You learned how to gather all the critical data on your website in Part three of this guide, now what are you going to do with it?
In order to understand how you ended up with a penalty from Google, or what to do to avoid one, you MUST understand the critical data that surrounds your website.
Bad links get websites in trouble with Google all the time, and even websites that utilize ONLY white SEO tactics can end up in trouble if they do not know how to spot a bad link. Your “link profile” creates a picture that, to the trained eye, can be very telling.
Let’s look at our site, www.Seositecheckup.com using the link profile tool from Majestic.com
Each marking on the link profile picture points to a referring link or backlink to the site. As you can see, some of them are scattered, but most are held tightly together. The light-colored dots reflect links from good quality relevant sites, whereas the darker ones reflect poorer quality sites. While it is natural to have a few lower-quality sites mixed in, having several can raise a flag for Google reviewers.
Another thing you can take away from this link profile picture is the trust flow and the citation flow. Ideally, your trust flow should be at least half of your citation flow. The citation flow shows how many sites are linked to your website, and the trust flow shows how trustworthy they are.
Using the anchor text chart from MajesticSEO.com, you get a quick glimpse into how people are naturally linking to your site. If most of your anchor text uses the exact same keyword or keyword phrase, Google will potentially flag your site for review.
Ideally, you want the majority of your anchor text to be in the “other” category. With all the latest Google updates, SEO has changed, so having the market cornered on a commercial keyword will get your attention today, but not the good kind of attention it used to bring you.
Here is what your anchor text chart should look like
Notice that all the commercial bases are covered, but none is extreme to the point where Google would see our site as a game player or black hat SEO site, and that is ESSENTIAL SEO!
It may take some time, but manually evaluating each link that points towards your site is worth every second. It takes time and a lot of hard work to build up natural, genuine links, so why have them suffer from some bad apples rotting your hard work?
Once a link is determined to be relevant, high quality, and in fishermen’s terms, “a keeper”, make note of that on the spreadsheet. If a link is determined a “bad link”, remove it from your site, but not from your spreadsheet, just make note of it so when you send your spreadsheet to the Google reviewer, they know you took the time to evaluate each and every link on your website.
Any authoritative site, such as a newspaper, government site, educational site, etc, can immediately be placed in the natural link section and left intact.
If you notice an unfamiliar site and need to do a little more investigation, look at not only the page that links to you, but the home page as well. When checking the website out, go with your gut on whether or not you feel it is a legitimate site that is relevant to yours.
One of the first things to look for when checking a link to your page is how many other links they have. If there are hundreds or thousands of other links, chances are, they are not the type of site you want linking to you.
The content on the site is another tale-tale sign for a bad link. If the content looks to be spun or is written with such poor grammar that you feel your grade school child could do better, then remove it from linking to your site.
If you are worried about Google performing a review on your site, or if you are already under review for a penalty, there are a few types of links that you can look out for:
Taking the time to actually check each suspicious site is the best method, so buckle up, and start performing some amazing detective work.
It does not take long to perform a few quick tasks to determine whether a link on your site of from a quality website or not. Make sure you are making notes in your spreadsheet you created in Part 3 of this guide as you go.
|Method||Action||Signs to Look For|
|Search Google||Type in site:domainname.com||If nothing comes up, they have been de-indexed…probably for heavy penalties|
|Use Majestic||Run quick analysis on the site||If the trust flow metrics are not at least half the citation flow, there could be a problem|
|Check Keywords||Look at the anchor text||Large numbers of targeted keywords is a bad sign|
|Check Page Rank||Install the PageRank extension for free using Chrome or use Seositecheckup.com||A zero or grey bar in the PageRank status is a bad sign|
|Check Domain Authority||Use OpenSiteExplorer.com||Domain authority of below 20 is a very bad sign|
|Weigh all Factors||Consider the entire site, not just specific factors||Not all bad signs are bad, and not all good ones are good, mark any that are questionable and ask an expert for help|
The Domain authority is a good way to get a quick look at how trusted a website actually is but keep in mind, newer sites will not have always have a strong rating. Below is a quick glimpse into what it should look like:
If you want to use the free tools at Seositechecup.com, you can get most of the information you need about your site, as well as about others.
You can get a complete overview and analysis on your website, as well as the ones linking to you in one convenient place.
The importance of excellent content has already been stated in the previous sections of this guide, but it is IMPORTANT enough to SAY IT AGAIN!
Instead of beating it into the ground, a quick summary of what to look for in the content on your site should be enough, and if you need a recap, look through the other parts of this guide once again.
When entering data into the spreadsheet, content should not be overlooked. The easiest way to keep track of the content on your site is to use a numerical system to rate it on each page. Using a system, such as the one below, can really help you or your team when it comes time to make changes, and it helps to show the Google reviewer that you are putting forth a real effort to clean up your site.
You can create your own system, the above is just an example. The main goal is to know what needs to be changed right away, and of course, fix it before sending the reviewers your spreadsheet. Never delete anything from your spreadsheet, even bad content. Just make a note of the changes made.
Part 5 of this guide will cover what you need to do to get your website so clean that no Google reviewer would refuse you access back into the search results.
If you missed any of the previous guides, you can find them here:
Part One: Identifying a Google Penalty
Part Two: What Caused Your Google Penalty, and How Can You Fix it?