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.
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.
The PageRank algorithm has major effects on society as it contains a social influence. As opposed to the scientific viewpoint of PageRank as an algorithm the humanities instead view it through a lens examining its social components. In these instances, it is dissected and reviewed not for its technological advancement in the field of search engines, but for its societal influences.[42] Laura Granka discusses PageRank by describing how the pages are not simply ranked via popularity as they contain a reliability that gives them a trustworthy quality. This has led to a development of behavior that is directly linked to PageRank. PageRank is viewed as the definitive rank of products and businesses and thus, can manipulate thinking. The information that is available to individuals is what shapes thinking and ideology and PageRank is the device that displays this information. The results shown are the forum to which information is delivered to the public and these results have a societal impact as they will affect how a person thinks and acts.
So be wary. Ensure that you learn from the pros and don't get sucked into every offer that you see. Follow the reputable people online. It's easy to distinguish those that fill you with hype and those that are actually out there for your benefit. Look to add value along the way and you'll succeed. You might find it frustrating at the outset. Everyone does. But massive amounts of income await those that stick it out and see things through.

This still encourages larger, more professionally run websites not to ‘share the wealth’ of PageRank to other sites. How is a small niche website ever going to get decent results in SERPS if when a bigger site does link to it, it nofollows the link? Not passing any PageRank benefit, or anchor text through the link does nothing to encourage smaller more specialised sites – it encourages the bigger, broader sites to hoard the goodness.
Start Value (In this case) is the number of actual links to each “node”. Most people actually set this to 1 to start, but there are two great reasons for using link counts. First, it is a better approximation to start with than giving everything the same value, so the algorithm stabilizes in less iterations and it is so useful to check my spreadsheet in a second… so node A has one link in (from page C)
Thanks for the post Chelsea! I think Google is starting to move further away from PageRank but I do agree that a higher amoount of links doesn’t necessarily mean a higher rank. I’ve seen many try to shortcut the system and end up spending weeks undoing these “shortcuts.” I wonder how much weight PageRank still holds today, considering the algorithms Google continues to put out there to provide more relevant search results.

A Web crawler may use PageRank as one of a number of importance metrics it uses to determine which URL to visit during a crawl of the web. One of the early working papers[56] that were used in the creation of Google is Efficient crawling through URL ordering,[57] which discusses the use of a number of different importance metrics to determine how deeply, and how much of a site Google will crawl. PageRank is presented as one of a number of these importance metrics, though there are others listed such as the number of inbound and outbound links for a URL, and the distance from the root directory on a site to the URL.

Adjusting how Google treats nofollows is clearly a major shift (as the frenzy in the SEO community has demonstrated). So, if Google were to adjust how they treat nofollows they would need to phase it in gradually. I believe this latest (whether in 2008 or 2009) change is simply a move in the direction of greater changes to come regarding nofollow. It is the logical first step.


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?
Ah – well the Reasonable Surfer is a different patent (and therefore a different algorithm) to PageRank. I would imagine that initially, only the first link counted – simply because there either IS or IS NOT a relationship between the two nodes. This mean it was a binary choice. However, at Majestic we certainly think about two links between page A and Page B with separate anchor texts… in this case in a binary choice, either the data on the second link would need to be dropped or, the number of backlinks can start to get bloated. I wrote about this on Moz way back in 2011!

Search engine optimization (SEO) receives a lot of love from inexperienced marketers. It’s seen as “free marketing” in that you can handle your own SEO work (as long as you follow some rules to do so), and thus all it requires is your time to make things happen. SEO is simply what you do to your website and web pages to make them show up in “organic” (or unpaid) search results on search engines.
A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the page that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the root page. Many breadcrumbs have the most general page (usually the root page) as the first, leftmost link and list the more specific sections out to the right. We recommend using breadcrumb structured data markup28 when showing breadcrumbs.
Just because some people have been turning their page, way to, pink (with the Firefox ‘nofollow’ indicator plug in installed) that is not a reason to devalue something that is OK to do. It would not of been that hard to plug in a change that would pick that up as spam and therefore put a ‘trust’ question mark against sites that have been ‘nofollowing’ everything.
Matt Cutts, it’s Shawn Hill from Longview, Texas and I’ve got to say, “you’re a semseo guru”. That’s obviously why Google retained you as they did. Very informative post! As head of Google’s Webspam team how to you intend to combat Social Networking Spam (SNS)? It’s becoming an increasingly obvious problem in SERPs. I’m thinking Blogspam should be the least of Google’s worries. What’s your take?
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