As Google becomes more and more sophisticated, one of the major cores of their algorithm, the one dealing with links (called Penguin) aims to value natural, quality links and devalue those unnatural or spammy ones. As a search engine, if they are to stay viable, they have to make sure their results are as honest and high-quality as possible, and that webmasters can't manipulate those results to their own benefit.
Before I start this, I am using the term ‘PageRank’ as a general term fully knowing that this is not a simple issue and ‘PageRank’ and the way it is calculated (and the other numerous methods Google use) are multidimensional and complex. However, if you use PageRank to imply ‘weight’ it make it a lot simpler. Also, ‘PageRank sculpting’ (in my view) is meant to mean ‘passing weight you can control’. Now… on with the comment!

Being a leading data-driven agency, we are passionate about the use of data for designing the ideal marketing mix for each client and then of course optimization towards specific ROI metrics. Online marketing with its promise of total measurement and complete transparency has grown at a fast clip over the years. With the numerous advertising channels available online and offline it makes attributing success to the correct campaigns very difficult. Data science is the core of every campaign we build and every goal we collectively set with clients.

Search results are presented in an ordered list, and the higher up on that list a site can get, the more traffic the site will tend to receive. For example, for a typical search query, the number one result will receive 40-60% of the total traffic for that query, with the number two and three results receiving significantly less traffic. Only 2-3% of users click beyond the first page of search results.
Honestly, this I’ve read your blog for about 4 or 5 years now and the more I read the less I cared about creating new content online because it feels like even following the “Google Rules” still isn’t the way to go because unlike standards, there is no standard. You guys can change your mind whenever you feel like and I can become completely screwed. So screw it. I’m done trying to get Google to find my site. With Twitter and other outlets and 60% of all Google usage is not even finding site but Spell Check, I don’t care anymore.

I just wanted to thank you for the awesome email of information. It was so awesome to see the results I have gotten and the results that your company has provided for other companies. Truly remarkable. I feel so blessed to be one of your clients. I do not feel worthy but do feel very blessed and appreciative to been a client for over 5 years now. My business would not be where it is today without you, your company and team. I sure love how you are dedicated to quality. I can not wait to see what the next 5 years bring with 10 years of internet marketing ninjas as my secret weapon. John B.
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.
Paid channel marketing is something you’ve probably come across in some form or another. Other names for this topic include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), online advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Very often, marketers use these terms interchangeably to describe the same concept — traffic purchased through online ads. Marketers frequently shy away from this technique because it costs money. This perspective will put you at a significant disadvantage. It’s not uncommon for companies to run PPC campaigns with uncapped budgets. Why? Because you should be generating an ROI anyway. This chapter walks through the basics of how.
Backlinks are an essential part of SEO process. They help search bots to crawl your site and rank it correctly to its content. Each backlink is a part of a ranking puzzle. That`s why every website owner wants to get as much as possible backlinks due to improving website’s SEO ranking factors. It’s a type of citation or hyperlink used in the text. If a person says “to be or not to be,” he/she is citing Shakespeare’s character, Hamlet.
This pagerank theme is getting understood in simplistic ways, people are still concerning about pagerank all the time (talking about SEOs). I just use common sense, if I were the designer of a search engine, besides of using the regular structure of analysis, I would use artificial intelligence to determine many factors of the analysis. I think this is not just a matter of dividing by 10, is far more complex. I might be wrong, but I believe the use of the nofollow attribute is not a final decision of the website owner any more is more like an option given to the bot, either to accept or reject the link as valid vote. Perhaps regular links are not final decision of the webmaster too. I think Google is seeing websites human would do, the pages are not analyzed like a parser will do, I believe is more like a neural network, bit more complex. I believe this change make a little difference. People should stop worrying about pagerank and start building good content, the algorithm is far more complex to determine what is next step to reach top ten at Google. However nothing is impossible.

Thanks for the post Chelsea! I think Google is starting to move further away from PageRank but I do agree that a higher amoount of links doesn’t necessarily mean a higher rank. I’ve seen many try to shortcut the system and end up spending weeks undoing these “shortcuts.” I wonder how much weight PageRank still holds today, considering the algorithms Google continues to put out there to provide more relevant search results.
A strategy that is linked into the effectiveness of digital marketing is content marketing.[39] Content marketing can be briefly described as "delivering the content that your audience is seeking in the places that they are searching for it".[39] It is found that content marketing is highly present in digital marketing and becomes highly successful when content marketing is involved. This is due to content marketing making your brand more relevant to the target consumers, as well as more visible to the target consumer.

There is much discussion in these last few months about reciprocal linking. In the last Google update, reciprocal links were one of the targets of the search engine's latest filter. Many webmasters had agreed upon reciprocal link exchanges, in order to boost their site's rankings with the sheer number of inbound links. In a link exchange, one webmaster places a link on his website that points to another webmasters website, and vice versa. Many of these links were simply not relevant, and were just discounted. So while the irrelevant inbound link was ignored, the outbound links still got counted, diluting the relevancy score of many websites. This caused a great many websites to drop off the Google map.


Well, something similar happened with PageRank, a brilliant child of Google founders Larry Page (who gave his name to the child and played off the concept of a web-page) and Sergey Brin. It helped Google to become the search giant that dictates the rules for everybody else, and at the same time it created an array of complicated situations that at some point got out of hand.
Internet marketing is a number of things. And true success in the field involves an immersion into several skill sets that are required if you really want to succeed at the highest level. That's why I knew I needed to go the top of the food chain of online marketers to get an understanding of what this actually takes. And it's important to note that while there are many hyped-up gurus out there, there are also genuine individuals that aren't just looking to extract money from you.
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.
If the algorithm really works as Matt suggests, no one should use nofollow links internally. I’ll use the example that Matt gave. Suppose you have a home page with ten PR “points.” You have links to five “searchable” pages that people would like to find (and you’d like to get found!), and links to five dull pages with disclaimers, warranty info, log-in information, etc. But, typically, all of the pages will have links in headers and footers back to the home page and other “searchable” pages. So, by using “nofollow” you lose some of the reflected PR points that you’d get if you didn’t use “nofollow.” I understand that there’s a decay factor, but it still seems that you could be leaking points internally by using “nofollow.” 

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.
There is much discussion in these last few months about reciprocal linking. In the last Google update, reciprocal links were one of the targets of the search engine's latest filter. Many webmasters had agreed upon reciprocal link exchanges, in order to boost their site's rankings with the sheer number of inbound links. In a link exchange, one webmaster places a link on his website that points to another webmasters website, and vice versa. Many of these links were simply not relevant, and were just discounted. So while the irrelevant inbound link was ignored, the outbound links still got counted, diluting the relevancy score of many websites. This caused a great many websites to drop off the Google map. 

Thanks for the article (and lead-off links as they were good info too) but I did not quite get – if there was a penalisation by Google for sculpting – from the article or whether it was just bad practice? And also to echo what someone else asked ‘is it WORTH actually undoing this type of work on websites SEO’s have worked on’ or simply change the way we work with new sites?
Page and Brin founded Google in 1998.[22] Google attracted a loyal following among the growing number of Internet users, who liked its simple design.[23] Off-page factors (such as PageRank and hyperlink analysis) were considered as well as on-page factors (such as keyword frequency, meta tags, headings, links and site structure) to enable Google to avoid the kind of manipulation seen in search engines that only considered on-page factors for their rankings. Although PageRank was more difficult to game, webmasters had already developed link building tools and schemes to influence the Inktomi search engine, and these methods proved similarly applicable to gaming PageRank. Many sites focused on exchanging, buying, and selling links, often on a massive scale. Some of these schemes, or link farms, involved the creation of thousands of sites for the sole purpose of link spamming.[24]
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.

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.
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.
Things are constantly changing, there is even evidence that nofollow links do count on some occasions. Its really a very complex subject as there is a formula behind the algorithm that takes many factors into consideration trying to guess what factors come into play is very difficult. I always focus on making the site as useful as possible to as many people as possible this is the end goal for search engines as well as webmasters. Webmasters who do this whilst observing the search engine’s guidelines should not have problems in reaching the top.

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.
Google works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. Google assesses the importance of every web page using a variety of techniques, including its patented PageRank™ algorithm which analyzes which sites have been “voted” the best sources of information by other pages across the web.
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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