In my experience this means (the key words are “not the most effective way”) a page not scored by Google (“e.g. my private link” – password protected, disallowed via robots.txt and/or noindex meta robots) whether using or not using rel=”nofollow” attribute in ‘links to’ is not factored into anything… because it can’t factor in something it isn’t allowed.
A decent article which encourages discussion and healthy debate. Reading some of the comments I see it also highlights some of the misunderstandings some people (including some SEOs) have of Google PageRank. Toolbar PageRank is not the same thing as PageRank. The little green bar (Toolbar PageRank) was never a very accurate metric and told you very little about the value of any particular web page. It may have been officially killed off earlier this year, but the truth is its been dead for many years. Real PageRank on the other hand, is at the core of Google’s algorithm and remains very important. 

Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.

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.

As mentioned above, the two versions of the algorithm do not differ fundamentally from each other. A PageRank which has been calculated by using the second version of the algorithm has to be multiplied by the total number of web pages to get the according PageRank that would have been caculated by using the first version. Even Page and Brin mixed up the two algorithm versions in their most popular paper "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine", where they claim the first version of the algorithm to form a probability distribution over web pages with the sum of all pages' PageRanks being one.
In 1998, two graduate students at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, developed "Backrub", a search engine that relied on a mathematical algorithm to rate the prominence of web pages. The number calculated by the algorithm, PageRank, is a function of the quantity and strength of inbound links.[21] PageRank estimates the likelihood that a given page will be reached by a web user who randomly surfs the web, and follows links from one page to another. In effect, this means that some links are stronger than others, as a higher PageRank page is more likely to be reached by the random web surfer.
The search engine results page (SERP) is the actual result returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The SERP consists of a list of links to web pages with associated text snippets. The SERP rank of a web page refers to the placement of the corresponding link on the SERP, where higher placement means higher SERP rank. The SERP rank of a web page is a function not only of its PageRank, but of a relatively large and continuously adjusted set of factors (over 200).[35] Search engine optimization (SEO) is aimed at influencing the SERP rank for a website or a set of web pages.
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.
Matt, you don’t mention the use of disallow pages via robots.txt. I’ve read that PageRank can be better utilised by disallowing pages that probably don’t add value to users searching on engines. For example, Privacy Policy and Terms of Use pages. These often appear in the footer of a website and are required by EU law on every page of the site. Will it boost the other pages of the site if these pages are added to robots.txt like so?
Many years ago, low-quality SEO firms loved to abuse the comments sections of blogs, forums, and news sites as a way to build backlinks for clients. This approach is pretty ineffective these days, as most reputable sites that are worth having backlinks on have responded to such abuse by making all such links 'nofollow.' While sites like Quora and industry-specific forums are great for sharing your expertise and raising your visiblity, you're not going to get any SEO value from them.
PageRank was once available for the verified site maintainers through the Google Webmaster Tools interface. However, on October 15, 2009, a Google employee confirmed that the company had removed PageRank from its Webmaster Tools section, saying that "We've been telling people for a long time that they shouldn't focus on PageRank so much. Many site owners seem to think it's the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true."[67] In addition, The PageRank indicator is not available in Google's own Chrome browser.
PageRank sculpting came out of the idea that virtually any page will have links that are important for users but not necessarily that meaningful to receive any PageRank that a page can flow. Navigational links are a primary example of this. Go to a place like the LA Times, and you’ve got tons of navigational links on every page. Nofollow those, and you (supposedly in the past) ensure that the remaining links (say your major stories) get more of a boost.
When Googlebot crawls a page, it should see the page the same way an average user does15. For optimal rendering and indexing, always allow Googlebot access to the JavaScript, CSS, and image files used by your website. If your site's robots.txt file disallows crawling of these assets, it directly harms how well our algorithms render and index your content. This can result in suboptimal rankings.
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?
For instance, if you have an article called “How To Do Keyword Research,” you can help reinforce to Google the relevance of this page for the subject/phrase “keyword research” by linking from an article reviewing a keyword research tool to your How To Do Keyword Research article. This linking strategy is part of effective siloing, which helps clarify your main website themes.
Backlinks are important for both search engines and end users. For the search engines, it helps them determine how authoritative and relevant your site is on the topic that you rank for. Furthermore, backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that other external websites are endorsing your content. If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can interpret that content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth ranking higher on a SERP (search engine results page). For many years, the quantity of backlinks was an indicator of a page’s popularity. But today algorithms like Google's Penguin update, were created to help with other ranking factors; pages are ranked higher based on the quality of the links that they are getting from external sites and less on quantity.
Search engines often use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the most important factors for determining that website's search engine ranking, popularity and importance. Google's description of its PageRank system, for instance, notes that "Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B."[6] Knowledge of this form of search engine rankings has fueled a portion of the SEO industry commonly termed linkspam, where a company attempts to place as many inbound links as possible to their site regardless of the context of the originating site. The significance of search engine rankings is pretty high, and it is regarded as a crucial parameter in online business and the conversion rate of visitors to any website, particularly when it comes to online shopping. Blog commenting, guest blogging, article submission, press release distribution, social media engagements, and forum posting can be used to increase backlinks.
SEO experts have a really bad habit: They like to throw around strange words and industry jargon when they talk to customers without checking to make sure that their clients understand the topic at hand. Some do this intentionally to paper over the fact that they use black hat techniques that will ultimately hurt their customers. But for most, it’s simply a matter of failing to recognize that part of their job is to educate their clients.
This will give you an indication of how many times a search is performed in a month (low numbers are not very useful unless there is a very clear buying signal in the keyphrase – working hard for five hits a month is not recommended in most cases) and how much the phrase is “worth” per click to advertisers (e.g., how much someone will pay to use that keyphrase). The more it’s worth, the more likely it is that the phrase is delivering business results for someone.
When running PPC ads, it's important that you keep careful track of the specific ads and keywords that you're targeting. You can do this by using the Google Analytics UTM builder to create campaign URLs that you can use to track the campaign source, the medium and any keywords or terms that you might be targeting. This way, you can determine the effectiveness of any campaign that you run and figure out the precise conversion rate.
It's clear that online marketing is no simple task. And the reason why we've landed in this world of "expert" internet marketers who are constantly cheerleading their offers to help us reach visibility and penetrate the masses is because of the layer of obscurity that's been afforded to us in part thanks to one key player: Google. Google's shrouded algorithms that cloud over 200+ ranking factors in a simple and easy-to-use interface has confounded businesses for well over a decade now.

SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors.[60] Search engines can change their algorithms, impacting a website's placement, possibly resulting in a serious loss of traffic. According to Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes – almost 1.5 per day.[61] It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic.[62] In addition to accessibility in terms of web crawlers (addressed above), user web accessibility has become increasingly important for SEO.


All major crawler-based search engines leverage links from across of the web, but none of them report a static “importance” score in the way Google does via its Google Toolbar. That score, while a great resource for surfers, has also provided one of the few windows into how Google ranks web pages. Some webmasters, desperate to get inside Google, keep flying into that window like confused birds, smacking their heads and losing their orientation….
I just wanted to thank you for the awesome email of information. It was so awesome to see the results I have gotten and the results that your company has provided for other companies. Truly remarkable. I feel so blessed to be one of your clients. I do not feel worthy but do feel very blessed and appreciative to been a client for over 5 years now. My business would not be where it is today without you, your company and team. I sure love how you are dedicated to quality. I can not wait to see what the next 5 years bring with 10 years of internet marketing ninjas as my secret weapon. John B.
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.

All of the examples above and more could be used as anchor text for the same backlink. Google will index each differently. Not only that, Google will even examine the few words before and after the anchor text as well as take into account all of the text on the page. It will also attribute value to which backlink was first in the page and diminish the value for each following link.

That's what kept bringing me back to Sharpe. When it comes to internet marketing, this is one of the masterminds in the industry, a high-8-figure earner who recently generated over $1 million dollars within a 60-day period with a brand new system. I knew that if I was going to help educate people about internet marketing, I had to go straight to the top. Sharpe is also one of the most relatable characters in the industry, who speaks eloquently and fluidly, able to inspire millions of people with ease.

A key benefit of using online channels for marketing a business or product is the ability to measure the impact of any given channel, as well as how visitors acquired through different channels interact with a website or landing page experience. Of the visitors that convert into paying customers, further analysis can be done to determine which channels are most effective at acquiring valuable customers.
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.
Another reason is that if you're using an image as a link, the alt text for that image will be treated similarly to the anchor text of a text link. However, we don't recommend using too many images for links in your site's navigation when text links could serve the same purpose. Lastly, optimizing your image filenames and alt text makes it easier for image search projects like Google Image Search to better understand your images.
Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (for example, searches using the site: operator). If your site has thousands or even millions of pages, hand-crafting description meta tags probably isn't feasible. In this case, you could automatically generate description meta tags based on each page's content.
A great number of public networks call themselves “private”. That’s not true. If the network is advertised, it cannot be private. We witnessed cases when Google destroyed such public networks and all the websites which had used them. They are easy to be revealed due to a huge number of outbound homepage links which are irrelevant to each other. Their posts are short, and they cannot really block SEO crawlers.
A: For a couple reasons. At first, we figured that site owners or people running tests would notice, but they didn’t. In retrospect, we’ve changed other, larger aspects of how we look at links and people didn’t notice that either, so perhaps that shouldn’t have been such a surprise. So we started to provide other guidance that PageRank sculpting isn’t the best use of time. When we added a help page to our documentation about nofollow, we said “a solid information architecture — intuitive navigation, user- and search-engine-friendly URLs, and so on — is likely to be a far more productive use of resources than focusing on crawl prioritization via nofollowed links.” In a recent webmaster video, I said “a better, more effective form of PageRank sculpting is choosing (for example) which things to link to from your home page.” At Google I/O, during a site review session I said it even more explicitly: “My short answer is no. In general, whenever you’re linking around within your site: don’t use nofollow. Just go ahead and link to whatever stuff.” But at SMX Advanced 2009, someone asked the question directly and it seemed like a good opportunity to clarify this point. Again, it’s not something that most site owners need to know or worry about, but I wanted to let the power-SEOs know.
where N is the total number of all pages on the web. The second version of the algorithm, indeed, does not differ fundamentally from the first one. Regarding the Random Surfer Model, the second version's PageRank of a page is the actual probability for a surfer reaching that page after clicking on many links. The PageRanks then form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all pages' PageRanks will be one.
Thank you, Brian, for this definitive guide. I have already signed up for Haro and have plans to implement some of your strategies. My blog is related to providing digital marketing tutorials for beginners and hence can be in your niche as well. This is so good. I highly recommend all my team members in my company to read your blog everytime you published new content. 537 comments in this post within a day, you are a master of this. A great influence in digital marketing space.
PageRank always was and remains only one part of the Google search algorithm, the system that determines how to rank pages. There are many other ranking factors that are also considered. A high PageRank score did NOT mean that a page would rank well for any topic. Pages with lower scores could beat pages with higher scores if they had other factors in their favor.

Hi Brian thank you for sharing this awesome backlinking techniques. My site is currently not ranking well. It used to be, sometime mid last year, but it suddenly got de-ranked. Not really sure why. I haven’t been participating in any blackhat techniques or anything at all. I’ll try a few of your tips and hopefully it will help my site back to its shape.
“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.
Google will like your content if your clients like it. The content should be helpful and contain less information which is already known to the reader. It is to meet their expectations. When users vote for your site, it means that Google starts accepting it as an authority site. That’s why content writing is as important as a speech of a candidate for the Presidency. The better it is, the more visitors you have.
Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.) Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.
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.

What are "backlinks"? Backlinks are links that are directed towards your website. Also knows as Inbound links (IBL's). The number of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website. Backlinks are important for SEO because some search engines, especially Google, will give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks, and consider those websites more relevant than others in their results pages for a search query.
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