Totally agree — more does not always equal better. Google takes a sort of ‘Birds of a Feather’ approach when analyzing inbound links, so it’s really all about associating yourself (via inbound links) with websites Google deems high quality and trustworthy so that Google deems YOUR web page high quality and trustworthy. As you mentioned, trying to cut corners, buy links, do one-for-one trades, or otherwise game/manipulate the system never works. The algorithm is too smart.
Mani, could not agree more your statements. It’s no wonder the SEO industry has such a bad name and it’s 99.9% Snake Oil. Still, Google, this Blog and other “SEO” sites are partly responsible for the PR hysteria, link spam and email spam for PR. Google should also put an end to Webmasters being screwed by SEO, but placing a BIG prominet statements on their Webmaster pages along the lines of;
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.
Make sure your backlinks appear to be natural. Don’t ask webmasters to link back to your pages with a specific anchor text since this can haphazardly result in a pattern that may get noticed by search engines and cause you to get a linking penalty, a la Penguin. Also, don’t do anything shady or unnatural to create backlinks, like asking a site to put a link in the footer of every page on their site.
Given that “only a tiny percentage of links on the Web use nofollow”, why don’t we just get back to focusing on humans and drop nofollow? It has failed, and given that all it ever was was a tool to manipulate Pagerank, it was bound to do so. Has Google done any tests on its search quality taking nofollow into account vs. not taking it into account, I wonder?
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?”

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.


(spread across a number of pages) which lists something like 1,000 restaurants in a large city with contact details and a web link to each of those restaurant’s home page. Given that the outgoing links are relevant to my content, should I or should I not be using REL=nofollow for each link given the massive quantity of them? How will my ranking for pages containing those links and pages elsewhere on my site be affected if I do or don’t include REL=nofollow for those links? My fear is that if I don’t use REL=nofollow, Google will assume my site is just a generic directory of links (given the large number of them) and will penalize me accordingly.

I was exactly thinking the same thing what Danny Sullivan had said. If comments (even with nofollow) directly affect the outgoing PR distribution, people will tend to allow less comments (maybe usage of iframes even). Is he right? Maybe, Google should develop a new tag as well something like rel=”commented” to inform spiders about it to give less value and wordpress should be installed default with this attribute 🙂
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.
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.
Hey Brian, this is an absolutely fabulous post! It caused me to come out of lurking mode on the Warrior Forum and post a response there as well. Only my second post in 4 years, it was that kickass… I’ve signed to your newsletter on the strength of this. You have a new follower on Twitter as well! I mean what I said on the Warrior Forum… Since 2001 I’ve worked in an SEO commercially, freelance and now from the comfort of my own home – I have bought IM ebooks with less useful information in them than covered by any one of your 17. You might not please everyone in our industry giving some of those secrets away for free though! All power to you my friend, you deserve success and lots of it!
PageRank was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford. In fact the name. PageRank is a likely play on Larry Page's name. At the time that Page and Brin met, early search engines typically linked to pages that had the highest keyword density, which meant people could game the system by repeating the same phrase over and over to attract higher search page results. Sometimes web designers would even put hidden text on pages to repeat phrases. 
“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.”
I have to take my hat off to your content – not just for the tips you’ve given that have helped me with my websites, but for how clearly you can write. May I ask, what books or resources have inspired and influenced your writing and content creation the most? The two best books I’ve read so far to improve my writing are On Writing Well and Letting Go of the Words.
Marketing managers need to be conversant in every element of a marketing campaign, and considering the importance of an Internet presence in any marketing plan today, this means having a clear understanding of Internet marketing from start to finish. A marketing manager should have confidence in his or her team and know how to facilitate work efficiency and communication between coworkers. This keeps each project on schedule and helps create a relaxed work environment.
The internet was the little guy savior, simple sites could rank well locally. Sadly your company is in the process of destroying that. In this economy small business with zero page rank that are listed on page 22 of results, need to be found in order to survive. My customers are really suffering because of the work that is coming out of Google, it keeps getting worse. Their conversions are still good coming out of Yahoo and MSN and now Bing. They do not have the resources to produce blogs, forums, or $5,000 websites let alone pay for Adwords when they are just trying to pay rent and not a lot of people can do their own web production.
Some brilliant tips and advice here, I am curious you mention the directory sites to submit to and I notice a lot of my competitors are on such sites but a lot of these sites want links back which would mean I would need pages of links on my site and that is something I don’t see on competitors sites – how do they manage that would it be all paid for or is there a trick
After finding websites that have good metrics, you have to make sure the website is related to your site. For each competitor backlink, try to understand how your competitor got that link. If it was a guest article, send a request to become a contributor as well. If it was a product review by a blogger, contact the writer and offer them a good deal in exchange for a similar review.
I first discovered Sharpe years ago online. His story was one of the most sincere and intriguing tales that any one individual could convey. It was real. It was heartfelt. It was passionate. And it was a story of rockbottom failure. It encompassed a journey that mentally, emotionally and spiritually crippled him in the early years of his life. As someone who left home at the age of 14, had a child at 16, became addicted to heroin at 20 and clean four long years later, the cards were definitely stacked up against him.
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.
Our digital agency offers both traditional targeted online display advertising as well as behavioral retargeting. Through an intense discovery process, our team will determine the most optimal marketing mix for your online media plan. We will leverage ad network partnerships for planning the ideal media buys and negotiating the best possible pricing.
Thanks for the post Chelsea! I think Google is starting to move further away from PageRank but I do agree that a higher amoount of links doesn’t necessarily mean a higher rank. I’ve seen many try to shortcut the system and end up spending weeks undoing these “shortcuts.” I wonder how much weight PageRank still holds today, considering the algorithms Google continues to put out there to provide more relevant search results.

Although online marketing creates many opportunities for businesses to grow their presence via the Internet and build their audiences, there are also inherent challenges with these methods of marketing. First, the marketing can become impersonal, due to the virtual nature of message and content delivery to a desired audience. Marketers must inform their strategy for online marketing with a strong understanding of their customer’s needs and preferences. Techniques like surveys, user testing, and in-person conversations can be used for this purpose.
Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One black hat technique uses text that is hidden, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen. Another method gives a different page depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine, a technique known as cloaking. Another category sometimes used is grey hat SEO. This is in between black hat and white hat approaches, where the methods employed avoid the site being penalized, but do not act in producing the best content for users. Grey hat SEO is entirely focused on improving search engine rankings.
Most people need to take a step back and understand where money is even coming from on the web. Sharpe says that, when asked, most individuals don't actually even know how money is being made on a high level. How does Facebook generate its revenues? How about Google? How do high-trafficked blogs become so popular and how do they generate money from all of that traffic? Is there one way or many?

However, the biggest contributing factors to a backlink’s effect on your rank is the website it’s coming from, measured by the acronym ART: authority, a measure of a site’s prestige/reliability — .edu and .gov sites are particularly high-authority); relevance, a measure of how related the site hosting the link is to the content; and trust, which is not an official Google metric, but relates to how much a site plays by the rules of search (i.e. not selling links) and provides good content.
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.
PageRank is often considered to be a number between 0 and 10 (with 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest) though that is also probably incorrect. Most SEOs believe that internally the number is not an integer, but goes to a number of decimals. The belief largely comes from the Google Toolbar, which will display a page's PageRank as a number between 0 and 10. Even this is a rough approximation, as Google does not release its most up to date PageRank as a way of protecting the algorithm's details.
Using Dr Dave Chaffey's approach, the digital marketing planning (DMP) has three main stages: Opportunity, Strategy and Action. He suggests that any business looking to implement a successful digital marketing strategy must structure their plan by looking at opportunity, strategy and action. This generic strategic approach often has phases of situation review, goal setting, strategy formulation, resource allocation and monitoring.[59]
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]
Backlinks are important for a number of reasons. The quality and quantity of pages backlinking to your website are some of the criteria used by search engines like Google to determine your ranking on their search engine results pages (SERP). The higher you rank on a SERP, the better for your business as people tend to click on the first few search results Google, Bing or other search engines return for them.
PageRank was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford. In fact the name. PageRank is a likely play on Larry Page's name. At the time that Page and Brin met, early search engines typically linked to pages that had the highest keyword density, which meant people could game the system by repeating the same phrase over and over to attract higher search page results. Sometimes web designers would even put hidden text on pages to repeat phrases. 
Hi Matt, we are currently about to upload a mayor project that includes applying no-follows to a numerous amount of links. This project was not conceived as a method of sculpting the site but because in out webmasters tools google alerted us that the site had too many links and this could affect crawling. This is mainly because we have a high listing and because we offer the users many filtering options which makes for great user experience as several surveys indicated. The idea of the no-follows was to apply them to these filtering links to tell google not to follow them. Do you think this is the way to go?. After reading your post I am affraid that we might be making a mistake.
Nathan: The comment by Mansi Rana helps answer your question. The fact is, the PageRank scores that were visible in the Google Toolbar hadn’t been updated in a long time (2+ YEARS), so they were probably getting more and more out-of-date anyway. The main reason Google would make them disappear, though, is that Google wants website owners to focus on the user and on quality content, not on trying to game the system with links.
Less than 2 years ago one could promote a website within a month with the help of PBN (Private Blog Network). Then Google created “a sandbox” which made a site owner wait no less than 3 months before the effect of PBN backlinks turned to be visible. There are two more negative factors: risk and financial investment. You will realize that neither your wasted time nor money were worth it. That’s why it’s better to rely on proper backlinks from real sites.
Digital marketing activity is still growing across the world according to the headline global marketing index. A study published in September 2018, found that global outlays on digital marketing tactics are approaching $100 billion.[40] Digital media continues to rapidly grow; while the marketing budgets are expanding, traditional media is declining (World Economics, 2015).[41] Digital media helps brands reach consumers to engage with their product or service in a personalised way. Five areas, which are outlined as current industry practices that are often ineffective are prioritizing clicks, balancing search and display, understanding mobiles, targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic, and cross-platform measurement (Whiteside, 2016).[42] Why these practices are ineffective and some ways around making these aspects effective are discussed surrounding the following points.
Our SEM team has been managing paid search since its inception and is driven solely by analytics and financial data. Our core focus is to expand our clients’ campaigns, drive quality traffic that will foster conversions and increase revenue, while decreasing the cost per acquisition. IMI’s PPC team members are recognized thought leaders, active bloggers and speakers and major tradeshows, and care deeply about each and every client. We manage our client’s budgets as if it was our own, tracking every dollar and optimizing towards very specific milestones and metrics.

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.
SEO is also about making your search engine result relevant to the user's search query so more people click the result when it is shown in search. In this process, snippets of text and meta data are optimized to ensure your snippet of information is appealing in the context of the search query to obtain a high CTR (click through rate) from search results.

where N is the total number of all pages on the web. The second version of the algorithm, indeed, does not differ fundamentally from the first one. Regarding the Random Surfer Model, the second version's PageRank of a page is the actual probability for a surfer reaching that page after clicking on many links. The PageRanks then form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all pages' PageRanks will be one.
But how do you get quoted in news articles? Websites such as HARO and ProfNet can help you to connect with journalists who have specific needs, and there are other tools that allow you to send interesting pitches to writers. Even monitoring Twitter for relevant conversations between journalists can yield opportunities to connect with writers working on pieces involving your industry.
As I was telling Norman above, these days what we’ve come to call content marketing is really a big part of “link building.” You can’t buy links, and “you link to me I’ll link to you” requests often land on deaf ears. Its really all about creating high quality content (videos, images, written blog posts) that appeals to the needs/wants of your target market, and then naturally earning inbound links from sources that truly find what you have to offer worth referencing.
Social media has been one of the fastest growing digital marketing channels for years now and continues to play a major role in brand development and customer acquisition and engagement. Social media now is a critical element to effective content marketing and search engine optimization strategies. These marketing strategies simply can’t exist well without one another.
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
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.
A PageRank results from a mathematical algorithm based on the webgraph, created by all World Wide Web pages as nodes and hyperlinks as edges, taking into consideration authority hubs such as cnn.com or usa.gov. The rank value indicates an importance of a particular page. A hyperlink to a page counts as a vote of support. The PageRank of a page is defined recursively and depends on the number and PageRank metric of all pages that link to it ("incoming links"). A page that is linked to by many pages with high PageRank receives a high rank itself.
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!
Thanks for sharing this, Matt. I’m happy that you took the time to do so considering that you don’t have to. What I mean is, in an ideal world, there should be no such thing as SEO. It is the SE’s job to bring the right users to the right sites and it is the job of webmasters to cater to the needs of the users brought into their sites by SEs. Webmasters should not be concerned of bringing the users in themselves. (aside from offsite or sponsored marketing campaigns) The moment they do, things start to get ugly because SEs would now have to implement counter-measures. (To most SEO tactics) This becomes an unending spiral. If people only stick to their part of the equation, SEs will have more time to develop algorithms for making sure webmasters get relevant users rather than to develop algorithms for combating SEOs to ensure search users get relevant results. Just do your best in providing valuable content and Google will try their best in matching you with your users. Don’t waste time trying to second guess how Google does it so that you can present yourself to Google as having a better value than you really have. They have great engineers and they have the code—you only have a guess. At most, the SEO anyone should be doing is to follow the webmasters guidelines. It will benefit all.

2. Does a nofollowed INTERNAL link also bleed PageRank? Doesn’t that actively punish webmasters who use nofollow in completely . I think Danny makes the case that nofollow at the link level isn’t a cure for duplicate content, but many hosted sites and blogs don’t have the full range of technical options at their disposal. I myself use a hosted service that’s excellent for SEO in many ways but doesn’t give me a per-page HTML header in which to put a canonical link tag. Conclusion: Google would rather we NOT hide duplicate content if nofollow is the most straightforward way to do it.

I have not at all seen the results I would expect in terms of page rank throughout my site. I have almost everything pointing at my home page, with a variety of anchor text, but my rank is 1. There is a page on my site with 3, though, and a couple with 2, so it certainly is not all about links; I do try to have somewhat unique and interesting content, but some of my strong pages are default page content. I will explore the help forum. (I guess these comments are nofollow :P) I would not mind a piece of this page rank …


When running PPC ads, it's important that you keep careful track of the specific ads and keywords that you're targeting. You can do this by using the Google Analytics UTM builder to create campaign URLs that you can use to track the campaign source, the medium and any keywords or terms that you might be targeting. This way, you can determine the effectiveness of any campaign that you run and figure out the precise conversion rate.


Our agency can provide both offensive and defensive ORM strategies as well as preventive ORM that includes developing new pages and social media profiles combined with consulting on continued content development. Our ORM team consists of experts from our SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing, and PR teams. At the end of the day, ORM is about getting involved in the online “conversations” and proactively addressing any potentially damaging content.
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!
If you are going to use SEM, you must build the costs of using this form of marketing into your cash-flow forecasts and the prices you’re charging for your work. Spending $3,000 a month on Adwords to land $20,000 of business is eminently sensible in most cases. Spending $3,000 a month to land $3,500 of business, on the other hand, is likely to be a disaster for your business’s ability to trade effectively in the long term.
There’s obviously a huge number of reasons why a website might link to another and not all of them fit into the categories above. A good rule of thumb on whether a link is valuable is to consider the quality of referral traffic (visitors that might click on the link to visit your website). If the site won’t send any visitors, or the audience is completely unrelated and irrelevant, then it might not really be a link that’s worth pursuing.
Sharpe, who's presently running a company called Legendary Marketer, teaching you how to duplicate his results, is a prime example. By understanding how Sharpe has constructed his value chain, positioned his offerings and built out his multi-modality sales funnels, you'll better get a larger grasp on things. As confusing as it sounds at the outset, all you need to do is start buying up products in your niche so that you can replicate their success.

What are backlinks doing for your SEO strategy? Well, Google considers over 200 SEO ranking factors when calculating where a page should rank, but we know that backlinks are one of the top three (the other two are content and RankBrain, Google’s AI). So while you should always focus on creating high-quality content, link-building is also an important factor in ranking your pages well on Google.
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.
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.

Matt Cutts, it’s Shawn Hill from Longview, Texas and I’ve got to say, “you’re a semseo guru”. That’s obviously why Google retained you as they did. Very informative post! As head of Google’s Webspam team how to you intend to combat Social Networking Spam (SNS)? It’s becoming an increasingly obvious problem in SERPs. I’m thinking Blogspam should be the least of Google’s worries. What’s your take?

Using influencers to market your products or services is a great way to quickly saturate yourself into the marketplace, no matter what you're peddling. However, finding the right influencer at the right price is the hard part. You don't necessarily have to go to the top-tier influencers; you can also opt for micro-influencers (those that have 10,000 to 100,000 followers or fans).
What i have learnt with comments only allow them if they give value to your blog i have used this for one of my main blogs bpd and me and it worked i have let comments threw witch were spamee and it just got a google page rank of 2 after a year learning by mistakes google page rank is always going to be a mystery and people will try to beat it they might for a short period after that they get caught out but the people who write good quality content will be the winners and keep writing quality content a question might be does google count how many no follows there are i wounder
As I was telling Norman above, these days what we’ve come to call content marketing is really a big part of “link building.” You can’t buy links, and “you link to me I’ll link to you” requests often land on deaf ears. Its really all about creating high quality content (videos, images, written blog posts) that appeals to the needs/wants of your target market, and then naturally earning inbound links from sources that truly find what you have to offer worth referencing.
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