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.

Outreach to webmasters should be personalized. You can list reasons why you like their brand, think your brand would partner well with them or citing articles and other content they published are great ways to make them more receptive. Try to find an actual point-of-contact on professional sites like LinkedIn. A generic blast of “Dear Webmaster…” emails is really just a spam campaign.


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?
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.
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
There’s a need for a skilled SEO to assess the link structure of a site with an eye to crawling and page rank flow, but I think it’s also important to look at where people are actually surfing. The University of Indiana did a great paper called Ranking Web Sites with Real User Traffic (PDF). If you take the classic Page Rank formula and blend it with real traffic you come out with some interesting ideas……
I think I did it by nature 🙂 I am just starting to learn all SEO and SERP stuffs. PageRank only entered my life when I quit the job last month. I don’t rush and I believe in a more natural way to get traffics, such as trying hard to create good contents and releasing some GPL works. You give something, and traffic flows in return. It’s Newton III Law. No sculpting, nor illegal way is necessary.

Matt, this is an excellent summary. I finally got around to reading “The Search” by John Battelle and it was very enlightening to understand much of the academia behind what led to the creation of Backrub.. er Google.Looking at how many times the project was almost shutdown due to bandwidth consumption (> 50% of what the university could offer at times) as well as webmasters being concerned that their pages would be stolen and recreated. It’s so interesting to see that issues we see today are some of the same ones that Larry and Sergey were dealing with back then. As always, thanks for the great read Matt!


Google PageRank (Google PR) is one of the methods Google uses to determine a page's relevance or importance. Important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results. Google PageRank (PR) is a measure from 0 - 10. Google Pagerank is based on backlinks. The more quality backlinks the higher Google Pagerank. Improving your Google page rank (building QUALITY backlinks ) is very important if you want to improve your search engine rankings. 

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.

Nathan: The comment by Mansi Rana helps answer your question. The fact is, the PageRank scores that were visible in the Google Toolbar hadn’t been updated in a long time (2+ YEARS), so they were probably getting more and more out-of-date anyway. The main reason Google would make them disappear, though, is that Google wants website owners to focus on the user and on quality content, not on trying to game the system with links.


Things are constantly changing, there is even evidence that nofollow links do count on some occasions. Its really a very complex subject as there is a formula behind the algorithm that takes many factors into consideration trying to guess what factors come into play is very difficult. I always focus on making the site as useful as possible to as many people as possible this is the end goal for search engines as well as webmasters. Webmasters who do this whilst observing the search engine’s guidelines should not have problems in reaching the top.
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.
So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? […] Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each […] 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.
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.
Replicating competitor’s backlinks is one of the smartest ways to find new link building opportunities and improve SEO. Get started by choosing your primary competitors, the websites that are ranking on the top 5 positions for your main keywords. If they’re ranking above you, it means they have a better link profile, and they have backlinks of higher quality. Once you’ve decide which competitors to spy on, you’ll have to analyze their backlinks.
This isn't about off-the-shelf solutions. You need to really convey something illustrious and beautiful, then fill it with incredible MVP content. Over time, this will become a thriving hotbed of activity for you, where people will come by and check-in repeatedly to see what you're talking about and what value you're delivering. Keep in mind that this won't happen quickly. It will take years. Yes, I said years.
Simple question – Lets say I have a blog/site with lot of outgoing links (avg 10 links per page). All the outgoing links (in the editorial content and user generated ones) are nofollowed, while all the internal links are “open”. I might have manually “opened up” some links in the editorial content because I’m so sure of their authority (ex:-google faq pages).
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.
Simple question – Lets say I have a blog/site with lot of outgoing links (avg 10 links per page). All the outgoing links (in the editorial content and user generated ones) are nofollowed, while all the internal links are “open”. I might have manually “opened up” some links in the editorial content because I’m so sure of their authority (ex:-google faq pages).
There's a lot to learn when it comes to the internet marketing field in general, and the digital ether of the web is a crowded space filled with one know-it-all after another that wants to sell you the dream. However, what many people fail to do at the start, and something that Sharpe learned along the way, is to actually understand what's going on out there in the digital world and how businesses and e-commerce works in general, before diving in headfirst.

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.
One final note is that if the links are not directly related to the subject, or you have no control over them, such as commentors’ website links, maybe you should consider putting them on another page, which links to your main content. That way you don’t leak page rank, and still gain hits from search results from the content of the comments. I may be missing something but this seems to mean that you can have your cake and eat it, and I don’t even think it is gaming the system or against the spirit of it. You might even gain a small sprinkling of page rank if the comment page accumulates any of it’s own.
At one point, backlinks developed a reputation of damaging a site’s credibility through search engines. This is due to “black hat” SEO practices would add 5,000 links to a website overnight (a practice that is still used today). While the website would launch to the top of search ranking results for a few weeks, it wouldn’t stay there, and the site’s credibility would be damaged because a few dozen servers with thousands of useless websites existed for the sole purpose of creating backlinks.
It’s hard to believe that the Internet is now multiple decades old. Affiliate marketing has been around since the earliest days of online marketing. It’s a great solution for businesses that are risk-averse or don’t have the budget to spend on upfront marketing costs. Use affiliate marketing to build a new revenue stream for your ecommerce or B2B business.

What i have learnt with comments only allow them if they give value to your blog i have used this for one of my main blogs bpd and me and it worked i have let comments threw witch were spamee and it just got a google page rank of 2 after a year learning by mistakes google page rank is always going to be a mystery and people will try to beat it they might for a short period after that they get caught out but the people who write good quality content will be the winners and keep writing quality content a question might be does google count how many no follows there are i wounder

Another illicit practice is to place "doorway" pages loaded with keywords on the client's site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO's other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.


Going into network marketing? Understand that if you're not close to the top of the food chain there, your ability to generate any serious amount of income will be limited. Be wary of the hype and the sales pitches that get you thinking that it's going to work the other way. Simply understand that you're going to have to work hard no matter what you pick to do. Email marketing? Sure. You can do that. But you'll need a massive and very targeted list to make any dent.

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?
It also seems that the underlying message is that google is constantly trying to find ways to identify the value of a page to it’s users and as it does so it will promote those pages more strongly in it’s search results and demote those that offer less real value, and it does not care how much you invest in trying to game the system by following ‘the rules’. As a small web site operator with no SEO budget and little time to apply the tricks and best practice, I think this is probably a good thing.
By utilizing SEM, it provides you with a great avenue for getting the word out quickly and effectively. If you have the budget, then marketing on search engines for competitive keywords might be the right fit for you. But be prepared to pony up. Keywords can range anywhere from a few cents to upwards of $50 and more. The quality score for any term is reflective of what you can expect to pay for bidding on that keyword. The lower the competition, the lower the quality score and the lower the price.
Finally, start building links in relevant sites like business directories (especially local directories) relevant niche blogs and forums, and industry publications. Success at link building will result from a combination of good PR, smart marketing strategy, and of course, great content. Google has said that social media doesn’t impact rankings, but reaching out to social influencers can give your content traction on other channels that can be useful.
Given that “only a tiny percentage of links on the Web use nofollow”, why don’t we just get back to focusing on humans and drop nofollow? It has failed, and given that all it ever was was a tool to manipulate Pagerank, it was bound to do so. Has Google done any tests on its search quality taking nofollow into account vs. not taking it into account, I wonder?

As for the use of nofollow as a way to keep pages that shouldn’t be indexed out of Google (as with your feed example) is terrible advice. Your use of it on your feed link does nothing. If anyone links to your feed without nofollow, then it’s going to get indexed. Things that shouldn’t be indexed need to use either robots.txt or meta robots blocking. Nofollow on links to those items isn’t a solution.


On-page SEO is the work you do on your own website to get a high rank in search engines. Your goal is obviously that your website will show on the first page and perhaps even among the first three search results. On-page SEO does not carry as much weight as off-page SEO in the rankings, but if you don’t get the basics right… it’s unlikely that your off-page SEO will deliver results, either.

Do you regularly publish helpful, useful articles, videos or other types of media that are popular and well produced? Do you write for actual human beings rather than the search engine itself? Well, you should. Latest research from Searchmetrics on ranking factors indicates that Google is moving further towards longer-form content that understands a visitor’s intention as a whole, instead of using keywords based on popular search queries to create content.
In an effort to manually control the flow of PageRank among pages within a website, many webmasters practice what is known as PageRank Sculpting[65]—which is the act of strategically placing the nofollow attribute on certain internal links of a website in order to funnel PageRank towards those pages the webmaster deemed most important. This tactic has been used since the inception of the nofollow attribute, but may no longer be effective since Google announced that blocking PageRank transfer with nofollow does not redirect that PageRank to other links.[66]
There are plenty of guides to marketing. From textbooks to online video tutorials, you can really take your pick. But, we felt that there was something missing — a guide that really starts at the beginning to equip already-intelligent professionals with a healthy balance of strategic and tactical advice. The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing closes that gap.
It's key to understand that nobody really knows what goes into PageRank. Many believe that there are dozens if not hundreds of factors, but that the roots go back to the original concept of linking. It's not just volume of links either. Thousands of links by unauthoritative sites might be worth a handful of links from sites ranked as authoritative.
A variety of methods can increase the prominence of a webpage within the search results. Cross linking between pages of the same website to provide more links to important pages may improve its visibility.[47] Writing content that includes frequently searched keyword phrase, so as to be relevant to a wide variety of search queries will tend to increase traffic.[47] Updating content so as to keep search engines crawling back frequently can give additional weight to a site. Adding relevant keywords to a web page's meta data, including the title tag and meta description, will tend to improve the relevancy of a site's search listings, thus increasing traffic. URL canonicalization of web pages accessible via multiple urls, using the canonical link element[48] or via 301 redirects can help make sure links to different versions of the url all count towards the page's link popularity score.
Matt, I’ve been a firm believer of the thought that webmasters shouldn’t really bother too much about the calculations that Google would do while spotting external links on a site. Leave that to Google. You write the content and if you find relevant resources, link to it. Why worry over PR ? In case you’re so sure about the linked site to be “kinda spammy” then nofollow it. That’s it.
If you’re a blogger (or a blog reader), you’re painfully familiar with people who try to raise their own websites’ search engine rankings by submitting linked blog comments like “Visit my discount pharmaceuticals site.” This is called comment spam, we don’t like it either, and we’ve been testing a new tag that blocks it. From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel=“nofollow”) on hyperlinks, those links won’t get any credit when we rank websites in our search results.
PageRank sculpting came out of the idea that virtually any page will have links that are important for users but not necessarily that meaningful to receive any PageRank that a page can flow. Navigational links are a primary example of this. Go to a place like the LA Times, and you’ve got tons of navigational links on every page. Nofollow those, and you (supposedly in the past) ensure that the remaining links (say your major stories) get more of a boost.
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.
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