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.
“With 150 million pages, the Web had 1.7 billion edges (links).” Kevin Heisler, that ratio holds true pretty well as the web gets bigger. A good rule of thumb is that the number of links is about 10x the number of pages. I agree that it’s pretty tragic that Rajeev Motwani was a co-author of many of those early papers. I got to talk to Rajeev a little bit at Google, and he was a truly decent and generous man. What has heartened me is to see all the people that he helped, and to see those people pay their respects online. No worries on the Consumer WebWatch–I’m a big fan of Consumer WebWatch, and somehow I just missed their blog. I just want to reiterate that even though this feels like a huge change to a certain segment of SEOs, in practical terms this change really doesn’t affect rankings very much at all.
Hi Brian! You mentioned that we should have our anchor text include our target keyword. When I do that, Yoast SEO plugin throws a red flag that says “You’re linking to another page with the focus keyword you want this page to rank for. Consider changing that if you truly want this page to rank” So should I leave the anchor text with that keyword or change it?

A lot of the problem lies in the name “PageRank” itself. The term “PageRank” implies that a higher value automatically equates to better search engine ranking. It’s not necessarily the case, it hasn’t been the case for some time, but it sounds like it is. As stupid as it sounds, a semantic name change may solve a lot of this all by itself. Some of the old-school crowd will still interpret it as PageRank, but most of the new-school crowd will have a better understanding of what it actually is, why the present SEO crowd blows its importance way too far out of proportion and how silly the industry gets when something like this is posted.
Do you regularly publish helpful, useful articles, videos or other types of media that are popular and well produced? Do you write for actual human beings rather than the search engine itself? Well, you should. Latest research from Searchmetrics on ranking factors indicates that Google is moving further towards longer-form content that understands a visitor’s intention as a whole, instead of using keywords based on popular search queries to create content.
Due to the importance of backlinks, there are lots of bad practices followed by website owners to gain backlinks. Some of these bad practices are: purchasing backlinks, link exchange networks, selling backlinks, etc. Most of these practices are not recommended by search engines. They usually deindex and penalize websites suspected of involvement in such practices.

For example this page. My program found almost 400 nofollow links on this page. (Each comment has 3). And then you have almost 60 navigation links. My real question is how much percentage of the PageRank on this page gets distributed to the 9 real links in the article? If it is a division of 469 which some SEO experts now are claiming it is really disturbing. You won’t earn much from the links if you follow what I am saying.
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.
“There may be a miniscule number of pages (such as links to a shopping cart or to a login page) that I might add nofollow on, just because those pages are different for every user and they aren’t that helpful to show up in search engines” – it doesn`t make much sense. If a page isn`t helpful and should not show up on search results, the best option is to meta-noindex the page and disallow it on robots.txt.

While most search engine companies try to keep their processes a secret, their criteria for high spots on SERPs isn't a complete mystery. Search engines are successful only if they provide a user links to the best Web sites related to the user's search terms. If your site is the best skydiving resource on the Web, it benefits search engines to list the site high up on their SERPs. You just have to find a way to show search engines that your site belongs at the top of the heap. That's where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in -- it's a collection of techniques a webmaster can use to improve his or her site's SERP position.
Before online marketing channels emerged, the cost to market products or services was often prohibitively expensive, and traditionally difficult to measure. Think of national television ad campaigns, which are measured through consumer focus groups to determine levels of brand awareness. These methods are also not well-suited to controlled experimentation. Today, anyone with an online business (as well as most offline businesses) can participate in online marketing by creating a website and building customer acquisition campaigns at little to no cost. Those marketing products and services also have the ability to experiment with optimization to fine-tune their campaigns’ efficiency and ROI.
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?).
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’.

Great Post, I am agree with you. currently Google keeps change in algorithmic program methods thus in gift state of affairs everybody ought to have an honest quality website, quality content. Content is quality {and ought to|and will|and may} be contemporary on your web site and conjointly it should be associated with the subject. it’ll assist you in your ranking.


Disclaimer: Even when I joined the company in 2000, Google was doing more sophisticated link computation than you would observe from the classic PageRank papers. If you believe that Google stopped innovating in link analysis, that’s a flawed assumption. Although we still refer to it as PageRank, Google’s ability to compute reputation based on links has advanced considerably over the years. I’ll do the rest of my blog post in the framework of “classic PageRank” but bear in mind that it’s not a perfect analogy.
Search queries—the words that users type into the search box—carry extraordinary value. Experience has shown that search engine traffic can make (or break) an organization's success. Targeted traffic to a website can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other channel of marketing. Investing in SEO can have an exceptional rate of return compared to other types of marketing and promotion.

Thanks for the clarification, Matt. We were just wondering today when we would hear from you on the matter since it had been a couple of weeks since SMX. I think we’d all be interested to know the extent to which linking to “trusted sites,” helps PageRank. Does it really mitigate the losses incurred by increasing the number of links? I ask because it seems pretty conclusive that the total number of outbound links is now the deciding metric for passing PageRank and not the number of DoFollow links. Any thoughts from you or others?


DisabledGO, an information provider for people with disabilities in the UK and Ireland, hired Agency51 to implement an SEO migration strategy to move DisabledGO from an old platform to a new one. By applying 301 redirects to old URLS, transferring metadata, setting up Google webmaster tools, and creating a new sitemap, Agency 51 was able to successfully transfer DisabledGO to a new platform while keeping their previous SEO power alive. Additionally, they were able to boost visitor numbers by 21% year over year, and the site restructuring allowed DisabledGO to rank higher than competitors. Their case study is available on SingleGrain.com.
Site owners are using the toolbar to find “good” sites that they should get links from, regardless of the fact that link context is also important, not to mention many, many other factors that are used by Google to rank a web page. Other site owners, getting a gray PR0 toolbar for their site, immediate assume the worst, that they’ve been blacklisted.
Hi Brian thank you for sharing this awesome backlinking techniques. My site is currently not ranking well. It used to be, sometime mid last year, but it suddenly got de-ranked. Not really sure why. I haven’t been participating in any blackhat techniques or anything at all. I’ll try a few of your tips and hopefully it will help my site back to its shape.
We must be careful with our reciprocal links. There is a Google patent in the works that will deal with not only the popularity of the sites being linked to, but also how trustworthy a site is that you link to from your own website. This will mean that you could get into trouble with the search engine just for linking to a bad apple. We could begin preparing for this future change in the search engine algorithm by being choosier with which we exchange links right now. By choosing only relevant sites to link with, and sites that don't have tons of outbound links on a page, or sites that don't practice black-hat SEO techniques, we will have a better chance that our reciprocal links won't be discounted.
This is what happens to the numbers after 15 iterations…. Look at how the 5 nodes are all stabilizing to the same numbers. If we had started with all pages being 1, by the way, which is what most people tell you to do, this would have taken many more iterations to get to a stable set of numbers (and in fact – in this model – would not have stabilized at all)
In essence, backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content. If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can infer that content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth surfacing on a SERP. So, earning these backlinks can have a positive effect on a site's ranking position or search visibility.
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.
Goals and Objectives. Clearly define your objectives in advance so you can truly measure your ROI from any programs you implement. Start simple, but don’t skip this step. Example: You may decide to increase website traffic from a current baseline of 100 visitors a day to 200 visitors over the next 30 days. Or you may want to improve your current conversion rate of one percent to two in a specified period. You may begin with top-level, aggregate numbers, but you must drill down into specific pages that can improve products, services, and business sales.
With brands using the Internet space to reach their target customers; digital marketing has become a beneficial career option as well. At present, companies are more into hiring individuals familiar in implementing digital marketing strategies and this has led the stream to become a preferred choice amongst individuals inspiring institutes to come up and offer professional courses in Digital Marketing.

Inclusion in Google's search results is free and easy; you don't even need to submit your site to Google. Google is a fully automated search engine that uses web crawlers to explore the web constantly, looking for sites to add to our index. In fact, the vast majority of sites listed in our results aren't manually submitted for inclusion, but found and added automatically when we crawl the web. Learn how Google discovers, crawls, and serves web pages.3
Because of the size of the actual web, the Google search engine uses an approximative, iterative computation of PageRank values. This means that each page is assigned an initial starting value and the PageRanks of all pages are then calculated in several computation circles based on the equations determined by the PageRank algorithm. The iterative calculation shall again be illustrated by our three-page example, whereby each page is assigned a starting PageRank value of 1.
You should fix all errors which can impair users’ expectations. By hurting user experience, you endanger the organic growth of your traffic because Google will surely limit it. Do this task thoroughly and don’t be in a hurry, otherwise, you might learn that your backlinks don’t work. Be responsible for each decision and action. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works better when the technical optimization of your site meets the standards.
One attribute assigned by some websites to links is called rel=”nofollow”; strictly speaking, this means search engines are supposed to ignore the link in their rankings. In practice, they don’t, and they expect to see a natural mix of nofollow and dofollow links – a 30%/70% split is probably ideal here. You can find a link to how to create these HTML tags at the end of this section.
Our digital agency offers both traditional targeted online display advertising as well as behavioral retargeting. Through an intense discovery process, our team will determine the most optimal marketing mix for your online media plan. We will leverage ad network partnerships for planning the ideal media buys and negotiating the best possible pricing.
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]
Another excellent guide is Google’s “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.” This is a free PDF download that covers basic tips that Google provides to its own employees on how to get listed. You’ll find it here. Also well worth checking out is Moz’s “Beginner’s Guide To SEO,” which you’ll find here, and the SEO Success Pyramid from Small Business Search Marketing.
Great Post, I am agree with you. currently Google keeps change in algorithmic program methods thus in gift state of affairs everybody ought to have an honest quality website, quality content. Content is quality {and ought to|and will|and may} be contemporary on your web site and conjointly it should be associated with the subject. it’ll assist you in your ranking.
Brian, just wanted to start off by saying great informative article, you had a lot of great of insight. I see it was mentioned a bit in the above comments, about the infographic, but I thought it is a great idea to include a textbox under the infographic with the coding that could be copied to be pasted on blogs (thus, earning additional backlinks from other websites). I’ve also noticed many infographics that have “resources” or “references” included in the image. My understanding is currently it is not recognized by google, because of the image format, but I foresee one day Google may be able to update their algorithm to recognize written text inside of an image, and thus potentially adding value to the written text in the image. What are your thoughts on that idea?
For instance, the Pew Internet & American Life Project has demographic data that suggests individuals between the ages of 18 and 33 are the most likely to use mobile Internet technology like smartphones and tablets, while the “Gen-X” demographic of individuals who are in their 30’s and 40’s are far more likely to seek out information through their laptop and desktop computers.(See also Targeted Marketing)
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]
Secondly, nofollow is also essential on links to off-topic pages, whether they’re internal or external to your site. You want to prevent search engines from misunderstanding what your pages are about. Linking relevant pages together reinforces your topic relevance. So to keep your topic silos clear, strategic use of the nofollow attribute can be applied when linking off-topic pages together.
But how do you get quoted in news articles? Websites such as HARO and ProfNet can help you to connect with journalists who have specific needs, and there are other tools that allow you to send interesting pitches to writers. Even monitoring Twitter for relevant conversations between journalists can yield opportunities to connect with writers working on pieces involving your industry.
By utilizing SEM, it provides you with a great avenue for getting the word out quickly and effectively. If you have the budget, then marketing on search engines for competitive keywords might be the right fit for you. But be prepared to pony up. Keywords can range anywhere from a few cents to upwards of $50 and more. The quality score for any term is reflective of what you can expect to pay for bidding on that keyword. The lower the competition, the lower the quality score and the lower the price.

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.
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.
Video advertising - This type of advertising in terms of digital/online means are advertisements that play on online videos e.g. YouTube videos. This type of marketing has seen an increase in popularity over time.[50] Online Video Advertising usually consists of three types: Pre-Roll advertisements which play before the video is watched, Mid-Roll advertisements which play during the video, or Post-Roll advertisements which play after the video is watched.[51] Post-roll advertisements were shown to have better brand recognition in relation to the other types, where-as "ad-context congruity/incongruity plays an important role in reinforcing ad memorability".[50] Due to selective attention from viewers, there is the likelihood that the message may not be received.[52] The main advantage of video advertising is that it disrupts the viewing experience of the video and therefore there is a difficulty in attempting to avoid them. How a consumer interacts with online video advertising can come down to three stages: Pre attention, attention, and behavioural decision.[53] These online advertisements give the brand/business options and choices. These consist of length, position, adjacent video content which all directly affect the effectiveness of the produced advertisement time,[50] therefore manipulating these variables will yield different results. Length of the advertisement has shown to affect memorability where-as longer duration resulted in increased brand recognition.[50] This type of advertising, due to its nature of interruption of the viewer, it is likely that the consumer may feel as if their experience is being interrupted or invaded, creating negative perception of the brand.[50] These advertisements are also available to be shared by the viewers, adding to the attractiveness of this platform. Sharing these videos can be equated to the online version of word by mouth marketing, extending number of people reached.[54] Sharing videos creates six different outcomes: these being "pleasure, affection, inclusion, escape, relaxation, and control".[50] As well, videos that have entertainment value are more likely to be shared, yet pleasure is the strongest motivator to pass videos on. Creating a ‘viral’ trend from mass amount of a brands advertisement can maximize the outcome of an online video advert whether it be positive or a negative outcome.
If the assumption here is that webmasters will remove the nofollow attributes in response to this change, then why did take “more than a year” for someone from Google to present this information to the public? It seems that if this logic had anything at all to do with the decision to change the nofollow policy, Google would have announced it immediately in order to “encourage” webmasters to change their linking policies and allow access to their pages with “high-quality information.”

The first component of Google's trust has to do with age. Age is more than a number. But it's not just the age when you first registered your website. The indexed age has to do with two factors: i) the date that Google originally found your website, and; ii) what happened between the time that Google found your website and the present moment in time.
The total number of backlinks can often include many links from the same referring domain or multiple referring domains. It’s common for referring domains to link back to your content if it is relevant, authoritative or useful in some way to their own domain. In an ideal world, that’s how backlinks are accumulated; unique content that other websites want to be associated with.
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.
Another tool to help you with your link building campaign is the Backlink Builder Tool. It is not enough just to have a large number of inbound links pointing to your site. Rather, you need to have a large number of QUALITY inbound links. This tool searches for websites that have a related theme to your website which are likely to add your link to their website. You specify a particular keyword or keyword phrase, and then the tool seeks out related sites for you. This helps to simplify your backlink building efforts by helping you create quality, relevant backlinks to your site, and making the job easier in the process.

Google can’t like this. Although its great for them to have spammers out of the Wikipedias, they’re also losing a lot of very authorative input for their PR algorithm. Think about it – if every site in the world put nofollow on every link Google’s algorithm would be worthless overnight. There has been ongoing speculation as to whether or not Google ignores nofollows from certain sites like Wikipedia, something Mr Cutts has outrightly denied (but also admitted that it would be very useful to have more granular control over nofollow so that it was not an all-or-nothing situation.)


Also hadn’t thought about decreasing the rank value based on the spammyness of sites a page is linking into. My guess on how to do it would be determining the spammyness of individual pages based on multiple page and site factors, then some type of reverse pagerank calcuation starting with the those bad scores, then overlaying that on top of the “good” pagerank calculation as a penalty. This is another thing which would be interesting to play around with in the Nutch algorithm.


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.)
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.

Links still matter as part of the algorithmic secret sauce. The influence of a site’s link profile is plain to see in its search engine rankings, whether for better or worse, and changes in that link profile cause noticeable movement up or down the SERP. An SEO’s emphasis today should be on attracting links to quality content naturally, not building them en masse. (For more on proper link building today, see http://bit.ly/1XIm3vf )
The total number of backlinks can often include many links from the same referring domain or multiple referring domains. It’s common for referring domains to link back to your content if it is relevant, authoritative or useful in some way to their own domain. In an ideal world, that’s how backlinks are accumulated; unique content that other websites want to be associated with.
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 really appreciate that you keep us updated as soon as you can, but in some cases, e.g. WRT rel-nofollow, the most appreciated update would be the removal of this very much hated and pretty useless microformat. I mean, when you’ve introduced it because the Google (as well as M$, Yahoo and Ask) algos were flawed at this time, why not take the chance and dump it now when it’s no longer needed?

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?
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