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.
Thanks for sharing this, Matt. I’m happy that you took the time to do so considering that you don’t have to. What I mean is, in an ideal world, there should be no such thing as SEO. It is the SE’s job to bring the right users to the right sites and it is the job of webmasters to cater to the needs of the users brought into their sites by SEs. Webmasters should not be concerned of bringing the users in themselves. (aside from offsite or sponsored marketing campaigns) The moment they do, things start to get ugly because SEs would now have to implement counter-measures. (To most SEO tactics) This becomes an unending spiral. If people only stick to their part of the equation, SEs will have more time to develop algorithms for making sure webmasters get relevant users rather than to develop algorithms for combating SEOs to ensure search users get relevant results. Just do your best in providing valuable content and Google will try their best in matching you with your users. Don’t waste time trying to second guess how Google does it so that you can present yourself to Google as having a better value than you really have. They have great engineers and they have the code—you only have a guess. At most, the SEO anyone should be doing is to follow the webmasters guidelines. It will benefit all.

I think Google will always be working to discern and deliver “quality, trustworthy” content and I think analyzing inbound links as endorsements is a solid tool the SE won’t be sunsetting anytime soon. Why would they? If the president of the United States links to your page that is undoubtedly an endorsement that tells Google you’re a legitimate trusted source. I know that is an extreme example, but I think it illustrates the principals of a linking-as-endorsement model well.
Our SEM team has been managing paid search since its inception and is driven solely by analytics and financial data. Our core focus is to expand our clients’ campaigns, drive quality traffic that will foster conversions and increase revenue, while decreasing the cost per acquisition. IMI’s PPC team members are recognized thought leaders, active bloggers and speakers and major tradeshows, and care deeply about each and every client. We manage our client’s budgets as if it was our own, tracking every dollar and optimizing towards very specific milestones and metrics.
World Wide Web, or “the web” for short, is a network of web pages connected to each other via hyperlinks. Each hyperlink connecting to a new document adds to the overall growth of the web. Search engines make it easier for you to find these web pages. A web page linked by many other web pages on the similar topics is considered more respectful and valuable. In the above example, John’s article gets the respect for sparking a conversation that resulted into many other web pages linking to each other. So backlinks are not only important for a website to gain respect, they are also important for search engines and the overall health of the entire world wide web.
While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they "control" other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn't work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you're considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.
Search engines are smart, but they still need help. The major engines are always working to improve their technology to crawl the web more deeply and return better results to users. However, there is a limit to how search engines can operate. Whereas the right SEO can net you thousands of visitors and increased attention, the wrong moves can hide or bury your site deep in the search results where visibility is minimal.
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.
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.
Using ‘nofollow’ on untrusted (or unknown trust) outbound links is sensible and I think that in general this is a good idea. Like wise using it on paid links is cool (the fact that all those people are now going to have to change from JavaScript to this method is another story…). I also believe that using ‘nofollow’ on ‘perfunctory’ pages is also good. How many times in the past did you search for your company name and get you home page at number one and your ‘legals’ page at number two. Now, I know that Google changed some things and now this is less prominent, but it still happens. As much as you say that these pages are ‘worthy’, I don’t agree that they are in terms of search engine listings. Most of these type of pages (along with the privacy policy page) are legal ease that just need to be on the site. I am not saying they are not important, they are (privacy policies are really important for instance), but, they are not what you site is about. Because they are structurally important they are usually linked from every pages on the site and as such gather a lot of importance and weight. Now, I know that Google must have looked at this, but I can still find lots of examples where these type of pages get too much exposure on the search listings. This is apart from the duplicate content issues (anyone ever legally or illegally ‘lifted’ some legals or privacy words from another site?).

In my example, if I am passing PR to a local eatery by having a do-follow link but there are 9 nofollow links on that page and I only had 10 points to begin with then that lowers the value I can give from my local foodie blog to that site. In that case would it actually be better to either disallow comments on that page or to disallow links associated with the comments on that page? I mean if my client is a food blogger (and some are) and they tell the restaurateur “when I write about you it will be good for your Google juice because I will place a link to you with my post” then they would really be diminishing the value they could give by having an increased number of links. Kinds of sucks for the blogger who wants a lot of comments, no?
There is no secret that getting hiqh-quality backlinks is your website’s way to better ranking in Google. But how to differ good link from the bad one? Carefully choosing backlinks is a very tremulous and important task for everyone who wants to optimize their sites. There are a lot of different tools which can help you to check whether your backlinks are trustful and can bring your website value. 
My favorite style in this is article marketing. You create anchor content on your website or blog, then you build authority-content links to that content, effectively driving up the visibility. I've used this single strategy to rank hundreds of keywords in the #1 spot on Google, and I would highly recommend that if you're going to learn any marketing strategy, that you get really good at this one.
Chris_D, great question. If you have a single product page that can have multiple urls with slightly different parameters, that’s a great time to use a rel=canonical meta tag. You can use rel=canonical for pages with session IDs in a similar fashion. What rel=canonical lets you do is say “this page X on my host is kinda of ugly or otherwise isn’t the best version of this page. Use url Y as the preferred version of my page instead.” You can read about rel=canonical at http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139394. Bear in mind that if you can make your site work without session IDs or make it so that you don’t have multiple “aliases” for the same page, that’s even better because it solves the problem at the root.
Meanwhile, the link spam began. People chasing higher PageRank scores began dropping links wherever they could, including into blog posts and forums. Eventually, it became such an issue that demands were raised that Google itself should do something about it. Google did in 2005, getting behind the nofollow tag, a way to prevent links from passing along PageRank credit.
But I also don’t wanna lose PageRank on every comment with a link… If I can give PageRank and lose none, I wanna let the comment there, even without nofollow. But if I lose PageRank on every link, even inside original post, EVEN MORE if nofollow also takes PageRank out of me, I may just start using JavaScript or simple text without anchor for links… I definetely don’t like this idea, but I dislike even more losing PageRank on each outlink on my site. I’d just link top quality sites that I actively wanna vote for Search Engines.
The truth? Today, rising above the noise and achieving any semblance of visibility has become a monumental undertaking. While we might prevail at searching, we fail at being found. How are we supposed to get notice while swimming in a sea of misinformation and disinformation? We've become immersed in this guru gauntlet where one expert after another is attempting to teach us how we can get the proverbial word out about our businesses and achieve visibility to drive more leads and sales, but we all still seem to be lost.
One of the consequences of the PageRank algorithm and its further manipulation has been the situation when backlinks (as well as link-building) have been usually considered black-hat SEO. Thus, not only Google has been combating the consequences of its own child's tricks, but also mega-sites, like Wikipedia, The Next Web, Forbes, and many others who automatically nofollow all the outgoing links. It means fewer and fewer PageRank votes. What is then going to help search engines rank pages in terms of their safety and relevance?

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.


The next step? How will you communicate with people. Sharpe says that you need to decide on this early on. Will you blog? Will you use social media? Will you build a list by working with solo ad providers? Will you place paid advertisements? What will you do and how will you do it? What you must realize here is that you have to get really good at copy writing. The better you get at copy writing, the more success you'll find as an internet marketer.

PageRank is a link analysis algorithm and it assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of "measuring" its relative importance within the set. The algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns to any given element E is referred to as the PageRank of E and denoted by {\displaystyle PR(E).} Other factors like Author Rank can contribute to the importance of an entity.

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.

A great number of public networks call themselves “private”. That’s not true. If the network is advertised, it cannot be private. We witnessed cases when Google destroyed such public networks and all the websites which had used them. They are easy to be revealed due to a huge number of outbound homepage links which are irrelevant to each other. Their posts are short, and they cannot really block SEO crawlers.

Conversion rate optimization is all about testing. Many companies get too bogged down in design and what they think looks best and will convert. At the end of the day, you don’t know until you test. At IMI, we have the tools, technology, and expertise to not only build well-optimized web pages but to test them once they go live. Our conversion rate optimization can not only save our client’s money but generate millions in revenue.


For Search Engines, backlinks help to determine the page’s importance and value (i.e. authority). Historically, the quantity of backlinks was an indicator of a page’s popularity.  Today, due to the way backlinks are evaluated based on different industry-related ranking factors, it is less quantity focused and more about the quality of sites from which the links are coming.
Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.) Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.
Google recommends that all websites use https:// when possible. The hostname is where your website is hosted, commonly using the same domain name that you'd use for email. Google differentiates between the "www" and "non-www" version (for example, "www.example.com" or just "example.com"). When adding your website to Search Console, we recommend adding both http:// and https:// versions, as well as the "www" and "non-www" versions.
Sharpe, who's presently running a company called Legendary Marketer, teaching you how to duplicate his results, is a prime example. By understanding how Sharpe has constructed his value chain, positioned his offerings and built out his multi-modality sales funnels, you'll better get a larger grasp on things. As confusing as it sounds at the outset, all you need to do is start buying up products in your niche so that you can replicate their success.
The SEO starter guide describes much of what your SEO will do for you. Although you don't need to know this guide well yourself if you're hiring a professional to do the work for you, it is useful to be familiar with these techniques, so that you can be aware if an SEO wants to use a technique that is not recommended or, worse, strongly discouraged.

While most of the links to your site will be added gradually, as people discover your content through search or other ways and link to it, Google understands that you'd like to let others know about the hard work you've put into your content. Effectively promoting your new content will lead to faster discovery by those who are interested in the same subject. As with most points covered in this document, taking these recommendations to an extreme could actually harm the reputation of your site.
Keep resources crawlable. Blocking page resources can give Google an incomplete picture of your website. This often happens when your robots.txt file is blocking access to some or all of your page resources. If Googlebot doesn't have access to a page's resources, such as CSS, JavaScript, or images, we may not detect that it's built to display and work well on a mobile browser. In other words, we may not detect that the page is "mobile-friendly," and therefore not properly serve it to mobile searchers.
Using influencers to market your products or services is a great way to quickly saturate yourself into the marketplace, no matter what you're peddling. However, finding the right influencer at the right price is the hard part. You don't necessarily have to go to the top-tier influencers; you can also opt for micro-influencers (those that have 10,000 to 100,000 followers or fans).
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.
Data-driven advertising: Users generate a lot of data in every step they take on the path of customer journey and Brands can now use that data to activate their known audience with data-driven programmatic media buying. Without exposing customers' privacy, users' Data can be collected from digital channels (e.g.: when customer visits a website, reads an e-mail, or launches and interact with brand's mobile app), brands can also collect data from real world customer interactions, such as brick and mortar stores visits and from CRM and Sales engines datasets. Also known as People-based marketing or addressable media, Data-driven advertising is empowering brands to find their loyal customers in their audience and deliver in real time a much more personal communication, highly relevant to each customers' moment and actions.[37]
If you are serious about improving web traffic to your website, we recommend you read Google Webmasters and Webmaster Guidelines. These contain the best practices to help Google (and other search engines) find, crawl, and index your website. After you have read them, you MUST try our Search Engine Optimization Tools to help you with Keyword Research, Link Building, Technical Optimization, Usability, Social Media Strategy and more. 

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?
Say I have an article on a blog with 5 links in the editorial copy — some of those links leading back to other content within the blog that I hope to do well. Then I get 35 comments on the article, with each comment having a link back to the commenters’ sites. That’s 40 links in all. Let’s say this particular page has $20 in PageRank to spend. Each link gets 50 cents.
Some backlinks are inherently more valuable than others. Followed backlinks from trustworthy, popular, high-authority sites are considered the most desirable backlinks to earn, while backlinks from low-authority, potentially spammy sites are typically at the other end of the spectrum. Whether or not a link is followed (i.e. whether a site owner specifically instructs search engines to pass, or not pass, link equity) is certainly relevant, but don't entirely discount the value of nofollow links. Even just being mentioned on high-quality websites can give your brand a boost.

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 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…
Also, by means of the iterative calculation, the sum of all pages' PageRanks still converges to the total number of web pages. So the average PageRank of a web page is 1. The minimum PageRank of a page is given by (1-d). Therefore, there is a maximum PageRank for a page which is given by dN+(1-d), where N is total number of web pages. This maximum can theoretically occur, if all web pages solely link to one page, and this page also solely links to itself.
I really hope that folks don’t take the idea of disabling comments to heart… first that isn’t much fun for you the blog owner or your visitors. Second… I just did a cursory glance at the SERPS for ‘pagerank sculpting’ (how I found this post). Interestingly enough, the number of comments almost has a direct correlation with the ranking of the URL. I’m not so certain that there is a causal relationship there. But I would certainly consider that Google probably has figured out how to count comments on a WP blog and probably factors that into ranking. I know that I would.
For some business owners, they’ll think of a website. Others may think of social media, or blogging. In reality, all of these avenues of advertising fall in the category internet marketing and each is like a puzzle piece in a much bigger marketing picture. Unfortunately, for new business owners trying to establish their web presence, there’s a lot of puzzle pieces to manage.
This year, for the first time, Google stated that user experience would be a core part of gaining rankings for mobile websites. A poorer user experience would send your site hurtling down the rankings. This appeared to come as a shock to many in the SEO community and despite assurances that content was still king – many seemed to feel that this ...

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.


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.
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?
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]

Backlink is a link one website gets from another website. Backlinks make a huge impact on a website’s prominence in search engine results. This is why they are considered very useful for improving a website’s SEO ranking. Search engines calculate rankings using multiple factors to display search results. No one knows for sure how much weight search engines give to backlinks when listing results, however what we do know for certain is that they are very important.


Backlinks take place across the Internet when one website mentions another website and links to it. Also, referred to as “incoming links,” backlinks make their connection through external websites. These links from outside domains point to pages on your own domain. Whenever backlinks occur, it is like receiving a vote for a webpage. The more votes you get from the authoritative sites creates a positive effect on a site’s ranking and search visibility.

A backlink is simply a link from another domain pointing back to your site. Simple, right? Well, yes and no. Not all backlinks are created equal, and there are a few rules you need to observe in order for them to benefit your site’s ranking. For example, your link needs to be a clickable hyperlink with anchor text; for example, www. conductor .com won’t help us in link building, but www.conductor.com will.
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 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.
You can confer some of your site's reputation to another site when your site links to it. Sometimes users can take advantage of this by adding links to their own site in your comment sections or message boards. Or sometimes you might mention a site in a negative way and don't want to confer any of your reputation upon it. For example, imagine that you're writing a blog post on the topic of comment spamming and you want to call out a site that recently comment spammed your blog. You want to warn others of the site, so you include the link to it in your content; however, you certainly don't want to give the site some of your reputation from your link. This would be a good time to use nofollow.
youfoundjake, those would definitely be the high-order bits. The fact that no one noticed this change means (to me) even though it feels like a really big shift, in practice the impact of this change isn’t that huge. By the way, I have no idea why CFC flagged you, but I pulled your comment out of the Akismet bin. Maybe some weird interaction of cookies with WordPress caching? Sorry that happened.
Fortunately, Google never gave up on the idea of backlinks; it just got better at qualifying them and utilizing other online signals to determine quality from disreputable tactics. Unethical methods can not only hurt your rankings, but can cause your domain to incur penalties from Google. Yes, your domain can be penalized and can even be removed from Google’s index if the offense is serious enough.
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!
SEO is an acronym for "search engine optimization" or "search engine optimizer." Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:

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.


In order to engage customers, retailers must shift from a linear marketing approach of one-way communication to a value exchange model of mutual dialogue and benefit-sharing between provider and consumer.[21] Exchanges are more non-linear, free flowing, and both one-to-many or one-on-one.[5] The spread of information and awareness can occur across numerous channels, such as the blogosphere, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and a variety of other platforms. Online communities and social networks allow individuals to easily create content and publicly publish their opinions, experiences, and thoughts and feelings about many topics and products, hyper-accelerating the diffusion of information.[22]

Backlink is a link one website gets from another website. Backlinks make a huge impact on a website’s prominence in search engine results. This is why they are considered very useful for improving a website’s SEO ranking. Search engines calculate rankings using multiple factors to display search results. No one knows for sure how much weight search engines give to backlinks when listing results, however what we do know for certain is that they are very important.


Also, by means of the iterative calculation, the sum of all pages' PageRanks still converges to the total number of web pages. So the average PageRank of a web page is 1. The minimum PageRank of a page is given by (1-d). Therefore, there is a maximum PageRank for a page which is given by dN+(1-d), where N is total number of web pages. This maximum can theoretically occur, if all web pages solely link to one page, and this page also solely links to itself.
One of the consequences of the PageRank algorithm and its further manipulation has been the situation when backlinks (as well as link-building) have been usually considered black-hat SEO. Thus, not only Google has been combating the consequences of its own child's tricks, but also mega-sites, like Wikipedia, The Next Web, Forbes, and many others who automatically nofollow all the outgoing links. It means fewer and fewer PageRank votes. What is then going to help search engines rank pages in terms of their safety and relevance?
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