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.
Some brilliant tips and advice here, I am curious you mention the directory sites to submit to and I notice a lot of my competitors are on such sites but a lot of these sites want links back which would mean I would need pages of links on my site and that is something I don’t see on competitors sites – how do they manage that would it be all paid for or is there a trick
Should have added in my previous comment that our site has been established since 2000 and all our links have always been followable – including comment links (but all are manually edited to weed out spambots). We have never artificially cultivated backlinks but I have noticed that longstanding backlinks from established sites like government and trade organisations are changing to ‘nofollow’ (and our homepage PR has declined from 7 to 4 over the past 5 years). If webmasters of the established sites are converting to systems which automatically change links to ‘nofollow’ then soon the only followable links will be those that are paid for – and the blackhats win again.
However, if you're going to understand online marketing, you have to understand the importance of building Google's trust. There are three core components involved here. These three core components are like the pillars of trust that comprise all of Google's 200+ ranking factor rules. Each of those rules can be categorized and cataloged into one of these three pillars of trust. If you want to rank on the first page or in the first spot, you need to focus on all three, and not just one or two out of three.
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.

Many webmasters have more than one website. Sometimes these websites are related, sometimes they are not. You have to also be careful about interlinking multiple websites on the same IP. If you own seven related websites, then a link to each of those websites on a page could hurt you, as it may look like to a search engine that you are trying to do something fishy. Many webmasters have tried to manipulate backlinks in this way; and too many links to sites with the same IP address is referred to as backlink bombing.
On another note, I would like to express my contempt for Google and its so called terms of service regarding the legitimate acquisition of links. why should it care if links are paid for or not? Thanks to the invention of pagerank, it is Google itself that has cancelled out reciprocal linking and has stopped people giving out links due to fear of them losing pagerank, and blogs and forums are worthless thanks to the nofollow trick. so it is now impossible to get decent links organically, without having to pay for them, and those who do give out free links are considered fools. Google has brought this dilemma on itself, and yet it seems like punishing us for trying to get links other than freely! Face facts, no one is going to link to someone without getting a link in return! google has invented pagerank which is like a currency, and so people expect to be paid for links, as giving out links devalues their pagerank and so compensation is now required. It is forcing people to use underhand methods to get links, mostly the ‘paid’ variety.
I agree that the more facts that you provide and if you were to provide the complete algorithm, people would abuse it but if it were available to everyone, would it not almost force people to implement better site building and navigation policies and white hat seo simply because everyone would have the same tools to work with and an absolute standard to adhere to. 

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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]
But, why do search engines care about backlinks? Well, in the early days of the Internet, search engines were very simple, and relied strictly on keyword matching. It didn’t matter how good the content on a website was, how popular it was, or what the website was for–if a phrase on a page matched a phrase that someone searched for, then that page would likely show up. That meant that if someone had an online journal in which they documented at length how they had to take their car to a “car accident repair shop,” then people searching for a “car accident repair shop” would likely be led to that page. Not terribly useful, right?
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!

Influencer marketing: Important nodes are identified within related communities, known as influencers. This is becoming an important concept in digital targeting. It is possible to reach influencers via paid advertising, such as Facebook Advertising or Google Adwords campaigns, or through sophisticated sCRM (social customer relationship management) software, such as SAP C4C, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage CRM and Salesforce CRM. Many universities now focus, at Masters level, on engagement strategies for influencers. 

Any definition of internet marketing needs to come along with a definition of things associated with it such as affiliate marketing, network marketing, multi-level marketing and so on and so forth. Some of these are less legitimate than others. For example, affiliate marketing is a tough nut to crack unless you have a massive following or you understand how to build excellent squeeze pages and effective sales funnels.

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.


Ok, everyone been infering from Matt’s comments that all of these nofollow comments would kill the page rank of this post. Which means this page should have shown up on page 1 for the phrase I searched which was “does google follow nofollow”. In spite of all these nofollow comment links it still was presented as the most relevant page, which it probably is.

Another tool to help you with your link building campaign is the Backlink Builder Tool. It is not enough just to have a large number of inbound links pointing to your site. Rather, you need to have a large number of QUALITY inbound links. This tool searches for websites that have a related theme to your website which are likely to add your link to their website. You specify a particular keyword or keyword phrase, and then the tool seeks out related sites for you. This helps to simplify your backlink building efforts by helping you create quality, relevant backlinks to your site, and making the job easier in the process.


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.

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.
There’s a lot of frustration being vented in this comments section. It is one thing to be opaque – which Google seems to be masterly at – but quite another to misdirect, which is what No Follow has turned out to be. All of us who produce content always put our readers first, but we also have to be sensible as far as on page SEO is concerned. All Google are doing with this kind of thing is to progressively direct webmasters towards optimizing for other, more reliable and transparent, ways of generating traffic (and no, that doesn’t necessarily mean Adwords, although that may be part of the intent).
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All in all, PageRank sculpting (or whatever we should call it) didn’t really rule my world. But, I did think that it was a totally legitimate method to use. Now that we know the ‘weight’ leaks, this will put a totally new (and more damaging) spin on things. Could we not have just left the ‘weight’ with the parent page? This is what I thought would happen most of the time anyway.

I love the broken-link building method because it works perfectly to create one-way backlinks. The technique involves contacting a webmaster to report broken links on his/her website. At the same time, you recommend other websites to replace that link. And here, of course, you mention your own website. Because you are doing the webmaster a favor by reporting the broken links, the chances of a backlink back to your website are high.
You may not want certain pages of your site crawled because they might not be useful to users if found in a search engine's search results. If you do want to prevent search engines from crawling your pages, Google Search Console has a friendly robots.txt generator to help you create this file. Note that if your site uses subdomains and you wish to have certain pages not crawled on a particular subdomain, you'll have to create a separate robots.txt file for that subdomain. For more information on robots.txt, we suggest this Webmaster Help Center guide on using robots.txt files13.
Brunson talks about this reverse engineering in his book called, Dot Com Secrets, a homage to the internet marketing industry, and quite possibly one of the best and most transparent books around in the field. Communication is what will bridge the divide between making no money and becoming a massive six or seven-figure earner. Be straight with people and learn to communicate effectively and understand every stage of the process and you'll prosper as an internet marketer.
It is interesting to read the article which however as others have commented leaves questions unanswered. The ideal internal page rank flow is clearly down the hierarchy and back up again evidently and no page to page links down the line. If this effect is big enough to have provoked an algorithm change then it must be substantial. Removing those related product links altogether would improve ranking and degrade the user experience of the site which surely is undesirable. I suspect the lesser of two evils was chosen.

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.


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Robots.txt is not an appropriate or effective way of blocking sensitive or confidential material. It only instructs well-behaved crawlers that the pages are not for them, but it does not prevent your server from delivering those pages to a browser that requests them. One reason is that search engines could still reference the URLs you block (showing just the URL, no title or snippet) if there happen to be links to those URLs somewhere on the Internet (like referrer logs). Also, non-compliant or rogue search engines that don't acknowledge the Robots Exclusion Standard could disobey the instructions of your robots.txt. Finally, a curious user could examine the directories or subdirectories in your robots.txt file and guess the URL of the content that you don't want seen.
All sites have a home or "root" page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content. Do you have enough pages around a specific topic area that it would make sense to create a page describing these related pages (for example, root page -> related topic listing -> specific topic)? Do you have hundreds of different products that need to be classified under multiple category and subcategory pages?
In both versions of my model, I used the total of my initia esitimate to check my math was not doing south. After every iteration, the total Pagerank remains the same. This means that PageRank doesn’t leak! 301 redirects cannot just bleed PageRank, otherwise the algorithm might not remain stable. On a similar note, pages with zero outbound links can’t be “fixed” by dividing by something other than zero. They do need to be fixed, but not by diluing the overall PageRank. I can maybe look at these cases in more depth if there is some demand.
Affiliate marketing is the art of marketing products, services or information for others. It doesn't require that you ever house or warehouse a single thing. But it does require that you have an audience to market those things to online. Without that audience, whether it's through search engines like Google or social media channels like Facebook, you'll find a difficult time with affiliate marketing.
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?
There’s a need for a skilled SEO to assess the link structure of a site with an eye to crawling and page rank flow, but I think it’s also important to look at where people are actually surfing. The University of Indiana did a great paper called Ranking Web Sites with Real User Traffic (PDF). If you take the classic Page Rank formula and blend it with real traffic you come out with some interesting ideas……
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.
“So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Let’s leave aside the decay factor to focus on the core part of the question. Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.”
5. Link building. In some respects, guest posting – one popular tactic to build links, among many other benefits – is just content marketing applied to external publishers. The goal is to create content on external websites, building your personal brand and company brand at the same time, and creating opportunities to link back to your site. There are only a handful of strategies to build quality links, which you should learn and understand as well.
And why not? Human beings have always enthralled themselves into one pursuit after another, all with a means to an end of improving our lives. Clearly, the conveniences afforded by the internet are quite literally earth-shattering to say the least. Three decades ago, few could have ever imagined the present state of our on-demand-everything society, with the ability to instantly communicate and conduct business in real-time, at a pace that often seems dizzying at the best of times.
Link text is the visible text inside a link. This text tells users and Google something about the page you're linking to. Links on your page may be internal—pointing to other pages on your site—or external—leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you're linking to is about.
Advertising with Google won't have any effect on your site's presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Search Console, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search.

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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.

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.
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.
Yes the links we have are found elsewhere but our focus is saving our users and clients time so we consolidated the links because it takes hours and hours and hours of searching to find them and some searchers are not very savvy when it comes to looking for, and finding, good quality information. I look at the links like a library, my library has these books, so do a bunch of other libraries. I think it is a shame that I have to hide my books from Google because I have to many really good ones because it is seen as a BAD thing in Google’s eyes. Darned if you dont create a good site, and darned if you do.

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]

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