I think it’s important to remember that the majority of website owners are NOT at all technical and savvy as to how this whole system works when it comes to SEO, but they still get along and do their best to put something worthwhile on the net. Unfortunately this same majority can so often damage their website rankings without ever knowing it, and lead to an under-performing website as a result, regardless of the quality of their content. As I’ve learnt as a new website owner for the first time, there’s a lot more to running a website than just doing the right thing and trying to produce quality, when time and time again the experts in SEO always win out on the SERPs regardless of quality. One keyword phrase I searched on repeatedly over recent years resulted in the same EMPTY site being returned as the number one result, truly, it had NO content.
Secondly, nofollow is also essential on links to off-topic pages, whether they’re internal or external to your site. You want to prevent search engines from misunderstanding what your pages are about. Linking relevant pages together reinforces your topic relevance. So to keep your topic silos clear, strategic use of the nofollow attribute can be applied when linking off-topic pages together.

As for the use of nofollow as a way to keep pages that shouldn’t be indexed out of Google (as with your feed example) is terrible advice. Your use of it on your feed link does nothing. If anyone links to your feed without nofollow, then it’s going to get indexed. Things that shouldn’t be indexed need to use either robots.txt or meta robots blocking. Nofollow on links to those items isn’t a solution.
You may not want certain pages of your site crawled because they might not be useful to users if found in a search engine's search results. If you do want to prevent search engines from crawling your pages, Google Search Console has a friendly robots.txt generator to help you create this file. Note that if your site uses subdomains and you wish to have certain pages not crawled on a particular subdomain, you'll have to create a separate robots.txt file for that subdomain. For more information on robots.txt, we suggest this Webmaster Help Center guide on using robots.txt files13.
@matt: I notice a bit of WordPress-related talk early in the comments (sorry, Dont have time to read all of them right now..), I was wondering if you’d like to comment on Trac ticket(http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/10550) – Related to the use of nofollow on non-js-fallback comment links which WordPress uses – Its linking to the current page with a changed form.. the content and comments should remain the same, just a different form.. I think the original reason nofollow was added there was to prevent search engines thinking the site was advertising multiple pages with the same content..
As for the use of nofollow as a way to keep pages that shouldn’t be indexed out of Google (as with your feed example) is terrible advice. Your use of it on your feed link does nothing. If anyone links to your feed without nofollow, then it’s going to get indexed. Things that shouldn’t be indexed need to use either robots.txt or meta robots blocking. Nofollow on links to those items isn’t a solution.
Matt, my biggest complaint with Google and this “page Rank” nofollow nightmare is it seems we need to have a certain type of site to get ranked well or to make your crawler happy, you say you want a quality site, but what my users deem as quality (3000 links to the best academic information on the planet for business development) is actually looked at by Google as a bad thing and I do not get any rank because of it, makes it hard for my site to be found, and people that can really use the information can not find it when you yourself would look at the info and think it was fantastic to find it all in one place.
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.
As an avid reader of [insert their site name], I love reading anything you write about, such as [insert article on their website], and anything you link out to. Sadly, I couldn’t find the article you were trying to link to, but I did happen to find another good webpage on the same topic: [insert url to webpage that you are building links to]. You should check it out, and if you like it, you probably want to switch the links.
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.
The PageRank algorithm outputs a probability distribution used to represent the likelihood that a person randomly clicking on links will arrive at any particular page. PageRank can be calculated for collections of documents of any size. It is assumed in several research papers that the distribution is evenly divided among all documents in the collection at the beginning of the computational process. The PageRank computations require several passes, called “iterations”, through the collection to adjust approximate PageRank values to more closely reflect the theoretical true value.
A press release can serve double duty for marketing efforts. It can alert media outlets about your news and also help your website gain backlinks. But it can only build links effectively if executed properly. Only write and distribute press releases when a brand has something newsworthy or interesting to share Click & Tweet! . This strategy can gain links on the actual press release post as well as on the stories that media outlets write about it.
All in all, PageRank sculpting (or whatever we should call it) didn’t really rule my world. But, I did think that it was a totally legitimate method to use. Now that we know the ‘weight’ leaks, this will put a totally new (and more damaging) spin on things. Could we not have just left the ‘weight’ with the parent page? This is what I thought would happen most of the time anyway.
Many blogging software packages automatically nofollow user comments, but those that don't can most likely be manually edited to do this. This advice also goes for other areas of your site that may involve user-generated content, such as guest books, forums, shout-boards, referrer listings, etc. If you're willing to vouch for links added by third parties (for example, if a commenter is trusted on your site), then there's no need to use nofollow on links; however, linking to sites that Google considers spammy can affect the reputation of your own site. The Webmaster Help Center has more tips on avoiding comment spam39, for example by using CAPTCHAs and turning on comment moderation.
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.
Backlinks are important for both search engines and end users. For the search engines, it helps them determine how authoritative and relevant your site is on the topic that you rank for. Furthermore, backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that other external websites are endorsing your content. If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can interpret that content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth ranking higher on a SERP (search engine results page). For many years, the quantity of backlinks was an indicator of a page’s popularity. But today algorithms like Google's Penguin update, were created to help with other ranking factors; pages are ranked higher based on the quality of the links that they are getting from external sites and less on quantity.
A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the page that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the root page. Many breadcrumbs have the most general page (usually the root page) as the first, leftmost link and list the more specific sections out to the right. We recommend using breadcrumb structured data markup28 when showing breadcrumbs.

One thing is certain: interlinking sites doesn't help you from a search engine standpoint. The only reason you may want to interlink your sites in the first place might be to provide your visitors with extra resources to visit. In this case, it would probably be okay to provide visitors with a link to another of your websites, but try to keep many instances of linking to the same IP address to a bare minimum. One or two links on a page here and there probably won't hurt you.

Infographics are one of the most popular methods for bringing traffic to your website and gaining valuable backlinks. They're also great because they're easy to understand and share. Everyone loves visual data, right? That's why the demand for infographics has increased considerably. Consider that influential online publications like Mashable publish numerous infographics from all over the Internet.

I work on a site that allows users to find what they are looking for by clicking links that take them deeper and deeper into the site hierarchy. Content can be categorised in lots of different ways. After about three steps the difference between the results pages shown is of significance to a user but not to a search engine. I was about to add nofollow to links that took the browser deeper than 3 levels but after this announcement I won’t be…
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. 

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.

What an article… thank you so much for the priceless information, we will be changing our pages around to make sure we get the highest page rank available to us, we are trying to get high page rank sites to link to us, hopefully there is more information out there to gather as we want to compete within our market to gain as much market-share as possible.


Going into network marketing? Understand that if you're not close to the top of the food chain there, your ability to generate any serious amount of income will be limited. Be wary of the hype and the sales pitches that get you thinking that it's going to work the other way. Simply understand that you're going to have to work hard no matter what you pick to do. Email marketing? Sure. You can do that. But you'll need a massive and very targeted list to make any dent.
I liken this to a paradoxical Catch-22 scenario, because it seems like without one you can't have the other. It takes money to drive traffic, but it takes traffic to make money. So don't make the mistake that millions of other online marketers make around the world. Before you attempt to scale or send any semblance of traffic to your offers, be sure to split-test things to oblivion and determine your conversion rates before diving in headfirst.
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?
Getting unique and authoritative links is crucial for higher ranking in the SERPs and improving your SEO. Google's algorithm on evaluation of links evolved in recent years creating a more challenging process now to get high quality backlinks. External links still matter and aren’t obsolete, so start working on strategies to get valuable backlinks to improve your search visibility.
While there are several platforms for doing this, clearly YouTube is the most popular for doing this. However, video marketing is also a great form of both content marketing and SEO on its own. It can help to provide visibility for several different ventures, and if the video is valuable enough in its message and content, it will be shared and liked by droves, pushing up the authority of that video through the roof.
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.
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