I think it is important you distinguish your advice about no-following INTERNAL links and no-following EXTERNAL links for user-generated content. Most popular UGC-heavy sites have no-followed links as they can’t possibly police them editorially & want to give some indication to the search engines that the links haven’t been editorially approved, but still might provide some user benefit.
One of the consequences of the PageRank algorithm and its further manipulation has been the situation when backlinks (as well as link-building) have been usually considered black-hat SEO. Thus, not only Google has been combating the consequences of its own child's tricks, but also mega-sites, like Wikipedia, The Next Web, Forbes, and many others who automatically nofollow all the outgoing links. It means fewer and fewer PageRank votes. What is then going to help search engines rank pages in terms of their safety and relevance?
Heading tags. Always use H tags to optimize your content layout. Try and use variations on your keyphrases in some headings, too. Don’t repeat keyphrases in headings unless it’s absolutely necessary. (This doesn’t stop you from needing to repeat the keyphrase in the body of your content). H tags are HTML codes – you can find a link to HTML codes and how to use them at the end of this section.
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.
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.
8. Technical SEO. Technical SEO is one of the most intimidating portions of the SEO knowledge base, but it’s an essential one. Don’t let the name scare you; the most technical elements of SEO can be learned even if you don’t have any programming or website development experience. For example, you can easily learn how to update and replace your site’s robots.txt file, and with the help of an online template, you should be able to put together your sitemap efficiently.
PageRank always was and remains only one part of the Google search algorithm, the system that determines how to rank pages. There are many other ranking factors that are also considered. A high PageRank score did NOT mean that a page would rank well for any topic. Pages with lower scores could beat pages with higher scores if they had other factors in their favor.
7. Keyword research. Specific target keywords aren’t as important for SEO success as they used to be, now that Google search is fueled by semantic and contextual understanding, but you should still be able to identify both head keyword (short, high-volume keywords) and long-tail keyword (longer, conversational, low-volume keywords) targets to guide the direction of your campaign.
PageRank is often considered to be a number between 0 and 10 (with 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest) though that is also probably incorrect. Most SEOs believe that internally the number is not an integer, but goes to a number of decimals. The belief largely comes from the Google Toolbar, which will display a page's PageRank as a number between 0 and 10. Even this is a rough approximation, as Google does not release its most up to date PageRank as a way of protecting the algorithm's details.
Now that you know that backlinks are important, how do you acquire links to your site? Link building is still critical to the success of any SEO campaign when it comes to ranking organically. Backlinks today are much different than when they were built in 7-8 years back. Simply having thousands of backlinks or only have link from one website isn’t going to affect your rank position. There are also many ways to manage and understand your backlink profile. Majestic, Buzzstream, and Moz offer tools to help you manage and optimize your link profile. seoClarity offers an integration with Majestic, the largest link index database, that integrates link profile management into your entire SEO lifecycle.
One final note is that if the links are not directly related to the subject, or you have no control over them, such as commentors’ website links, maybe you should consider putting them on another page, which links to your main content. That way you don’t leak page rank, and still gain hits from search results from the content of the comments. I may be missing something but this seems to mean that you can have your cake and eat it, and I don’t even think it is gaming the system or against the spirit of it. You might even gain a small sprinkling of page rank if the comment page accumulates any of it’s own.
Two weeks ago I changed a few internal anchor text links for a HTML SELECT Label in order to save some space in the menu bar. Today, when I saw in Google the Cache (text-version) page of my site I realized that all the links in the HTML SELECT Label cannot be followed. So I understand that Googlebot doesn’t follow this links and obviously there’s no inbound ‘link juice’. Is that so?
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.
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First and foremost, when it comes to marketing anything online, it's important to understand how money is made and earned. In my phone call with Sharpe, he identified several items that were well worth mentioning. Once you understand where the money comes from and how the industry works, you can then better understand how best to position yourself and your offer so that you can reap the benefits of the making-money-while-you-sleep industry.
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?