The answer, at its basis, is largely what I convey in a great majority of my books about search engine optimization and online marketing. It all boils down to one simple concept: add tremendous amounts of value to the world. The more value you add, the more successful you become. Essentially, you have to do the most amount of work (initially at least) for the least return. Not the other way around.
But, why do search engines care about backlinks? Well, in the early days of the Internet, search engines were very simple, and relied strictly on keyword matching. It didn’t matter how good the content on a website was, how popular it was, or what the website was for–if a phrase on a page matched a phrase that someone searched for, then that page would likely show up. That meant that if someone had an online journal in which they documented at length how they had to take their car to a “car accident repair shop,” then people searching for a “car accident repair shop” would likely be led to that page. Not terribly useful, right?
I’m done. Done worrying, done “manipulating”, done giving a damn. I spent 10 years learning semantics and reading about how to code and write content properly and it’s never helped. I’ve never seen much improvement, and I’m doing everything you’ve mentioned. Reading your blog like the bible. The most frustrating part is my friends who don’t give a damn about Google and purposely try to bend the rules to gain web-cred do amazing, have started extremely successful companies and the guy following the rules still has a day job.
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]
Affiliate marketing - Affiliate marketing is perceived to not be considered a safe, reliable and easy means of marketing through online platform. This is due to a lack of reliability in terms of affiliates that can produce the demanded number of new customers. As a result of this risk and bad affiliates it leaves the brand prone to exploitation in terms of claiming commission that isn't honestly acquired. Legal means may offer some protection against this, yet there are limitations in recovering any losses or investment. Despite this, affiliate marketing allows the brand to market towards smaller publishers, and websites with smaller traffic. Brands that choose to use this marketing often should beware of such risks involved and look to associate with affiliates in which rules are laid down between the parties involved to assure and minimize the risk involved.[47]

At IMI, we have the ability to incorporate Affiliate Marketing into any integrated digital marketing campaign in order to push product sales and drive revenue. We believe that this is just one piece of the digital puzzle however. Affiliate campaigns can incorporate many aspects of digital marketing including web design and development, display, paid search, conversion optimization, and SEO.
On October 17, 2002, SearchKing filed suit in the United States District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, against the search engine Google. SearchKing's claim was that Google's tactics to prevent spamdexing constituted a tortious interference with contractual relations. On May 27, 2003, the court granted Google's motion to dismiss the complaint because SearchKing "failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted."[67][68]
For example, what are the quality and quantity of the links that have been created over time? Are they natural and organic links stemming from relevant and high quality content, or are they spammy links, unnatural links or coming from bad link neighborhoods? Are all the links coming from the same few websites over time or is there a healthy amount of global IP diversification in the links?
Another example when the “nofollow" attribute can come handy are widget links. If you are using a third party's widget to enrich the experience of your site and engage users, check if it contains any links that you did not intend to place on your site along with the widget. Some widgets may add links to your site which are not your editorial choice and contain anchor text that you as a webmaster may not control. If removing such unwanted links from the widget is not possible, you can always disable them with “nofollow" attribute. If you create a widget for functionality or content that you provide, make sure to include the nofollow on links in the default code snippet.
Despite this many people seem to get it wrong! In particular “Chris Ridings of www.searchenginesystems.net” has written a paper entitled “PageRank Explained: Everything you’ve always wanted to know about PageRank”, pointed to by many people, that contains a fundamental mistake early on in the explanation! Unfortunately this means some of the recommendations in the paper are not quite accurate.
Backlinks can be time-consuming to earn. New sites or those expanding their keyword footprint may find it difficult to know where to start when it comes to link building. That's where competitive backlink research comes in: By examining the backlink profile (the collection of pages and domains linking to a website) to a competitor that's already ranking well for your target keywords, you can gain insight about the link building that may have helped them. A tool like Link Explorer can help uncover these links so you can and target those domains in your own link building campaigns.
The SEO industry changes at an extreme pace, every year marketers evolve their strategies and shift their focus. However, backlinks remain just as crucial of a strategy as when they were first created. Currently, backlinks are a very common phase in the world of SEO, and if you are involved in the industry, you know backlinks are vital to a website’s performance.
I think Matt Grenville’s comment is a very valid one. If your site, for whatever reason, can not attract links naturally and all of your competitors are outranking you by employing tactics that might breach Google’s TOS, what other options do you have? As well as this people will now only link to a few, trusted sites (as this has been clarified in your post as being part of Google’s algorithm) and put a limit on linking out to the smaller guys.

With focus I mean making sure that your pages focus on the same keyword everywhere, and your site focuses on the same high level keywords and sections in your site focusing on their own high level (but not as high as the keywords for which you want your home page to rank) keywords. Focus few people really understand while the interesting thing is that you do this almost automatically right if you do your site architecture and understanding your customers, right.


What are backlinks doing for your SEO strategy? Well, Google considers over 200 SEO ranking factors when calculating where a page should rank, but we know that backlinks are one of the top three (the other two are content and RankBrain, Google’s AI). So while you should always focus on creating high-quality content, link-building is also an important factor in ranking your pages well on Google.
If I was able to write a blog post that was popular and it got lots of comments, then any links that I would have put in the body text would be devalued with each additional comment – even with ‘no follow’ being on the commenter’s links. So it would seem that in some sort of perverse way, the more popular (by comments) a page is, the less page rank it will be passing. I would have to hope that the number of inbound links it gets would grow faster than the comments it receives, a situation that is unlikely to occur.
In 1998, two graduate students at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, developed "Backrub", a search engine that relied on a mathematical algorithm to rate the prominence of web pages. The number calculated by the algorithm, PageRank, is a function of the quantity and strength of inbound links.[21] PageRank estimates the likelihood that a given page will be reached by a web user who randomly surfs the web, and follows links from one page to another. In effect, this means that some links are stronger than others, as a higher PageRank page is more likely to be reached by the random web surfer.
Search engines want websites to have a level playing field, and look for natural links built slowly over time. While it is fairly easy to manipulate links on a web page to try to achieve a higher ranking, it is a lot harder to influence a search engine with external backlinks from other websites. This is also a reason why backlinks factor in so highly into a search engine's algorithm. Lately, however, a search engine's criteria for quality inbound links has gotten even tougher, thanks to unscrupulous webmasters trying to achieve these inbound links by deceptive or sneaky techniques, such as with hidden links, or automatically generated pages whose sole purpose is to provide inbound links to websites. These pages are called link farms, and they are not only disregarded by search engines, but linking to a link farm could get your site banned entirely.
Thank you, Brian, for this definitive guide. I have already signed up for Haro and have plans to implement some of your strategies. My blog is related to providing digital marketing tutorials for beginners and hence can be in your niche as well. This is so good. I highly recommend all my team members in my company to read your blog everytime you published new content. 537 comments in this post within a day, you are a master of this. A great influence in digital marketing space.

Example: A blogger John Doe writes a very interesting article about a sports event. Another blogger Samantha Smith doesn’t agree with John’s article and writes about it in another article for an online magazine. She links to John’s article, so that her readers can understand both point of views. John’s blog gets a valuable backlink. On the other hand, Samantha’s article gets popular and many other websites link to her article. Samantha’s website gets many new backlinks. Even though John only got one backlink for his article, the value of his backlink is increased by the backlinks Samantha’s article generated.
Quality content is more likely to get shared. By staying away from creating "thin" content and focusing more on content that cites sources, is lengthy and it reaches unique insights, you'll be able to gain Google's trust over time. Remember, this happens as a component of time. Google knows you can't just go out there and create massive amounts of content in a few days. If you try to spin content or duplicate it in any fashion, you'll suffer a Google penalty and your visibility will be stifled.
Finally, start building links in relevant sites like business directories (especially local directories) relevant niche blogs and forums, and industry publications. Success at link building will result from a combination of good PR, smart marketing strategy, and of course, great content. Google has said that social media doesn’t impact rankings, but reaching out to social influencers can give your content traction on other channels that can be useful.
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.
Online reviews, then, have become another form of internet marketing that small businesses can't afford to ignore. While many small businesses think that they can't do anything about online reviews, that's not true. Just by actively encouraging customers to post reviews about their experience small businesses can weight online reviews positively. Sixty-eight percent of consumers left a local business review when asked. So assuming a business's products or services are not subpar, unfair negative reviews will get buried by reviews by happier customers.
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.
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.
Search engines often use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the most important factors for determining that website's search engine ranking, popularity and importance. Google's description of its PageRank system, for instance, notes that "Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B."[6] Knowledge of this form of search engine rankings has fueled a portion of the SEO industry commonly termed linkspam, where a company attempts to place as many inbound links as possible to their site regardless of the context of the originating site. The significance of search engine rankings is pretty high, and it is regarded as a crucial parameter in online business and the conversion rate of visitors to any website, particularly when it comes to online shopping. Blog commenting, guest blogging, article submission, press release distribution, social media engagements, and forum posting can be used to increase backlinks.
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.
By now, you've likely seen all the "gurus" in your Facebook feed. Some of them are more popular than others. What you'll notice is that the ads you see that have the highest views and engagement are normally the most successful. Use a site like Similar Web to study those ads and see what they're doing. Join their lists and embed yourself in their funnels. That's an important part of the process so that you can replicate and reverse engineer what the most successful marketers are doing.

Another reason is that if you're using an image as a link, the alt text for that image will be treated similarly to the anchor text of a text link. However, we don't recommend using too many images for links in your site's navigation when text links could serve the same purpose. Lastly, optimizing your image filenames and alt text makes it easier for image search projects like Google Image Search to better understand your images.

The search engine results page (SERP) is the actual result returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The SERP consists of a list of links to web pages with associated text snippets. The SERP rank of a web page refers to the placement of the corresponding link on the SERP, where higher placement means higher SERP rank. The SERP rank of a web page is a function not only of its PageRank, but of a relatively large and continuously adjusted set of factors (over 200).[35] Search engine optimization (SEO) is aimed at influencing the SERP rank for a website or a set of web pages.
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.

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.
The nofollow tag is being used for page rank sculpting and to stop blog spamming. In my mind this is tant amount to manipulating page rank and thus possibly ranking position in certain cases. I do post to regularly blogs and forums regarding web design and this improved my search ranking as a side effect. Whats wrong with making an active contribution to the industry blogs and being passed some Pagerank. Google needs to determine whether the post entry is relevant then decide to pass pagerank after the analysis or just decide that blog should not pass PR in any event. Whats gone wrong with the Internet when legitimate content pages do not pass PR?

More appropriately, blame Google for ever making the PageRank score visible. When Google first started, PageRank was something it talked about as part of its research papers, press releases and technology pages to promote itself as a smarter search engine than well-established and bigger rivals at the time — players like Yahoo, AltaVista and Lycos, to name a few.

I did this post because I wanted people to understand more about PageRank, how it works, and to clarify my answers at SMX Advanced. Yes, I would agree that Google itself solely decides how much PageRank will flow to each and every link on a particular page. But that’s no reason to make PageRank a complete black box; if I can help provide people with a more accurate mental model, overall I think that’s a good thing. For example, from your proposed paragraph I would strike the “The number of links doesn’t matter” sentence because most of the time the number of links do matter, and I’d prefer that people know that. I would agree with the rest of your paragraph explanation–which is why in my mind PageRank and our search result rankings qualifies as an opinion and not simply some rote computation. But just throwing out your single paragraph, while accurate (and a whole lot faster to write!), would have been deeply unsatisfying for a number of people who want to know more.


“Google itself solely decides how much PageRank will flow to each and every link on a particular page. In general, the more links on a page, the less PageRank each link gets. 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.”


What are "backlinks"? Backlinks are links that are directed towards your website. Also knows as Inbound links (IBL's). The number of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website. Backlinks are important for SEO because some search engines, especially Google, will give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks, and consider those websites more relevant than others in their results pages for a search query.
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.
However, if you are seasoned online marketer, and you've built a substantial following, then marketing as an affiliate might be the right fit. Jason Stone from Millionaire Mentor has built a seven-figure business with affiliate marketing, while David Sharpe from Legendary Marketer has built up an eight-figure business by creating an army of affiliates that market products in collaboration with his team.
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?
What is Search Engine Optimization (also known as SEO)? A broad definition is that search engine optimization is the art and science of making web pages attractive to search engines. More narrowly, SEO seeks to tweak particular factors known to affect search engine standing to make certain pages more attractive to search engines than other web pages that are vying for the same keywords or keyword phrases.
By 2004, search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce the impact of link manipulation. In June 2007, The New York Times' Saul Hansell stated Google ranks sites using more than 200 different signals.[25] The leading search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, do not disclose the algorithms they use to rank pages. Some SEO practitioners have studied different approaches to search engine optimization, and have shared their personal opinions.[26] Patents related to search engines can provide information to better understand search engines.[27] In 2005, Google began personalizing search results for each user. Depending on their history of previous searches, Google crafted results for logged in users.[28]
If you're not using internet marketing to market your business you should be. An online presence is crucial to helping potential clients and customer find your business - even if your business is small and local. (In 2017, one third of all mobile searches were local and local search was growing 50% faster than mobile searches overall.) Online is where the eyeballs are so that's where your business needs to be. 

On the other hand, if your friend Ben launches a website tomorrow to provide plumbing industry information for consumers and includes a list of the best plumbers in Tucson and includes your business on the list, this may not get too much of a boost in the short ter. Though it meets the criteria of relevancy, the website is too new to be a trusted authority.
Our agency can provide both offensive and defensive ORM strategies as well as preventive ORM that includes developing new pages and social media profiles combined with consulting on continued content development. Our ORM team consists of experts from our SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing, and PR teams. At the end of the day, ORM is about getting involved in the online “conversations” and proactively addressing any potentially damaging content. 
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