It’s totally different than Quick Sprout. It’s all exact match keywords like payday loans, loans, Singapore money lending, money lending Singapore. This is not how people naturally link to any website. And also under their referring pages for anchor phrases, it’s pretty much the same story. A lot of exact match anchor text and almost no brand name or URL or domain name anchor text.

If you want to really dig deep like we did with Quick Sprout, you can click on the external tab and look at some of the links themselves. As you can see, they’re getting sites from mostly Russian websites, which is not natural for a site.

That’s in English, and it has targetting English keywords. And this right here is probably not a real site, froren.info. So you can see that this are all pretty shady link. This are not related sites. This is about Sweden dating.

So this is the great thing about analyzing link profile is that it usually doesn’t take very long. So you just really have to look at the anchor text. That’s the number one thing. And then you want to look at the trust flow versus citation flow. And then you want to look at the anchors cloud (inaudible) to get a visual representation of whether or not their anchor text looks real.

And then if you want to dig deep, you can go one by one to the link list and see whether or not the sites that are linking to them are related. And whether they’re real sites or they’re part of some sort of blog network.

So that’s all there is to analyzing a link profile for risk. Thanks for watching. And I’ll see you on the next video.