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.
Now, how much weight does PageRank carry? Like most every other part of the algorithm, it’s questionable. If we listed all the ranking factors, I don’t suspect it would be in the top 5, but it’s important to remember that the key to ranking well is to be the LESS IMPERFECT than your competition. IE: To have more of the right things that send the right signals in the right places so that Google sees you as a better, more relevant, candidate for the top three on page one. If you and your competitor both have optimized (on-page and technically) for the same keyword phrase perfectly, PR could be the deal breaker that pushes your blue link an inch up.
Provide full functionality on all devices. Mobile users expect the same functionality - such as commenting and check-out - and content on mobile as well as on all other devices that your website supports. In addition to textual content, make sure that all important images and videos are embedded and accessible on mobile devices. For search engines, provide all structured data and other metadata - such as titles, descriptions, link-elements, and other meta-tags - on all versions of the pages.
But if you do it properly, it can be worth your money. Also, press releases can be much more than just a block of text. In December 2018, we ran a press release through Business Wire that had multiple backlinks, stylized call outs, and even a video! If you put effort into them, press releases can be not just a source of backlinks, but also serve as a great marketing piece as well.
It is very rare for an individual to enter a management role early in his or her career. Most marketing managers have spent several years working somewhere else on a marketing team. This assumes the existence of at least a bachelor's degree, but an advanced degree such as a master’s in marketing or business administration can give an aspiring manager a deciding edge.
Writing blog posts is especially effective for providing different opportunities to land on page one of search engines -- for instance, maybe your eyeglass store’s website is on page three of Google for “eyeglasses,” but your “Best Sunglasses of 2018” blog post is on page one, pulling in an impressive amount of traffic (over time, that blog post could also boost your overall website to page one).
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.
I find it amazing that youtube.com has been “nofollowing” its featured videos for last 12 months (still doing it as I type) when it now seems that this means “i dont trust this content” and “i want to page rank to flow to this content”. In fact a quick glance at a youtube page tells you that youtube are currently flushing 50% of their page rank (very approx) down the toilet on every page.
The original Random Surfer PageRank patent from Stanford has expired. The Reasonable Surfer version of PageRank (assigned to Google) is newer than that one, and has been updated via a continuation patent at least once. The version of PageRank based upon a trusted seed set of sites (assigned to Google) has also been updated via a continuation patent and differs in many ways from the Stanford version of PageRank. It is likely that Google may be using one of the versions of PageRank that they have control over (the exclusive license to use Stanford’s version of PageRank has expired along with that patent). The updated versions of PageRank (reasonable surfer and Trusted Seeds approach) both are protected under present day patents assigned to Google, and both have been updated to reflect modern processes in how they are implemented. Because of their existence, and the expiration of the original, I would suggest that it is unlikely that the random surfer model-base PageRank is still being used.
Maintenance. Ongoing addition and modification of keywords and website content are necessary to continually improve search engine rankings so growth doesn’t stall or decline from neglect. You also want to review your link strategy and ensure that your inbound and outbound links are relevant to your business. A blog can provide you the necessary structure and ease of content addition that you need. Your hosting company can typically help you with the setup/installation of a blog.
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.
Search engines are a great way to find business online. They offer “passive” marketing approaches for those who don’t want to get into “active marketing”. SEO can be incredibly powerful, but it’s often too slow for someone who needs clients today (rather than in six months’ time) to be a good marketing strategy when you launch your business. It’s cheap (though it’s not free – your time is worth money too), and it can be very effective in the medium to long term.
SEM, on the other hand, costs money but can deliver very rapid results. Your website must be optimized to make sales or at least drive a customer to get in touch (GIT – in marketing terms) so you can make a sale. You should approach SEM with care and make sure you completely understand how much money you have exposed at any one time. Start slow and evaluate your results.
I think that removing the link to the sitemap shouldn’t be a big problem for the navigation, but I wonder what happens with the disclaimer and the contact page? If nofollow doesn’t sink the linked page, how can we tell the search engine that these are not content pages. For some websites these are some of the most linked pages. And yes for some the contact page is worth gaining rank, but for my website is not.