With the Penguin and EMD updates you really need to understand your links. The time when having a bunch of links that would increase your rankings (no matter where they are coming from) is long gone. After the Penguin update, Google has become much smarter and can analyze link profiles like never before. That is why link segmentation and classification is one of the best ways to understand what makes a site rank, from the links point of view. When the Penguin update rolled out, it hit a lot of websites whose backlink profiles looked unnatural. A lot of the SEO practitioners behind these website were building links through short-cuts – buying them, using black-hat tools, paying other people to build links in low quality sites, etc. They had no strategy for the link’s quality – they only cared about the link’s quantity. To keep things fair and natural in the web for people, Google rolled out the Penguin update to finally keep these unnatural linkbuilders under control. “Google Penguin” hit again last week, affecting 0,3% of the search results as Matt Cutts expressed in a tweet. Google is focused on delivering only the best results in their search engine results page – to do that, they are cleaning out websites with bogus and low-quality links which were not really earned through their website’s value but were built using tools and/or bought using money or incentive. These are the days when unethical SEO specialists have to step up their game and play on a more even level. First of all, we need to understand what Google “thinks” about our links. Normally, this is no easy job with so many variables going into the ranking equation. There aren’t many tools out there that can really help you understand your link profile. In my analysis I used cognitiveSEO , a backlink checking tool that I reviewed here . There are over 18 new features added to the backlink analysis section of their tool. The link detail is unbelievably granular, with a strong focus on simplicity, so even the basic webmasters can understand what is going on with his/her website’s backlinks. Here is a short list of some of its features, so you can get a quick feel of what it can do for you: 1. Fresh & Complete Link Data [Aggregated & De-duped] from the best link data providers. 2. Re-crawled & Classified On-Demand for You. 3. One page dashboard to rule all your links. 4. Import extra links from Google Webmaster Tools and others. 5. New Link Alerts for both your site and your competitors. 6. Anchor Text Cloud & Common Anchor Texts. 7. New Link Velocity data points. I ran a campaign on their system to see how it reports the data. In my case I needed to quickly identify the difference in link patterns between my site and my competitors. This is how a link profile comparison based on “site type” looks like: In 2 seconds I realized that all these sites are getting massive links from Blogs. Knowing this, I can make an estimated guess that they are using Content Marketing to attract links. Another interesting factor is the amount of common linking domains and IPs. A quick way to identify link networks just by looking at these commonality charts. You can also use commonality information to gather info on where your competitors are being linked from and you aren’t. With the latest release of the Google Disavow Tool you can easily export the unnatural links found inside Cognitive SEO and import them into the Google Disavow tool . But this is not only about finding unnatural links and patterns. You can track your live/lost links and compare it with your competitors’. There is a neat feature that will send you weekly emails with the new links that you and your competitors got in the last week. I must say that I am impressed with the updates that the team at CognitiveSEO have added to their toolset, as it really helps understand and track the backlink profile much easily.