Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.) Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.
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.
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.
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?
In this new world of digital transparency brands have to be very thoughtful in how they engage with current and potential customers. Consumers have an endless amount of data at their fingertips especially through social media channels, rating and review sites, blogs, and more. Unless brands actively engage in these conversations they lose the opportunity for helping guide their brand message and addressing customer concerns.
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.

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.
Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure. Make sure all of the pages on your site are reachable through links, and that they don't require an internal "search" functionality to be found. Link to related pages, where appropriate, to allow users to discover similar content.
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 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.
“What does mean relevancy?”, – you may ask. Let’s imagine that you have blog about website building tips, but you have found an authoritative site about makeup trends. According to Google, this source won`t be a perfect one for you, because high authority sites should be closely related to yours. In other cases, it won’t work. The same thing goes for the content around which your link is inserted.

I’m growing tired of this game between Google and the rest of the online community about how to “manipulate” my content and code to better rank in your system. It seems that you guys have completely over complicated the game. If I add a nofollow tag, why on earth would any page rank be added to that link. I just told you to NOT FOLLOW it! The fact that it receives any rank at all is absurd.
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?
Try using Dribble to find designers with good portfolios. Contact them directly by upgrading your account to PRO status, for just $20 a year. Then simply use the search filter and type "infographics." After finding someone you like, click on "hire me" and send a message detailing your needs and requesting a price. Fiver is another place to find great designers willing to create inexpensive infographics.
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.

Google wasn’t happy with the Pandora’s Box it had opened. It began to fight back, with its most famous action against a network known as SearchKing, penalizing the site and some of those in the network with PageRank score reductions or actual removal from Google. SearchKing sued Google. Google won, a judge ruling that its search results were entitled to First Amendment protection as opinions.
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.
Muratos – I’ve never nofollowed Amazon affiliate links on the theory that search engines probably recognize them for what they are anyway. I have a blog, though, that gets organic traffic from those Amazon products simply because people are looking for “Copenhagen ring DVD” and I hard-code the product names, musicians’ names, etc. on the page rather than use Amazon’s sexier links in iframes, etc.
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.
Great post, it is very valuable info indeed. I just want to ask, I am trying to market a business to business website, I find it quite hard to market the website in the appropriate categories as it is specialized. Many of the websites I am designing are FCA regulated so when it comes to advertising or giving advise, I am limited as to what I can and can’t do/say. What business to business websites do you recommend for backlinking specialist websites? I find that I am also limited in the social media area and its just LinkedIn that helps
There are over 800 million websites on the Internet. The majority of web traffic is driven by Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, and the Internet users will either find you or your competitors. More than 60% of the users do not go past the first page and more than 90% users do not go pass the 3rd page. If you website cannot be found within the first 3 pages in the search engine results page (SERP), you miss out on incredible opportunities to drive free relevant traffic to your website.
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? 

Today, with nearly half the world's population wired to the internet, the ever-increasing connectivity has created global shifts in strategic thinking and positioning, disrupting industry after industry, sector after sector. Seemingly, with each passing day, some new technological tool emerges that revolutionizes our lives, further deepening and embedding our dependence on the world wide web.
And my vital question about Amazon affiliate links. I think many people also wonder about it as well. I have several blogs where I solely write unique content reviews about several Amazon products, nothing more. As you know, all these links are full of tags, affiliate IDs whatsoever (bad in SEO terms). Should I nofollow them all or leave as they are?
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.
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.
This is so funny. Google stifled the notion of linking to “great content” the minute they let on to how important linking was to passing pagerank. In effect, the importance of links has indeed led to pagerank hoarding and link commoditization which in turn leads to all of the things google doesn’t like such as spammy links, link farms, link selling, link buying, etc. What you end up with is a system, much like our economic system, where the rich get richer and poor get poorer. Nobody has a problem linking to CNN, as if they really needed the links. On the flip side who wants make a dofollow link to a site that’s 2 days old, great content or not when you can provide your visitors a nofollow link which is just as valuable to them. The whole notion of benefiting from a quality outbound link is a joke, the outbound linker receives 0 benefit when you factor the outflow of pagerank.

Structured data21 is code that you can add to your sites' pages to describe your content to search engines, so they can better understand what's on your pages. Search engines can use this understanding to display your content in useful (and eye-catching!) ways in search results. That, in turn, can help you attract just the right kind of customers for your business.
If you build a new site and only used Domain Authority to create links, you could EASILY have got linked from the worst page possible, even if it was from the best domain, because of the INTERNAL LINKS of the other web pages! How on earth are you going to be able to see the strength of a link if that strength depends on the internal links on an entirely different website?!

The green ratings bars are a measure of the importance Google’s assessment of the importance of a web page, as determined by Google’s patented PageRank technology and other factors. These PageRank bars tell you at a glance whether other people on the web consider Google considers a page to be a high-quality site worth checking out. Google itself does not evaluate or endorse websites. Rather, we measure what others on the web feel is important enough to deserve a link. And because Google does not accept payment for placement within our results, the information you see when you conduct a search is based on totally objective criteria.
The issue being, this change makes it a bad idea to nofollow ANY internal link as any internal page is bound to have a menu of internal links on it, thus keeping the PR flowing, (as opposed to nofollow making it evaporate). So no matter how useless the page is to search engines, nofollowing it will hurt you. Many many webmasters either use robots.txt or noindex to block useless pages generated by ecommerce or forum applications, if this change applies to those methods as well it’d be really great to know, so we can stop sending a significant amount of weight into the abyss.
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.
[44] Matteo Pasquinelli reckons the basis for the belief that PageRank has a social component lies in the idea of attention economy. With attention economy, value is placed on products that receive a greater amount of human attention and the results at the top of the PageRank garner a larger amount of focus then those on subsequent pages. The outcomes with the higher PageRank will therefore enter the human consciousness to a larger extent. These ideas can influence decision-making and the actions of the viewer have a direct relation to the PageRank. They possess a higher potential to attract a user's attention as their location increases the attention economy attached to the site. With this location they can receive more traffic and their online marketplace will have more purchases. The PageRank of these sites allow them to be trusted and they are able to parlay this trust into increased business.

But bear in mind that you can't guest post just anywhere and expect that it'll help. In fact, for years black hatters have perverted the value of guest posts by 'creating private blog networks,' which put out mass quantities of low-quality content for the sole purpose of exchanging backlinks. Google has caught on to this, and penalizes websites accordingly. So, you want to ensure that you only provide guest posts to reputable, respected websites that are relevant to your industry.

Google's strategy works well. By focusing on the links going to and from a Web page, the search engine can organize results in a useful way. While there are a few tricks webmasters can use to improve Google standings, the best way to get a top spot is to consistently provide top quality content, which gives other people the incentive to link back to their pages.
In December 2009, Google announced it would be using the web search history of all its users in order to populate search results.[32] On June 8, 2010 a new web indexing system called Google Caffeine was announced. Designed to allow users to find news results, forum posts and other content much sooner after publishing than before, Google caffeine was a change to the way Google updated its index in order to make things show up quicker on Google than before. According to Carrie Grimes, the software engineer who announced Caffeine for Google, "Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index..."[33] Google Instant, real-time-search, was introduced in late 2010 in an attempt to make search results more timely and relevant. Historically site administrators have spent months or even years optimizing a website to increase search rankings. With the growth in popularity of social media sites and blogs the leading engines made changes to their algorithms to allow fresh content to rank quickly within the search results.[34]
It’s hard to believe that the Internet is now multiple decades old. Affiliate marketing has been around since the earliest days of online marketing. It’s a great solution for businesses that are risk-averse or don’t have the budget to spend on upfront marketing costs. Use affiliate marketing to build a new revenue stream for your ecommerce or B2B business.

After your site has been built out, creating a social media presence is the best second step for most businesses. All businesses should have a Facebook Page that’s fully fleshed out with plenty of information about your business. Depending on your audience, you can also start a Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest account. Social media is a long-term commitment that requires frequently updating and monitoring, but it’s one of the best ways to build an online community around your business.
Cause if I do that, If I write good content, whilst my 100+ competitors link build, article market, forum comment, social bookmark, release viral videos, buy links, I’ll end up the very bottom of the pile, great content or not and really I am just as well taking my chances pulling off every sneaky trick in the book to get my site top because, everyone does it anyway and if I don’t what do have to lose?”
So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? […] Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each […] More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.
Brian, you are such an inspiration. I wonder how do you get all these hacks and then publish them for all of us. I have been reading your stuff from quite a time now, but I have a problem. Every time I read something you post I feel overwhelmed but I haven’t been really able to generate any fruitful results on any of my sites. I just don’t know where to start. Imagine I don’t even have an email list. 

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.
Private corporations use Internet marketing techniques to reach new customers by providing easy-to-access information about their products. The most important element is a website that informs the audience about the company and its products, but many corporations also integrate interactive elements like social networking sites and email newsletters.

Cause if I do that, If I write good content, whilst my 100+ competitors link build, article market, forum comment, social bookmark, release viral videos, buy links, I’ll end up the very bottom of the pile, great content or not and really I am just as well taking my chances pulling off every sneaky trick in the book to get my site top because, everyone does it anyway and if I don’t what do have to lose?”
SEO is an effective tool for improving the volume and quality of traffic to your website. Visitors are more likely to click on free organic listings than on paid listings. Our SEO strategies apply only the best and most current practices that focus on the use of great content development, content marketing, social media. All of these strategies combined result in the most effective use of best practices that drive long term ROI.
An omni-channel approach not only benefits consumers but also benefits business bottom line: Research suggests that customers spend more than double when purchasing through an omni-channel retailer as opposed to a single-channel retailer, and are often more loyal. This could be due to the ease of purchase and the wider availability of products.[24]
In order to engage customers, retailers must shift from a linear marketing approach of one-way communication to a value exchange model of mutual dialogue and benefit-sharing between provider and consumer.[21] Exchanges are more non-linear, free flowing, and both one-to-many or one-on-one.[5] The spread of information and awareness can occur across numerous channels, such as the blogosphere, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and a variety of other platforms. Online communities and social networks allow individuals to easily create content and publicly publish their opinions, experiences, and thoughts and feelings about many topics and products, hyper-accelerating the diffusion of information.[22]
An Internet marketing campaign is not an isolated, one-off proposal. Any company that plans on using it once is certain to continue to use it. An individual who is knowledgeable about all aspects of an Internet marketing campaign and who has strong interpersonal skills is well-suited to maintain an ongoing managerial role on a dedicated marketing team.
Just a related note in passing: On October 6, 2013 Matt Cutts (Google’s head of search spam) said Google PageRank Toolbar won’t see an update before 2014. He also published this helpful video that talks more in depth about how he (and Google) define PageRank, and how your site’s internal linking structure (IE: Your siloing structure) can directly affect PageRank transfer. Here’s a link to the video: http://youtu.be/M7glS_ehpGY.
My main concern though, is Google appears to becoming reliant on sites doing MANY things for SE only. It also appears that Google is lowering the bar for YouTube videos in the organic SERPs and forcing their insertion as the cost of relevant pages. It even seems they are now doing the same for pictures, despite BOTH having their own SEs. I fear Google is attempting to increase profits, for it’s shareholders, in a rather impatient manner.
Today, with nearly half the world's population wired to the internet, the ever-increasing connectivity has created global shifts in strategic thinking and positioning, disrupting industry after industry, sector after sector. Seemingly, with each passing day, some new technological tool emerges that revolutionizes our lives, further deepening and embedding our dependence on the world wide web. 
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