SEO experts have a really bad habit: They like to throw around strange words and industry jargon when they talk to customers without checking to make sure that their clients understand the topic at hand. Some do this intentionally to paper over the fact that they use black hat techniques that will ultimately hurt their customers. But for most, it’s simply a matter of failing to recognize that part of their job is to educate their clients.
Matt, in almost every example you have given about “employing great content” to receive links naturally, you use blogs as an example. What about people that do not run blog sites (the vast majority of sites!), for example an E-Com site selling stationary? How would you employ “great content” on a site that essentially sells a boring product? Is it fair that companies that sell uninteresting products or services should be outranked by huge sites like Amazon that have millions to spend on marketing because they cant attract links naturally?
Another excellent guide is Google’s “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.” This is a free PDF download that covers basic tips that Google provides to its own employees on how to get listed. You’ll find it here. Also well worth checking out is Moz’s “Beginner’s Guide To SEO,” which you’ll find here, and the SEO Success Pyramid from Small Business Search Marketing.
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?
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.
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.
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.
So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Let’s leave aside the decay factor to focus on the core part of the question. Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.
While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye by using overly aggressive marketing efforts and attempting to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site's presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index.
If you don’t want to rebuild an expired domain, just take its backlinks and allow the linkers to be aware of the “to-dead-resource” linking. You can ask a link-builder to replace non-working links with your website’s one. If the content is relevant, you can try to restore it. Be sure that you can make it better than it was before. Reach out and inform the link-builder about the renewed content.

Google PageRank algorithm takes into consideration the sources and the number of web page backlinks, then estimates the importance of that page. That is why when you try to search for some goods, information or service, Google and other search engines present website links in a concrete order (from the most valuable to the least important ones). Backlinks help your website attract a primary audience.
where N is the total number of all pages on the web. The second version of the algorithm, indeed, does not differ fundamentally from the first one. Regarding the Random Surfer Model, the second version's PageRank of a page is the actual probability for a surfer reaching that page after clicking on many links. The PageRanks then form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all pages' PageRanks will be one.
Internet usage around the world, especially in the wealthiest countries, has steadily risen over the past decade and it shows no signs of slowing. According to a report by the Internet trend investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, 245 million people in the United States were online as of 2011, and 15 million people connected for the first time that year. As Internet usage grows, online commerce grows with it. This means that more people are using the Internet with each passing year, and enough of them are spending money online to impact the economy in significant ways. (See also E-Commerce Marketing)

What a fantastic article! So excited to put these suggestions to “work”! Just a quick observation about #3 “Blogger Review”. As a blogger myself who often charges for reviews, I’d opt out of writing “I usually charge $X, but I’d be more than happy to send it over to you on the house.” No blogger with any klout would pay “you” to review “your” product, little less jump for joy in response to your “incredible” generosity. If someone sent me an email like this, I wouldn’t like it! Instead, I’d offer it up for free right off the bat, mentioning its value. Something like “We’d love to send you our new floor sanitizing kit worth $50.” Then add “All I’d ask is that you consider mentioning it on your blog or writing a review,” which, by the way, is a brilliant sentence to add. It’s a great way not to pressure or expect anything from the blogger (you’re not paying them after all!) + come across as humble & likeable at the same time. You’d be surprised at how many reviews & mentions we bloggers will happily give without compensation, to friendly folks with relevant products we like (even more so if they are local businesses!). Anyhow, those are my two cents! -Cristina

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.
Suppose instead that page B had a link to pages C and A, page C had a link to page A, and page D had links to all three pages. Thus, upon the first iteration, page B would transfer half of its existing value, or 0.125, to page A and the other half, or 0.125, to page C. Page C would transfer all of its existing value, 0.25, to the only page it links to, A. Since D had three outbound links, it would transfer one third of its existing value, or approximately 0.083, to A. At the completion of this iteration, page A will have a PageRank of approximately 0.458.
When running PPC ads, it's important that you keep careful track of the specific ads and keywords that you're targeting. You can do this by using the Google Analytics UTM builder to create campaign URLs that you can use to track the campaign source, the medium and any keywords or terms that you might be targeting. This way, you can determine the effectiveness of any campaign that you run and figure out the precise conversion rate.
Robots.txt is not an appropriate or effective way of blocking sensitive or confidential material. It only instructs well-behaved crawlers that the pages are not for them, but it does not prevent your server from delivering those pages to a browser that requests them. One reason is that search engines could still reference the URLs you block (showing just the URL, no title or snippet) if there happen to be links to those URLs somewhere on the Internet (like referrer logs). Also, non-compliant or rogue search engines that don't acknowledge the Robots Exclusion Standard could disobey the instructions of your robots.txt. Finally, a curious user could examine the directories or subdirectories in your robots.txt file and guess the URL of the content that you don't want seen.

On a blog the page rank should go to the main article pages. Now it just gets “evaporated” if you use “nofollow” or scattered to all the far flung nooks and crannys which means google will not be able to see the wood for the trees. The vast majority of a site’s overall page rank will now reside in the long tail of useless pages such as commentors profile pages. This can only make it harder for google to serve up the most relevant pages.
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?
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 )
There’s a misconception that creating an infographic is expensive; that's not always the case. Figure on an average price between $150 and $300. Assuming you may earn 10 backlinks per infographic, you'll be paying $15 per link. For five backlinks, the price will be $30 per link. That’s very cheap for backlinks earned through webmaster moderation. And if your infographic goes viral. you win even more.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results—often referred to as "natural", "organic", or "earned" results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users; these visitors can then be converted into customers.[1] SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, video search, academic search,[2] news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines. SEO differs from local search engine optimization in that the latter is focused on optimizing a business' online presence so that its web pages will be displayed by search engines when a user enters a local search for its products or services. The former instead is more focused on national or international searches.


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.
Page and Brin's theory is that the most important pages on the Internet are the pages with the most links leading to them. PageRank thinks of links as votes, where a page linking to another page is casting a vote. The idea comes from academia, where citation counts are used to find the importance of researchers and research. The more often a particular paper is cited by other papers, the more important that paper is deemed. 
However, the biggest contributing factors to a backlink’s effect on your rank is the website it’s coming from, measured by the acronym ART: authority, a measure of a site’s prestige/reliability — .edu and .gov sites are particularly high-authority); relevance, a measure of how related the site hosting the link is to the content; and trust, which is not an official Google metric, but relates to how much a site plays by the rules of search (i.e. not selling links) and provides good content.
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.
Although online marketing creates many opportunities for businesses to grow their presence via the Internet and build their audiences, there are also inherent challenges with these methods of marketing. First, the marketing can become impersonal, due to the virtual nature of message and content delivery to a desired audience. Marketers must inform their strategy for online marketing with a strong understanding of their customer’s needs and preferences. Techniques like surveys, user testing, and in-person conversations can be used for this purpose.
Because of the size of the actual web, the Google search engine uses an approximative, iterative computation of PageRank values. This means that each page is assigned an initial starting value and the PageRanks of all pages are then calculated in several computation circles based on the equations determined by the PageRank algorithm. The iterative calculation shall again be illustrated by our three-page example, whereby each page is assigned a starting PageRank value of 1.

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?
Google has a very large team of search quality raters that evaluate the quality of search results, that gets fed into a machine learning algorithm. Google’s search quality rater guidelines provide plenty of detail and examples of what Google class as high or low quality content and websites, and their emphasis on wanting to reward sites that clearly show their expertise, authority and trust (EAT).
As an internationally recognized Search Engine Marketing agency, we have the team, technology, and skills to manage large budget PPC campaigns with thousands of keywords. We have the ability to manage enterprise level accounts in multiple languages. IMI is also partner with Marin Software to provide our clients with the best possible advertising management platform, reporting dashboard, attribution modeling, and reporting.
Hemanth Kumar, a good rule of thumb is: if a link on your website is internal (that is, it points back to your website), let it flow PageRank–no need to use nofollow. If a link on your website points to a different website, much of the time it still makes sense for that link to flow PageRank. The time when I would use nofollow are when you can’t or don’t want to vouch for a site, e.g. if a link is added by an outside user that you don’t particularly trust. For example, if an unknown user leaves a link on your guestbook page, that would be a great time to use the nofollow attribute on that link.
A: For a couple reasons. At first, we figured that site owners or people running tests would notice, but they didn’t. In retrospect, we’ve changed other, larger aspects of how we look at links and people didn’t notice that either, so perhaps that shouldn’t have been such a surprise. So we started to provide other guidance that PageRank sculpting isn’t the best use of time. When we added a help page to our documentation about nofollow, we said “a solid information architecture — intuitive navigation, user- and search-engine-friendly URLs, and so on — is likely to be a far more productive use of resources than focusing on crawl prioritization via nofollowed links.” In a recent webmaster video, I said “a better, more effective form of PageRank sculpting is choosing (for example) which things to link to from your home page.” At Google I/O, during a site review session I said it even more explicitly: “My short answer is no. In general, whenever you’re linking around within your site: don’t use nofollow. Just go ahead and link to whatever stuff.” But at SMX Advanced 2009, someone asked the question directly and it seemed like a good opportunity to clarify this point. Again, it’s not something that most site owners need to know or worry about, but I wanted to let the power-SEOs know.
Google's strategy works well. By focusing on the links going to and from a Web page, the search engine can organize results in a useful way. While there are a few tricks webmasters can use to improve Google standings, the best way to get a top spot is to consistently provide top quality content, which gives other people the incentive to link back to their pages.
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