If you’re Matt Cutts and a billion people link to you because you’re the Spam guy at Google, writing great content is enough. For the rest of us in hypercompetitive markets, good content alone is not enough. There was nothing wrong with sculpting page rank to pages on your site that make you money as a means of boosting traffic to those pages. It’s not manipulating Google, there’s more than enough of that going on in the first page of results for most competitive keywords. Geez Matt, give the little guy a break!


Thanks for the clarification, Matt. We were just wondering today when we would hear from you on the matter since it had been a couple of weeks since SMX. I think we’d all be interested to know the extent to which linking to “trusted sites,” helps PageRank. Does it really mitigate the losses incurred by increasing the number of links? I ask because it seems pretty conclusive that the total number of outbound links is now the deciding metric for passing PageRank and not the number of DoFollow links. Any thoughts from you or others?
As I was telling Norman above, these days what we’ve come to call content marketing is really a big part of “link building.” You can’t buy links, and “you link to me I’ll link to you” requests often land on deaf ears. Its really all about creating high quality content (videos, images, written blog posts) that appeals to the needs/wants of your target market, and then naturally earning inbound links from sources that truly find what you have to offer worth referencing.
In my example, if I am passing PR to a local eatery by having a do-follow link but there are 9 nofollow links on that page and I only had 10 points to begin with then that lowers the value I can give from my local foodie blog to that site. In that case would it actually be better to either disallow comments on that page or to disallow links associated with the comments on that page? I mean if my client is a food blogger (and some are) and they tell the restaurateur “when I write about you it will be good for your Google juice because I will place a link to you with my post” then they would really be diminishing the value they could give by having an increased number of links. Kinds of sucks for the blogger who wants a lot of comments, no?
Great post. I’m posting a link back to this article from our blog along with some comments. I do have a question. In your article, you post “The only place I deliberately add a nofollow is on the link to my feed, because it’s not super-helpful to have RSS/Atom feeds in web search results.” Yet when I look at this article, I noticed that the comment links are “external, nofollow”. Is there a reason for that?
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.
In today’s world, QUALITY is more important than quantity. Google penalties have caused many website owners to not only stop link building, but start link pruning instead. Poor quality links (i.e., links from spammy or off-topic sites) are like poison and can kill your search engine rankings. Only links from quality sites, and pages that are relevant to your website, will appear natural and not be subject to penalty. So never try to buy or solicit links — earn them naturally or not at all.
Social media is a mixed bag when it comes to backlinks. There is a modicum of value, as social media sites allow you to link to your website in your profile. However, these days Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites mark links as 'nofollow,' meaning that they don't pass SEO value (sometimes referred to as "link juice") to the linked site. These links won't do anything to boost your site's performance in search results.
I am not worried by this; I do agree with Danny Sullivan (Great comment Danny, best comment I have read in a long time). I will not be changing much on my site re: linking but it is interesting too see that Google took over a year to tell us regarding the change, but was really happy to tell us about rel=”nofollow” in the first place and advised us all to use it.
Well, it seems that what this article says, is that the purpose of the no-follow link is to take the motivation away from spammers to post spam comments for the purpose of the link and the associated page rank flow; that the purpose of no-follow was never to provide a means to control where a page’s pagerank flow is directed. It doesn’t seem that shocking to me folks.
Something a lot of people seem to have overlooked was hinted at in Greg Boser’s comment above. Greg identified that there is a major (and unfair) disparity with how authority sites such as Wikipedia disrupt the linkscape by run-of-site nofollows. Once Wikipedia implemented the no-follows, previously high-value links from Wikipedia were rendered worthless making the site less of a target for spammers. Increasingly large sites are following suit in order to cleanse their own pages of spam.
When traffic is coming to your website or blog, nearly unfettered, it gives you the opportunity to test out a variety of marketing initiatives. However, without that traffic, you're forced to spend money on costly ads before really determining the effectiveness of your offers and uncovering your cost-per acquisition (CPA), two things which are at the core of scaling out any business online.
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.

Online reviews, then, have become another form of internet marketing that small businesses can't afford to ignore. While many small businesses think that they can't do anything about online reviews, that's not true. Just by actively encouraging customers to post reviews about their experience small businesses can weight online reviews positively. Sixty-eight percent of consumers left a local business review when asked. So assuming a business's products or services are not subpar, unfair negative reviews will get buried by reviews by happier customers.
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)
A press release can serve double duty for marketing efforts. It can alert media outlets about your news and also help your website gain backlinks. But it can only build links effectively if executed properly. Only write and distribute press releases when a brand has something newsworthy or interesting to share Click & Tweet! . This strategy can gain links on the actual press release post as well as on the stories that media outlets write about it.
The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically. The Yahoo! Directory and DMOZ, two major directories which closed in 2014 and 2017 respectively, both required manual submission and human editorial review.[39] Google offers Google Search Console, for which an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted for free to ensure that all pages are found, especially pages that are not discoverable by automatically following links[40] in addition to their URL submission console.[41] Yahoo! formerly operated a paid submission service that guaranteed crawling for a cost per click;[42] however, this practice was discontinued in 2009.
Okay, if you're still with me, fantastic. You're one of the few that doesn't mind wading through a little bit of hopeless murkiness to reemerge on the shores of hope. But before we jump too far ahead, it's important to understand what online marketing is and what it isn't. That definition provides a core understanding of what it takes to peddle anything on the web, whether it's a product, service or information.

The name "PageRank" plays off of the name of developer Larry Page, as well as of the concept of a web page.[15] The word is a trademark of Google, and the PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999). However, the patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google. Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University. The university received 1.8 million shares of Google in exchange for use of the patent; it sold the shares in 2005 for $336 million.[16][17]
This pagerank theme is getting understood in simplistic ways, people are still concerning about pagerank all the time (talking about SEOs). I just use common sense, if I were the designer of a search engine, besides of using the regular structure of analysis, I would use artificial intelligence to determine many factors of the analysis. I think this is not just a matter of dividing by 10, is far more complex. I might be wrong, but I believe the use of the nofollow attribute is not a final decision of the website owner any more is more like an option given to the bot, either to accept or reject the link as valid vote. Perhaps regular links are not final decision of the webmaster too. I think Google is seeing websites human would do, the pages are not analyzed like a parser will do, I believe is more like a neural network, bit more complex. I believe this change make a little difference. People should stop worrying about pagerank and start building good content, the algorithm is far more complex to determine what is next step to reach top ten at Google. However nothing is impossible.
The Open Directory Project (ODP) is a Web directory maintained by a large staff of volunteers. Each volunteer oversees a category, and together volunteers list and categorize Web sites into a huge, comprehensive directory. Because a real person evaluates and categorizes each page within the directory, search engines like Google use the ODP as a database for search results. Getting a site listed on the ODP often means it will show up on Google.
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.
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]
We can’t know the exact details of the scale because, as we’ll see later, the maximum PR of all pages on the web changes every month when Google does its re-indexing! If we presume the scale is logarithmic (although there is only anecdotal evidence for this at the time of writing) then Google could simply give the highest actual PR page a toolbar PR of 10 and scale the rest appropriately.
It is clear that something new should emerge to cover that unfollow emptiness. Here and there it is believed that some search engines may use so-called implied links to rank the page. Implied links are, for example, references to your brand. They usually come with a tone: positive, neutral, or negative. The tone defines the reputation of your site. This reputation serves as a ranking signal to search engines.

I would like to know how Google is handling relevancy with so many websites now jumping on the “no follow” wagon? Seems like just about every major website has no follow links, so with the Panda updates this year what’s happening to all that lost link power? Seem’s like this tactic will stagnate the growth of up-and-coming websites on the internet to me. Am I right here?
Having a ‘keyword rich’ domain name may lead to closer scrutiny from Google. According to Moz, Google has “de-prioritized sites with keyword-rich domains that aren’t otherwise high-quality. Having a keyword in your domain can still be beneficial, but it can also lead to closer scrutiny and a possible negative ranking effect from search engines—so tread carefully.”
Ian Rogers first used the Internet in 1986 sending email on a University VAX machine! He first installed a webserver in 1990, taught himself HTML and perl CGI scripting. Since then he has been a Senior Research Fellow in User Interface Design and a consultant in Network Security and Database Backed Websites. He has had an informal interest in topology and the mathematics and behaviour of networks for years and has also been known to do a little Jive dancing.

As of October 2018 almost 4.2 billion people were active internet users and 3.4 billion were social media users (Statista). China, India and the United States rank ahead all other countries in terms of internet users. This gives a marketer an unprecedented number of customers to reach with product and service offerings, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The interactive nature of the internet facilitates immediate communication between businesses and consumers, allowing businesses to respond quickly to the needs of consumers and changes in the marketplace.


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)
SEM, on the other hand, costs money but can deliver very rapid results. Your website must be optimized to make sales or at least drive a customer to get in touch (GIT – in marketing terms) so you can make a sale. You should approach SEM with care and make sure you completely understand how much money you have exposed at any one time. Start slow and evaluate your results.
We must be careful with our reciprocal links. There is a Google patent in the works that will deal with not only the popularity of the sites being linked to, but also how trustworthy a site is that you link to from your own website. This will mean that you could get into trouble with the search engine just for linking to a bad apple. We could begin preparing for this future change in the search engine algorithm by being choosier with which we exchange links right now. By choosing only relevant sites to link with, and sites that don't have tons of outbound links on a page, or sites that don't practice black-hat SEO techniques, we will have a better chance that our reciprocal links won't be discounted.
When writing this guide, we reached out to the marketer community to collect case studies and learnings about creative marketing strategies. Most of these examples are included throughout the guide, but some didn’t quite fit. So we included those loose ends here, from the perspective of four awesome marketers. What better way to wrap up this guide than with you, our community?
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.
Conversion rate optimization is still possibly one of the most underutilized but critical functions of digital marketing. Every element of digital marketing is useless without considering conversion rates. This goes for SEO, SEM, Social Media, Email, and Display. The power of your SEO rankings are only as good as your click through rates and your traffic is only valuable of your website and landing pages foster some type of “action.” Why spend all the time and energy driving traffic through multiple different channels if you are not willing to spend the time and energy on conversion optimization? Yet many brands and agencies still put less emphasis on this crucial piece of the puzzle.
We must be careful with our reciprocal links. There is a Google patent in the works that will deal with not only the popularity of the sites being linked to, but also how trustworthy a site is that you link to from your own website. This will mean that you could get into trouble with the search engine just for linking to a bad apple. We could begin preparing for this future change in the search engine algorithm by being choosier with which we exchange links right now. By choosing only relevant sites to link with, and sites that don't have tons of outbound links on a page, or sites that don't practice black-hat SEO techniques, we will have a better chance that our reciprocal links won't be discounted.
Paid-for links and ads on your site MUST have a nofollow attribute (see Google’s policy on nofollow). If you have paid links that are left followed, the search engines might suspect you are trying to manipulate search results and slap your site with a ranking penalty. Google’s Penguin algorithm eats manipulative paid links for lunch, so stay off the menu by adding nofollow attributes where applicable.
If you are serious about improving web traffic to your website, we recommend you read Google Webmasters and Webmaster Guidelines. These contain the best practices to help Google (and other search engines) find, crawl, and index your website. After you have read them, you MUST try our Search Engine Optimization Tools to help you with Keyword Research, Link Building, Technical Optimization, Usability, Social Media Strategy and more.
Assume a small universe of four web pages: A, B, C and D. Links from a page to itself, or multiple outbound links from one single page to another single page, are ignored. PageRank is initialized to the same value for all pages. In the original form of PageRank, the sum of PageRank over all pages was the total number of pages on the web at that time, so each page in this example would have an initial value of 1. However, later versions of PageRank, and the remainder of this section, assume a probability distribution between 0 and 1. Hence the initial value for each page in this example is 0.25.
(1 - d) - The (1 – d) bit at the beginning is a bit of probability math magic so the “sum of all web pages' PageRanks will be one”: it adds in the bit lost by the d(.... It also means that if a page has no links to it (no backlinks) even then it will still get a small PR of 0.15 (i.e. 1 – 0.85). (Aside: the Google paper says “the sum of all pages” but they mean the “the normalised sum” – otherwise known as “the average” to you and me.
The green ratings bars are a measure of the importance Google’s assessment of the importance of a web page, as determined by Google’s patented PageRank technology and other factors. These PageRank bars tell you at a glance whether other people on the web consider Google considers a page to be a high-quality site worth checking out. Google itself does not evaluate or endorse websites. Rather, we measure what others on the web feel is important enough to deserve a link. And because Google does not accept payment for placement within our results, the information you see when you conduct a search is based on totally objective criteria.

In the page, the text “Post Modern Marketing” is a link that points to the homepage of our website, www.postmm.com. That link is an outgoing link for Forbes, but for our website it is an incoming link, or backlink. Usually, the links are styled differently than the rest of the page text, for easy identification. Often they'll be a different color, underlined, or accompany an icon - all these indicate that if you click, you can visit the page the text is referencing.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, consumers spent $453.46 billion on the web for retail purchases in 2017, a 16.0% increase compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. That’s the highest growth rate since 2011, when online sales grew 17.5% over 2010. Forrester predicts that online sales will account for 17% of all US retail sales by 2022. And digital advertising is also growing strongly; According to Strategy Analytics, in 2017 digital advertising was up 12%, accounting for approximately 38% of overall spending on advertising, or $207.44 billion.
Discoverability is not a new concept for web designers. In fact Search Engine Optimization and various forms of Search Engine Marketing arose from the need to make websites easy to discover by users. In the mobile application space this issue of discoverability is becoming ever more important – with nearly 700 apps a day being released on Apple’...

It helps to improve your ranking for certain keywords. If we want this article to rank for the term ’SEO basics’ then we can begin linking to it from other posts using variations of similar anchor text. This tells Google that this post is relevant to people searching for ‘SEO basics’. Some experts recommend varying your anchor text pointing to the same page as Google may see multiple identical uses as ‘suspicious’.
Writing blog posts is especially effective for providing different opportunities to land on page one of search engines -- for instance, maybe your eyeglass store’s website is on page three of Google for “eyeglasses,” but your “Best Sunglasses of 2018” blog post is on page one, pulling in an impressive amount of traffic (over time, that blog post could also boost your overall website to page one).
The Nielsen Global Connected Commerce Survey conducted interviews in 26 countries to observe how consumers are using the Internet to make shopping decisions in stores and online. Online shoppers are increasingly looking to purchase internationally, with over 50% in the study who purchased online in the last six months stating they bought from an overseas retailer.[23]
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