Quite simply, a backlink is one website mentioning another website and linking to it. It is not merely referencing the website or it’s web address. It has to be a clickable link using an href attribute within the code. It is the difference between http://www.moz.com and Moz. Even though the first example displays a URL, the search engines do not register this as a backlink, whereas the word that has a link (often underlined and in a different color), is.
In order to engage customers, retailers must shift from a linear marketing approach of one-way communication to a value exchange model of mutual dialogue and benefit-sharing between provider and consumer.[21] Exchanges are more non-linear, free flowing, and both one-to-many or one-on-one.[5] The spread of information and awareness can occur across numerous channels, such as the blogosphere, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and a variety of other platforms. Online communities and social networks allow individuals to easily create content and publicly publish their opinions, experiences, and thoughts and feelings about many topics and products, hyper-accelerating the diffusion of information.[22]

PageRank has been used to rank spaces or streets to predict how many people (pedestrians or vehicles) come to the individual spaces or streets.[51][52] In lexical semantics it has been used to perform Word Sense Disambiguation,[53] Semantic similarity,[54] and also to automatically rank WordNet synsets according to how strongly they possess a given semantic property, such as positivity or negativity.[55]
I first discovered Sharpe years ago online. His story was one of the most sincere and intriguing tales that any one individual could convey. It was real. It was heartfelt. It was passionate. And it was a story of rockbottom failure. It encompassed a journey that mentally, emotionally and spiritually crippled him in the early years of his life. As someone who left home at the age of 14, had a child at 16, became addicted to heroin at 20 and clean four long years later, the cards were definitely stacked up against him.
Brian, just wanted to start off by saying great informative article, you had a lot of great of insight. I see it was mentioned a bit in the above comments, about the infographic, but I thought it is a great idea to include a textbox under the infographic with the coding that could be copied to be pasted on blogs (thus, earning additional backlinks from other websites). I’ve also noticed many infographics that have “resources” or “references” included in the image. My understanding is currently it is not recognized by google, because of the image format, but I foresee one day Google may be able to update their algorithm to recognize written text inside of an image, and thus potentially adding value to the written text in the image. What are your thoughts on that idea?
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.

The answer, at its basis, is largely what I convey in a great majority of my books about search engine optimization and online marketing. It all boils down to one simple concept: add tremendous amounts of value to the world. The more value you add, the more successful you become. Essentially, you have to do the most amount of work (initially at least) for the least return. Not the other way around.

In this illustration from the “PageRank Citation Ranking” paper, the authors demonstrate how webpages pass value onto other pages. The two pages on the left have a value of 100 and 9, respectively. The page with a value of 100 has two links that point to the pages on the right. That page’s value of 100 is divided between the two links, so that each conveys a value of 50. The other page on the left has three outgoing links, each carrying one-third of the page’s value of 9. One link goes to the top page on the right, which ends up with a total value of 53. The bottom right page has no other backlinks, so its total value is 50.
Email marketing is the practice of nurturing leads and driving sales through email communications with your customers. Like social media, the goal is to remind users that you’re here and your product is waiting. Unlike social media, however, you can be a lot more aggressive with your sales techniques, as people expect that email marketing will contain offers, product announcements and calls to action.
Backlinks can be time-consuming to earn. New sites or those expanding their keyword footprint may find it difficult to know where to start when it comes to link building. That's where competitive backlink research comes in: By examining the backlink profile (the collection of pages and domains linking to a website) to a competitor that's already ranking well for your target keywords, you can gain insight about the link building that may have helped them. A tool like Link Explorer can help uncover these links so you can and target those domains in your own link building campaigns.
Ian Rogers first used the Internet in 1986 sending email on a University VAX machine! He first installed a webserver in 1990, taught himself HTML and perl CGI scripting. Since then he has been a Senior Research Fellow in User Interface Design and a consultant in Network Security and Database Backed Websites. He has had an informal interest in topology and the mathematics and behaviour of networks for years and has also been known to do a little Jive dancing.
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.
The PageRank theory holds that an imaginary surfer who is randomly clicking on links will eventually stop clicking. The probability, at any step, that the person will continue is a damping factor d. Various studies have tested different damping factors, but it is generally assumed that the damping factor will be set around 0.85.[5] In applications of PageRank to biological data, a Bayesian analysis finds the optimal value of d to be 0.31.[24]
Another way to get sites to link back to something valuable on your site is by offering a free tool. A free tool could be a basic tool (like an auto loan calculator) or a scaled down version of a paid tool (like Alexa’s Site Overview and Audience Overlap tools). If the tools are valuable enough, others will link to them in their content. Plus, on free versions of paid tools, you can add call-to-actions to sign up for the full product/service which drives acquisition in addition to awareness.
Ah – well the Reasonable Surfer is a different patent (and therefore a different algorithm) to PageRank. I would imagine that initially, only the first link counted – simply because there either IS or IS NOT a relationship between the two nodes. This mean it was a binary choice. However, at Majestic we certainly think about two links between page A and Page B with separate anchor texts… in this case in a binary choice, either the data on the second link would need to be dropped or, the number of backlinks can start to get bloated. I wrote about this on Moz way back in 2011!
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.
It also seems that the underlying message is that google is constantly trying to find ways to identify the value of a page to it’s users and as it does so it will promote those pages more strongly in it’s search results and demote those that offer less real value, and it does not care how much you invest in trying to game the system by following ‘the rules’. As a small web site operator with no SEO budget and little time to apply the tricks and best practice, I think this is probably a good thing.
There is no secret that getting hiqh-quality backlinks is your website’s way to better ranking in Google. But how to differ good link from the bad one? Carefully choosing backlinks is a very tremulous and important task for everyone who wants to optimize their sites. There are a lot of different tools which can help you to check whether your backlinks are trustful and can bring your website value. 
As for the use of nofollow as a way to keep pages that shouldn’t be indexed out of Google (as with your feed example) is terrible advice. Your use of it on your feed link does nothing. If anyone links to your feed without nofollow, then it’s going to get indexed. Things that shouldn’t be indexed need to use either robots.txt or meta robots blocking. Nofollow on links to those items isn’t a solution.
We combine our sophisticated Search Engine Optimization skills with our ORM tools such as social media, social bookmarking, PR, video optimization, and content marketing to decrease the visibility of potentially damaging content. We also work with our clients to create rebuttal pages, micro-sites, positive reviews, social media profiles, and blogs in order to increase the volume of positive content that can be optimized for great search results.
And if you really want to know what are the most important, relevant pages to get links from, forget PageRank. Think search rank. Search for the words you’d like to rank for. See what pages come up tops in Google. Those are the most important and relevant pages you want to seek links from. That’s because Google is explicitly telling you that on the topic you searched for, these are the best.
Online reviews, then, have become another form of internet marketing that small businesses can't afford to ignore. While many small businesses think that they can't do anything about online reviews, that's not true. Just by actively encouraging customers to post reviews about their experience small businesses can weight online reviews positively. Sixty-eight percent of consumers left a local business review when asked. So assuming a business's products or services are not subpar, unfair negative reviews will get buried by reviews by happier customers.

It's key to understand that nobody really knows what goes into PageRank. Many believe that there are dozens if not hundreds of factors, but that the roots go back to the original concept of linking. It's not just volume of links either. Thousands of links by unauthoritative sites might be worth a handful of links from sites ranked as authoritative.


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?
Thanks for sharing this, Matt. I’m happy that you took the time to do so considering that you don’t have to. What I mean is, in an ideal world, there should be no such thing as SEO. It is the SE’s job to bring the right users to the right sites and it is the job of webmasters to cater to the needs of the users brought into their sites by SEs. Webmasters should not be concerned of bringing the users in themselves. (aside from offsite or sponsored marketing campaigns) The moment they do, things start to get ugly because SEs would now have to implement counter-measures. (To most SEO tactics) This becomes an unending spiral. If people only stick to their part of the equation, SEs will have more time to develop algorithms for making sure webmasters get relevant users rather than to develop algorithms for combating SEOs to ensure search users get relevant results. Just do your best in providing valuable content and Google will try their best in matching you with your users. Don’t waste time trying to second guess how Google does it so that you can present yourself to Google as having a better value than you really have. They have great engineers and they have the code—you only have a guess. At most, the SEO anyone should be doing is to follow the webmasters guidelines. It will benefit all.
We have to remember that Google’s $ model+bots to scour the web have to tow the same line so they can optimize their own pocketbook, balancing a free and open resource – ie. the www, all while taking money from the natural competition that arises from their market share. On the one side, its all about appearing fair and the other, to drive competitive output.
I don’t get it, it seems Google is constantly making rules & regulations as they see fit. I don’t try to “manipulate” any links we have on our site or any clients we work for. Links take time period. No way around it. But, now this explanation gives more fuel to all the Google bashers out there. I recently read an article about Guy Kawasaki has been “loaned” one, two, three cars in three years & is still within Google’s guidelines? Makes me wonder how many rules and regulations are broken. My take is do your job right, and don’t worry what Google is doing. If content is King then everything will fall into place naturally.
2. Was there really a need to make this change? I know all sites should be equally capable of being listed in search engines without esoteric methods playing a part. But does this really happen anyway (in search engines or life in general)? If you hire the best accountant you will probably pay less tax than the other guy. Is that really fair? Also, if nobody noticed the change for a year (I did have an inkling, but was totally and completely in denial) then does that mean the change didn’t have to be made in the first place? As said, we now have a situation where people will probably make bigger and more damaging changes to their site and structure, rather than add a little ‘nofollow’ to a few links.

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.


On-page SEO is the work you do on your own website to get a high rank in search engines. Your goal is obviously that your website will show on the first page and perhaps even among the first three search results. On-page SEO does not carry as much weight as off-page SEO in the rankings, but if you don’t get the basics right… it’s unlikely that your off-page SEO will deliver results, either.

Ian Rogers first used the Internet in 1986 sending email on a University VAX machine! He first installed a webserver in 1990, taught himself HTML and perl CGI scripting. Since then he has been a Senior Research Fellow in User Interface Design and a consultant in Network Security and Database Backed Websites. He has had an informal interest in topology and the mathematics and behaviour of networks for years and has also been known to do a little Jive dancing.


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]

Backlinks can be time-consuming to earn. New sites or those expanding their keyword footprint may find it difficult to know where to start when it comes to link building. That's where competitive backlink research comes in: By examining the backlink profile (the collection of pages and domains linking to a website) to a competitor that's already ranking well for your target keywords, you can gain insight about the link building that may have helped them. A tool like Link Explorer can help uncover these links so you can and target those domains in your own link building campaigns.
Google works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. Google assesses the importance of every web page using a variety of techniques, including its patented PageRank™ algorithm which analyzes which sites have been “voted” the best sources of information by other pages across the web.
Back in the ’90s, two students at Stanford named Larry Page and Sergey Brin started pondering how they could make a better search engine that didn’t get fooled by keyword stuffing. They realized that if you could measure each website’s popularity (and then cross index that with what the website was about), you could build a much more useful search engine. In 1998, they published a scientific paper in which they introduced the concept of “PageRank.” This topic was further explored in another paper that Brin and Page contributed to, “PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web.”
Get a link to your pages from an high PR page and yes, some of that PageRank importance is transmitted to your page. But that’s doesn’t take into account the context of the link — the words in the link — the anchor text. If you don’t understand anchor text, Google Now Reporting Anchor Text Phrases from me last month will take you by the hand and explain it more.
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]
Donating your time or money to local charities, organizations, and schools is actually a great - yet often overlooked - way of obtaining backlinks. Such organizations often have pages where they promote sponsors and donors, giving you the opportunity to net a backlink from a trusted organization. If such an organization has a donors section on their homepage, that's even better!
There is no secret that getting hiqh-quality backlinks is your website’s way to better ranking in Google. But how to differ good link from the bad one? Carefully choosing backlinks is a very tremulous and important task for everyone who wants to optimize their sites. There are a lot of different tools which can help you to check whether your backlinks are trustful and can bring your website value. 
I am not worried by this; I do agree with Danny Sullivan (Great comment Danny, best comment I have read in a long time). I will not be changing much on my site re: linking but it is interesting too see that Google took over a year to tell us regarding the change, but was really happy to tell us about rel=”nofollow” in the first place and advised us all to use it.
Ian Rogers first used the Internet in 1986 sending email on a University VAX machine! He first installed a webserver in 1990, taught himself HTML and perl CGI scripting. Since then he has been a Senior Research Fellow in User Interface Design and a consultant in Network Security and Database Backed Websites. He has had an informal interest in topology and the mathematics and behaviour of networks for years and has also been known to do a little Jive dancing.
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