On a blog the page rank should go to the main article pages. Now it just gets “evaporated” if you use “nofollow” or scattered to all the far flung nooks and crannys which means google will not be able to see the wood for the trees. The vast majority of a site’s overall page rank will now reside in the long tail of useless pages such as commentors profile pages. This can only make it harder for google to serve up the most relevant pages.
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..
If you’re just getting started with SEO, you’re likely to hear a lot about “backlinks,” “external and internal links,” or “link building.” After all, backlinks are an important SEO ranking factor for SEO success, but as a newbie, you may be wondering: what are backlinks? SEO changes all the time — do backlinks still matter? Well, wonder no more. Say hello to your definitive guide to backlinks and their significance in SEO.
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.”
I suppose for those people, including myself who just keep trying to our best and succeed, we just need to keep trusting that Google is doing all it can to weed out irrelevant content and produce the quality goods with changes such as this. Meanwhile the “uneducated majority” will just have to keep getting educated or get out of the game I suppose.
In 2007, Google announced a campaign against paid links that transfer PageRank.[29] On June 15, 2009, Google disclosed that they had taken measures to mitigate the effects of PageRank sculpting by use of the nofollow attribute on links. Matt Cutts, a well-known software engineer at Google, announced that Google Bot would no longer treat nofollowed links in the same way, to prevent SEO service providers from using nofollow for PageRank sculpting.[30] As a result of this change the usage of nofollow led to evaporation of PageRank. In order to avoid the above, SEO engineers developed alternative techniques that replace nofollowed tags with obfuscated Javascript and thus permit PageRank sculpting. Additionally several solutions have been suggested that include the usage of iframes, Flash and Javascript.[31]
Was reviewing some competitive data and thought this was pretty interesting. I ran a batch analysis on Ahrefs of competitors. See attached screenshot. With just 603 backlinks, Our site is ranking up there with sites with 2x, 3x, 10x the number of backlinks/unique ips. Guessing some of this authority is coming from the backlinks program and general good quality of those links. Hard to speculate but nice to see. Ben R.
NOTE: You may be curious what your site’s or your competitor’s PR score is. But Google no longer reveals the PageRank score for websites. It used to display at the top of web browsers right in the Google Toolbar, but no more. And PR data is no longer available to developers through APIs, either. Even though it’s now hidden from public view, however, PageRank remains an important ingredient in Google’s secret ranking algorithms.
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.
Suppose instead that page B had a link to pages C and A, page C had a link to page A, and page D had links to all three pages. Thus, upon the first iteration, page B would transfer half of its existing value, or 0.125, to page A and the other half, or 0.125, to page C. Page C would transfer all of its existing value, 0.25, to the only page it links to, A. Since D had three outbound links, it would transfer one third of its existing value, or approximately 0.083, to A. At the completion of this iteration, page A will have a PageRank of approximately 0.458.
There’s no way to speed up the process. To encourage your PageRank to grow, keep making quality content that others will want to link to. You may also consider participating regularly in social media communities to get the word out about the new content you are creating. (Social media participation itself won’t help your PageRank but it will help other humans know your content exists, which can help inspire an increase in natural inbound linking.)
Now, how much weight does PageRank carry? Like most every other part of the algorithm, it’s questionable. If we listed all the ranking factors, I don’t suspect it would be in the top 5, but it’s important to remember that the key to ranking well is to be the LESS IMPERFECT than your competition. IE: To have more of the right things that send the right signals in the right places so that Google sees you as a better, more relevant, candidate for the top three on page one. If you and your competitor both have optimized (on-page and technically) for the same keyword phrase perfectly, PR could be the deal breaker that pushes your blue link an inch up.
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.
While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye by using overly aggressive marketing efforts and attempting to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site's presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index.

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.


PageRank has been used to rank spaces or streets to predict how many people (pedestrians or vehicles) come to the individual spaces or streets.[51][52] In lexical semantics it has been used to perform Word Sense Disambiguation,[53] Semantic similarity,[54] and also to automatically rank WordNet synsets according to how strongly they possess a given semantic property, such as positivity or negativity.[55]
Spam is a poison that in different ways (and in different names) affects many things. Matt, you and your guys do a great job in trying to keep it at bay. But, as mentioned before, with that role and power, you set the rules for the web in many ways. As I have said before even though the JavaScript link change is not (in Danny’s words) backward compatible, it is understandable. I will maintain that the PageRank sculpting thing is not the same.

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.

While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye by using overly aggressive marketing efforts and attempting to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site's presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index.
Excellent post! I’m reasonably savvy up to a certain point and have managed to get some of my health content organically ranking higher than WebMD. It’s taken a long time building strong backlinks from very powerful sites (HuffingtonPost being one of them), but I am going to take some time, plow through a few beers, and then get stuck into implementing some of these suggestions. Keep up the great work amigo. Cheers, Bill
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.
Data-driven advertising: Users generate a lot of data in every step they take on the path of customer journey and Brands can now use that data to activate their known audience with data-driven programmatic media buying. Without exposing customers' privacy, users' Data can be collected from digital channels (e.g.: when customer visits a website, reads an e-mail, or launches and interact with brand's mobile app), brands can also collect data from real world customer interactions, such as brick and mortar stores visits and from CRM and Sales engines datasets. Also known as People-based marketing or addressable media, Data-driven advertising is empowering brands to find their loyal customers in their audience and deliver in real time a much more personal communication, highly relevant to each customers' moment and actions.[37]
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.
If (a) is correct that looks like bad news for webmasters, BUT if (b) is also correct then – because PR is ultimately calculated over the whole of the web – every page loses out relative to every other page. In other words, there is less PR on the web as a whole and, after a sufficient number of iterations in the PR calculation, normality is restored. Is this correct?
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.
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?
And if you really want to know what are the most important, relevant pages to get links from, forget PageRank. Think search rank. Search for the words you’d like to rank for. See what pages come up tops in Google. Those are the most important and relevant pages you want to seek links from. That’s because Google is explicitly telling you that on the topic you searched for, these are the best.
A great number of people who deal with SEO confuse backlink building and backlink earning. These notions are different. What is backlink building? It means to create conditions for SEO backlink referring to your site. To earn a backlink means to deserve it. Is that really possible? Yes! If you want your site to be worth earning backlinks, you must do everything possible and impossible to please your guests and users.

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. 

There are also many keyword research tools (some free and some paid) that claim to take the effort out of this process. A popular tool for first timers is Traffic Travis, which can also analyse your competitors’ sites for their keyword optimization strategies and, as a bonus, it can deliver detailed analysis on their back-linking strategy, too. You can also use Moz.com’s incredibly useful keyword research tools – they’re the industry leader, but they come at a somewhat higher price.
Thanks a lot for all of those great tips you handed out here. I immediately went to work applying the strategies that you mentioned. I will keep you posted on my results. I have been offering free SEO services to all of my small business bookkeeping clients as a way of helping them to grow their businesses. Many of them just don’t have the resources required to hire an SEO guru to help them but they need SEO bad. I appreciate the fact that you share your knowledge and don’t try to make it seem like it’s nuclear science in order to pounce on the innocent. All the best to you my friend!
Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result. While there's no minimal or maximal length for the text in a description meta tag, we recommend making sure that it's long enough to be fully shown in Search (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search), and contains all the relevant information users would need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.

3. General on-site optimization. On-site optimization is a collection of tactics, most of which are simple to implement, geared toward making your website more visible and indexable to search engines. These tactics include things like optimizing your titles and meta descriptions to include some of your target keywords, ensuring your site’s code is clean and minimal, and providing ample, relevant content on every page. I’ve got a huge list of on-site SEO tactics you can check out here.
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?” 

Hi Brian, as usual solid and helpful content so thank you. I have a question which the internet doesn’t seem to be able to answer. i thought perhaps you could. I have worked hard on building back links and with success. However, they are just not showing up regardless of what tool I use to check (Ahrefs, etc). it has been about 60 days and there are 10 quality back links not showing. Any ideas? thanks!

Matt, this is an excellent summary. I finally got around to reading “The Search” by John Battelle and it was very enlightening to understand much of the academia behind what led to the creation of Backrub.. er Google.Looking at how many times the project was almost shutdown due to bandwidth consumption (> 50% of what the university could offer at times) as well as webmasters being concerned that their pages would be stolen and recreated. It’s so interesting to see that issues we see today are some of the same ones that Larry and Sergey were dealing with back then. As always, thanks for the great read Matt!
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.
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.

Simple question – Lets say I have a blog/site with lot of outgoing links (avg 10 links per page). All the outgoing links (in the editorial content and user generated ones) are nofollowed, while all the internal links are “open”. I might have manually “opened up” some links in the editorial content because I’m so sure of their authority (ex:-google faq pages).
If you’re a blogger (or a blog reader), you’re painfully familiar with people who try to raise their own websites’ search engine rankings by submitting linked blog comments like “Visit my discount pharmaceuticals site.” This is called comment spam, we don’t like it either, and we’ve been testing a new tag that blocks it. From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel=“nofollow”) on hyperlinks, those links won’t get any credit when we rank websites in our search results.

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. 

Influencer marketing: Important nodes are identified within related communities, known as influencers. This is becoming an important concept in digital targeting. It is possible to reach influencers via paid advertising, such as Facebook Advertising or Google Adwords campaigns, or through sophisticated sCRM (social customer relationship management) software, such as SAP C4C, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage CRM and Salesforce CRM. Many universities now focus, at Masters level, on engagement strategies for influencers.

These are ‘tit-for-tat’ links. For instance, you make a deal with your friend who has a business website to have him place a link to your website, and in exchange your website links back to his. In the dark ages of SEO, this used to be somewhat effective. But these days, Google considers such 'link exchanges' to be link schemes, and you may get hit with a penalty if you're excessive and obvious about it. This isn't to say that swapping links is always bad, but if your only motive is SEO, then odds are that you shouldn't do it.


Hey brian, it is extremely fantastic stuff, i am not getting words to appreciate your work..brilliant. No one dares to share their business secrets with others but you are awesome and thank you so much. Iam a beginner in digital marketing, iam learning consistently by following your posts, tips and tricks. eventually i became an intermediate person thanks for your help.

However, if you're going to understand online marketing, you have to understand the importance of building Google's trust. There are three core components involved here. These three core components are like the pillars of trust that comprise all of Google's 200+ ranking factor rules. Each of those rules can be categorized and cataloged into one of these three pillars of trust. If you want to rank on the first page or in the first spot, you need to focus on all three, and not just one or two out of three.

So, for example, a short-tail keyphrase might be “Logo design”. Putting that into Google will get you an awful lot of hits. There’s a lot of competition for that phrase, and it’s not particularly useful for your business, either. There are no buying signals in the phrase – so many people will use this phrase to learn about logo design or to examine other aspects of logo design work.
Backlinks take place across the Internet when one website mentions another website and links to it. Also, referred to as “incoming links,” backlinks make their connection through external websites. These links from outside domains point to pages on your own domain. Whenever backlinks occur, it is like receiving a vote for a webpage. The more votes you get from the authoritative sites creates a positive effect on a site’s ranking and search visibility.
There’s a lot of frustration being vented in this comments section. It is one thing to be opaque – which Google seems to be masterly at – but quite another to misdirect, which is what No Follow has turned out to be. All of us who produce content always put our readers first, but we also have to be sensible as far as on page SEO is concerned. All Google are doing with this kind of thing is to progressively direct webmasters towards optimizing for other, more reliable and transparent, ways of generating traffic (and no, that doesn’t necessarily mean Adwords, although that may be part of the intent).
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