After adding your main competitors into Monitor Backlinks, use the metrics provided to determine which links are worth replicating. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to replicate all of them. All sites have bad links, even Wikipedia. You should only replicate the links that have a good authority. While not always the case, usually the more complicated it is to get a backlink from a website, the higher value it will have.
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.
Matt, in almost every example you have given about “employing great content” to receive links naturally, you use blogs as an example. What about people that do not run blog sites (the vast majority of sites!), for example an E-Com site selling stationary? How would you employ “great content” on a site that essentially sells a boring product? Is it fair that companies that sell uninteresting products or services should be outranked by huge sites like Amazon that have millions to spend on marketing because they cant attract links naturally?
Excellent post! I’m reasonably savvy up to a certain point and have managed to get some of my health content organically ranking higher than WebMD. It’s taken a long time building strong backlinks from very powerful sites (HuffingtonPost being one of them), but I am going to take some time, plow through a few beers, and then get stuck into implementing some of these suggestions. Keep up the great work amigo. Cheers, Bill
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. 

Steve, sometimes good information to users is a consolidation of very high quality links. We have over 3000 links to small business sites within the SBA as well as links to the Harvard and Yale library, academic journals, etc. But because we have the understanding that there should be no more than a hundred links in a website (more now from what Matt said) we have used nofollow on all of them out of fear that Google will penalize our site because of the amount of links.

TrustRank takes into consideration website foundational backlinks. Searching engines find quicker sites which are reliable and trustworthy and place them on the top of SERP. All doubtful websites you can find somewhere at the end of the rank if you decide to look what is there. As a rule, people take the information from the first links and stop searching, in case they have found nothing on first 20 top sites. Surely, your website may have that required information, service or goods but because of lack of authority, Internet users will not find them unless you have good foundational backlinks. What are backlinks which we call foundational? These are all branded and non-optimized backlinks on authority websites.


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).
Search queries—the words that users type into the search box—carry extraordinary value. Experience has shown that search engine traffic can make (or break) an organization's success. Targeted traffic to a website can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other channel of marketing. Investing in SEO can have an exceptional rate of return compared to other types of marketing and promotion.
Steve, sometimes good information to users is a consolidation of very high quality links. We have over 3000 links to small business sites within the SBA as well as links to the Harvard and Yale library, academic journals, etc. But because we have the understanding that there should be no more than a hundred links in a website (more now from what Matt said) we have used nofollow on all of them out of fear that Google will penalize our site because of the amount of links.
Bob Dole (interesting name), you’re certainly welcome to use Bing if you prefer, but before you switch, you might check whether they do similar things. I know that Nate Buggia has strongly recommended not to bother with PageRank sculpting in the past, for example, or at least that was my perception from his comments at the last couple SMX Advanced conferences.

Yep, please change things to stop keyword stuffing. Change them to stop cloaking. Definately change them to stop buying links that try to game Google. But, telling search engines to not give weight (that I control) to pages that are not what my site is about or are not really relevant. No way. This is logical stuff here. Maybe too logical. I think deep down you know this Matt too.
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.
3) Some people don’t believe things have changed. In fact, if things really changed substantially a year ago, you’d think a few of the advanced SEOs out there would have noticed this and talked about it. But nada. There are lots of reasons why the change could have happened and not been spotted. Sculpting might really have been a second or third order factor, as Matt calls it — not helping things as much as some have assumed. SEOs that spotted it might have stayed quiet. Or, it didn’t change — and still hasn’t changed — and sculpting does work even better than Google thought, so it wants to put out a message that it doesn’t, in hopes of putting the genie back in the bottle. That’s probably the major conspiracy theory out there.
For instance, the Pew Internet & American Life Project has demographic data that suggests individuals between the ages of 18 and 33 are the most likely to use mobile Internet technology like smartphones and tablets, while the “Gen-X” demographic of individuals who are in their 30’s and 40’s are far more likely to seek out information through their laptop and desktop computers.(See also Targeted Marketing)
Just do a quick Google search. If you're monitoring to see if a link you built is indexed, or just want to find other areas where you've been mentioned or linked, do a quick search with your company brand name, your web URL or other terms you're following. I've seen plenty of backlinks indexed by the search engine that never showed up in my search console account.
As they noted in their paper, pages stuffed fulled of useless keywords “often wash out any results that a user is interested in.” While we often complain when we run into spammy pages today, the issue was far worse then. In their paper they state that, “as of November 1997, only one of the top four commercial search engines finds itself (returns its own search page in response to its name in the top ten results).” That’s incredibly difficult to imagine happening now. Imagine searching for the word “Google” in that search engine, and not have it pull up www.google.com in the first page of results. And yet, that’s how bad it was 20 years ago.
If you’re using SEM as a strategy, you’ll need to test and evaluate your keywords. A good rule of thumb is that for every 100 clicks you get, you’ll get between 3 and 10 enquiries. So, to conduct an efficient test, you’ll want to test around 1,000 clicks. That means setting your budget for Adwords at 1,000 times the cost of the click. If you find that this is going to cost too much, you’ll need to find other keywords or a different marketing strategy.
A backlink’s value doesn’t only come from the website authority itself. There are other factors to consider as well. You’ll sometimes times hear those in the industry refer to “dofollow” and “nofollow” links. This goes back to the unethical linkbuilding tactics in the early days of SEO. One practices included commenting on blogs and leaving a link. It was an easy method and back then, search engines couldn’t tell the difference between a blog post and other site content.

An entrepreneur or freelancer has two main strategies to tap into when marketing online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which attempts to rank your website on search engines “organically”, and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which ranks your website in search results in exchange for money. Both strategies can be used to build a business successfully—but which one is right for you?
So enough of these scary stories. Google actually likes backlinks and relies upon them. The whole idea behind them is that they help to tell Google what is good and useful out there. Remember, it is still an algorithm. It doesn’t know that your page describing the best technique for restoring a 1965 Ford Mustang bumper is all that great. But if enough people are talking about how great it is, and thereby referencing that page on other websites, Google will actually know.
Hi Dean! Thanks for the ideas! They are awesome! However, I have a serious doubt about the Scholarship link. I’ve checked a few of those .edu sites.. and now that so many people have followed your tips… those .edu sites have TONS of links to niche sites… even if the link comes from a high DA site.. don’t you think it might be weird in the eyes of google? I don’t know if it might be dangerous to have a link from the same page with hundreds of low quality sites (not all of them, but some for sure).. what do you think? Thanks!
If Google was to allow webmasters full control of their own fate it would be like giving up the farm rather than giving up to the forces of human creativity. If you feel today were in a crowded market place even with a Google’s superiority complex, wait until the web is completely machine readable and aggregated on pure laws of information. I don’t think most can comprehend the future of data management as we have yet to see readily available parsing mechanisms that evolve purely based on the principles of information theory and not merely economies of scale. Remember not too long ago when Facebook tried to change their TOS to own your links and profiles? We can see that the tragedy of the commons still shapes the decision of production with that of opting in.

Place strategic search phrases on pages. Integrate selected keywords into your website source code and existing content on designated pages. Make sure to apply a sug­gested guideline of one to three keywords/phrases per content page and add more pages to complete the list. Ensure that related words are used as a natural inclu­sion of your keywords. It helps the search engines quickly determine what the page is about. A natural approach to this works best. In the past, 100 to 300 words on a page was recommended. Many tests show that pages with 800 to 2,000 words can outperform shorter ones. In the end, the users, the marketplace, content and links will determine the popularity and ranking numbers.
If you’re Matt Cutts and a billion people link to you because you’re the Spam guy at Google, writing great content is enough. For the rest of us in hypercompetitive markets, good content alone is not enough. There was nothing wrong with sculpting page rank to pages on your site that make you money as a means of boosting traffic to those pages. It’s not manipulating Google, there’s more than enough of that going on in the first page of results for most competitive keywords. Geez Matt, give the little guy a break!
The Truth? You don't often come across genuine individuals in this space. I could likely count on one hand who those genuine-minded marketers might be. Someone like Russel Brunson who's developed a career out of providing true value in the field and helping to educate the uneducated is one such name. However, while Brunson has built a colossal business, the story of David Sharpe and his journey to becoming an 8-figure earner really hits home for most people.
As they noted in their paper, pages stuffed fulled of useless keywords “often wash out any results that a user is interested in.” While we often complain when we run into spammy pages today, the issue was far worse then. In their paper they state that, “as of November 1997, only one of the top four commercial search engines finds itself (returns its own search page in response to its name in the top ten results).” That’s incredibly difficult to imagine happening now. Imagine searching for the word “Google” in that search engine, and not have it pull up www.google.com in the first page of results. And yet, that’s how bad it was 20 years ago.
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.

Just like the new structure on JavaScript links and them now carrying weight and being crawlable, the PageRank sculpting change is understandable. Google now can and wants to index more of the web (JavaScript link change). Google wants to reverse a method that can only help people in the know (PageRank sculpting change). Logically, all is very understandable.
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.
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.
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 dont know if Google gets its kicks out of keeping Search Engine Marketers and Webmasters jumping through hoops – or if they are in cahoots with the big SEM firms – so that they get this news and these updates before the average guy on the street. Either way, they are seriously getting a bit too big and powerful and the time is RIPE for a new search engine to step in and level the playing field.
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.
I compare the latest Google search results to this: Mcdonalds is the most popular and is #1 in hamburgers… they dont taste that great but people still go there. BUT I bet you know a good burger joint down the road from Google that makes awesome burgers, 10X better than Mcdonalds, but “we” can not find that place because he does not have the resources or budget to market his burgers effectively.
The Nielsen Global Connected Commerce Survey conducted interviews in 26 countries to observe how consumers are using the Internet to make shopping decisions in stores and online. Online shoppers are increasingly looking to purchase internationally, with over 50% in the study who purchased online in the last six months stating they bought from an overseas retailer.[23]
Thanks Matt for the informative post. However I do have some questions regarding blog comments. Let say a blog post of mine have PR 10, the page has 10 links, 3 of them are my internal link to my other related post, the other 7 links are external links from blog comment. Based on your explanation, even the 7 external links are nofollow, my 3 internal link will only get 1 PR each which is still the same if the 7 external link is dofollow. Therefore there is no point of adding nofollow for the sake of keeping the PR flow within your own links. Is this correct?
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?”
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.
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