By 2004, search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce the impact of link manipulation. In June 2007, The New York Times' Saul Hansell stated Google ranks sites using more than 200 different signals.[25] The leading search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, do not disclose the algorithms they use to rank pages. Some SEO practitioners have studied different approaches to search engine optimization, and have shared their personal opinions.[26] Patents related to search engines can provide information to better understand search engines.[27] In 2005, Google began personalizing search results for each user. Depending on their history of previous searches, Google crafted results for logged in users.[28]
In my experience this means (the key words are “not the most effective way”) a page not scored by Google (“e.g. my private link” – password protected, disallowed via robots.txt and/or noindex meta robots) whether using or not using rel=”nofollow” attribute in ‘links to’ is not factored into anything… because it can’t factor in something it isn’t allowed.
Before Sharpe ever came into close proximity with the internet marketing field, he was a construction worker. Needing a way to make ends meet, like millions of other people around the world, he turned to a field that could hopefully pay the bills. But try as he might, he was never able to actually get ahead. Until one day, when Sharpe discovered the amount of money being made online by internet marketers, his entire mindset changed.

What an amazing and informative post! One other option you left out was wikkigrabber. and how not many people use this option! Google wikki grabber, type in keywords and find articles missing links etc on Wikipedia, edit a post with what was missing (make sure it is relevant to the article or post otherwise it will be removed) and them boom! Quality, powerful backlink!
Well – maybe for a few of you. But this algorithm is fundamental in understanding links and in particular, understanding why most links count for nothing or almost nothing. When you get to grips with Google’s algorithm, you will be light years ahead of other SEOs… but I never really see it properly explained. I guarantee that even if you know this algorithm inside out, you’ll see some unexpected results from this math by the end of this post and you will also never use the phrase “Domain Authority” in front of a customer again (at least in relation to links).
The combination of charisma, charm and intellect has helped catapult Sharpe to the top of the heap. In a recent conversation with him, I wanted to learn what it truly took to become an expert digital marketer. And one of the most important takeaways from that phone call was that if he could do it, anyone could do it. For someone who failed so devastatingly very early on in life, to rise from the ashes like a phoenix was no easy feat.
What an amazing and informative post! One other option you left out was wikkigrabber. and how not many people use this option! Google wikki grabber, type in keywords and find articles missing links etc on Wikipedia, edit a post with what was missing (make sure it is relevant to the article or post otherwise it will be removed) and them boom! Quality, powerful backlink!

Brian, just wanted to start off by saying great informative article, you had a lot of great of insight. I see it was mentioned a bit in the above comments, about the infographic, but I thought it is a great idea to include a textbox under the infographic with the coding that could be copied to be pasted on blogs (thus, earning additional backlinks from other websites). I’ve also noticed many infographics that have “resources” or “references” included in the image. My understanding is currently it is not recognized by google, because of the image format, but I foresee one day Google may be able to update their algorithm to recognize written text inside of an image, and thus potentially adding value to the written text in the image. What are your thoughts on that idea?

Why do so many people spend so much time researching SEO and page rank? Its really not that hard to figure out, (I am speaking in a nice tone by the way =) – all you should need to be focusing on is advertising and building your website in a manner that is ethical, operational and practical for the content and industry that your website is in/about. If you are not up-to-something, then google will know it, and they will rank you accordingly. If you spend so much time trying to figure out how to get to the top, I bet you google spends triple that time figuring out how to figure out how your trying to get to the top. So and and so forth…and your not going to win. Have good content not copied, stay away from to many out bound links especially affiliates, post your backlinks at places that have something to do with your site, etc etc… Is it an American thing, I don’t seem to see it as bad in other places of the world, that is “always trying to figure out an easy way, a quick fix, a way to not have to put in the effort…” anyway… Thanks for letting me vent. Please not nasty replies. Keep it to your self = )
Content is king. Your content needs to be written so that it provides value to your audience. It should be a mix of long and short posts on your blog or website. You should not try to “keyphrase stuff” (mentioning a keyphrase over and over again to try and attract search engines) as this gets penalized by search engines now. However, your text should contain the most important keyphrases at least once and ideally two to three times—ideally, it should appear in your title. However, readability and value are much more important than keyword positioning today.
If you're serious about finding your voice and discovering the secrets to success in business, one of the best people to follow is Gary Vanyerchuck, CEO of Vayner Media, and early-stage invest in Twitter, Uber and Facebook, has arbitraged his way into the most popular social media platforms and built up massive followings and often spills out the secrets to success in a highly motivating and inspiring way.
Place strategic search phrases on pages. Integrate selected keywords into your website source code and existing content on designated pages. Make sure to apply a sug­gested guideline of one to three keywords/phrases per content page and add more pages to complete the list. Ensure that related words are used as a natural inclu­sion of your keywords. It helps the search engines quickly determine what the page is about. A natural approach to this works best. In the past, 100 to 300 words on a page was recommended. Many tests show that pages with 800 to 2,000 words can outperform shorter ones. In the end, the users, the marketplace, content and links will determine the popularity and ranking numbers.

Maintenance. Ongoing addition and modification of keywords and website con­tent are necessary to continually improve search engine rankings so growth doesn’t stall or decline from neglect. You also want to review your link strategy and ensure that your inbound and outbound links are relevant to your business. A blog can provide you the necessary structure and ease of content addition that you need. Your hosting company can typically help you with the setup/installation of a blog.

And my vital question about Amazon affiliate links. I think many people also wonder about it as well. I have several blogs where I solely write unique content reviews about several Amazon products, nothing more. As you know, all these links are full of tags, affiliate IDs whatsoever (bad in SEO terms). Should I nofollow them all or leave as they are?


The new digital era has enabled brands to selectively target their customers that may potentially be interested in their brand or based on previous browsing interests. Businesses can now use social media to select the age range, location, gender and interests of whom they would like their targeted post to be seen by. Furthermore, based on a customer's recent search history they can be ‘followed’ on the internet so they see advertisements from similar brands, products and services,[38] This allows businesses to target the specific customers that they know and feel will most benefit from their product or service, something that had limited capabilities up until the digital era.
Also given that the original reasons for implementing the ‘nofollow’ tag was to reduce comment spam (something that it really hasn’t had a great effect in combatting) – the real question I have is why did they ever take any notice of nofollow on internal links in the first place? It seems to me that in this case they made the rod for their own back.
At the time I was strongly advocating page rank sculting by inclusion of no follow links on “related product” links. It’s interesting to note that my proposed technique would have perhaps worked for a little while then would have lost its effectiveness. Eventualy I reached the point where my efforts delivered diminishing returns which was perhaps unavoidable.

In 2005, in a pilot study in Pakistan, Structural Deep Democracy, SD2[61][62] was used for leadership selection in a sustainable agriculture group called Contact Youth. SD2 uses PageRank for the processing of the transitive proxy votes, with the additional constraints of mandating at least two initial proxies per voter, and all voters are proxy candidates. More complex variants can be built on top of SD2, such as adding specialist proxies and direct votes for specific issues, but SD2 as the underlying umbrella system, mandates that generalist proxies should always be used.
The Google Toolbar long had a PageRank feature which displayed a visited page's PageRank as a whole number between 0 and 10. The most popular websites displayed a PageRank of 10. The least showed a PageRank of 0. Google has not disclosed the specific method for determining a Toolbar PageRank value, which is to be considered only a rough indication of the value of a website. In March 2016 Google announced it would no longer support this feature, and the underlying API would soon cease to operate.[34]
PageRank was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford. In fact the name. PageRank is a likely play on Larry Page's name. At the time that Page and Brin met, early search engines typically linked to pages that had the highest keyword density, which meant people could game the system by repeating the same phrase over and over to attract higher search page results. Sometimes web designers would even put hidden text on pages to repeat phrases. 
The issue being, this change makes it a bad idea to nofollow ANY internal link as any internal page is bound to have a menu of internal links on it, thus keeping the PR flowing, (as opposed to nofollow making it evaporate). So no matter how useless the page is to search engines, nofollowing it will hurt you. Many many webmasters either use robots.txt or noindex to block useless pages generated by ecommerce or forum applications, if this change applies to those methods as well it’d be really great to know, so we can stop sending a significant amount of weight into the abyss.

Business address listings on Google, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yellow Pages, and elsewhere count as backlinks. Perhaps more importantly, they also go a long ways towards helping customers find your business! There are many, many such sites. A good way to approach this once you've gotten the biggies out of the way - Google should be your first priority - is to make a point of setting up a couple new citation profiles every week or so. Search around for updated lists of reputable business listing sites, and use it as a checklist.


Some search engines have also reached out to the SEO industry, and are frequent sponsors and guests at SEO conferences, webchats, and seminars. Major search engines provide information and guidelines to help with website optimization.[18][19] Google has a Sitemaps program to help webmasters learn if Google is having any problems indexing their website and also provides data on Google traffic to the website.[20] Bing Webmaster Tools provides a way for webmasters to submit a sitemap and web feeds, allows users to determine the "crawl rate", and track the web pages index status.
At the time I was strongly advocating page rank sculting by inclusion of no follow links on “related product” links. It’s interesting to note that my proposed technique would have perhaps worked for a little while then would have lost its effectiveness. Eventualy I reached the point where my efforts delivered diminishing returns which was perhaps unavoidable.
All in all, PageRank sculpting (or whatever we should call it) didn’t really rule my world. But, I did think that it was a totally legitimate method to use. Now that we know the ‘weight’ leaks, this will put a totally new (and more damaging) spin on things. Could we not have just left the ‘weight’ with the parent page? This is what I thought would happen most of the time anyway.
Web designers are code-writers and graphics experts that are responsible for developing and implementing the online image of the product. This role involves creating not only the look of websites and applications, but engineering the user experience. A web designer should always pay attention to how easy the materials are to read and use, ensuring smooth interactions for the customer and making sure the form of the materials serve the function of the campaign.
Provide full functionality on all devices. Mobile users expect the same functionality - such as commenting and check-out - and content on mobile as well as on all other devices that your website supports. In addition to textual content, make sure that all important images and videos are embedded and accessible on mobile devices. For search engines, provide all structured data and other metadata - such as titles, descriptions, link-elements, and other meta-tags - on all versions of the pages.
Quite simply, a backlink is one website mentioning another website and linking to it. It is not merely referencing the website or it’s web address. It has to be a clickable link using an href attribute within the code. It is the difference between http://www.moz.com and Moz. Even though the first example displays a URL, the search engines do not register this as a backlink, whereas the word that has a link (often underlined and in a different color), is.
So enough of these scary stories. Google actually likes backlinks and relies upon them. The whole idea behind them is that they help to tell Google what is good and useful out there. Remember, it is still an algorithm. It doesn’t know that your page describing the best technique for restoring a 1965 Ford Mustang bumper is all that great. But if enough people are talking about how great it is, and thereby referencing that page on other websites, Google will actually know.
To prevent users from linking to one version of a URL and others linking to a different version (this could split the reputation of that content between the URLs), focus on using and referring to one URL in the structure and internal linking of your pages. If you do find that people are accessing the same content through multiple URLs, setting up a 301 redirect32 from non-preferred URLs to the dominant URL is a good solution for this. You may also use canonical URL or use the rel="canonical"33 link element if you cannot redirect.

Backlinks can be time-consuming to earn. New sites or those expanding their keyword footprint may find it difficult to know where to start when it comes to link building. That's where competitive backlink research comes in: By examining the backlink profile (the collection of pages and domains linking to a website) to a competitor that's already ranking well for your target keywords, you can gain insight about the link building that may have helped them. A tool like Link Explorer can help uncover these links so you can and target those domains in your own link building campaigns.
Search engines are smart, but they still need help. The major engines are always working to improve their technology to crawl the web more deeply and return better results to users. However, there is a limit to how search engines can operate. Whereas the right SEO can net you thousands of visitors and increased attention, the wrong moves can hide or bury your site deep in the search results where visibility is minimal.
Just do a quick Google search. If you're monitoring to see if a link you built is indexed, or just want to find other areas where you've been mentioned or linked, do a quick search with your company brand name, your web URL or other terms you're following. I've seen plenty of backlinks indexed by the search engine that never showed up in my search console account.
Meanwhile, the link spam began. People chasing higher PageRank scores began dropping links wherever they could, including into blog posts and forums. Eventually, it became such an issue that demands were raised that Google itself should do something about it. Google did in 2005, getting behind the nofollow tag, a way to prevent links from passing along PageRank credit.
Just do a quick Google search. If you're monitoring to see if a link you built is indexed, or just want to find other areas where you've been mentioned or linked, do a quick search with your company brand name, your web URL or other terms you're following. I've seen plenty of backlinks indexed by the search engine that never showed up in my search console account.
Here’s my take on the whole pagerank sculpting situation. As I understand it, the basic idea is that you can increase your rankings in Google by channeling the page rank of your pages to the pages you want ranked. This used be done with the use of the ‘no folow’ tag. That said, things have changed, and Google has come out and said that the way ‘no follow’ use to work has changed. In short, using ‘no follow’ to channel that page rank juice is no longer as effective as it once was.
The nofollow tag is being used for page rank sculpting and to stop blog spamming. In my mind this is tant amount to manipulating page rank and thus possibly ranking position in certain cases. I do post to regularly blogs and forums regarding web design and this improved my search ranking as a side effect. Whats wrong with making an active contribution to the industry blogs and being passed some Pagerank. Google needs to determine whether the post entry is relevant then decide to pass pagerank after the analysis or just decide that blog should not pass PR in any event. Whats gone wrong with the Internet when legitimate content pages do not pass PR?

Site owners are using the toolbar to find “good” sites that they should get links from, regardless of the fact that link context is also important, not to mention many, many other factors that are used by Google to rank a web page. Other site owners, getting a gray PR0 toolbar for their site, immediate assume the worst, that they’ve been blacklisted.
7. Keyword research. Specific target keywords aren’t as important for SEO success as they used to be, now that Google search is fueled by semantic and contextual understanding, but you should still be able to identify both head keyword (short, high-volume keywords) and long-tail keyword (longer, conversational, low-volume keywords) targets to guide the direction of your campaign.
Google wasn’t happy with the Pandora’s Box it had opened. It began to fight back, with its most famous action against a network known as SearchKing, penalizing the site and some of those in the network with PageRank score reductions or actual removal from Google. SearchKing sued Google. Google won, a judge ruling that its search results were entitled to First Amendment protection as opinions.

Back in the ’90s, two students at Stanford named Larry Page and Sergey Brin started pondering how they could make a better search engine that didn’t get fooled by keyword stuffing. They realized that if you could measure each website’s popularity (and then cross index that with what the website was about), you could build a much more useful search engine. In 1998, they published a scientific paper in which they introduced the concept of “PageRank.” This topic was further explored in another paper that Brin and Page contributed to, “PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web.”
SEO often involves the concerted effort of multiple departments within an organization, including the design, marketing, and content production teams. While some SEO work entails business analysis (e.g., comparing one’s content with competitors’), a sizeable part depends on the ranking algorithms of various search engines, which may change with time. Nevertheless, a rule of thumb is that websites and webpages with higher-quality content, more external referral links, and more user engagement will rank higher on an SERP.
Now, how much weight does PageRank carry? Like most every other part of the algorithm, it’s questionable. If we listed all the ranking factors, I don’t suspect it would be in the top 5, but it’s important to remember that the key to ranking well is to be the LESS IMPERFECT than your competition. IE: To have more of the right things that send the right signals in the right places so that Google sees you as a better, more relevant, candidate for the top three on page one. If you and your competitor both have optimized (on-page and technically) for the same keyword phrase perfectly, PR could be the deal breaker that pushes your blue link an inch up.
All major crawler-based search engines leverage links from across of the web, but none of them report a static “importance” score in the way Google does via its Google Toolbar. That score, while a great resource for surfers, has also provided one of the few windows into how Google ranks web pages. Some webmasters, desperate to get inside Google, keep flying into that window like confused birds, smacking their heads and losing their orientation….
I think it is important you distinguish your advice about no-following INTERNAL links and no-following EXTERNAL links for user-generated content. Most popular UGC-heavy sites have no-followed links as they can’t possibly police them editorially & want to give some indication to the search engines that the links haven’t been editorially approved, but still might provide some user benefit.
“NOTE: You may be curious what your site’s or your competitor’s PR score is. But Google no longer reveals the PageRank score for websites. It used to display at the top of web browsers right in the Google Toolbar, but no more. And PR data is no longer available to developers through APIs, either. Even though it’s now hidden from public view, however, PageRank remains an important ingredient in Google’s secret ranking algorithms.”

If you are going to use SEM, you must build the costs of using this form of marketing into your cash-flow forecasts and the prices you’re charging for your work. Spending $3,000 a month on Adwords to land $20,000 of business is eminently sensible in most cases. Spending $3,000 a month to land $3,500 of business, on the other hand, is likely to be a disaster for your business’s ability to trade effectively in the long term.

If Google finds two identical pieces of content, whether on your own site, or on another you’re not even aware of, it will only index one of those pages. You should be aware of scraper sites, stealing your content automatically and republishing as your own. Here’s Graham Charlton’s thorough investigation on what to if your content ends up working better for somebody else.


Hi Matt, we are currently about to upload a mayor project that includes applying no-follows to a numerous amount of links. This project was not conceived as a method of sculpting the site but because in out webmasters tools google alerted us that the site had too many links and this could affect crawling. This is mainly because we have a high listing and because we offer the users many filtering options which makes for great user experience as several surveys indicated. The idea of the no-follows was to apply them to these filtering links to tell google not to follow them. Do you think this is the way to go?. After reading your post I am affraid that we might be making a mistake.
Regarding nofollow on content that you don’t want indexed, you’re absolutely right that nofollow doesn’t prevent that, e.g. if someone else links to that content. In the case of the site that excluded user forums, quite a few high-quality pages on the site happened not to have links from other sites. In the case of my feed, it doesn’t matter much either way, but I chose not to throw any extra PageRank onto my feed url. The services that want to fetch my feed url (e.g. Google Reader or Bloglines) know how to find it just fine.
Still, before we get there, there's a whole lot of information to grasp. As an online marketer myself, it's important that I convey the truth about the industry to you so that you don't get sucked up into the dream. While there are legitimate marketers like Sharpe out there ready and willing to help, there are loads of others that are simply looking to help part you from your hard-earned cash. Before you do anything, gather all of the information you can.
What are "backlinks"? Backlinks are links that are directed towards your website. Also knows as Inbound links (IBL's). The number of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website. Backlinks are important for SEO because some search engines, especially Google, will give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks, and consider those websites more relevant than others in their results pages for a search query.
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