I have to take my hat off to your content – not just for the tips you’ve given that have helped me with my websites, but for how clearly you can write. May I ask, what books or resources have inspired and influenced your writing and content creation the most? The two best books I’ve read so far to improve my writing are On Writing Well and Letting Go of the Words.
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.
3. General on-site optimization. On-site optimization is a collection of tactics, most of which are simple to implement, geared toward making your website more visible and indexable to search engines. These tactics include things like optimizing your titles and meta descriptions to include some of your target keywords, ensuring your site’s code is clean and minimal, and providing ample, relevant content on every page. I’ve got a huge list of on-site SEO tactics you can check out here.
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.

If the algorithm really works as Matt suggests, no one should use nofollow links internally. I’ll use the example that Matt gave. Suppose you have a home page with ten PR “points.” You have links to five “searchable” pages that people would like to find (and you’d like to get found!), and links to five dull pages with disclaimers, warranty info, log-in information, etc. But, typically, all of the pages will have links in headers and footers back to the home page and other “searchable” pages. So, by using “nofollow” you lose some of the reflected PR points that you’d get if you didn’t use “nofollow.” I understand that there’s a decay factor, but it still seems that you could be leaking points internally by using “nofollow.”

In my view, the Reasonable Surfer model would findamentally change the matrix values above, so that the same overall PageRank is apportioned out of each node, but each outbound link carres a different value. In this scenario, you can indeed make the case that three links will generate more traffic than one, although the placement of these links might increase OR DECREASE the amount of PageRank that is passed, since (ultimately) the outbound links from page A to Page B are dependent on the location of all other outbound links on Page A. But this is the subject of another presentation for the future I think.
I think it is important you distinguish your advice about no-following INTERNAL links and no-following EXTERNAL links for user-generated content. Most popular UGC-heavy sites have no-followed links as they can’t possibly police them editorially & want to give some indication to the search engines that the links haven’t been editorially approved, but still might provide some user benefit.
7. Keyword research. Specific target keywords aren’t as important for SEO success as they used to be, now that Google search is fueled by semantic and contextual understanding, but you should still be able to identify both head keyword (short, high-volume keywords) and long-tail keyword (longer, conversational, low-volume keywords) targets to guide the direction of your campaign.
Great article and writing in general. My company just published a 5,000 word Keyword targeting best practices guide for PPC and SEO, and we linked to your article “10 Reasons You Should Use Google Trends for More Than Just Keyword Research”. http://vabulous.com/keyword-research-targeting-for-ppc-and-seo-guide/ I would love if you checked it out and possibly shared it if you like it.
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.
What I like the most about Monitor Backlinks is that we can keep track of every single link, and that we can see the status of those links when they change or become obsolete. The details and the whole overview of Monitor Backlinks, is exactly what I need and no more, because there are a lot of SEO programmes on the market today, which promise to do what's necessary, but don't. Monitor Backlinks is exactly what I need for my SEO, and no more than that needed.
Danny, I was on the panel where Matt suggested that and I point blank asked on stage what happened when folks starting abusing the tactic and Google changed their mind if you recall (at the time, I’d seen some of the things being done I knew Google would clarify as abuse and was still a nofollow unenthusiast s a result at that time). And Matt dismissed it. So, I think you can take home two important things from that – 1. SEO tactics can always change regardless of who first endorses them and 2. Not everything Matt says is etched in stone. <3 ya Matt. 

Quality content is more likely to get shared. By staying away from creating "thin" content and focusing more on content that cites sources, is lengthy and it reaches unique insights, you'll be able to gain Google's trust over time. Remember, this happens as a component of time. Google knows you can't just go out there and create massive amounts of content in a few days. If you try to spin content or duplicate it in any fashion, you'll suffer a Google penalty and your visibility will be stifled.
Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result. While there's no minimal or maximal length for the text in a description meta tag, we recommend making sure that it's long enough to be fully shown in Search (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search), and contains all the relevant information users would need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.
Hey – I love this article. One thing I’ve done with a little bit of success is interview “experts” in whatever niche. In my case this is a mattress site and I sent questions to small business owners with the information I was looking for. Some were happy to help and I would send them a link to the article once it was live. I didn’t ask for a link, but in some cases they would feature the link on their own website.
Google will index this link and see that ESPN has a high authority, and there is a lot of trust in that website, but the relevancy is fairly low. After all, you are a local plumber and they are the biggest sports news website in the world. Once it has indexed your website, it can see that they do not have a lot in common. Now, Google will definitely give you credit for the link, but there is no telling how much.
What is a useful place in search results? Ideally, you need to be in the top three search results returned. More than 70% of searches are resolved in these three results, while 90% are resolved on the first page of results. So, if you’re not in the top three, you’re going to find you’re missing out on the majority of potential business—and if you’re not on the first page, you’re going to miss out on nearly all potential business.
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 it’s important to remember that the majority of website owners are NOT at all technical and savvy as to how this whole system works when it comes to SEO, but they still get along and do their best to put something worthwhile on the net. Unfortunately this same majority can so often damage their website rankings without ever knowing it, and lead to an under-performing website as a result, regardless of the quality of their content. As I’ve learnt as a new website owner for the first time, there’s a lot more to running a website than just doing the right thing and trying to produce quality, when time and time again the experts in SEO always win out on the SERPs regardless of quality. One keyword phrase I searched on repeatedly over recent years resulted in the same EMPTY site being returned as the number one result, truly, it had NO content.
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.
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.
A backlink is simply a link from another domain pointing back to your site. Simple, right? Well, yes and no. Not all backlinks are created equal, and there are a few rules you need to observe in order for them to benefit your site’s ranking. For example, your link needs to be a clickable hyperlink with anchor text; for example, www. conductor .com won’t help us in link building, but www.conductor.com will.
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.
Backlinks are a major ranking factor for most search engines, including Google. If you want to do SEO for your website and get relevant organic traffic, building backlinks is something you should be doing. The more backlinks your website has from authoritative domains, the higher reputation you’ll have in Google’s eyes. And you’ll dominate the SERPS.
Despite this many people seem to get it wrong! In particular “Chris Ridings of www.searchenginesystems.net” has written a paper entitled “PageRank Explained: Everything you’ve always wanted to know about PageRank”, pointed to by many people, that contains a fundamental mistake early on in the explanation! Unfortunately this means some of the recommendations in the paper are not quite accurate.
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.
Well, something similar happened with PageRank, a brilliant child of Google founders Larry Page (who gave his name to the child and played off the concept of a web-page) and Sergey Brin. It helped Google to become the search giant that dictates the rules for everybody else, and at the same time it created an array of complicated situations that at some point got out of hand.

Brand awareness has been proven to work with more effectiveness in countries that are high in uncertainty avoidance, also these countries that have uncertainty avoidance; social media marketing works effectively. Yet brands must be careful not to be excessive on the use of this type of marketing, as well as solely relying on it as it may have implications that could negatively harness their image. Brands that represent themselves in an anthropomorphizing manner are more likely to succeed in situations where a brand is marketing to this demographic. "Since social media use can enhance the knowledge of the brand and thus decrease the uncertainty, it is possible that people with high uncertainty avoidance, such as the French, will particularly appreciate the high social media interaction with an anthropomorphized brand." Moreover, digital platform provides an ease to the brand and its customers to interact directly and exchange their motives virtually.[33]
Online networking, when executed correctly, allows you to build valuable relationships in online forums and groups that can help you advance your business. You could meet peers and fellow experts with whom you could collaborate or partner up with for a project, or you could provide value to your target audience by sharing your knowledge and winning over some customers as a result. No matter what, though, the goal with this type of marketing is purely relationship building and not selling outright.

Mani, could not agree more your statements. It’s no wonder the SEO industry has such a bad name and it’s 99.9% Snake Oil. Still, Google, this Blog and other “SEO” sites are partly responsible for the PR hysteria, link spam and email spam for PR. Google should also put an end to Webmasters being screwed by SEO, but placing a BIG prominet statements on their Webmaster pages along the lines of;
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.
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.
Brian, you are such an inspiration. I wonder how do you get all these hacks and then publish them for all of us. I have been reading your stuff from quite a time now, but I have a problem. Every time I read something you post I feel overwhelmed but I haven’t been really able to generate any fruitful results on any of my sites. I just don’t know where to start. Imagine I don’t even have an email list. 

One final note is that if the links are not directly related to the subject, or you have no control over them, such as commentors’ website links, maybe you should consider putting them on another page, which links to your main content. That way you don’t leak page rank, and still gain hits from search results from the content of the comments. I may be missing something but this seems to mean that you can have your cake and eat it, and I don’t even think it is gaming the system or against the spirit of it. You might even gain a small sprinkling of page rank if the comment page accumulates any of it’s own.
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. 

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.
Brian Dean, an SEO expert and the creator of BackLinko, uses SEO tactics to rank #1 on YouTube for keywords like “on page SEO” and “video SEO”. Initially, Dean admits his YouTube account struggled to get any views. Employing SEO methods like keyword optimization has enabled Dean to rise to #1 on YouTube for search results related to his business. He published his full strategy on Backlinko.
Hi Matt, we are currently about to upload a mayor project that includes applying no-follows to a numerous amount of links. This project was not conceived as a method of sculpting the site but because in out webmasters tools google alerted us that the site had too many links and this could affect crawling. This is mainly because we have a high listing and because we offer the users many filtering options which makes for great user experience as several surveys indicated. The idea of the no-follows was to apply them to these filtering links to tell google not to follow them. Do you think this is the way to go?. After reading your post I am affraid that we might be making a mistake.
For example, what are the quality and quantity of the links that have been created over time? Are they natural and organic links stemming from relevant and high quality content, or are they spammy links, unnatural links or coming from bad link neighborhoods? Are all the links coming from the same few websites over time or is there a healthy amount of global IP diversification in the links?
For example this page. My program found almost 400 nofollow links on this page. (Each comment has 3). And then you have almost 60 navigation links. My real question is how much percentage of the PageRank on this page gets distributed to the 9 real links in the article? If it is a division of 469 which some SEO experts now are claiming it is really disturbing. You won’t earn much from the links if you follow what I am saying.

On the other hand, if your friend Ben launches a website tomorrow to provide plumbing industry information for consumers and includes a list of the best plumbers in Tucson and includes your business on the list, this may not get too much of a boost in the short ter. Though it meets the criteria of relevancy, the website is too new to be a trusted authority.
I have a question. My site is in download/free resources niche, and I’m having some troubles figuring out link building opportunities. Most of the webmasters from other websites in this niche don’t really actively respond to my email. I guess it’s because this is a niche that people often build a high traffic website and leave it there as a passive income. Do you have any suggestion?
Great post. I’m posting a link back to this article from our blog along with some comments. I do have a question. In your article, you post “The only place I deliberately add a nofollow is on the link to my feed, because it’s not super-helpful to have RSS/Atom feeds in web search results.” Yet when I look at this article, I noticed that the comment links are “external, nofollow”. Is there a reason for that?
PageRank was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford. In fact the name. PageRank is a likely play on Larry Page's name. At the time that Page and Brin met, early search engines typically linked to pages that had the highest keyword density, which meant people could game the system by repeating the same phrase over and over to attract higher search page results. Sometimes web designers would even put hidden text on pages to repeat phrases. 
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.
But this leads to a question — if my husband wants to do a roundup of every Wagner Ring Cycle on DVD, that’s about 8 Amazon links on the page, all bleeding PR away from his substantive insights. If he, instead, wants to do a roundup of every Ring Cycle on CD, that’s about two dozen items worth discussing. The page would be very handy for users, and would involve considerably more effort on his part… but no good deed goes unpunished, and in the eyes of Google the page would be devalued by more than two thirds.
Site owners are using the toolbar to find “good” sites that they should get links from, regardless of the fact that link context is also important, not to mention many, many other factors that are used by Google to rank a web page. Other site owners, getting a gray PR0 toolbar for their site, immediate assume the worst, that they’ve been blacklisted.