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.
I agree that there is no point in trying to over analyze how the PageRank is flowing through your site. Just focus on great content. Link out when it actually helps the reader. This is what Google wants – for you to give good quality content to their users. So if you are doing that, they will reward you in the long run. No need to worry yourself with these types of link strategies.
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.
Matt, as you know, I was kind of annoyed when you suggested sculpting to a room full of SEOs back in 2007. We’d been told over the years to do things for humans, not to overly worry about having to do stuff for search engines — and suddenly, here you were suggesting that SEOs could flow PageRank to their most “important” pages. I’d figured Google had long since been smart enough to decide for itself what percentage of a page’s PageRank spend to assign to a particular link. That assumption didn’t just come out of the blue — it came from things Google had hinted at over the years. So being told to start overtly flowing around the PageRank? It seemed counter-productive.
So, for example, a short-tail keyphrase might be “Logo design”. Putting that into Google will get you an awful lot of hits. There’s a lot of competition for that phrase, and it’s not particularly useful for your business, either. There are no buying signals in the phrase – so many people will use this phrase to learn about logo design or to examine other aspects of logo design work.

By relying so much on factors such as keyword density which were exclusively within a webmaster's control, early search engines suffered from abuse and ranking manipulation. To provide better results to their users, search engines had to adapt to ensure their results pages showed the most relevant search results, rather than unrelated pages stuffed with numerous keywords by unscrupulous webmasters. This meant moving away from heavy reliance on term density to a more holistic process for scoring semantic signals.[13] Since the success and popularity of a search engine is determined by its ability to produce the most relevant results to any given search, poor quality or irrelevant search results could lead users to find other search sources. Search engines responded by developing more complex ranking algorithms, taking into account additional factors that were more difficult for webmasters to manipulate. In 2005, an annual conference, AIRWeb, Adversarial Information Retrieval on the Web was created to bring together practitioners and researchers concerned with search engine optimization and related topics.[14]


Also, backlinks are important for the end user. With an end user, backlinks connect searchers with information that is similar to what is being written on other resources. An example of this happens when an end user is reading a page that discusses “how child care expenses are driving women out of the workforce.” As they scroll down, they might see another link with a study on “how the rise in child care costs over the last 25 years affected women’s employment.” In this case, a backlink establishes connection points for information that a searcher may be interested in clicking. This external link creates a solid experience because it transfers the user directly to additionally desirable information if needed.
Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say "might" because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user's query. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet. The Webmaster Central Blog has informative posts on improving snippets with better description meta tags18 and better snippets for your users19. We also have a handy Help Center article on how to create good titles and snippets20.
Less than 2 years ago one could promote a website within a month with the help of PBN (Private Blog Network). Then Google created “a sandbox” which made a site owner wait no less than 3 months before the effect of PBN backlinks turned to be visible. There are two more negative factors: risk and financial investment. You will realize that neither your wasted time nor money were worth it. That’s why it’s better to rely on proper backlinks from real sites.
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 paper’s authors noted that AltaVista (on the right) returned a rather random assortment of search results–rather obscure optical physics department of the University of Oregon, the campus networking group at Carnegie Mellon, Wesleyan’s computer science group, and then a page for one of the campuses of a Japanese university. Interestingly, none of the first six results return the homepage of a website
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.

However, if you are seasoned online marketer, and you've built a substantial following, then marketing as an affiliate might be the right fit. Jason Stone from Millionaire Mentor has built a seven-figure business with affiliate marketing, while David Sharpe from Legendary Marketer has built up an eight-figure business by creating an army of affiliates that market products in collaboration with his team.
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.
The Google algorithm's most important feature is arguably the PageRank system, a patented automated process that determines where each search result appears on Google's search engine return page. Most users tend to concentrate on the first few search results, so getting a spot at the top of the list usually means more user traffic. So how does Google determine search results standings? Many people have taken a stab at figuring out the exact formula, but Google keeps the official algorithm a secret. What we do know is this:
Page rank is an assessment of the authority and value of a website in Google’s algorithm. You can find plug-in tools for your browser or online tools (see the references section for links to some of these) to check the page rank of any given site. You can also check your own website’s page rank. The higher the page rank, the more likely it is that your SEO efforts are succeeding.

An essential part of any Internet marketing campaign is the analysis of data gathered from not just the campaign as a whole, but each piece of it as well. An analyst can chart how many people have visited the product website since its launch, how people are interacting with the campaign's social networking pages, and whether sales have been affected by the campaign (See also Marketing Data Analyst). This information will not only indicate whether the marketing campaign is working, but it is also valuable data to determine what to keep and what to avoid in the next campaign.
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.

So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? […] Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each […] 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.


DisabledGO, an information provider for people with disabilities in the UK and Ireland, hired Agency51 to implement an SEO migration strategy to move DisabledGO from an old platform to a new one. By applying 301 redirects to old URLS, transferring metadata, setting up Google webmaster tools, and creating a new sitemap, Agency 51 was able to successfully transfer DisabledGO to a new platform while keeping their previous SEO power alive. Additionally, they were able to boost visitor numbers by 21% year over year, and the site restructuring allowed DisabledGO to rank higher than competitors. Their case study is available on SingleGrain.com.

For some business owners, they’ll think of a website. Others may think of social media, or blogging. In reality, all of these avenues of advertising fall in the category internet marketing and each is like a puzzle piece in a much bigger marketing picture. Unfortunately, for new business owners trying to establish their web presence, there’s a lot of puzzle pieces to manage.


One of the earliest adopters of Internet marketing in the world of Fortune 500 companies was the Coca-Cola Corporation. Today, this huge purveyor of soft drinks has one of the strongest online portfolios in the world. More than 12,000 websites link to the Coca-Cola homepage, which itself is a stunning display of Internet savvy. Their homepage alone sports an auto-updating social network column, an embedded video, a unique piece of advertising art, frequently rotating copy, an opt-in user registration tab, tie-in branding with pop culture properties, and even a link to the company's career opportunities page. Despite how busy that sounds, the Coca-Cola homepage is clean and easy to read. It is a triumph of Internet marketing for its confidence, personality, and professionalism.

I don’t know how you do it without having a strong team of employees building backlinks for you. I love your blog and all the guidance you provide. I have found trying to build backlinks on your own is one of the most time consuming activities there is. Obviously if you have a specific product or service you are wishing to share getting more customers and visitors to your business is essential. You make it look easy. Thanks again for all your guidance.


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?
Google has a very large team of search quality raters that evaluate the quality of search results, that gets fed into a machine learning algorithm. Google’s search quality rater guidelines provide plenty of detail and examples of what Google class as high or low quality content and websites, and their emphasis on wanting to reward sites that clearly show their expertise, authority and trust (EAT).
Many blogging software packages automatically nofollow user comments, but those that don't can most likely be manually edited to do this. This advice also goes for other areas of your site that may involve user-generated content, such as guest books, forums, shout-boards, referrer listings, etc. If you're willing to vouch for links added by third parties (for example, if a commenter is trusted on your site), then there's no need to use nofollow on links; however, linking to sites that Google considers spammy can affect the reputation of your own site. The Webmaster Help Center has more tips on avoiding comment spam39, for example by using CAPTCHAs and turning on comment moderation.
I won’t blame MC. Google, knows what they does. These are things that webmasters need not worry about. Well, it won’t make much difference as far as I think. I don’t use no follow tags specifically – I use WP for blogging purposes and it does rest of the things for me other than writing content which I do. I think it is the content and the external links that sites point to – which should be considered. I mean, if a computer blog owner posts a really fantastic computer article about something related to computer, and also puts some links to external pages (which are really useful for the readers), then that post, should be ranked high in gooogle – And I think google does this well – So, webmasters, just concentrate on yur website/blogs etc and leave rest of the things to Big G.
The probability for the random surfer not stopping to click on links is given by the damping factor d, which is, depending on the degree of probability therefore, set between 0 and 1. The higher d is, the more likely will the random surfer keep clicking links. Since the surfer jumps to another page at random after he stopped clicking links, the probability therefore is implemented as a constant (1-d) into the algorithm. Regardless of inbound links, the probability for the random surfer jumping to a page is always (1-d), so a page has always a minimum PageRank.
Web design is a very technical field that requires high literacy in many different kinds of software, including image editing and website architecture programs. A designer should be comfortable with computer “languages” like HTML and stay up to date on new technological developments. The designer is also an artist, so he or she should also have a firm grasp on aesthetics, visual continuity, and image composition.
Matt, as you know, I was kind of annoyed when you suggested sculpting to a room full of SEOs back in 2007. We’d been told over the years to do things for humans, not to overly worry about having to do stuff for search engines — and suddenly, here you were suggesting that SEOs could flow PageRank to their most “important” pages. I’d figured Google had long since been smart enough to decide for itself what percentage of a page’s PageRank spend to assign to a particular link. That assumption didn’t just come out of the blue — it came from things Google had hinted at over the years. So being told to start overtly flowing around the PageRank? It seemed counter-productive.
Search engine optimization is a key part of online marketing because search is one of the primary ways that users navigate the web. In 2014, over 2.5 trillion searches were conducted worldwide across search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex. For most websites, traffic that comes from search engines (known as "natural" or "organic" traffic) accounts for a large portion of their total traffic.
Hi Brian! You mentioned that we should have our anchor text include our target keyword. When I do that, Yoast SEO plugin throws a red flag that says “You’re linking to another page with the focus keyword you want this page to rank for. Consider changing that if you truly want this page to rank” So should I leave the anchor text with that keyword or change it?
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.
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.

Mega-sites, like http://news.bbc.co.uk have tens or hundreds of editors writing new content – i.e. new pages - all day long! Each one of those pages has rich, worthwile content of its own and a link back to its parent or the home page! That’s why the Home page Toolbar PR of these sites is 9/10 and the rest of us just get pushed lower and lower by comparison…

Non-profit corporations and political entities use Internet marketing to raise awareness about the issues they address and engage individuals in their campaigns. They strongly favor social networking platforms because they are more personal than websites and they are easy to share, increasing the “viral” word-of-mouth effect that is so prevalent in online media.


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.
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?

A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the page that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the root page. Many breadcrumbs have the most general page (usually the root page) as the first, leftmost link and list the more specific sections out to the right. We recommend using breadcrumb structured data markup28 when showing breadcrumbs.
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.
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.

I suppose for those people, including myself who just keep trying to our best and succeed, we just need to keep trusting that Google is doing all it can to weed out irrelevant content and produce the quality goods with changes such as this. Meanwhile the “uneducated majority” will just have to keep getting educated or get out of the game I suppose.


Google PageRank (Google PR) is one of the methods Google uses to determine a page's relevance or importance. Important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results. Google PageRank (PR) is a measure from 0 - 10. Google Pagerank is based on backlinks. The more quality backlinks the higher Google Pagerank. Improving your Google page rank (building QUALITY backlinks ) is very important if you want to improve your search engine rankings.
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