How to Do a Google Penguin Site Audit

My site was hit by Google Penguin due to anchor text over optimization, should I fix it or dump it”?

We’re asked this question a lot from online business owners.

However, the only way to answer this question is to do a Google Penguin Site Audit first.

A good site audit is a roadmap of your website, documenting what you need to focus on before you can fix it.

If you choose to go to an outside SEO agency that specializes in this service, you can expect to pay as much as $3000.00.  We only charge our clients a fraction of this and we do several of these Google site audits each week.

In this week’s “Ask a SEO Expert,” we will show you how to do your own Google Penguin Site Audit.

DIY  Google Penguin Audit

Prior to the Google Penguin update on May 24th, the website I’ll reference was ranked #1 for its main money term that was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars each month for the company.

Post Google Penguin, the website plunged to approximately the 70th position and there has not been any income generated from the site at all.

Step #1:  Overview of the Website and the Problem

We begin our Google Penguin site audits with a general overview of the site.

Site Review/Audit: (Name omitted for this review)
Issue: Dropping out of Search Rankings
Page Speed: 1.99s – needs to be improved to at least 1.5s
Indexed Pages: 54
Total Links: 423
Referring Domains: 317
Toxic Link Report: See attached CSV

The issue is self-evident; the website was #1 and now it’s on the 7th page of Google’s SERPs.

You can determine your page loading times with a YSlow a Firefox plug-in and/or cross checking your Google Webmaster’s account.

I would recommend using the SEOMoz tool to identify your indexed pages, your total links and referring domains.

To do a toxic link check, I recommend a suite of tools that includes the SEOMoz tool and SEO Majestic

Step #2 – Focus Anchor Text Report

Step two of the Google Penguin Site audit is your Focused Anchor Text

Focused Anchor Text

The biggest concern in this example is the number of domains per anchor since this site only has two phrases with more than 100 domains.

It’s also unnatural to have 215 domains using one keyword anchor phrase.

Let’s compare this focused anchor text report with Nike’s


Nike’s anchor text to URL ratio is about 3:2 while the client’s website URL ratio is 30:1

SUGGESTION:  Our client could expect to see some improvement by simply adding new links with different URL variations.

Step #3 – Link Velocity and Referring Domains

The next step is to look at the link velocity history of the website.

Link Velocity

Here we can see that in July 2012, there were over 60 new links a month to the website.

However, beginning on August 6th this number dropped do less than 10.

Refering Domains

In the referring domains analysis report, we see a spike increasing from 90 in July 2012 to over 130 in November.

Since the drop in backlinks seems to have happened all at once, it could be attributed to the removal of a site wide link, and should not be considered a red flag.  We know websites evolve and change.

The referring domain count increase can also be a good thing as long as it wasn’t done through a spam blast.

Step #4 – Duplicate Content and Other Content Issues

The site used in the example from our client was drowning in duplicate content on every front, including their own RSS feeder.

Basically, what our client had done was scraped large blocks of content from other websites.  These sites included governmental sites and included this content in their articles.

Another problem identified during the site audit was a mis-configuration of the site’s coding in WordPress. This caused other duplicate content issues.

To our present knowledge, there is no way of link building your way out of Google’s duplicate content penalty; it needs to be fixed.

Step #5 – Link Detox Report

This portion of the site audit is typically the most time consuming, as you will be using a suite of different tools such as SEO Majestic and SEOMoz to identify toxic links to your site.

Step #6 – Other Penguin Factors

Some other onsite SEO factors that you should include in your Google Penguin Site Survey are:

  • Check for any HTML and CSS coding errors on your site
  • Check and fix any odd redirects that you may have on your site
  • Check your robots.txt file for blocked pages/directories that do not exist any longer
  • Adjust sitemap priorities
  • Improve your site’s speed
  • Google Authorship status

Once you have completed your Google Penguin Site Audit, you will have your own roadmap and you will know exactly what you need to do to fix it.

Do You Want us to do a Google Site Audit for YOU?

If you have better things to do with your time, like making money and you would like our team of SEO professionals to do your Google Site audit, then contact us directly now.

At only $795, your Google Penguin Audit will give you the information you need to make an educated decision to fix your website or to dump it.

Do You Have a SEO Question You Would Like answered?

Do you have a SEO or Internet Marketing question that you would like answered by a SEO professional?

If yes, please go to our SEO Roadmap Facebook page and submit the question.  We are happy to help.


Certified Master SEO Instructor by the Search Engine Academy and CEO and founder of SEO Training SW.
Roy Reyer
Roy Reyer
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26th November 2012 No Comments

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