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.
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] 

I’m in the wedding industry and recently a Wedding SEO Company began touting PageRank sculpting as the missing link for SEO. So naturally I got intrigued and searched for your response to PageRank sculpting and your answer for anything SEO-related is always the same. “Create new, fresh, and exciting content, and organically the links and your audience will grow.”
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.
While there are several platforms for doing this, clearly YouTube is the most popular for doing this. However, video marketing is also a great form of both content marketing and SEO on its own. It can help to provide visibility for several different ventures, and if the video is valuable enough in its message and content, it will be shared and liked by droves, pushing up the authority of that video through the roof.
Content is king. It always has been and it always will be. Creating insightful, engaging and unique content should be at the heart of any online marketing strategy. Too often, people simply don't obey this rule. The problem? This takes an extraordinary amount of work. However, anyone that tells you that content isn't important, is not being fully transparent with you. You cannot excel in marketing anything on the internet without having quality content.
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.
In 2005, in a pilot study in Pakistan, Structural Deep Democracy, SD2[61][62] was used for leadership selection in a sustainable agriculture group called Contact Youth. SD2 uses PageRank for the processing of the transitive proxy votes, with the additional constraints of mandating at least two initial proxies per voter, and all voters are proxy candidates. More complex variants can be built on top of SD2, such as adding specialist proxies and direct votes for specific issues, but SD2 as the underlying umbrella system, mandates that generalist proxies should always be used.

i.e. the PageRank value for a page u is dependent on the PageRank values for each page v contained in the set Bu (the set containing all pages linking to page u), divided by the number L(v) of links from page v. The algorithm involves a damping factor for the calculation of the pagerank. It is like the income tax which the govt extracts from one despite paying him itself.
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.
The first component of Google's trust has to do with age. Age is more than a number. But it's not just the age when you first registered your website. The indexed age has to do with two factors: i) the date that Google originally found your website, and; ii) what happened between the time that Google found your website and the present moment in time.
How many times do we need to repeat the calculation for big networks? That’s a difficult question; for a network as large as the World Wide Web it can be many millions of iterations! The “damping factor” is quite subtle. If it’s too high then it takes ages for the numbers to settle, if it’s too low then you get repeated over-shoot, both above and below the average - the numbers just swing about the average like a pendulum and never settle down.

Danny, I was on the panel where Matt suggested that and I point blank asked on stage what happened when folks starting abusing the tactic and Google changed their mind if you recall (at the time, I’d seen some of the things being done I knew Google would clarify as abuse and was still a nofollow unenthusiast s a result at that time). And Matt dismissed it. So, I think you can take home two important things from that – 1. SEO tactics can always change regardless of who first endorses them and 2. Not everything Matt says is etched in stone. <3 ya 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?”

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.


I don’t know how you do it without having a strong team of employees building backlinks for you. I love your blog and all the guidance you provide. I have found trying to build backlinks on your own is one of the most time consuming activities there is. Obviously if you have a specific product or service you are wishing to share getting more customers and visitors to your business is essential. You make it look easy. Thanks again for all your guidance.
There are several factors that determine the value of a backlink. Backlinks from authoritative sites on a given topic are highly valuable. If both sites and pages have content geared toward the topic, the backlink is considered relevant and believed to have strong influence on the search engine rankings of the web page granted the backlink. A backlink represents a favorable 'editorial vote' for the receiving webpage from another granting webpage. Another important factor is the anchor text of the backlink. Anchor text is the descriptive labeling of the hyperlink as it appears on a web page. Search engine bots (i.e., spiders, crawlers, etc.) examine the anchor text to evaluate how relevant it is to the content on a webpage. Anchor text and webpage content congruency are highly weighted in search engine results page (SERP) rankings of a webpage with respect to any given keyword query by a search engine user.
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?
In my view there is nothing wrong with saying ‘hey Google, these pages are not important from a search engine perspective, let me not give them so much weight’. Regardless of how Google now views these type of pages from a weight perspective, doing the above as a webmaster should be logical and encouraged. You have said this yourself at least a few times in the past.
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.
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.

Jim Boykin blows my mind every time I talk to him. I have been doing SEO for 15 years and yet I am amazed at the deep stuff Jim comes up with. Simply amazing insights and always on the cutting edge. He cuts through the BS and tells you what really works and what doesn't. After our chat, I grabbed my main SEO guy and took him to lunch and said "you have to help me process all this new info..." I was literally pacing around the room...I have so many new ideas to experiment with that I would never have stumbled onto on my own. He is the Michael Jordan or the Jerry Garcia of links...Hope to go to NY again to Jim's amazing SEO classes. Thanks Jim! Michael G.

After finding websites that have good metrics, you have to make sure the website is related to your site. For each competitor backlink, try to understand how your competitor got that link. If it was a guest article, send a request to become a contributor as well. If it was a product review by a blogger, contact the writer and offer them a good deal in exchange for a similar review.


Brian, this is the web page that everybody over the entire Internet was searching for. This page answers the million dollar question! I was particularly interested in the food blogs untapped market, who doesn’t love food. I have been recently sent backwards in the SERP and this page will help immensely. I will subscribe to comments and will be back again for more reference.
I work on a site that allows users to find what they are looking for by clicking links that take them deeper and deeper into the site hierarchy. Content can be categorised in lots of different ways. After about three steps the difference between the results pages shown is of significance to a user but not to a search engine. I was about to add nofollow to links that took the browser deeper than 3 levels but after this announcement I won’t be…

Another disadvantage is that even an individual or small group of people can harm image of an established brand. For instance Dopplegnager is a term that is used to disapprove an image about a certain brand that is spread by anti-brand activists, bloggers, and opinion leaders. The word Doppelganger is a combination of two German words Doppel (double) and Ganger (walker), thus it means double walker or as in English it is said alter ego. Generally brand creates images for itself to emotionally appeal to their customers. However some would disagree with this image and make alterations to this image and present in funny or cynical way, hence distorting the brand image, hence creating a Doppelganger image, blog or content (Rindfleisch, 2016).

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.
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.
Many blogging software packages automatically nofollow user comments, but those that don't can most likely be manually edited to do this. This advice also goes for other areas of your site that may involve user-generated content, such as guest books, forums, shout-boards, referrer listings, etc. If you're willing to vouch for links added by third parties (for example, if a commenter is trusted on your site), then there's no need to use nofollow on links; however, linking to sites that Google considers spammy can affect the reputation of your own site. The Webmaster Help Center has more tips on avoiding comment spam39, for example by using CAPTCHAs and turning on comment moderation.
Users will occasionally come to a page that doesn't exist on your site, either by following a broken link or typing in the wrong URL. Having a custom 404 page30 that kindly guides users back to a working page on your site can greatly improve a user's experience. Your 404 page should probably have a link back to your root page and could also provide links to popular or related content on your site. You can use Google Search Console to find the sources of URLs causing "not found" errors31.

Digital marketing methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing,[6] e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games are becoming more common in our advancing technology. In fact, digital marketing now extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones.[7] In essence, this extension to non-Internet channels helps to differentiate digital marketing from online marketing, another catch-all term for the marketing methods mentioned above, which strictly occur online.
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.
Influencer marketing: Important nodes are identified within related communities, known as influencers. This is becoming an important concept in digital targeting. It is possible to reach influencers via paid advertising, such as Facebook Advertising or Google Adwords campaigns, or through sophisticated sCRM (social customer relationship management) software, such as SAP C4C, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage CRM and Salesforce CRM. Many universities now focus, at Masters level, on engagement strategies for influencers.
At the time I was strongly advocating page rank sculting by inclusion of no follow links on “related product” links. It’s interesting to note that my proposed technique would have perhaps worked for a little while then would have lost its effectiveness. Eventualy I reached the point where my efforts delivered diminishing returns which was perhaps unavoidable.
PageRank was influenced by citation analysis, early developed by Eugene Garfield in the 1950s at the University of Pennsylvania, and by Hyper Search, developed by Massimo Marchiori at the University of Padua. In the same year PageRank was introduced (1998), Jon Kleinberg published his work on HITS. Google's founders cite Garfield, Marchiori, and Kleinberg in their original papers.[5][18]
Most online marketers mistakenly attribute 100% of a sale or lead to the Last Clicked source. The main reason for this is that analytic solutions only provide last click analysis. 93% to 95% of marketing touch points are ignored when you only attribute success to the last click. That is why multi-attribution is required to properly source sales or leads.
First of all, it’s necessary to sort out what a backlink is. There is no need to explain everything in detail. The main thing to understand is what it is for and how it works. A backlink is a kind of Internet manipulator. It links one particular site with other external websites which contain links to this site. In other words, when you visit external sites they will lead you to that particular site.
Hi Brian thank you for sharing this awesome backlinking techniques. My site is currently not ranking well. It used to be, sometime mid last year, but it suddenly got de-ranked. Not really sure why. I haven’t been participating in any blackhat techniques or anything at all. I’ll try a few of your tips and hopefully it will help my site back to its shape.
Halfdeck; Don’t you think the big problem is that Google is giving too much information to the industry? I stated a long time ago this fact, wondering why they wish to constantly hand out more information when they should have known the industry would try their best to exploit anyway. Not only that, but wanting more and more no matter how much Google hands out is something that is very clear as well. You just stated you want “more detail”. Why? I’m thinking too much detail handed out over the years is Google’s biggest problem right now. Considering the total majority of websites on the internet don’t know what a nofollow attribute is anyway, what exactly is Google gaining by giving up parts of their algo to the SEO industry? Big mistake. They should actually just shut up.
It is increasingly advantageous for companies to use social media platforms to connect with their customers and create these dialogues and discussions. The potential reach of social media is indicated by the fact that in 2015, each month the Facebook app had more than 126 million average unique users and YouTube had over 97 million average unique users.[27]
What's the authority of your website or webpage, or any other page on the internet for that matter where you're attempting to gain visibility? Authority is an important component of trust, and it relies heavily on quality links coming from websites that Google already trusts. Authority largely relates to the off-page optimization discipline of SEO that occurs away from the webpage as opposed to the on-page optimization that occurs directly on the webpage.
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.

Targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic: Targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic all are aspects used by marketers to help advocate digital advertising. Cookies are a form of digital advertising, which are tracking tools within desktop devices; causing difficulty, with shortcomings including deletion by web browsers, the inability to sort between multiple users of a device, inaccurate estimates for unique visitors, overstating reach, understanding frequency, problems with ad servers, which cannot distinguish between when cookies have been deleted and when consumers have not previously been exposed to an ad. Due to the inaccuracies influenced by cookies, demographics in the target market are low and vary (Whiteside, 2016).[42] Another element, which is affected within digital marketing, is ‘viewabilty’ or whether the ad was actually seen by the consumer. Many ads are not seen by a consumer and may never reach the right demographic segment. Brand safety is another issue of whether or not the ad was produced in the context of being unethical or having offensive content. Recognizing fraud when an ad is exposed is another challenge marketers face. This relates to invalid traffic as premium sites are more effective at detecting fraudulent traffic, although non-premium sites are more so the problem (Whiteside, 2016).[42]
There is another way to gain quality backlinks to your site, in addition to related site themes: anchor text. When a link incorporates a keyword into the text of the hyperlink, we call this quality anchor text. A link's anchor text may be one of the under-estimated resources a webmaster has. Instead of using words like "click here" which probably won't relate in any way to your website, using the words "Please visit our tips page for how to nurse an orphaned kitten" is a far better way to utilize a hyperlink. A good tool for helping you find your backlinks and what text is being used to link to your site is the Backlink Anchor Text Analysis Tool. If you find that your site is being linked to from another website, but the anchor text is not being utilized properly, you should request that the website change the anchor text to something incorporating relevant keywords. This will also help boost your quality backlinks score.
One of the earliest adopters of Internet marketing in the world of Fortune 500 companies was the Coca-Cola Corporation. Today, this huge purveyor of soft drinks has one of the strongest online portfolios in the world. More than 12,000 websites link to the Coca-Cola homepage, which itself is a stunning display of Internet savvy. Their homepage alone sports an auto-updating social network column, an embedded video, a unique piece of advertising art, frequently rotating copy, an opt-in user registration tab, tie-in branding with pop culture properties, and even a link to the company's career opportunities page. Despite how busy that sounds, the Coca-Cola homepage is clean and easy to read. It is a triumph of Internet marketing for its confidence, personality, and professionalism.
Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.

Content is king. It always has been and it always will be. Creating insightful, engaging and unique content should be at the heart of any online marketing strategy. Too often, people simply don't obey this rule. The problem? This takes an extraordinary amount of work. However, anyone that tells you that content isn't important, is not being fully transparent with you. You cannot excel in marketing anything on the internet without having quality content.


[44] Matteo Pasquinelli reckons the basis for the belief that PageRank has a social component lies in the idea of attention economy. With attention economy, value is placed on products that receive a greater amount of human attention and the results at the top of the PageRank garner a larger amount of focus then those on subsequent pages. The outcomes with the higher PageRank will therefore enter the human consciousness to a larger extent. These ideas can influence decision-making and the actions of the viewer have a direct relation to the PageRank. They possess a higher potential to attract a user's attention as their location increases the attention economy attached to the site. With this location they can receive more traffic and their online marketplace will have more purchases. The PageRank of these sites allow them to be trusted and they are able to parlay this trust into increased business.
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/
I think it’s important to remember that the majority of website owners are NOT at all technical and savvy as to how this whole system works when it comes to SEO, but they still get along and do their best to put something worthwhile on the net. Unfortunately this same majority can so often damage their website rankings without ever knowing it, and lead to an under-performing website as a result, regardless of the quality of their content. As I’ve learnt as a new website owner for the first time, there’s a lot more to running a website than just doing the right thing and trying to produce quality, when time and time again the experts in SEO always win out on the SERPs regardless of quality. One keyword phrase I searched on repeatedly over recent years resulted in the same EMPTY site being returned as the number one result, truly, it had NO content.
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.
On the other hand, all of the results for the PageRank engine (aside from a single secondary listing) link to the homepage of major American universities. The results are much more logical and useful in nature. If you search for “university,” are you going to want the homepages for popular universities, or random subpages from a sprinkling of colleges all over the world?

Brian, this is the web page that everybody over the entire Internet was searching for. This page answers the million dollar question! I was particularly interested in the food blogs untapped market, who doesn’t love food. I have been recently sent backwards in the SERP and this page will help immensely. I will subscribe to comments and will be back again for more reference.

For instance, you might use Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences to get your message in front of an audience similar to your core demographic. Or, you could pay a social media influencer to share images of your products to her already well-established community. Paid social media can attract new customers to your brand or product, but you’ll want to conduct market research and A/B testing before investing too much in one social media channel.


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.
Hey – I love this article. One thing I’ve done with a little bit of success is interview “experts” in whatever niche. In my case this is a mattress site and I sent questions to small business owners with the information I was looking for. Some were happy to help and I would send them a link to the article once it was live. I didn’t ask for a link, but in some cases they would feature the link on their own website.
The combination of charisma, charm and intellect has helped catapult Sharpe to the top of the heap. In a recent conversation with him, I wanted to learn what it truly took to become an expert digital marketer. And one of the most important takeaways from that phone call was that if he could do it, anyone could do it. For someone who failed so devastatingly very early on in life, to rise from the ashes like a phoenix was no easy feat.
I think that removing the link to the sitemap shouldn’t be a big problem for the navigation, but I wonder what happens with the disclaimer and the contact page? If nofollow doesn’t sink the linked page, how can we tell the search engine that these are not content pages. For some websites these are some of the most linked pages. And yes for some the contact page is worth gaining rank, but for my website is not.
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