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!

My favorite tool to spy on my competitors' backlinks is called Monitor Backlinks. It allows you to add your four most important competitors. From then on, you get a weekly report containing all the new links they have earned. Inside the tool, you get more insights about these links and can sort them by their value and other SEO metrics. A useful feature is that all the links my own website already has are highlighted in green, as in the screenshot below.
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.
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.
For search engine optimization purposes, some companies offer to sell high PageRank links to webmasters.[40] As links from higher-PR pages are believed to be more valuable, they tend to be more expensive. It can be an effective and viable marketing strategy to buy link advertisements on content pages of quality and relevant sites to drive traffic and increase a webmaster's link popularity. However, Google has publicly warned webmasters that if they are or were discovered to be selling links for the purpose of conferring PageRank and reputation, their links will be devalued (ignored in the calculation of other pages' PageRanks). The practice of buying and selling links is intensely debated across the Webmaster community. Google advises webmasters to use the nofollow HTML attribute value on sponsored links. According to Matt Cutts, Google is concerned about webmasters who try to game the system, and thereby reduce the quality and relevance of Google search results.[40]
It helps to improve your ranking for certain keywords. If we want this article to rank for the term ’SEO basics’ then we can begin linking to it from other posts using variations of similar anchor text. This tells Google that this post is relevant to people searching for ‘SEO basics’. Some experts recommend varying your anchor text pointing to the same page as Google may see multiple identical uses as ‘suspicious’.
Google PageRank (Google PR) is one of the methods Google uses to determine a page's relevance or importance. Important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results. Google PageRank (PR) is a measure from 0 - 10. Google Pagerank is based on backlinks. The more quality backlinks the higher Google Pagerank. Improving your Google page rank (building QUALITY backlinks ) is very important if you want to improve your search engine rankings.
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!
PageRank was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford. In fact the name. PageRank is a likely play on Larry Page's name. At the time that Page and Brin met, early search engines typically linked to pages that had the highest keyword density, which meant people could game the system by repeating the same phrase over and over to attract higher search page results. Sometimes web designers would even put hidden text on pages to repeat phrases. 
Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don’t match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all dozens of aspects of the page’s content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it’s a good match for your query.
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.
Concerning broken link building, it can also sometimes be relevant to scan the whole domain (e.g. if the website is a blog within a specific niche as these often feature multiple articles closely related to the same) for broken external links using e.g. XENU, A1 Website Analyzer or similar. (Just be sure to enable checking of external links before crawling the website.)
As you might know, backlinks and all marketing strategies are dependent on the competition and existing trends in your niche. So if the blogs and marketers in your country are still using older tactics like web 2.0 backlinks and blog comments, then does it even make sense to go for tedious strategies like outreach? Does it even warrant a good business ROI?

Google wasn’t happy with the Pandora’s Box it had opened. It began to fight back, with its most famous action against a network known as SearchKing, penalizing the site and some of those in the network with PageRank score reductions or actual removal from Google. SearchKing sued Google. Google won, a judge ruling that its search results were entitled to First Amendment protection as opinions.
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.

As I was telling Norman above, these days what we’ve come to call content marketing is really a big part of “link building.” You can’t buy links, and “you link to me I’ll link to you” requests often land on deaf ears. Its really all about creating high quality content (videos, images, written blog posts) that appeals to the needs/wants of your target market, and then naturally earning inbound links from sources that truly find what you have to offer worth referencing.
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.
Ah – well the Reasonable Surfer is a different patent (and therefore a different algorithm) to PageRank. I would imagine that initially, only the first link counted – simply because there either IS or IS NOT a relationship between the two nodes. This mean it was a binary choice. However, at Majestic we certainly think about two links between page A and Page B with separate anchor texts… in this case in a binary choice, either the data on the second link would need to be dropped or, the number of backlinks can start to get bloated. I wrote about this on Moz way back in 2011!
For the purpose of their second paper, Brin, Page, and their coauthors took PageRank for a spin by incorporating it into an experimental search engine, and then compared its performance to AltaVista, one of the most popular search engines on the Web at that time. Their paper included a screenshot comparing the two engines’ results for the word “university.”
Such an enlightening post! Thanks for revealing those sources, Brian. This really has opened up my mind to the new ideas. I have read many articles about SEO, especially the ones in my country, most of them don’t really tell how to increase your presence in search engines. But today I found this page, which gave me much more valuable insights. Definitely going to try your tips..

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