Some search engines have also reached out to the SEO industry, and are frequent sponsors and guests at SEO conferences, webchats, and seminars. Major search engines provide information and guidelines to help with website optimization.[18][19] Google has a Sitemaps program to help webmasters learn if Google is having any problems indexing their website and also provides data on Google traffic to the website.[20] Bing Webmaster Tools provides a way for webmasters to submit a sitemap and web feeds, allows users to determine the "crawl rate", and track the web pages index status.
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.
Google might see 10 links on a page that has $10 of PageRank to spend. It might notice that 5 of those links are navigational elements that occur a lot throughout the site and decide they should only get 50 cents each. It might decide 5 of those links are in editorial copy and so are worthy of getting more. Maybe 3 of them get $2 each and 2 others get $1.50 each, because of where they appear in the copy, if they’re bolded or any of a number of other factors you don’t disclose.
It doesn’t mean than you have to advertise on these social media platforms. It means that they belong to that pyramid which will function better thanks to their support. Just secure them and decide which of them will suit your goal better. For example, you can choose Instagram because its audience is the most suitable for mobile devices and bits of advice of their exploitation distribution.
This still encourages larger, more professionally run websites not to ‘share the wealth’ of PageRank to other sites. How is a small niche website ever going to get decent results in SERPS if when a bigger site does link to it, it nofollows the link? Not passing any PageRank benefit, or anchor text through the link does nothing to encourage smaller more specialised sites – it encourages the bigger, broader sites to hoard the goodness.
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.
The better you learn and understand SEO and the more strides you take to learn this seemingly confusing and complex discipline, the more likely you'll be to appear organically in search results. And let's face it, organic search is important to marketing online. Considering that most people don't have massive advertising budgets and don't know the first thing about lead magnets, squeeze pages and sales funnels, appearing visible is critical towards long-term success.
The best strategy to get backlinks is to create great content and let other people promote your content. However, to get started, you can create your own links to content on your social media platform, ask your friends to share your content on their websites and social media, and if you can find questions in forums that your content answers, you can always post it there.

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.
In an effort to manually control the flow of PageRank among pages within a website, many webmasters practice what is known as PageRank Sculpting[65]—which is the act of strategically placing the nofollow attribute on certain internal links of a website in order to funnel PageRank towards those pages the webmaster deemed most important. This tactic has been used since the inception of the nofollow attribute, but may no longer be effective since Google announced that blocking PageRank transfer with nofollow does not redirect that PageRank to other links.[66]

I find it amazing that youtube.com has been “nofollowing” its featured videos for last 12 months (still doing it as I type) when it now seems that this means “i dont trust this content” and “i want to page rank to flow to this content”. In fact a quick glance at a youtube page tells you that youtube are currently flushing 50% of their page rank (very approx) down the toilet on every page.
Google might see 10 links on a page that has $10 of PageRank to spend. It might notice that 5 of those links are navigational elements that occur a lot throughout the site and decide they should only get 50 cents each. It might decide 5 of those links are in editorial copy and so are worthy of getting more. Maybe 3 of them get $2 each and 2 others get $1.50 each, because of where they appear in the copy, if they’re bolded or any of a number of other factors you don’t disclose.
Page and Brin's theory is that the most important pages on the Internet are the pages with the most links leading to them. PageRank thinks of links as votes, where a page linking to another page is casting a vote. The idea comes from academia, where citation counts are used to find the importance of researchers and research. The more often a particular paper is cited by other papers, the more important that paper is deemed. 
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.
Search engines find and catalog web pages through spidering (also known as webcrawling) software. Spidering software "crawls" through the internet and grabs information from websites which is used to build search engine indexes. Unfortunately, not all search engine spidering software works the same way, so what gives a page a high ranking on one search engine may not necessarily give it a high ranking on another. Note that rather than waiting for a search engine to discover a newly created page, web designers can submit the page directly to search engines for cataloging.
Totally agree — more does not always equal better. Google takes a sort of ‘Birds of a Feather’ approach when analyzing inbound links, so it’s really all about associating yourself (via inbound links) with websites Google deems high quality and trustworthy so that Google deems YOUR web page high quality and trustworthy. As you mentioned, trying to cut corners, buy links, do one-for-one trades, or otherwise game/manipulate the system never works. The algorithm is too smart.
SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.
Our SEO professionals are all well-respected thought leaders in the space and have decades of combined experience and include the following credentials: Search Engine Workshop Certification, Google Analytics and Yahoo Certifications, PMP Certification, UNIX Certification, Computer Engineering degrees and MBA’s. Our SEO team members are acclaimed SEO speakers and bloggers. IMI’s SEO team members have been keynote presenters at Pubcon, SMX, SEMCon, Etail, and many more influential conferences.
The course work of a marketing program will consist of real-world and hands-on components, such as case studies of both successful and failed marketing campaigns, and simulated businesses marketed by students using the concepts they have learned. This will include diving into several computer programs like Adobe InDesign and Dreamweaver, as well as both free and proprietary website analytics software.
Thanks to Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and, of course, Sitechecker you can easily check your website, look for 404 errors and proceed to their reclamation. It’s a very easy and effective way to boost the authority. We think that you can use several of the above-mentioned programs to examine your site in case one of them misses some 404 links. If you find some 404 errors, 301 redirect them to an appropriate webpage or to your homepage.
I would like to know how Google is handling relevancy with so many websites now jumping on the “no follow” wagon? Seems like just about every major website has no follow links, so with the Panda updates this year what’s happening to all that lost link power? Seem’s like this tactic will stagnate the growth of up-and-coming websites on the internet to me. Am I right here?
A backlink’s value doesn’t only come from the website authority itself. There are other factors to consider as well. You’ll sometimes times hear those in the industry refer to “dofollow” and “nofollow” links. This goes back to the unethical linkbuilding tactics in the early days of SEO. One practices included commenting on blogs and leaving a link. It was an easy method and back then, search engines couldn’t tell the difference between a blog post and other site content.
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.”
Brian Dean, an SEO expert and the creator of BackLinko, uses SEO tactics to rank #1 on YouTube for keywords like “on page SEO” and “video SEO”. Initially, Dean admits his YouTube account struggled to get any views. Employing SEO methods like keyword optimization has enabled Dean to rise to #1 on YouTube for search results related to his business. He published his full strategy on Backlinko.

If you’re just getting started with SEO, you’re likely to hear a lot about “backlinks,” “external and internal links,” or “link building.” After all, backlinks are an important SEO ranking factor for SEO success, but as a newbie, you may be wondering: what are backlinks? SEO changes all the time — do backlinks still matter? Well, wonder no more. Say hello to your definitive guide to backlinks and their significance in SEO.


Hi Brian, as usual solid and helpful content so thank you. I have a question which the internet doesn’t seem to be able to answer. i thought perhaps you could. I have worked hard on building back links and with success. However, they are just not showing up regardless of what tool I use to check (Ahrefs, etc). it has been about 60 days and there are 10 quality back links not showing. Any ideas? thanks!
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?

A small search-engine called "RankDex" from IDD Information Services, designed by Robin Li, was, from 1996, already exploring a similar strategy for site-scoring and page-ranking.[19] Li patented the technology in RankDex in 1999[20] and used it later when he founded Baidu in China in 2000.[21][22] Larry Page referenced Li's work in some of his U.S. patents for PageRank.[23]
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.
A content specialist needs to be a Jack or Jill of all trades, utilizing excellent written and verbal communication skills, above-average computer literacy, and a natural interest in trends. This job is ultimately about translating the key aspects of the product into content the target demographic finds appealing. This is part art, part critical thinking, and 100% attention to detail.

Should have added in my previous comment that our site has been established since 2000 and all our links have always been followable – including comment links (but all are manually edited to weed out spambots). We have never artificially cultivated backlinks but I have noticed that longstanding backlinks from established sites like government and trade organisations are changing to ‘nofollow’ (and our homepage PR has declined from 7 to 4 over the past 5 years). If webmasters of the established sites are converting to systems which automatically change links to ‘nofollow’ then soon the only followable links will be those that are paid for – and the blackhats win again.
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.
Just like the new structure on JavaScript links and them now carrying weight and being crawlable, the PageRank sculpting change is understandable. Google now can and wants to index more of the web (JavaScript link change). Google wants to reverse a method that can only help people in the know (PageRank sculpting change). Logically, all is very understandable.

One thing is certain: interlinking sites doesn't help you from a search engine standpoint. The only reason you may want to interlink your sites in the first place might be to provide your visitors with extra resources to visit. In this case, it would probably be okay to provide visitors with a link to another of your websites, but try to keep many instances of linking to the same IP address to a bare minimum. One or two links on a page here and there probably won't hurt you.
Yes, the more links on a page the smaller the amount of page rank it can pass on to each, but that was as it was before. With regard to what happens to the ‘missing’ page rank, it seems that if this is the case all over the Internet, and it will be, the total amount of page rank flow is reduced the same all over so you don’t need as much page rank flow to your good links to maintain relative position.
Hi Matt, I have a question about PR: N/A. With the recent update I found many sites including mine went from PR: 3 to PR: N/A. I Googled for Site:mydomain.com to find it its banned, but I found its not banned, I posted this question on Google Webmaster forum and couple of other places but I didn’t get any help to fix it. I don’t know whom to ask, or how to figure this out. Could you please help me out please?
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.
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.
Disney initially stated they wouldn’t exceed one million in donations, but ended up donating two million after the campaign blew up. #ShareYourEars campaign garnered 420 million social media impressions, and increased Make-A-Wish’s social media reach by 330%. The campaign is a powerful example of using an internet marketing strategy for a good cause. #ShareYourEars raised brand awareness, cultivated a connected online community, and positively affected Disney’s brand image.
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.
When running PPC ads, it's important that you keep careful track of the specific ads and keywords that you're targeting. You can do this by using the Google Analytics UTM builder to create campaign URLs that you can use to track the campaign source, the medium and any keywords or terms that you might be targeting. This way, you can determine the effectiveness of any campaign that you run and figure out the precise conversion rate.
Just because some people have been turning their page, way to, pink (with the Firefox ‘nofollow’ indicator plug in installed) that is not a reason to devalue something that is OK to do. It would not of been that hard to plug in a change that would pick that up as spam and therefore put a ‘trust’ question mark against sites that have been ‘nofollowing’ everything.

PageRank is only a score that represents the importance of a page, as Google estimates it (By the way, that estimate of importance is considered to be Google’s opinion and protected in the US by the First Amendment. When Google was once sued over altering PageRank scores for some sites, a US court ruled: “PageRanks are opinions — opinions of the significance of particular Web sites as they correspond to a search query….the court concludes Google’s PageRanks are entitled to full constitutional protection.)
Writing blog posts is especially effective for providing different opportunities to land on page one of search engines -- for instance, maybe your eyeglass store’s website is on page three of Google for “eyeglasses,” but your “Best Sunglasses of 2018” blog post is on page one, pulling in an impressive amount of traffic (over time, that blog post could also boost your overall website to page one).
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!
Matt Cutts, it’s Shawn Hill from Longview, Texas and I’ve got to say, “you’re a semseo guru”. That’s obviously why Google retained you as they did. Very informative post! As head of Google’s Webspam team how to you intend to combat Social Networking Spam (SNS)? It’s becoming an increasingly obvious problem in SERPs. I’m thinking Blogspam should be the least of Google’s worries. What’s your take?

If you’re new to internet marketing and wish to get online as quickly and inexpensively as possible you can start with a social media platform like Facebook - you can create a business Facebook page in less than an hour. However, if you want more control over your online presence, a customized website is more appropriate. Ideally you should have both a website and a social media presence, with each linking to the other.
I was exactly thinking the same thing what Danny Sullivan had said. If comments (even with nofollow) directly affect the outgoing PR distribution, people will tend to allow less comments (maybe usage of iframes even). Is he right? Maybe, Google should develop a new tag as well something like rel=”commented” to inform spiders about it to give less value and wordpress should be installed default with this attribute 🙂
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.

“Google itself solely decides how much PageRank will flow to each and every link on a particular page. The number of links doesn’t matter. Google might decide some links don’t deserve credit and give them no PageRank. The use of nofollow doesn’t “conserve” PageRank for other links; it simply prevents those links from getting any PageRank that Google otherwise might have given them.”
A: I wouldn’t recommend it, because it isn’t the most effective way to utilize your PageRank. In general, I would let PageRank flow freely within your site. The notion of “PageRank sculpting” has always been a second- or third-order recommendation for us. I would recommend the first-order things to pay attention to are 1) making great content that will attract links in the first place, and 2) choosing a site architecture that makes your site usable/crawlable for humans and search engines alike.
Recently being torched for aggressive linking to keep up with competitors and doing things like PR sculpting because they were too. This is very helpful information. We have been undoing as much as we can and removing all the internal no follows was one of the items we have done. We have also gone back to linking to useful sites for our users without the no follows.
Mathematical PageRanks for a simple network, expressed as percentages. (Google uses a logarithmic scale.) Page C has a higher PageRank than Page E, even though there are fewer links to C; the one link to C comes from an important page and hence is of high value. If web surfers who start on a random page have an 85% likelihood of choosing a random link from the page they are currently visiting, and a 15% likelihood of jumping to a page chosen at random from the entire web, they will reach Page E 8.1% of the time. (The 15% likelihood of jumping to an arbitrary page corresponds to a damping factor of 85%.) Without damping, all web surfers would eventually end up on Pages A, B, or C, and all other pages would have PageRank zero. In the presence of damping, Page A effectively links to all pages in the web, even though it has no outgoing links of its own.
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