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.
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.

Okay. Okay. There is a lot to learn. However, everyone has to start somewhere. If you're just being introduced to internet marketing, and you've become bedazzled by the glitz and the glamor of the top online income earners, know that it's not going to be easy to replicate their success. Be sure that you set your expectations the proper way. As long as you stay persistent, you can achieve your goals of generating healthy amounts of money online without becoming the victim of a scam.
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.

Meanwhile, the link spam began. People chasing higher PageRank scores began dropping links wherever they could, including into blog posts and forums. Eventually, it became such an issue that demands were raised that Google itself should do something about it. Google did in 2005, getting behind the nofollow tag, a way to prevent links from passing along PageRank credit.


Many years ago, low-quality SEO firms loved to abuse the comments sections of blogs, forums, and news sites as a way to build backlinks for clients. This approach is pretty ineffective these days, as most reputable sites that are worth having backlinks on have responded to such abuse by making all such links 'nofollow.' While sites like Quora and industry-specific forums are great for sharing your expertise and raising your visiblity, you're not going to get any SEO value from them.
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.
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. 

nofollow is beyond a joke now. There is so much confusion (especially when other engines’ treatment is factored in), I don’t know how you expect a regular publisher to keep up. The expectation seems to have shifted from “Do it for humans and all else will follow” to “Hang on our every word, do what we say, if we change our minds then change everything” and nofollow lead the way. I could give other examples of this attitude (e.g. “We don’t follow JavaScript links so it’s ‘safe’ to use those for paid links”), but nofollow is surely the worst.
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For most parts the sophistication in this system is simplified here. I still have trouble understanding the difference between letting link flow withing my pages without thinking about a loop. For example, page A, B and C link to each other from all angles therefore the link points should be shared. But in this loop formula, page B does not link to A. It just goes to C and loops. How does this affect navigation bars? As you know they are meant to link stay on top and link to all pages. I’m lost.
Recently being torched for aggressive linking to keep up with competitors and doing things like PR sculpting because they were too. This is very helpful information. We have been undoing as much as we can and removing all the internal no follows was one of the items we have done. We have also gone back to linking to useful sites for our users without the no follows.
Bad Idea, many, many websites nowadays use nofollow in every single external link to sustain the value of their PageRank, not only to prevent comments spam, which is in my opinion defeating the original purpose of nofollow. Google should’ve “marketed” nofollow as nospam without going into much details of how that links to PageRank to keep webmasters away from getting into the idea that nofollow means better PageRank
I’m a bit confused now. If it is better not do place a nofollow, so why does it happen on this site? On the other hand, many sites have a place, where visitors can place links (like this one right here). And so the owner of the page does not guarantee for the links placed (makes sense, since they are not reauthored). So I don’t want do be associated with bad sites and do a no follow. Seems like a workaround, lets see whats going to happen in future.
When writing this guide, we reached out to the marketer community to collect case studies and learnings about creative marketing strategies. Most of these examples are included throughout the guide, but some didn’t quite fit. So we included those loose ends here, from the perspective of four awesome marketers. What better way to wrap up this guide than with you, our community?
I think Matt Grenville’s comment is a very valid one. If your site, for whatever reason, can not attract links naturally and all of your competitors are outranking you by employing tactics that might breach Google’s TOS, what other options do you have? As well as this people will now only link to a few, trusted sites (as this has been clarified in your post as being part of Google’s algorithm) and put a limit on linking out to the smaller guys.
nofollow is beyond a joke now. There is so much confusion (especially when other engines’ treatment is factored in), I don’t know how you expect a regular publisher to keep up. The expectation seems to have shifted from “Do it for humans and all else will follow” to “Hang on our every word, do what we say, if we change our minds then change everything” and nofollow lead the way. I could give other examples of this attitude (e.g. “We don’t follow JavaScript links so it’s ‘safe’ to use those for paid links”), but nofollow is surely the worst.

In an effort to manually control the flow of PageRank among pages within a website, many webmasters practice what is known as PageRank Sculpting[65]—which is the act of strategically placing the nofollow attribute on certain internal links of a website in order to funnel PageRank towards those pages the webmaster deemed most important. This tactic has been used since the inception of the nofollow attribute, but may no longer be effective since Google announced that blocking PageRank transfer with nofollow does not redirect that PageRank to other links.[66]


So, now we're getting to backlinks that have relatively little, or even negative value. The value of web directories has diminished dramatically in recent years. This shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, when was the last time that you used a web directory to find anything, rather than just doing a Google search? Google recognizes that directories don't have any real world worth, and so they don't accord much value to backlinks on them. But there is an exception to this rule. Submitting your website to local, industry-specific and niche directories can net you worthwhile backlinks. But if you can't imagine a circumstance where someone would use a certain directory, then it's probably not worth your time.

To create an effective DMP, a business first needs to review the marketplace and set 'SMART' (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound) objectives.[60] They can set SMART objectives by reviewing the current benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) of the company and competitors. It is pertinent that the analytics used for the KPIs be customised to the type, objectives, mission and vision of the company.[61][62]
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.
Regarding nofollow on content that you don’t want indexed, you’re absolutely right that nofollow doesn’t prevent that, e.g. if someone else links to that content. In the case of the site that excluded user forums, quite a few high-quality pages on the site happened not to have links from other sites. In the case of my feed, it doesn’t matter much either way, but I chose not to throw any extra PageRank onto my feed url. The services that want to fetch my feed url (e.g. Google Reader or Bloglines) know how to find it just fine.
An entrepreneur or freelancer has two main strategies to tap into when marketing online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which attempts to rank your website on search engines “organically”, and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which ranks your website in search results in exchange for money. Both strategies can be used to build a business successfully—but which one is right for you?
“An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource,” Google said in its patent filing. “Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.”

Internet Marketing Inc. provides integrated online marketing strategies that help companies grow. We think of ourselves as a business development consulting firm that uses interactive marketing as a tool to increase revenue and profits. Our management team has decades of combined experience in online marketing as well as graduate level education and experience in business and finance. That is why we focus on creating integrated online marketing campaigns designed to maximize your return on investment.
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.

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.
If you are serious about improving search traffic and are unfamiliar with SEO, we recommend reading this guide front-to-back. We've tried to make it as concise as possible and easy to understand. There's a printable PDF version for those who'd prefer, and dozens of linked-to resources on other sites and pages that are also worthy of your attention.
Assume a small universe of four web pages: A, B, C and D. Links from a page to itself, or multiple outbound links from one single page to another single page, are ignored. PageRank is initialized to the same value for all pages. In the original form of PageRank, the sum of PageRank over all pages was the total number of pages on the web at that time, so each page in this example would have an initial value of 1. However, later versions of PageRank, and the remainder of this section, assume a probability distribution between 0 and 1. Hence the initial value for each page in this example is 0.25.
SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.
All sites have a home or "root" page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content. Do you have enough pages around a specific topic area that it would make sense to create a page describing these related pages (for example, root page -> related topic listing -> specific topic)? Do you have hundreds of different products that need to be classified under multiple category and subcategory pages?
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]
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.
In this illustration from the “PageRank Citation Ranking” paper, the authors demonstrate how webpages pass value onto other pages. The two pages on the left have a value of 100 and 9, respectively. The page with a value of 100 has two links that point to the pages on the right. That page’s value of 100 is divided between the two links, so that each conveys a value of 50. The other page on the left has three outgoing links, each carrying one-third of the page’s value of 9. One link goes to the top page on the right, which ends up with a total value of 53. The bottom right page has no other backlinks, so its total value is 50.
Matt, you don’t mention the use of disallow pages via robots.txt. I’ve read that PageRank can be better utilised by disallowing pages that probably don’t add value to users searching on engines. For example, Privacy Policy and Terms of Use pages. These often appear in the footer of a website and are required by EU law on every page of the site. Will it boost the other pages of the site if these pages are added to robots.txt like so?
But I also don’t wanna lose PageRank on every comment with a link… If I can give PageRank and lose none, I wanna let the comment there, even without nofollow. But if I lose PageRank on every link, even inside original post, EVEN MORE if nofollow also takes PageRank out of me, I may just start using JavaScript or simple text without anchor for links… I definetely don’t like this idea, but I dislike even more losing PageRank on each outlink on my site. I’d just link top quality sites that I actively wanna vote for Search Engines.
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