Search engines want websites to have a level playing field, and look for natural links built slowly over time. While it is fairly easy to manipulate links on a web page to try to achieve a higher ranking, it is a lot harder to influence a search engine with external backlinks from other websites. This is also a reason why backlinks factor in so highly into a search engine's algorithm. Lately, however, a search engine's criteria for quality inbound links has gotten even tougher, thanks to unscrupulous webmasters trying to achieve these inbound links by deceptive or sneaky techniques, such as with hidden links, or automatically generated pages whose sole purpose is to provide inbound links to websites. These pages are called link farms, and they are not only disregarded by search engines, but linking to a link farm could get your site banned entirely.

Keeping up with the latest trends is a must for any business, but ignoring technology trends in the digital world is the matter of staying in business. Unfortunately, those trends (while easy enough to find mentioned online) are rarely explained well. There seems to be this mistaken idea that anyone who has an interest or need in the practice will just magically get the jargon. As we all know, that is one superpower that doesn’t exist in the real world.

That type of earth-shattering failure and pain really does a number on a person. Getting clean and overcoming those demons isn't as simple as people make it out to be. You need to have some serious deep-down reasons on why you must succeed at all costs. You have to be able to extricate yourself from the shackles of bad habits that have consumed you during your entire life. And that's precisely what Sharpe did.
Wow Brian…I’ve been making and promoting websites full-time since 2006 and just when I thought I’ve seen it all, here you are introducing me to all these innovative ways of getting backlinks that I wasn’t aware of before. I never subscribe to newsletters, but yours is just too good to say no to! Thanks very much for this information. Off to read your other posts now…
First, it’s important to know that not all backlinks are created equal. Those published on PR0 (“PR” stands for “page rank”—the “0” means the lowest value) sites offer very little weight in search; those published on PR9 (the highest page rank) sites offer very great weight in searches (in fact, a single backlink on a PR9 site might be enough to deliver top-three rankings for a keyphrase in some cases). Examples of high page rank sites include Wikipedia, the BBC, The New York Times, Mashable, etc.
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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.
Could the nofollow change could be interpreted as a form of usability guidance? For instance, I’ve recently removed drop-down menus from a handful of sites because of internal link and keyword density issues. This wasn’t done randomly. Tests were done to measure usage and value of this form of navigation that made it easy to make the change – allowing usability and SEO to dovetail nicely.

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. 

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, consumers spent $453.46 billion on the web for retail purchases in 2017, a 16.0% increase compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. That’s the highest growth rate since 2011, when online sales grew 17.5% over 2010. Forrester predicts that online sales will account for 17% of all US retail sales by 2022. And digital advertising is also growing strongly; According to Strategy Analytics, in 2017 digital advertising was up 12%, accounting for approximately 38% of overall spending on advertising, or $207.44 billion.
While most of the links to your site will be added gradually, as people discover your content through search or other ways and link to it, Google understands that you'd like to let others know about the hard work you've put into your content. Effectively promoting your new content will lead to faster discovery by those who are interested in the same subject. As with most points covered in this document, taking these recommendations to an extreme could actually harm the reputation of your site.
Is very telling and an important thing to consider. Taking the model of a university paper on a particular subject as an example, you would expect the paper to cite (link to) other respected papers in the same field in order to demonstrate that it is couched in some authority. As PageRank is based on the citation model used in university work, it makes perfect sense to incorporate a “pages linked to” factor into the equation.
If you don’t want to rebuild an expired domain, just take its backlinks and allow the linkers to be aware of the “to-dead-resource” linking. You can ask a link-builder to replace non-working links with your website’s one. If the content is relevant, you can try to restore it. Be sure that you can make it better than it was before. Reach out and inform the link-builder about the renewed content.
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.

When referring to the homepage, a trailing slash after the hostname is optional since it leads to the same content ("https://example.com/" is the same as "https://example.com"). For the path and filename, a trailing slash would be seen as a different URL (signaling either a file or a directory), for example, "https://example.com/fish" is not the same as "https://example.com/fish/".


If you've read anything about or studied Search Engine Optimization, you've come across the term "backlink" at least once. For those of you new to SEO, you may be wondering what a backlink is, and why they are important. Backlinks have become so important to the scope of Search Engine Optimization, that they have become some of the main building blocks to good SEO. In this article, we will explain to you what a backlink is, why they are important, and what you can do to help gain them while avoiding getting into trouble with the Search Engines.

Another example when the “nofollow" attribute can come handy are widget links. If you are using a third party's widget to enrich the experience of your site and engage users, check if it contains any links that you did not intend to place on your site along with the widget. Some widgets may add links to your site which are not your editorial choice and contain anchor text that you as a webmaster may not control. If removing such unwanted links from the widget is not possible, you can always disable them with “nofollow" attribute. If you create a widget for functionality or content that you provide, make sure to include the nofollow on links in the default code snippet.
This still encourages larger, more professionally run websites not to ‘share the wealth’ of PageRank to other sites. How is a small niche website ever going to get decent results in SERPS if when a bigger site does link to it, it nofollows the link? Not passing any PageRank benefit, or anchor text through the link does nothing to encourage smaller more specialised sites – it encourages the bigger, broader sites to hoard the goodness.
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?”
Excellent! I was wondering when Google would finally release information regarding this highly controversial issue. I have always agreed with and followed Matt’s advice in having PR flow as freely as possible, natural linking is always the best linking in my experience with my search engine experience and results. I am very glad that you have addressed the topic of nofollow links having no effects in the Google SERPs, I was getting tired of telling the same topics covered in this article to my clients and other “SEOs”.
I’ve seen so many cases of webmasters nofollowing legitimate external links it is not funny. Any external link on their site is nofollowed, even when quoting text on the other site. IMO, the original purpose of nofollow has long been defeated in specific industries. As more webmasters continue doing everything they can to preserve their pagerank, the effectiveness of nofollow will continue to erode.
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.

Also given that the original reasons for implementing the ‘nofollow’ tag was to reduce comment spam (something that it really hasn’t had a great effect in combatting) – the real question I have is why did they ever take any notice of nofollow on internal links in the first place? It seems to me that in this case they made the rod for their own back.
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]
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