nofollow is beyond a joke now. There is so much confusion (especially when other engines’ treatment is factored in), I don’t know how you expect a regular publisher to keep up. The expectation seems to have shifted from “Do it for humans and all else will follow” to “Hang on our every word, do what we say, if we change our minds then change everything” and nofollow lead the way. I could give other examples of this attitude (e.g. “We don’t follow JavaScript links so it’s ’safe’ to use those for paid links”), but nofollow is surely the worst.
Baseline ranking assessment. You need to understand where you are now in order to accurately assess your future rankings. Keep a simple Excel sheet to start the process. Check weekly to begin. As you get more comfortable, check every 30 to 45 days. You should see improvements in website traffic, a key indicator of progress for your keywords. Some optimizers will say that rankings are dead. Yes, traffic and conversions are more important, but we use rankings as an indicator.
There are over 800 million websites on the Internet. The majority of web traffic is driven by Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, and the Internet users will either find you or your competitors. More than 60% of the users do not go past the first page and more than 90% users do not go pass the 3rd page. If you website cannot be found within the first 3 pages in the search engine results page (SERP), you miss out on incredible opportunities to drive free relevant traffic to your website.
A backlink’s value doesn’t only come from the website authority itself. There are other factors to consider as well. You’ll sometimes times hear those in the industry refer to “dofollow” and “nofollow” links. This goes back to the unethical linkbuilding tactics in the early days of SEO. One practices included commenting on blogs and leaving a link. It was an easy method and back then, search engines couldn’t tell the difference between a blog post and other site content.
On the other hand, all of the results for the PageRank engine (aside from a single secondary listing) link to the homepage of major American universities. The results are much more logical and useful in nature. If you search for “university,” are you going to want the homepages for popular universities, or random subpages from a sprinkling of colleges all over the world?
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