The truth? Today, rising above the noise and achieving any semblance of visibility has become a monumental undertaking. While we might prevail at searching, we fail at being found. How are we supposed to get notice while swimming in a sea of misinformation and disinformation? We've become immersed in this guru gauntlet where one expert after another is attempting to teach us how we can get the proverbial word out about our businesses and achieve visibility to drive more leads and sales, but we all still seem to be lost.
If you’re just getting started with SEO, you’re likely to hear a lot about “backlinks,” “external and internal links,” or “link building.” After all, backlinks are an important SEO ranking factor for SEO success, but as a newbie, you may be wondering: what are backlinks? SEO changes all the time — do backlinks still matter? Well, wonder no more. Say hello to your definitive guide to backlinks and their significance in SEO.
When an Internet user starts searching for something, he/she tries to solve some particular problem or achieve something. Your prior aim is to help them find a good solution. Don’t be obsessed with search volume only. Think about the user’s needs. There is no difference between 40,000 and 1,000 word posts and articles when we speak about their value. Try to create high-quality content and don’t pay any attention to certain stereotypes.
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.
There is much discussion in these last few months about reciprocal linking. In the last Google update, reciprocal links were one of the targets of the search engine's latest filter. Many webmasters had agreed upon reciprocal link exchanges, in order to boost their site's rankings with the sheer number of inbound links. In a link exchange, one webmaster places a link on his website that points to another webmasters website, and vice versa. Many of these links were simply not relevant, and were just discounted. So while the irrelevant inbound link was ignored, the outbound links still got counted, diluting the relevancy score of many websites. This caused a great many websites to drop off the Google map.
Chris_D, great question. If you have a single product page that can have multiple urls with slightly different parameters, that’s a great time to use a rel=canonical meta tag. You can use rel=canonical for pages with session IDs in a similar fashion. What rel=canonical lets you do is say “this page X on my host is kinda of ugly or otherwise isn’t the best version of this page. Use url Y as the preferred version of my page instead.” You can read about rel=canonical at http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139394. Bear in mind that if you can make your site work without session IDs or make it so that you don’t have multiple “aliases” for the same page, that’s even better because it solves the problem at the root.
The green ratings bars are a measure of the importance Google’s assessment of the importance of a web page, as determined by Google’s patented PageRank technology and other factors. These PageRank bars tell you at a glance whether other people on the web consider Google considers a page to be a high-quality site worth checking out. Google itself does not evaluate or endorse websites. Rather, we measure what others on the web feel is important enough to deserve a link. And because Google does not accept payment for placement within our results, the information you see when you conduct a search is based on totally objective criteria.
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.
Thanks for the article (and lead-off links as they were good info too) but I did not quite get – if there was a penalisation by Google for sculpting – from the article or whether it was just bad practice? And also to echo what someone else asked ‘is it WORTH actually undoing this type of work on websites SEO’s have worked on’ or simply change the way we work with new sites?
PageRank is only a score that represents the importance of a page, as Google estimates it (By the way, that estimate of importance is considered to be Google’s opinion and protected in the US by the First Amendment. When Google was once sued over altering PageRank scores for some sites, a US court ruled: “PageRanks are opinions — opinions of the significance of particular Web sites as they correspond to a search query….the court concludes Google’s PageRanks are entitled to full constitutional protection.)
NOTE: You may be curious what your site’s or your competitor’s PR score is. But Google no longer reveals the PageRank score for websites. It used to display at the top of web browsers right in the Google Toolbar, but no more. And PR data is no longer available to developers through APIs, either. Even though it’s now hidden from public view, however, PageRank remains an important ingredient in Google’s secret ranking algorithms.
What's the authority of your website or webpage, or any other page on the internet for that matter where you're attempting to gain visibility? Authority is an important component of trust, and it relies heavily on quality links coming from websites that Google already trusts. Authority largely relates to the off-page optimization discipline of SEO that occurs away from the webpage as opposed to the on-page optimization that occurs directly on the webpage. 

Submit website to directories (limited use). Professional search marketers don’t sub­mit the URL to the major search engines, but it’s possible to do so. A better and faster way is to get links back to your site naturally. Links get your site indexed by the search engines. However, you should submit your URL to directories such as Yahoo! (paid), Business.com (paid) and DMOZ (free). Some may choose to include AdSense (google.com/adsense) scripts on a new site to get their Google Media bot to visit. It will likely get your pages indexed quickly.
Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines' algorithms, or by a manual site review. One example was the February 2006 Google removal of both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of deceptive practices.[53] Both companies, however, quickly apologized, fixed the offending pages, and were restored to Google's list.[54]
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.

As you might know, backlinks and all marketing strategies are dependent on the competition and existing trends in your niche. So if the blogs and marketers in your country are still using older tactics like web 2.0 backlinks and blog comments, then does it even make sense to go for tedious strategies like outreach? Does it even warrant a good business ROI?

A: I wouldn’t recommend it, because it isn’t the most effective way to utilize your PageRank. In general, I would let PageRank flow freely within your site. The notion of “PageRank sculpting” has always been a second- or third-order recommendation for us. I would recommend the first-order things to pay attention to are 1) making great content that will attract links in the first place, and 2) choosing a site architecture that makes your site usable/crawlable for humans and search engines alike.

Google's strategy works well. By focusing on the links going to and from a Web page, the search engine can organize results in a useful way. While there are a few tricks webmasters can use to improve Google standings, the best way to get a top spot is to consistently provide top quality content, which gives other people the incentive to link back to their pages.
Retargeting is another way that we can close the conversion loop and capitalize on the traffic gained from the overall marketing campaign. Retargeting is a very powerful display advertising tool to keep your brand top of mind and keep them coming back. We track every single touch point up to the ultimate conversions and use that data to make actionable recommendations for further campaign optimization.

My main concern though, is Google appears to becoming reliant on sites doing MANY things for SE only. It also appears that Google is lowering the bar for YouTube videos in the organic SERPs and forcing their insertion as the cost of relevant pages. It even seems they are now doing the same for pictures, despite BOTH having their own SEs. I fear Google is attempting to increase profits, for it’s shareholders, in a rather impatient manner.
By 2004, search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce the impact of link manipulation. In June 2007, The New York Times' Saul Hansell stated Google ranks sites using more than 200 different signals.[25] The leading search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, do not disclose the algorithms they use to rank pages. Some SEO practitioners have studied different approaches to search engine optimization, and have shared their personal opinions.[26] Patents related to search engines can provide information to better understand search engines.[27] In 2005, Google began personalizing search results for each user. Depending on their history of previous searches, Google crafted results for logged in users.[28]

Is there anyway “no follow” links can positively affect your search rankings? Most bloggers have to assign this attribute as they can’t trust every site they link to nor do they want to decrease their own PR. Is there any potential for search engine to reward a page that accumulates “no follow” links even if they accrue 1/10 the weight they previously did? This would reward those who take the time to actively blog.
Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines' algorithms, or by a manual site review. One example was the February 2006 Google removal of both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of deceptive practices.[53] Both companies, however, quickly apologized, fixed the offending pages, and were restored to Google's list.[54]
Let’s say that I want to link to some popular search results on my catalog or directory site – you know, to give a new user an alternative way of sampling the site. Of course, following Google’s advice, I have to “avoid allowing search result-like pages to be crawled”. Now, I happen to think that these pages are great for the new user, but I accept Google’s advice and block them using robots.txt.
It’s hard to believe that the Internet is now multiple decades old. Affiliate marketing has been around since the earliest days of online marketing. It’s a great solution for businesses that are risk-averse or don’t have the budget to spend on upfront marketing costs. Use affiliate marketing to build a new revenue stream for your ecommerce or B2B business.

Conversion rate optimization is all about testing. Many companies get too bogged down in design and what they think looks best and will convert. At the end of the day, you don’t know until you test. At IMI, we have the tools, technology, and expertise to not only build well-optimized web pages but to test them once they go live. Our conversion rate optimization can not only save our client’s money but generate millions in revenue.


If I’m writing a page about the use of the vCard microformat on a page, it absolutely makes sense for me to link out to the definition where it was originally published, and improves user experience as well as lending authority to my arguments. Often as SEOs we get obsessed with the little things, claiming that its hard to get links on particular subjects, and that is pretty true, but its mainly our own selfishness in linking out to authority content that prevents other people giving us the same courtesy.
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 🙂

The total number of backlinks can often include many links from the same referring domain or multiple referring domains. It’s common for referring domains to link back to your content if it is relevant, authoritative or useful in some way to their own domain. In an ideal world, that’s how backlinks are accumulated; unique content that other websites want to be associated with.
How does it work? In essence, you use Google Adwords (or another search engine’s equivalent – depending on the market you work in; in China, you’d be looking at Baidu, for example) to place bids on keyphrases; you write an advert based on that keyphrase; the search engine places the advert near the top of the search rankings, and you pay the amount of the bid every time someone clicks on your advert.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or webpage on a search engine results page (SERP) so as to make a company’s website more discoverable (i.e., on the first page/s), thereby driving traffic and sales. Tedious, involving technical and business decisions, and not guaranteeing results—it nonetheless provides lasting benefits.
If you decide to go into affiliate marketing, understand that you will need a lot of very targeted traffic if you want to make any real money. Those affiliate offers also need to provide a high commission amount to you on each sale. You also need to ensure that the returns or chargebacks for those products or services are low. The last thing you want to do is to sell a product or service that provides very little value and gets returned often.
I like that you said you let PageRank flow freely throughout your site. I think that’s good and I’ve steered many friends and clients to using WordPress for their website for this very reason. With WordPress, it seems obvious that each piece of content has an actual home (perma links) and so it would seem logical that Google and other search engines will figure out that structure pretty easily.
However, some of the world's top-earning blogs gross millions of dollars per month on autopilot. It's a great source of passive income and if you know what you're doing, you could earn a substantial living from it. You don't need millions of visitors per month to rake in the cash, but you do need to connect with your audience and have clarity in your voice.

Numerous academic papers concerning PageRank have been published since Page and Brin's original paper.[5] In practice, the PageRank concept may be vulnerable to manipulation. Research has been conducted into identifying falsely influenced PageRank rankings. The goal is to find an effective means of ignoring links from documents with falsely influenced PageRank.[6]
The nofollow tag is being used for page rank sculpting and to stop blog spamming. In my mind this is tant amount to manipulating page rank and thus possibly ranking position in certain cases. I do post to regularly blogs and forums regarding web design and this improved my search ranking as a side effect. Whats wrong with making an active contribution to the industry blogs and being passed some Pagerank. Google needs to determine whether the post entry is relevant then decide to pass pagerank after the analysis or just decide that blog should not pass PR in any event. Whats gone wrong with the Internet when legitimate content pages do not pass PR?
Things are constantly changing, there is even evidence that nofollow links do count on some occasions. Its really a very complex subject as there is a formula behind the algorithm that takes many factors into consideration trying to guess what factors come into play is very difficult. I always focus on making the site as useful as possible to as many people as possible this is the end goal for search engines as well as webmasters. Webmasters who do this whilst observing the search engine’s guidelines should not have problems in reaching the top.
Links still matter as part of the algorithmic secret sauce. The influence of a site’s link profile is plain to see in its search engine rankings, whether for better or worse, and changes in that link profile cause noticeable movement up or down the SERP. An SEO’s emphasis today should be on attracting links to quality content naturally, not building them en masse. (For more on proper link building today, see http://bit.ly/1XIm3vf )
These are ‘tit-for-tat’ links. For instance, you make a deal with your friend who has a business website to have him place a link to your website, and in exchange your website links back to his. In the dark ages of SEO, this used to be somewhat effective. But these days, Google considers such 'link exchanges' to be link schemes, and you may get hit with a penalty if you're excessive and obvious about it. This isn't to say that swapping links is always bad, but if your only motive is SEO, then odds are that you shouldn't do it. 

While many people attempt to understand and wrap their minds around the internet marketing industry as a whole, there are others out there that have truly mastered the field. Now, if you're asking yourself what the term internet marketing actually means, it simply boils down to a number of marketing activities that can be done online. This includes things like affiliate marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, blogging, paid marketing, search engine optimization and so on.
One thing that has worked well for me lately that can work well (and may help with the infographic promotion) is surveys. Google Forms allow you to create a survey for free. Think of interesting questions to your niche and start promoting the survey (ask well known influencers in your niche to share the survey with their social followers to help with responses. Offer them a link as a contributor once the survey is complete). Once you have a few hundred responses, you can create a commentary about your findings (Google also puts the data into graphs). If you have enough responses and the information is interesting, get in touch with the same bloggers who helped push it out there to see if they would be happy to share the results. The beauty of this method is that if the results are interesting enough, you might end up getting a link back from a huge news site.

8. Technical SEO. Technical SEO is one of the most intimidating portions of the SEO knowledge base, but it’s an essential one. Don’t let the name scare you; the most technical elements of SEO can be learned even if you don’t have any programming or website development experience. For example, you can easily learn how to update and replace your site’s robots.txt file, and with the help of an online template, you should be able to put together your sitemap efficiently.
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. 

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.
For the purpose of their second paper, Brin, Page, and their coauthors took PageRank for a spin by incorporating it into an experimental search engine, and then compared its performance to AltaVista, one of the most popular search engines on the Web at that time. Their paper included a screenshot comparing the two engines’ results for the word “university.”

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.
Links still matter as part of the algorithmic secret sauce. The influence of a site’s link profile is plain to see in its search engine rankings, whether for better or worse, and changes in that link profile cause noticeable movement up or down the SERP. An SEO’s emphasis today should be on attracting links to quality content naturally, not building them en masse. (For more on proper link building today, see http://bit.ly/1XIm3vf )
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).

Early versions of search algorithms relied on webmaster-provided information such as the keyword meta tag or index files in engines like ALIWEB. Meta tags provide a guide to each page's content. Using metadata to index pages was found to be less than reliable, however, because the webmaster's choice of keywords in the meta tag could potentially be an inaccurate representation of the site's actual content. Inaccurate, incomplete, and inconsistent data in meta tags could and did cause pages to rank for irrelevant searches.[10][dubious – discuss] Web content providers also manipulated some attributes within the HTML source of a page in an attempt to rank well in search engines.[11] By 1997, search engine designers recognized that webmasters were making efforts to rank well in their search engine, and that some webmasters were even manipulating their rankings in search results by stuffing pages with excessive or irrelevant keywords. Early search engines, such as Altavista and Infoseek, adjusted their algorithms to prevent webmasters from manipulating rankings.[12]


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.
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