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.
Suggesting that this change is really just the equivalent of “resetting” things to the way they were is absurd. nofollow is still be using on outbound links in mass by the most authoritative/trusted sites on the web. Allowing us peons to have a slight bit of control over our internal juice flow simply allowed us to recoup a small portion of the overall juice that we lost when the top-down flow was so dramatically disrupted.
Search engines often use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the most important factors for determining that website's search engine ranking, popularity and importance. Google's description of its PageRank system, for instance, notes that "Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B."[6] Knowledge of this form of search engine rankings has fueled a portion of the SEO industry commonly termed linkspam, where a company attempts to place as many inbound links as possible to their site regardless of the context of the originating site. The significance of search engine rankings is pretty high, and it is regarded as a crucial parameter in online business and the conversion rate of visitors to any website, particularly when it comes to online shopping. Blog commenting, guest blogging, article submission, press release distribution, social media engagements, and forum posting can be used to increase backlinks.

Search engine marketing (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 so you can make a sale. Start-ups should approach SEM with care. Make sure you completely understand how much money you have exposed at any one time. Don’t get carried away with the lure of quick victories. Start slow, and evaluate your results.

What that means to us is that we can just go ahead and calculate a page’s PR without knowing the final value of the PR of the other pages. That seems strange but, basically, each time we run the calculation we’re getting a closer estimate of the final value. So all we need to do is remember the each value we calculate and repeat the calculations lots of times until the numbers stop changing much.


I’ve seen so many cases of webmasters nofollowing legitimate external links it is not funny. Any external link on their site is nofollowed, even when quoting text on the other site. IMO, the original purpose of nofollow has long been defeated in specific industries. As more webmasters continue doing everything they can to preserve their pagerank, the effectiveness of nofollow will continue to erode.

Here’s my take on the whole pagerank sculpting situation. As I understand it, the basic idea is that you can increase your rankings in Google by channeling the page rank of your pages to the pages you want ranked. This used be done with the use of the ‘no folow’ tag. That said, things have changed, and Google has come out and said that the way ‘no follow’ use to work has changed. In short, using ‘no follow’ to channel that page rank juice is no longer as effective as it once was.
We combine our sophisticated Search Engine Optimization skills with our ORM tools such as social media, social bookmarking, PR, video optimization, and content marketing to decrease the visibility of potentially damaging content. We also work with our clients to create rebuttal pages, micro-sites, positive reviews, social media profiles, and blogs in order to increase the volume of positive content that can be optimized for great search results.

As digital marketing continues to grow and develop, brands take great advantage of using technology and the Internet as a successful way to communicate with its clients and allows them to increase the reach of who they can interact with and how they go about doing so,.[2] There are however disadvantages that are not commonly looked into due to how much a business relies on it. It is important for marketers to take into consideration both advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing when considering their marketing strategy and business goals.
From a customer experience perspective, we currently have three duplicate links to the same URL i.e. i.e. ????.com/abcde These links are helpful for the visitor to locate relevant pages on our website. However, my question is; does Google count all three of these links and pass all the value, or does Google only transfer the weight from one of these links. If it only transfers value from one of these links, does the link juice disappear from the two other links to the same page, or have these links never been given any value?
Prioritizing clicks refers to display click ads, although advantageous by being ‘simple, fast and inexpensive’ rates for display ads in 2016 is only 0.10 percent in the United States. This means one in a thousand click ads are relevant therefore having little effect. This displays that marketing companies should not just use click ads to evaluate the effectiveness of display advertisements (Whiteside, 2016).[42]
Steve, sometimes good information to users is a consolidation of very high quality links. We have over 3000 links to small business sites within the SBA as well as links to the Harvard and Yale library, academic journals, etc. But because we have the understanding that there should be no more than a hundred links in a website (more now from what Matt said) we have used nofollow on all of them out of fear that Google will penalize our site because of the amount of links.

If you are going to use SEM, you must build the costs of using this form of marketing into your cash-flow forecasts and the prices you’re charging for your work. Spending $3,000 a month on Adwords to land $20,000 of business is eminently sensible in most cases. Spending $3,000 a month to land $3,500 of business, on the other hand, is likely to be a disaster for your business’s ability to trade effectively in the long term.
SEO often involves the concerted effort of multiple departments within an organization, including the design, marketing, and content production teams. While some SEO work entails business analysis (e.g., comparing one’s content with competitors’), a sizeable part depends on the ranking algorithms of various search engines, which may change with time. Nevertheless, a rule of thumb is that websites and webpages with higher-quality content, more external referral links, and more user engagement will rank higher on an SERP.
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.
However, before learning any of that, it's important that you get a lay of the land, so to speak. If you truly want to understand the field of internet marketing, Sharpe has some very good points. In essence there are four overall steps to really understanding internet marketing and leveraging the industry to make money online. Depending on where you are with your education, you'll be somewhere along the lines of these four steps.
Yep, please change things to stop keyword stuffing. Change them to stop cloaking. Definately change them to stop buying links that try to game Google. But, telling search engines to not give weight (that I control) to pages that are not what my site is about or are not really relevant. No way. This is logical stuff here. Maybe too logical. I think deep down you know this Matt too.

Thanks a lot for all of those great tips you handed out here. I immediately went to work applying the strategies that you mentioned. I will keep you posted on my results. I have been offering free SEO services to all of my small business bookkeeping clients as a way of helping them to grow their businesses. Many of them just don’t have the resources required to hire an SEO guru to help them but they need SEO bad. I appreciate the fact that you share your knowledge and don’t try to make it seem like it’s nuclear science in order to pounce on the innocent. All the best to you my friend!


An omni-channel approach not only benefits consumers but also benefits business bottom line: Research suggests that customers spend more than double when purchasing through an omni-channel retailer as opposed to a single-channel retailer, and are often more loyal. This could be due to the ease of purchase and the wider availability of products.[24]
“NOTE: You may be curious what your site’s or your competitor’s PR score is. But Google no longer reveals the PageRank score for websites. It used to display at the top of web browsers right in the Google Toolbar, but no more. And PR data is no longer available to developers through APIs, either. Even though it’s now hidden from public view, however, PageRank remains an important ingredient in Google’s secret ranking algorithms.”
Thanks for the article (and lead-off links as they were good info too) but I did not quite get – if there was a penalisation by Google for sculpting – from the article or whether it was just bad practice? And also to echo what someone else asked ‘is it WORTH actually undoing this type of work on websites SEO’s have worked on’ or simply change the way we work with new sites?

Backlinks are an essential part of SEO process. They help search bots to crawl your site and rank it correctly to its content. Each backlink is a part of a ranking puzzle. That`s why every website owner wants to get as much as possible backlinks due to improving website’s SEO ranking factors. It’s a type of citation or hyperlink used in the text. If a person says “to be or not to be,” he/she is citing Shakespeare’s character, Hamlet.
“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.”

Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic. For example, a long-time football fan might search for [fifa], an acronym for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, while a new fan might use a more general query like [football playoffs]. Anticipating these differences in search behavior and accounting for them while writing your content (using a good mix of keyword phrases) could produce positive results. Google Ads provides a handy Keyword Planner34 that helps you discover new keyword variations and see the approximate search volume for each keyword. Also, Google Search Console provides you with the top search queries your site appears for and the ones that led the most users to your site in the Performance Report35.


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!
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.
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!
Cause if I do that, If I write good content, whilst my 100+ competitors link build, article market, forum comment, social bookmark, release viral videos, buy links, I’ll end up the very bottom of the pile, great content or not and really I am just as well taking my chances pulling off every sneaky trick in the book to get my site top because, everyone does it anyway and if I don’t what do have to lose?” 

Brian, just wanted to start off by saying great informative article, you had a lot of great of insight. I see it was mentioned a bit in the above comments, about the infographic, but I thought it is a great idea to include a textbox under the infographic with the coding that could be copied to be pasted on blogs (thus, earning additional backlinks from other websites). I’ve also noticed many infographics that have “resources” or “references” included in the image. My understanding is currently it is not recognized by google, because of the image format, but I foresee one day Google may be able to update their algorithm to recognize written text inside of an image, and thus potentially adding value to the written text in the image. What are your thoughts on that idea?
Digital marketing activity is still growing across the world according to the headline global marketing index. A study published in September 2018, found that global outlays on digital marketing tactics are approaching $100 billion.[40] Digital media continues to rapidly grow; while the marketing budgets are expanding, traditional media is declining (World Economics, 2015).[41] Digital media helps brands reach consumers to engage with their product or service in a personalised way. Five areas, which are outlined as current industry practices that are often ineffective are prioritizing clicks, balancing search and display, understanding mobiles, targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic, and cross-platform measurement (Whiteside, 2016).[42] Why these practices are ineffective and some ways around making these aspects effective are discussed surrounding the following points.
So enough of these scary stories. Google actually likes backlinks and relies upon them. The whole idea behind them is that they help to tell Google what is good and useful out there. Remember, it is still an algorithm. It doesn’t know that your page describing the best technique for restoring a 1965 Ford Mustang bumper is all that great. But if enough people are talking about how great it is, and thereby referencing that page on other websites, Google will actually know.

Companies that employ overly aggressive techniques can get their client websites banned from the search results. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported on a company, Traffic Power, which allegedly used high-risk techniques and failed to disclose those risks to its clients.[15] Wired magazine reported that the same company sued blogger and SEO Aaron Wall for writing about the ban.[16] Google's Matt Cutts later confirmed that Google did in fact ban Traffic Power and some of its clients.[17]

If you decide to go into affiliate marketing, understand that you will need a lot of very targeted traffic if you want to make any real money. Those affiliate offers also need to provide a high commission amount to you on each sale. You also need to ensure that the returns or chargebacks for those products or services are low. The last thing you want to do is to sell a product or service that provides very little value and gets returned often.
btw; All those SEO’s out there probably made some monies off clients, selling the sculpting thang to them. I know some are still insisting it worked, etc, but would they say in public that it didn’t work after they already took a site’s money to sculpt? How would anyone judge if it worked or not definitively? The funny thing is, the real issues of that site could have been fixed for the long term instead of applying a band aide. Of course; knowing the state of this industry right now, band aides are the in thing anyway.
Page Structure - The third core component of SEO is page structure. Because web pages are written in HTML, how the HTML code is structured can impact a search engine’s ability to evaluate a page. Including relevant keywords in the title, URL, and headers of the page and making sure that a site is crawlable are actions that site owners can take to improve the SEO of their site.
There are ten essential types of marketing that can be done online. Some of these can be broken down into organic marketing and others can be categorized as paid marketing. Organic, of course, is the allure of marketing professionals from around the planet. It's free and its unencumbered traffic that simply keeps coming. Paid marketing, on the other hand, is still a very attractive proposition as long as the marketing pays for itself by having the right type of offer that converts.
Now, how much weight does PageRank carry? Like most every other part of the algorithm, it’s questionable. If we listed all the ranking factors, I don’t suspect it would be in the top 5, but it’s important to remember that the key to ranking well is to be the LESS IMPERFECT than your competition. IE: To have more of the right things that send the right signals in the right places so that Google sees you as a better, more relevant, candidate for the top three on page one. If you and your competitor both have optimized (on-page and technically) for the same keyword phrase perfectly, PR could be the deal breaker that pushes your blue link an inch up.
Also hadn’t thought about decreasing the rank value based on the spammyness of sites a page is linking into. My guess on how to do it would be determining the spammyness of individual pages based on multiple page and site factors, then some type of reverse pagerank calcuation starting with the those bad scores, then overlaying that on top of the “good” pagerank calculation as a penalty. This is another thing which would be interesting to play around with in the Nutch algorithm.
What are backlinks doing for your SEO strategy? Well, Google considers over 200 SEO ranking factors when calculating where a page should rank, but we know that backlinks are one of the top three (the other two are content and RankBrain, Google’s AI). So while you should always focus on creating high-quality content, link-building is also an important factor in ranking your pages well on Google.
Before I start this, I am using the term ‘PageRank’ as a general term fully knowing that this is not a simple issue and ‘PageRank’ and the way it is calculated (and the other numerous methods Google use) are multidimensional and complex. However, if you use PageRank to imply ‘weight’ it make it a lot simpler. Also, ‘PageRank sculpting’ (in my view) is meant to mean ‘passing weight you can control’. Now… on with the comment!

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.


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.
There is much discussion in these last few months about reciprocal linking. In the last Google update, reciprocal links were one of the targets of the search engine's latest filter. Many webmasters had agreed upon reciprocal link exchanges, in order to boost their site's rankings with the sheer number of inbound links. In a link exchange, one webmaster places a link on his website that points to another webmasters website, and vice versa. Many of these links were simply not relevant, and were just discounted. So while the irrelevant inbound link was ignored, the outbound links still got counted, diluting the relevancy score of many websites. This caused a great many websites to drop off the Google map.
TrustRank takes into consideration website foundational backlinks. Searching engines find quicker sites which are reliable and trustworthy and place them on the top of SERP. All doubtful websites you can find somewhere at the end of the rank if you decide to look what is there. As a rule, people take the information from the first links and stop searching, in case they have found nothing on first 20 top sites. Surely, your website may have that required information, service or goods but because of lack of authority, Internet users will not find them unless you have good foundational backlinks. What are backlinks which we call foundational? These are all branded and non-optimized backlinks on authority websites.
I always like hearing a new idea for beefing up the number of backlinks to a website. The fact is, creating backlinks is hard work. There’s always that urge to look for a better way to do things. Just keep in mind that Google is always on the lookout for anyone who might be trying to “game” the system. Google’s algorithm, especially, looks closely at how relative the content on both sites appears to be. If there’s a close match, it’s a good link. If not, the backlink may appear to be a little suspect!
That sort of solidifies my thoughts that Google has always liked and still likes sites that are most natural the best – so to me it seems like it’s best not to stress over nofollow and dofollow – regarding on-site and off-site links – and just link to sites you really think are cool and likewise comment on blogs you really like )and leave something useful)… if nothing else, if things change will nofollow again, you’ll have all those comments floating around out there so it can’t hurt. And besides, you may get some visitors from them if the comments are half-decent.
Hi, Norman! PageRank is an indicator of authority and trust, and inbound links are a large factor in PageRank score. That said, it makes sense that you may not be seeing any significant increases in your PageRank after only four months; A four-month old website is still a wee lad! PageRank is a score you will see slowly increase over time as your website begins to make its mark on the industry and external websites begin to reference (or otherwise link to) your Web pages.

The PageRank theory holds that an imaginary surfer who is randomly clicking on links will eventually stop clicking. The probability, at any step, that the person will continue is a damping factor d. Various studies have tested different damping factors, but it is generally assumed that the damping factor will be set around 0.85.[5] In applications of PageRank to biological data, a Bayesian analysis finds the optimal value of d to be 0.31.[24]
The Truth? You don't often come across genuine individuals in this space. I could likely count on one hand who those genuine-minded marketers might be. Someone like Russel Brunson who's developed a career out of providing true value in the field and helping to educate the uneducated is one such name. However, while Brunson has built a colossal business, the story of David Sharpe and his journey to becoming an 8-figure earner really hits home for most people.
“An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource,” Google said in its patent filing. “Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.”
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.
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.”

Another scenario where Mention can help you get backlinks is setting up alerts for your main keywords. For example, if you have a marketing tool, you can set up an alert for the keyword “marketing tool.” Whenever someone writes an article about marketing tools or publishes something on social media, you can react and ask them to consider or add your tool as well.

Contrary, in the first version of the algorithm the probability for the random surfer reaching a page is weighted by the total number of web pages. So, in this version PageRank is an expected value for the random surfer visiting a page, when he restarts this procedure as often as the web has pages. If the web had 100 pages and a page had a PageRank value of 2, the random surfer would reach that page in an average twice if he restarts 100 times.
In order to do all that, you will need to acquire and apply knowledge in human psychology. If you understand how your customers think, you can design for their needs. This course is based on tried and tested psychological techniques that bring together content and design so as to deliver hands-on advice for how to improve your web design and increase your customer engagement.
Great article and writing in general. My company just published a 5,000 word Keyword targeting best practices guide for PPC and SEO, and we linked to your article “10 Reasons You Should Use Google Trends for More Than Just Keyword Research”. http://vabulous.com/keyword-research-targeting-for-ppc-and-seo-guide/ I would love if you checked it out and possibly shared it if you like it.
I just wanted to thank you for the awesome email of information. It was so awesome to see the results I have gotten and the results that your company has provided for other companies. Truly remarkable. I feel so blessed to be one of your clients. I do not feel worthy but do feel very blessed and appreciative to been a client for over 5 years now. My business would not be where it is today without you, your company and team. I sure love how you are dedicated to quality. I can not wait to see what the next 5 years bring with 10 years of internet marketing ninjas as my secret weapon. John B.
PageRank always was and remains only one part of the Google search algorithm, the system that determines how to rank pages. There are many other ranking factors that are also considered. A high PageRank score did NOT mean that a page would rank well for any topic. Pages with lower scores could beat pages with higher scores if they had other factors in their favor.
It is very rare for an individual to enter a management role early in his or her career. Most marketing managers have spent several years working somewhere else on a marketing team. This assumes the existence of at least a bachelor's degree, but an advanced degree such as a master’s in marketing or business administration can give an aspiring manager a deciding edge.
“An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource,” Google said in its patent filing. “Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.”
Now that you know that backlinks are important, how do you acquire links to your site? Link building is still critical to the success of any SEO campaign when it comes to ranking organically. Backlinks today are much different than when they were built in 7-8 years back. Simply having thousands of backlinks or only have link from one website isn’t going to affect your rank position. There are also many ways to manage and understand your backlink profile. Majestic, Buzzstream, and Moz offer tools to help you manage and optimize your link profile. seoClarity offers an integration with Majestic, the largest link index database, that integrates link profile management into your entire SEO lifecycle.   
Now that you know that backlinks are important, how do you acquire links to your site? Link building is still critical to the success of any SEO campaign when it comes to ranking organically. Backlinks today are much different than when they were built in 7-8 years back. Simply having thousands of backlinks or only have link from one website isn’t going to affect your rank position. There are also many ways to manage and understand your backlink profile. Majestic, Buzzstream, and Moz offer tools to help you manage and optimize your link profile. seoClarity offers an integration with Majestic, the largest link index database, that integrates link profile management into your entire SEO lifecycle.   
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.
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.
The PageRank algorithm outputs a probability distribution used to represent the likelihood that a person randomly clicking on links will arrive at any particular page. PageRank can be calculated for collections of documents of any size. It is assumed in several research papers that the distribution is evenly divided among all documents in the collection at the beginning of the computational process. The PageRank computations require several passes, called "iterations", through the collection to adjust approximate PageRank values to more closely reflect the theoretical true value.

That doesn't mean you won't make any money at the outset. No, as long as you configure the right free offer to capture those all-important email addresses on your squeeze pages, and you build a great value chain with excellent sales funnels, you'll succeed. If all that sounds confusing to you, don't worry, you'll learn over time. That's what internet marketing is all about. It's a constant and never-ending education into an oftentimes-convoluted field filled with less-than-scrupulous individuals.


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.
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