How to Perform a Post-Penguin SEO Audit

  • ByDaniel Ducloux

  • Friday, December 14, 2012

When you’re a webmaster, being able to get free traffic from the search engines is pretty important. Many sites rely heavily on referrals from search engines, with Google being the top dog in the industry. Since Google represents such a big part of the industry, whatever they do can have a drastic impact on webmasters. No better example of this is available than when Google released the Penguin update. Penguin is a well-known algorithm update to the Google search engine system. Once it hit the Internet, a lot of sites immediately lost traffic and many of them lost their income as a result. If your site was affected by Penguin, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doomed to failure. There are ways that you can change the way your site looks to Google and get it ranking highly again. Here are the basics of how to perform a post-penguin search engine optimization audit.

Review Your Titles

Penguin is all about punishing sites with low-quality content and those that use underhanded SEO tactics. In the past, many webmasters tried to stuff the title of a page with keywords in an attempt to rank higher. After the Penguin update, this isn’t going to work any longer. There’s nothing wrong with putting the main keyword of your page in the title once. However, you don’t want to try to cram multiple keywords into the title. You should also try to make your title compelling to the reader. You want something that is going to get their attention and tell them exactly what your page will offer them. For example, “5 Ways to…”.

Look for Overuse of Keywords

Another problem that might want to look for is overusing your keywords within the content of the page. In the past, webmasters would stuff their page content with multiple instances of their keywords. While that really stopped working long before Penguin, Penguin made sure that those sites that employed that strategy no longer ranked highly. Go through your content and look for the same keyword being used over and over again. If you find it in your content, consider using some synonyms for your keywords.

Look at Your Inbound Links

Another big area of focus for the Penguin update was your link profile. In the search engine optimization game, your success depends largely on how many good links you have pointing to your site from other quality sites. If you have a large number of links, this helps boost your site in the rankings. In the past, there were a number of tricks and strategies that webmasters could use in order to get quality links to their sites. For example, many people signed up for blog networks. These schemes made it possible for webmasters to pay a monthly fee and submit short articles with links in them. These articles would get posted to links with high PageRank, which would help the rankings of your own site. Many webmasters also use strategies like link exchanges or buying links from other sources.

Look at the list of your current inbound links. If you have any links that you think are questionable, it is a good idea to get them removed. You may have to contact the owner of the other site and ask them to remove the link. In some cases, you might be able to remove the links yourself.

Google Webmaster Tools

When you have been negatively affected by Penguin, it’s a good idea to sign up for a Google Webmaster Tools account. This is a free service from Google and it gives you valuable insight into what could be happening with your site. You can receive warning messages through this service if anything is wrong. For example, they may give you a message about having “unnatural links” on your site. There may be a number of other error messages or problems indicated through this portal as well.


The process of getting a site audit done post-penguin may take some time. However, once you make the changes, Google should pick up on them fairly quickly. At that point, you should be able to start getting some decent traffic again. Penguin doesn’t have to be a death sentence.


This post was written by Kyle Sanders, Head of Search for a digital marketing agency in Colorado. If you are in need of a Local SEO company in Denver, CO and would like to meet in person, head over to Complete Web Resources.


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