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?
Baseline ranking assessment. You need to understand where you are now in order to accurately assess your future rankings. Keep a simple Excel sheet to start the process. Check weekly to begin. As you get more comfortable, check every 30 to 45 days. You should see improvements in website traffic, a key indicator of progress for your keywords. Some optimizers will say that rankings are dead. Yes, traffic and conversions are more important, but we use rankings as an indicator.
SEO should be a core tactic in any marketing strategy. While it might seem difficult to understand at first, as long as you find the right course, book or audiobook, and devote your time to learning, you'll be in good shape. Considering that there are over 200+ ranking factors in Google's current algorithms, learning, digesting and successfully implementing good SEO tactics is essential to the success of your website or blog.
Me, I didn’t like the sculpting idea from the start. I linked to what I thought should get links and figured that was pretty natural, to have navigational links, external links and so on — and natural has long been the think Google’s rewarded the most. So I didn’t sculpt, even after Matt helped put it out there, because it just made no long term sense to me.

Probably the most creative thing I’ve ever done was wrote a review on a restaurant (The Heart Attack Grill) that was hilarious, emailed it to the owner. He loved it so much he posted it on FB and even put it on his homepage for a while. I got thousands of visitors from this stupid article: https://www.insuranceblogbychris.com/buy-life-insurance-before-eating-at-heart-attack-grill/
In order to be a data driven agency, we foster a culture of inspired marketing entrepreneurs that collaborate, innovate, and are constantly pushing the threshold of marketing intelligence. Our analytics team is well versed in mathematics, business analytics, multi-channel attribution modeling, creating custom analytics reporting dashboards, and performing detailed analysis and reporting for each client.
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.
When an Internet user starts searching for something, he/she tries to solve some particular problem or achieve something. Your prior aim is to help them find a good solution. Don’t be obsessed with search volume only. Think about the user’s needs. There is no difference between 40,000 and 1,000 word posts and articles when we speak about their value. Try to create high-quality content and don’t pay any attention to certain stereotypes.
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.
Well – maybe for a few of you. But this algorithm is fundamental in understanding links and in particular, understanding why most links count for nothing or almost nothing. When you get to grips with Google’s algorithm, you will be light years ahead of other SEOs… but I never really see it properly explained. I guarantee that even if you know this algorithm inside out, you’ll see some unexpected results from this math by the end of this post and you will also never use the phrase “Domain Authority” in front of a customer again (at least in relation to links).

My main concern though, is Google appears to becoming reliant on sites doing MANY things for SE only. It also appears that Google is lowering the bar for YouTube videos in the organic SERPs and forcing their insertion as the cost of relevant pages. It even seems they are now doing the same for pictures, despite BOTH having their own SEs. I fear Google is attempting to increase profits, for it’s shareholders, in a rather impatient manner.
If I’m writing a page about the use of the vCard microformat on a page, it absolutely makes sense for me to link out to the definition where it was originally published, and improves user experience as well as lending authority to my arguments. Often as SEOs we get obsessed with the little things, claiming that its hard to get links on particular subjects, and that is pretty true, but its mainly our own selfishness in linking out to authority content that prevents other people giving us the same courtesy.
The majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Although social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are the primary method of navigation for most Internet users. This is true whether your site provides content, services, products, information, or just about anything else.
Some brilliant tips and advice here, I am curious you mention the directory sites to submit to and I notice a lot of my competitors are on such sites but a lot of these sites want links back which would mean I would need pages of links on my site and that is something I don’t see on competitors sites – how do they manage that would it be all paid for or is there a trick
A great number of people who deal with SEO confuse backlink building and backlink earning. These notions are different. What is backlink building? It means to create conditions for SEO backlink referring to your site. To earn a backlink means to deserve it. Is that really possible? Yes! If you want your site to be worth earning backlinks, you must do everything possible and impossible to please your guests and users.

My main concern though, is Google appears to becoming reliant on sites doing MANY things for SE only. It also appears that Google is lowering the bar for YouTube videos in the organic SERPs and forcing their insertion as the cost of relevant pages. It even seems they are now doing the same for pictures, despite BOTH having their own SEs. I fear Google is attempting to increase profits, for it’s shareholders, in a rather impatient manner.
Matt, as you know, I was kind of annoyed when you suggested sculpting to a room full of SEOs back in 2007. We’d been told over the years to do things for humans, not to overly worry about having to do stuff for search engines — and suddenly, here you were suggesting that SEOs could flow PageRank to their most “important” pages. I’d figured Google had long since been smart enough to decide for itself what percentage of a page’s PageRank spend to assign to a particular link. That assumption didn’t just come out of the blue — it came from things Google had hinted at over the years. So being told to start overtly flowing around the PageRank? It seemed counter-productive.
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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