As Google becomes more and more sophisticated, one of the major cores of their algorithm, the one dealing with links (called Penguin) aims to value natural, quality links and devalue those unnatural or spammy ones. As a search engine, if they are to stay viable, they have to make sure their results are as honest and high-quality as possible, and that webmasters can't manipulate those results to their own benefit.
Should have added in my previous comment that our site has been established since 2000 and all our links have always been followable – including comment links (but all are manually edited to weed out spambots). We have never artificially cultivated backlinks but I have noticed that longstanding backlinks from established sites like government and trade organisations are changing to ‘nofollow’ (and our homepage PR has declined from 7 to 4 over the past 5 years). If webmasters of the established sites are converting to systems which automatically change links to ‘nofollow’ then soon the only followable links will be those that are paid for – and the blackhats win again.
Okay, if you're still with me, fantastic. You're one of the few that doesn't mind wading through a little bit of hopeless murkiness to reemerge on the shores of hope. But before we jump too far ahead, it's important to understand what online marketing is and what it isn't. That definition provides a core understanding of what it takes to peddle anything on the web, whether it's a product, service or information.
“Google itself solely decides how much PageRank will flow to each and every link on a particular page. In general, the more links on a page, the less PageRank each link gets. Google might decide some links don’t deserve credit and give them no PageRank. The use of nofollow doesn’t ‘conserve’ PageRank for other links; it simply prevents those links from getting any PageRank that Google otherwise might have given them.”
In February 2011, Google announced the Panda update, which penalizes websites containing content duplicated from other websites and sources. Historically websites have copied content from one another and benefited in search engine rankings by engaging in this practice. However Google implemented a new system which punishes sites whose content is not unique.[35] The 2012 Google Penguin attempted to penalize websites that used manipulative techniques to improve their rankings on the search engine.[36] Although Google Penguin has been presented as an algorithm aimed at fighting web spam, it really focuses on spammy links[37] by gauging the quality of the sites the links are coming from. The 2013 Google Hummingbird update featured an algorithm change designed to improve Google's natural language processing and semantic understanding of web pages. Hummingbird's language processing system falls under the newly recognised term of 'Conversational Search' where the system pays more attention to each word in the query in order to better match the pages to the meaning of the query rather than a few words [38]. With regards to the changes made to search engine optimization, for content publishers and writers, Hummingbird is intended to resolve issues by getting rid of irrelevant content and spam, allowing Google to produce high-quality content and rely on them to be 'trusted' authors.
Backlinks can be time-consuming to earn. New sites or those expanding their keyword footprint may find it difficult to know where to start when it comes to link building. That's where competitive backlink research comes in: By examining the backlink profile (the collection of pages and domains linking to a website) to a competitor that's already ranking well for your target keywords, you can gain insight about the link building that may have helped them. A tool like Link Explorer can help uncover these links so you can and target those domains in your own link building campaigns.
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]
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.
World Wide Web, or “the web” for short, is a network of web pages connected to each other via hyperlinks. Each hyperlink connecting to a new document adds to the overall growth of the web. Search engines make it easier for you to find these web pages. A web page linked by many other web pages on the similar topics is considered more respectful and valuable. In the above example, John’s article gets the respect for sparking a conversation that resulted into many other web pages linking to each other. So backlinks are not only important for a website to gain respect, they are also important for search engines and the overall health of the entire world wide web.
Adjusting how Google treats nofollows is clearly a major shift (as the frenzy in the SEO community has demonstrated). So, if Google were to adjust how they treat nofollows they would need to phase it in gradually. I believe this latest (whether in 2008 or 2009) change is simply a move in the direction of greater changes to come regarding nofollow. It is the logical first step.
Backlinks are a major ranking factor for most search engines, including Google. If you want to do SEO for your website and get relevant organic traffic, building backlinks is something you should be doing. The more backlinks your website has from authoritative domains, the higher reputation you’ll have in Google’s eyes. And you’ll dominate the SERPS.
Social media is a mixed bag when it comes to backlinks. There is a modicum of value, as social media sites allow you to link to your website in your profile. However, these days Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites mark links as 'nofollow,' meaning that they don't pass SEO value (sometimes referred to as "link juice") to the linked site. These links won't do anything to boost your site's performance in search results.

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
Brian, this is the web page that everybody over the entire Internet was searching for. This page answers the million dollar question! I was particularly interested in the food blogs untapped market, who doesn’t love food. I have been recently sent backwards in the SERP and this page will help immensely. I will subscribe to comments and will be back again for more reference.
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?
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.
The Google algorithm's most important feature is arguably the PageRank system, a patented automated process that determines where each search result appears on Google's search engine return page. Most users tend to concentrate on the first few search results, so getting a spot at the top of the list usually means more user traffic. So how does Google determine search results standings? Many people have taken a stab at figuring out the exact formula, but Google keeps the official algorithm a secret. What we do know is this:
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.

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.


What's the authority of your website or webpage, or any other page on the internet for that matter where you're attempting to gain visibility? Authority is an important component of trust, and it relies heavily on quality links coming from websites that Google already trusts. Authority largely relates to the off-page optimization discipline of SEO that occurs away from the webpage as opposed to the on-page optimization that occurs directly on the webpage.

I love the broken-link building method because it works perfectly to create one-way backlinks. The technique involves contacting a webmaster to report broken links on his/her website. At the same time, you recommend other websites to replace that link. And here, of course, you mention your own website. Because you are doing the webmaster a favor by reporting the broken links, the chances of a backlink back to your website are high.
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..
Just like the new structure on JavaScript links and them now carrying weight and being crawlable, the PageRank sculpting change is understandable. Google now can and wants to index more of the web (JavaScript link change). Google wants to reverse a method that can only help people in the know (PageRank sculpting change). Logically, all is very understandable.
“Google itself solely decides how much PageRank will flow to each and every link on a particular page. The number of links doesn’t matter. Google might decide some links don’t deserve credit and give them no PageRank. The use of nofollow doesn’t “conserve” PageRank for other links; it simply prevents those links from getting any PageRank that Google otherwise might have given them.”
Can I just remind Google that not all “great content” is going to “attract links”, this is something I think they forget. I have great content on my site about plumbers in Birmingham and accountants in London, very valuable, detailed, non-spammy, hand-crafted copy on these businesses, highly valuable to anyone looking for their services. But no-one is ever going to want to link to it; it’s not topical or quirky, is very locally-focussed, and has no video of cats playing pianos.
I am not worried by this; I do agree with Danny Sullivan (Great comment Danny, best comment I have read in a long time). I will not be changing much on my site re: linking but it is interesting too see that Google took over a year to tell us regarding the change, but was really happy to tell us about rel=”nofollow” in the first place and advised us all to use it.

So enough of these scary stories. Google actually likes backlinks and relies upon them. The whole idea behind them is that they help to tell Google what is good and useful out there. Remember, it is still an algorithm. It doesn’t know that your page describing the best technique for restoring a 1965 Ford Mustang bumper is all that great. But if enough people are talking about how great it is, and thereby referencing that page on other websites, Google will actually know.


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.
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. 

There are ten essential types of marketing that can be done online. Some of these can be broken down into organic marketing and others can be categorized as paid marketing. Organic, of course, is the allure of marketing professionals from around the planet. It's free and its unencumbered traffic that simply keeps coming. Paid marketing, on the other hand, is still a very attractive proposition as long as the marketing pays for itself by having the right type of offer that converts.

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.

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.

For example, it makes a much bigger difference to make sure that people (and bots) can reach the pages on your site by clicking links than it ever did to sculpt PageRank. If you run an e-commerce site, another example of good site architecture would be putting products front-and-center on your web site vs. burying them deep within your site so that visitors and search engines have to click on many links to get to your products.
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.
A backlink is a reference comparable to a citation. The quantity, quality, and relevance of backlinks for a web page are among the factors that search engines like Google evaluate in order to estimate how important the page is.[2][3] PageRank calculates the score for each web page based on how all the web pages are connected among themselves, and is one of the variables that Google Search uses to determine how high a web page should go in search results.[4] This weighting of backlinks is analogous to citation analysis of books, scholarly papers, and academic journals.[1][3] A Topical PageRank has been researched and implemented as well, which gives more weight to backlinks coming from the page of a same topic as a target page. [5]
Question, when it comes to backlinks. Would it be useful to guest blog or agree to create pages on websites with backlinks with other business owners in your community. Example: our window replacement company used a local photography company for head shots. A backlink to the photographers website on our “staff” page with photos of the head shots for a reference. Then the photographer post examples of company headshots on her website with a back link to our website for reference. Is this a good way of going about getting more backlinks?
Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
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.
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