I really appreciate that you keep us updated as soon as you can, but in some cases, e.g. WRT rel-nofollow, the most appreciated update would be the removal of this very much hated and pretty useless microformat. I mean, when you’ve introduced it because the Google (as well as M$, Yahoo and Ask) algos were flawed at this time, why not take the chance and dump it now when it’s no longer needed?

Let’s start with what Google says. In a nutshell, it considers links to be like votes. In addition, it considers that some votes are more important than others. PageRank is Google’s system of counting link votes and determining which pages are most important based on them. These scores are then used along with many other things to determine if a page will rank well in a search.
The better you learn and understand SEO and the more strides you take to learn this seemingly confusing and complex discipline, the more likely you'll be to appear organically in search results. And let's face it, organic search is important to marketing online. Considering that most people don't have massive advertising budgets and don't know the first thing about lead magnets, squeeze pages and sales funnels, appearing visible is critical towards long-term success.
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.
It is clear that something new should emerge to cover that unfollow emptiness. Here and there it is believed that some search engines may use so-called implied links to rank the page. Implied links are, for example, references to your brand. They usually come with a tone: positive, neutral, or negative. The tone defines the reputation of your site. This reputation serves as a ranking signal to search engines.
[44] Matteo Pasquinelli reckons the basis for the belief that PageRank has a social component lies in the idea of attention economy. With attention economy, value is placed on products that receive a greater amount of human attention and the results at the top of the PageRank garner a larger amount of focus then those on subsequent pages. The outcomes with the higher PageRank will therefore enter the human consciousness to a larger extent. These ideas can influence decision-making and the actions of the viewer have a direct relation to the PageRank. They possess a higher potential to attract a user's attention as their location increases the attention economy attached to the site. With this location they can receive more traffic and their online marketplace will have more purchases. The PageRank of these sites allow them to be trusted and they are able to parlay this trust into increased business.

I think Google will always be working to discern and deliver “quality, trustworthy” content and I think analyzing inbound links as endorsements is a solid tool the SE won’t be sunsetting anytime soon. Why would they? If the president of the United States links to your page that is undoubtedly an endorsement that tells Google you’re a legitimate trusted source. I know that is an extreme example, but I think it illustrates the principals of a linking-as-endorsement model well.
I think Matt Grenville’s comment is a very valid one. If your site, for whatever reason, can not attract links naturally and all of your competitors are outranking you by employing tactics that might breach Google’s TOS, what other options do you have? As well as this people will now only link to a few, trusted sites (as this has been clarified in your post as being part of Google’s algorithm) and put a limit on linking out to the smaller guys.
Backlink is a link one website gets from another website. Backlinks make a huge impact on a website’s prominence in search engine results. This is why they are considered very useful for improving a website’s SEO ranking. Search engines calculate rankings using multiple factors to display search results. No one knows for sure how much weight search engines give to backlinks when listing results, however what we do know for certain is that they are very important.
But, why do search engines care about backlinks? Well, in the early days of the Internet, search engines were very simple, and relied strictly on keyword matching. It didn’t matter how good the content on a website was, how popular it was, or what the website was for–if a phrase on a page matched a phrase that someone searched for, then that page would likely show up. That meant that if someone had an online journal in which they documented at length how they had to take their car to a “car accident repair shop,” then people searching for a “car accident repair shop” would likely be led to that page. Not terribly useful, right?

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.

“With 150 million pages, the Web had 1.7 billion edges (links).” Kevin Heisler, that ratio holds true pretty well as the web gets bigger. A good rule of thumb is that the number of links is about 10x the number of pages. I agree that it’s pretty tragic that Rajeev Motwani was a co-author of many of those early papers. I got to talk to Rajeev a little bit at Google, and he was a truly decent and generous man. What has heartened me is to see all the people that he helped, and to see those people pay their respects online. No worries on the Consumer WebWatch–I’m a big fan of Consumer WebWatch, and somehow I just missed their blog. I just want to reiterate that even though this feels like a huge change to a certain segment of SEOs, in practical terms this change really doesn’t affect rankings very much at all.


Hi Brian! You mentioned that we should have our anchor text include our target keyword. When I do that, Yoast SEO plugin throws a red flag that says “You’re linking to another page with the focus keyword you want this page to rank for. Consider changing that if you truly want this page to rank” So should I leave the anchor text with that keyword or change it?


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.

1. Apparently, external linking of any kind bleeds PR from the page. Following or nofollowing becomes a function of whether you want that lost PR to benefit the other site. Since nofollow has ceased to provide the benefit of retaining pagerank, the only reason to use it at all is Google Might Think This Link Is Paid. Conclusion: Google is disincentivizing external links of any kind.
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”.
There’s a lot of frustration being vented in this comments section. It is one thing to be opaque – which Google seems to be masterly at – but quite another to misdirect, which is what No Follow has turned out to be. All of us who produce content always put our readers first, but we also have to be sensible as far as on page SEO is concerned. All Google are doing with this kind of thing is to progressively direct webmasters towards optimizing for other, more reliable and transparent, ways of generating traffic (and no, that doesn’t necessarily mean Adwords, although that may be part of the intent).
Unfortunately, SEO is also a slow process. You can make “quick wins” in markets which are ill-established using SEO, but the truth is that the vast majority of useful keyphrases (including long-tail keyphrases) in competitive markets will already have been optimized for. It is likely to take a significant amount of time to get to a useful place in search results for these phrases. In some cases, it may take months or even years of concentrated effort to win the battle for highly competitive keyphrases.

This pagerank theme is getting understood in simplistic ways, people are still concerning about pagerank all the time (talking about SEOs). I just use common sense, if I were the designer of a search engine, besides of using the regular structure of analysis, I would use artificial intelligence to determine many factors of the analysis. I think this is not just a matter of dividing by 10, is far more complex. I might be wrong, but I believe the use of the nofollow attribute is not a final decision of the website owner any more is more like an option given to the bot, either to accept or reject the link as valid vote. Perhaps regular links are not final decision of the webmaster too. I think Google is seeing websites human would do, the pages are not analyzed like a parser will do, I believe is more like a neural network, bit more complex. I believe this change make a little difference. People should stop worrying about pagerank and start building good content, the algorithm is far more complex to determine what is next step to reach top ten at Google. However nothing is impossible.
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.
Finally, start building links in relevant sites like business directories (especially local directories) relevant niche blogs and forums, and industry publications. Success at link building will result from a combination of good PR, smart marketing strategy, and of course, great content. Google has said that social media doesn’t impact rankings, but reaching out to social influencers can give your content traction on other channels that can be useful.

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.

Search Engine Optimization

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