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.
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.
There are a number of ways brands can use digital marketing to benefit their marketing efforts. The use of digital marketing in the digital era not only allows for brands to market their products and services, but also allows for online customer support through 24/7 services to make customers feel supported and valued. The use of social media interaction allows brands to receive both positive and negative feedback from their customers as well as determining what media platforms work well for them. As such, digital marketing has become an increased advantage for brands and businesses. It is now common for consumers to post feedback online through social media sources, blogs and websites on their experience with a product or brand.[25] It has become increasingly popular for businesses to use and encourage these conversations through their social media channels to have direct contact with the customers and manage the feedback they receive appropriately.
Your Brand Persona and Target Audience. When you eventually start creating content, you have to know who you’re talking to and tailor your brand voice to appeal to them uniquely. If you aren’t targeting the right audience (those people who will lean in to hear what you’re saying), you won’t find success. And, if you can’t find a way to stand out, you’ll blend into the hordes of other brands competing for attention in your industry.
Some backlinks are inherently more valuable than others. Followed backlinks from trustworthy, popular, high-authority sites are considered the most desirable backlinks to earn, while backlinks from low-authority, potentially spammy sites are typically at the other end of the spectrum. Whether or not a link is followed (i.e. whether a site owner specifically instructs search engines to pass, or not pass, link equity) is certainly relevant, but don't entirely discount the value of nofollow links. Even just being mentioned on high-quality websites can give your brand a boost.

Also, by means of the iterative calculation, the sum of all pages' PageRanks still converges to the total number of web pages. So the average PageRank of a web page is 1. The minimum PageRank of a page is given by (1-d). Therefore, there is a maximum PageRank for a page which is given by dN+(1-d), where N is total number of web pages. This maximum can theoretically occur, if all web pages solely link to one page, and this page also solely links to itself.
There’s a lot of frustration being vented in this comments section. It is one thing to be opaque – which Google seems to be masterly at – but quite another to misdirect, which is what No Follow has turned out to be. All of us who produce content always put our readers first, but we also have to be sensible as far as on page SEO is concerned. All Google are doing with this kind of thing is to progressively direct webmasters towards optimizing for other, more reliable and transparent, ways of generating traffic (and no, that doesn’t necessarily mean Adwords, although that may be part of the intent).
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.
By the way, YouTube currently is all over the place. It nofollows links in the Spotlight and Featured areas, where you assume there’s some editorial oversight. But since some of these show on the basis of a commercial relationship, maybe YouTube is being safe. Meanwhile, Videos Being Watched now which is kind of random isn’t blocked — pretty much the entire page is no longer blocked.
The original Random Surfer PageRank patent from Stanford has expired. The Reasonable Surfer version of PageRank (assigned to Google) is newer than that one, and has been updated via a continuation patent at least once. The version of PageRank based upon a trusted seed set of sites (assigned to Google) has also been updated via a continuation patent and differs in many ways from the Stanford version of PageRank. It is likely that Google may be using one of the versions of PageRank that they have control over (the exclusive license to use Stanford’s version of PageRank has expired along with that patent). The updated versions of PageRank (reasonable surfer and Trusted Seeds approach) both are protected under present day patents assigned to Google, and both have been updated to reflect modern processes in how they are implemented. Because of their existence, and the expiration of the original, I would suggest that it is unlikely that the random surfer model-base PageRank is still being used.
But how do you get quoted in news articles? Websites such as HARO and ProfNet can help you to connect with journalists who have specific needs, and there are other tools that allow you to send interesting pitches to writers. Even monitoring Twitter for relevant conversations between journalists can yield opportunities to connect with writers working on pieces involving your industry.
An entrepreneur or freelancer has two main strategies to tap into when marketing online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which attempts to rank your website on search engines “organically”, and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which ranks your website in search results in exchange for money. Both strategies can be used to build a business succes...
But this leads to a question — if my husband wants to do a roundup of every Wagner Ring Cycle on DVD, that’s about 8 Amazon links on the page, all bleeding PR away from his substantive insights. If he, instead, wants to do a roundup of every Ring Cycle on CD, that’s about two dozen items worth discussing. The page would be very handy for users, and would involve considerably more effort on his part… but no good deed goes unpunished, and in the eyes of Google the page would be devalued by more than two thirds.
Links still matter as part of the algorithmic secret sauce. The influence of a site’s link profile is plain to see in its search engine rankings, whether for better or worse, and changes in that link profile cause noticeable movement up or down the SERP. An SEO’s emphasis today should be on attracting links to quality content naturally, not building them en masse. (For more on proper link building today, see http://bit.ly/1XIm3vf )

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.

Conversion rate optimization is all about testing. Many companies get too bogged down in design and what they think looks best and will convert. At the end of the day, you don’t know until you test. At IMI, we have the tools, technology, and expertise to not only build well-optimized web pages but to test them once they go live. Our conversion rate optimization can not only save our client’s money but generate millions in revenue.


PageRank has been used to rank spaces or streets to predict how many people (pedestrians or vehicles) come to the individual spaces or streets.[51][52] In lexical semantics it has been used to perform Word Sense Disambiguation,[53] Semantic similarity,[54] and also to automatically rank WordNet synsets according to how strongly they possess a given semantic property, such as positivity or negativity.[55] 

Nice word is not enough for this. You show that Blogging is like Apple vs Samsung. You can create lot of post and drive traffic (which is Samsung like lot of phone every year) or you can create high quality post like apple (which is you) and force higher rank site to make content like you copy content from you blog. Now i will work hard on already publish post until they will not get traffic.

Backlink is a link one website gets from another website. Backlinks make a huge impact on a website’s prominence in search engine results. This is why they are considered very useful for improving a website’s SEO ranking. Search engines calculate rankings using multiple factors to display search results. No one knows for sure how much weight search engines give to backlinks when listing results, however what we do know for certain is that they are very important.
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.
btw; All those SEO’s out there probably made some monies off clients, selling the sculpting thang to them. I know some are still insisting it worked, etc, but would they say in public that it didn’t work after they already took a site’s money to sculpt? How would anyone judge if it worked or not definitively? The funny thing is, the real issues of that site could have been fixed for the long term instead of applying a band aide. Of course; knowing the state of this industry right now, band aides are the in thing anyway.
Check your robots.txt file. Make sure you learn how to hide content you don’t want indexed from search engines and that search engines can find the content you do want indexed, too. (You will want to hide things such as repeat content, which can be penalized by search engines but is still necessary on your site). You’ll find a link to how to modify the robots.txt at the end of this article.
Totally agree — more does not always equal better. Google takes a sort of ‘Birds of a Feather’ approach when analyzing inbound links, so it’s really all about associating yourself (via inbound links) with websites Google deems high quality and trustworthy so that Google deems YOUR web page high quality and trustworthy. As you mentioned, trying to cut corners, buy links, do one-for-one trades, or otherwise game/manipulate the system never works. The algorithm is too smart.
Thanks Matt for the informative post. However I do have some questions regarding blog comments. Let say a blog post of mine have PR 10, the page has 10 links, 3 of them are my internal link to my other related post, the other 7 links are external links from blog comment. Based on your explanation, even the 7 external links are nofollow, my 3 internal link will only get 1 PR each which is still the same if the 7 external link is dofollow. Therefore there is no point of adding nofollow for the sake of keeping the PR flow within your own links. Is this correct?
TrustRank takes into consideration website foundational backlinks. Searching engines find quicker sites which are reliable and trustworthy and place them on the top of SERP. All doubtful websites you can find somewhere at the end of the rank if you decide to look what is there. As a rule, people take the information from the first links and stop searching, in case they have found nothing on first 20 top sites. Surely, your website may have that required information, service or goods but because of lack of authority, Internet users will not find them unless you have good foundational backlinks. What are backlinks which we call foundational? These are all branded and non-optimized backlinks on authority websites.
Brian, you are such an inspiration. I wonder how do you get all these hacks and then publish them for all of us. I have been reading your stuff from quite a time now, but I have a problem. Every time I read something you post I feel overwhelmed but I haven’t been really able to generate any fruitful results on any of my sites. I just don’t know where to start. Imagine I don’t even have an email list.

The goal of SEO is to get a web page high search engine ranking. The better a web page's search engine optimization, the higher a ranking it will achieve in search result listings. (Note that SEO is not the only factor that determines search engine page ranks.) This is especially critical because most people who use search engines only look at the first page or two of the search results, so for a page to get high traffic from a search engine, it has to be listed on those first two pages, and the higher the rank, the closer a page is to the number one listing, the better.  And whatever your web page's rank is, you want your website to be listed before your competitor's websites if your business is selling products or services over the internet.


Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say "might" because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user's query. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet. The Webmaster Central Blog has informative posts on improving snippets with better description meta tags18 and better snippets for your users19. We also have a handy Help Center article on how to create good titles and snippets20.
Just think about any relationship for a moment. How long you've known a person is incredibly important. It's not the be-all-end-all, but it is fundamental to trust. If you've known someone for years and years and other people that you know who you already trust can vouch for that person, then you're far more likely to trust them, right? But if you've just met someone, and haven't really vetted them so to speak, how can you possibly trust them?
We have other ways to consider relevence. Topical Trust Flow is one and page titles and anchor texts are others. If you put a search term into our system (instead of a URL) you actually get back a search engine! we don’t profess to be a Google (yet) but we can show our customers WHY one page is more relevent on our algotithm than another page. This could prove useful for SEOs. We actually launched that in 2013, but the world maybe never noticed 🙂
Example: A blogger John Doe writes a very interesting article about a sports event. Another blogger Samantha Smith doesn’t agree with John’s article and writes about it in another article for an online magazine. She links to John’s article, so that her readers can understand both point of views. John’s blog gets a valuable backlink. On the other hand, Samantha’s article gets popular and many other websites link to her article. Samantha’s website gets many new backlinks. Even though John only got one backlink for his article, the value of his backlink is increased by the backlinks Samantha’s article generated.
Let’s start with what Google says. In a nutshell, it considers links to be like votes. In addition, it considers that some votes are more important than others. PageRank is Google’s system of counting link votes and determining which pages are most important based on them. These scores are then used along with many other things to determine if a page will rank well in a search.
Mathematical PageRanks for a simple network, expressed as percentages. (Google uses a logarithmic scale.) Page C has a higher PageRank than Page E, even though there are fewer links to C; the one link to C comes from an important page and hence is of high value. If web surfers who start on a random page have an 85% likelihood of choosing a random link from the page they are currently visiting, and a 15% likelihood of jumping to a page chosen at random from the entire web, they will reach Page E 8.1% of the time. (The 15% likelihood of jumping to an arbitrary page corresponds to a damping factor of 85%.) Without damping, all web surfers would eventually end up on Pages A, B, or C, and all other pages would have PageRank zero. In the presence of damping, Page A effectively links to all pages in the web, even though it has no outgoing links of its own.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or webpage on a search engine results page (SERP) so as to make a company’s website more discoverable (i.e., on the first page/s), thereby driving traffic and sales. Tedious, involving technical and business decisions, and not guaranteeing results—it nonetheless provides lasting benefits.

Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure. Make sure all of the pages on your site are reachable through links, and that they don't require an internal "search" functionality to be found. Link to related pages, where appropriate, to allow users to discover similar content.
Once you understand how everything works, and your expectations are set the right way, decide what you want to do. Do you want to become an affiliate marketer? Do you want to be a network marketer? Do you want to become a blogger and sell your own products? Squeeze pages, which are glorified sales pages that attract people and direct their attention towards a single action of providing their email address, are created in a variety of methods. The better they are, the more likely they'll convert.
Hi Bill, Yes – thanks. I think I’ll have to do more of these. I couldn’t really go beyond Pagerank in an 18 minute Pubcon session. Although the random surfer model expired (and wasn’t even assigned to Google), it is still a precursor to understanding everything that has come after it. I think I would love to do more videos/presentations on both Reasonable surfer patent, Dangling Nodes and probably a lifetime of other videos in the future. To be able to demonstrate these concept without giving people headaches, though, the PageRank algorithm in Matrix form provides a good understanding of why you can’t "just get links" and expect everything to be at number 1.
A generalization of PageRank for the case of ranking two interacting groups of objects was described in [32] In applications it may be necessary to model systems having objects of two kinds where a weighted relation is defined on object pairs. This leads to considering bipartite graphs. For such graphs two related positive or nonnegative irreducible matrices corresponding to vertex partition sets can be defined. One can compute rankings of objects in both groups as eigenvectors corresponding to the maximal positive eigenvalues of these matrices. Normed eigenvectors exist and are unique by the Perron or Perron-Frobenius theorem. Example: consumers and products. The relation weight is the product consumption rate.

Most schools / universities have just an [email protected]… or [email protected]…. email address, which goes to the reception. I don’t really know who to address this email to, as I believe a lot of the time the admin person receiving it ignore and delete it without passing it on to someone relevant, e.g. the school’s or universities’ communications manager. Hope you can help me on this one! Thanks so much in advance!
I compare the latest Google search results to this: Mcdonalds is the most popular and is #1 in hamburgers… they dont taste that great but people still go there. BUT I bet you know a good burger joint down the road from Google that makes awesome burgers, 10X better than Mcdonalds, but “we” can not find that place because he does not have the resources or budget to market his burgers effectively.
Google works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. Google assesses the importance of every web page using a variety of techniques, including its patented PageRank™ algorithm which analyzes which sites have been “voted” the best sources of information by other pages across the web.
Google uses a hyperlink based algorithm (known as ‘PageRank’) to calculate the popularity and authority of a page, and while Google is far more sophisticated today, this is still a fundamental signal in ranking. SEO can therefore also include activity to help improve the number and quality of ‘inbound links’ to a website, from other websites. This activity has historically been known as ‘link building’, but is really just marketing a brand with an emphasis online, through content or digital PR for example.
As you might know, backlinks and all marketing strategies are dependent on the competition and existing trends in your niche. So if the blogs and marketers in your country are still using older tactics like web 2.0 backlinks and blog comments, then does it even make sense to go for tedious strategies like outreach? Does it even warrant a good business ROI?
Thanks Matt for the informative post. However I do have some questions regarding blog comments. Let say a blog post of mine have PR 10, the page has 10 links, 3 of them are my internal link to my other related post, the other 7 links are external links from blog comment. Based on your explanation, even the 7 external links are nofollow, my 3 internal link will only get 1 PR each which is still the same if the 7 external link is dofollow. Therefore there is no point of adding nofollow for the sake of keeping the PR flow within your own links. Is this correct?

This is what happens to the numbers after 15 iterations…. Look at how the 5 nodes are all stabilizing to the same numbers. If we had started with all pages being 1, by the way, which is what most people tell you to do, this would have taken many more iterations to get to a stable set of numbers (and in fact – in this model – would not have stabilized at all)


I compare the latest Google search results to this: Mcdonalds is the most popular and is #1 in hamburgers… they dont taste that great but people still go there. BUT I bet you know a good burger joint down the road from Google that makes awesome burgers, 10X better than Mcdonalds, but “we” can not find that place because he does not have the resources or budget to market his burgers effectively.
PageRank was influenced by citation analysis, early developed by Eugene Garfield in the 1950s at the University of Pennsylvania, and by Hyper Search, developed by Massimo Marchiori at the University of Padua. In the same year PageRank was introduced (1998), Jon Kleinberg published his work on HITS. Google's founders cite Garfield, Marchiori, and Kleinberg in their original papers.[5][18]
I have a small service business called Eco Star Painting in Calgary and I do all of my own SEO. I’m having trouble getting good backlinks. How do you suggest a painting company get quality backlinks other than the typical local citation sites and social media platforms? I don’t know what I can offer another high domain site in terms of content. Do you have any suggestions?
Links still matter as part of the algorithmic secret sauce. The influence of a site’s link profile is plain to see in its search engine rankings, whether for better or worse, and changes in that link profile cause noticeable movement up or down the SERP. An SEO’s emphasis today should be on attracting links to quality content naturally, not building them en masse. (For more on proper link building today, see http://bit.ly/1XIm3vf )

3. General on-site optimization. On-site optimization is a collection of tactics, most of which are simple to implement, geared toward making your website more visible and indexable to search engines. These tactics include things like optimizing your titles and meta descriptions to include some of your target keywords, ensuring your site’s code is clean and minimal, and providing ample, relevant content on every page. I’ve got a huge list of on-site SEO tactics you can check out here.
3) Some people don’t believe things have changed. In fact, if things really changed substantially a year ago, you’d think a few of the advanced SEOs out there would have noticed this and talked about it. But nada. There are lots of reasons why the change could have happened and not been spotted. Sculpting might really have been a second or third order factor, as Matt calls it — not helping things as much as some have assumed. SEOs that spotted it might have stayed quiet. Or, it didn’t change — and still hasn’t changed — and sculpting does work even better than Google thought, so it wants to put out a message that it doesn’t, in hopes of putting the genie back in the bottle. That’s probably the major conspiracy theory out there.
According to Statistica, 76% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile and by 2020 the number of worldwide users of social media is expected to reach 2.95 billion (650 million of these from China alone). Of the social media platforms, Facebook is by far the most dominant - as of the end of the second quarter of 2018 Facebook had approximately 2.23 billion active users worldwide (Statistica). Mobile devices have become the dominant platform for Facebook usage - 68% of time spent on Facebook originates from mobile devices.

It is interesting to read the article which however as others have commented leaves questions unanswered. The ideal internal page rank flow is clearly down the hierarchy and back up again evidently and no page to page links down the line. If this effect is big enough to have provoked an algorithm change then it must be substantial. Removing those related product links altogether would improve ranking and degrade the user experience of the site which surely is undesirable. I suspect the lesser of two evils was chosen.


Could the nofollow change could be interpreted as a form of usability guidance? For instance, I’ve recently removed drop-down menus from a handful of sites because of internal link and keyword density issues. This wasn’t done randomly. Tests were done to measure usage and value of this form of navigation that made it easy to make the change – allowing usability and SEO to dovetail nicely.

Two weeks ago I changed a few internal anchor text links for a HTML SELECT Label in order to save some space in the menu bar. Today, when I saw in Google the Cache (text-version) page of my site I realized that all the links in the HTML SELECT Label cannot be followed. So I understand that Googlebot doesn’t follow this links and obviously there’s no inbound ‘link juice’. Is that so?
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.

Yep, please change things to stop keyword stuffing. Change them to stop cloaking. Definately change them to stop buying links that try to game Google. But, telling search engines to not give weight (that I control) to pages that are not what my site is about or are not really relevant. No way. This is logical stuff here. Maybe too logical. I think deep down you know this Matt too.

That type of earth-shattering failure and pain really does a number on a person. Getting clean and overcoming those demons isn't as simple as people make it out to be. You need to have some serious deep-down reasons on why you must succeed at all costs. You have to be able to extricate yourself from the shackles of bad habits that have consumed you during your entire life. And that's precisely what Sharpe did.
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.
A decent article which encourages discussion and healthy debate. Reading some of the comments I see it also highlights some of the misunderstandings some people (including some SEOs) have of Google PageRank. Toolbar PageRank is not the same thing as PageRank. The little green bar (Toolbar PageRank) was never a very accurate metric and told you very little about the value of any particular web page. It may have been officially killed off earlier this year, but the truth is its been dead for many years. Real PageRank on the other hand, is at the core of Google’s algorithm and remains very important.
Moreover, the PageRank mechanism is entirely general, so it can applied to any graph or network in any field. Currently, the PR formula is used in bibliometrics, social and information network analysis, and for link prediction and recommendation. It's even used for system analysis of road networks, as well as biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and physics.

An authority website is a site that is trusted by its users, the industry it operates in, other websites and search engines. Traditionally a link from an authority website is very valuable, as it’s seen as a vote of confidence. The more of these you have, and the higher quality content you produce, the more likely your own site will become an authority too.
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.
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.
I think that removing the link to the sitemap shouldn’t be a big problem for the navigation, but I wonder what happens with the disclaimer and the contact page? If nofollow doesn’t sink the linked page, how can we tell the search engine that these are not content pages. For some websites these are some of the most linked pages. And yes for some the contact page is worth gaining rank, but for my website is not.
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