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. 

Matt, this is an excellent summary. I finally got around to reading “The Search” by John Battelle and it was very enlightening to understand much of the academia behind what led to the creation of Backrub.. er Google.Looking at how many times the project was almost shutdown due to bandwidth consumption (> 50% of what the university could offer at times) as well as webmasters being concerned that their pages would be stolen and recreated. It’s so interesting to see that issues we see today are some of the same ones that Larry and Sergey were dealing with back then. As always, thanks for the great read Matt!
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.
People think about PageRank in lots of different ways. People have compared PageRank to a “random surfer” model in which PageRank is the probability that a random surfer clicking on links lands on a page. Other people think of the web as an link matrix in which the value at position (i,j) indicates the presence of links from page i to page j. In that case, PageRank corresponds to the principal eigenvector of that normalized link matrix.

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.
My main concern though, is Google appears to becoming reliant on sites doing MANY things for SE only. It also appears that Google is lowering the bar for YouTube videos in the organic SERPs and forcing their insertion as the cost of relevant pages. It even seems they are now doing the same for pictures, despite BOTH having their own SEs. I fear Google is attempting to increase profits, for it’s shareholders, in a rather impatient manner.
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.
Before I start this, I am using the term ‘PageRank’ as a general term fully knowing that this is not a simple issue and ‘PageRank’ and the way it is calculated (and the other numerous methods Google use) are multidimensional and complex. However, if you use PageRank to imply ‘weight’ it make it a lot simpler. Also, ‘PageRank sculpting’ (in my view) is meant to mean ‘passing weight you can control’. Now… on with the comment!

The criteria and metrics can be classified according to its type and time span. Regarding the type, we can either evaluate these campaigns "Quantitatively" or "Qualitatively". Quantitative metrics may include "Sales Volume" and "Revenue Increase/Decrease". While qualitative metrics may include the enhanced "Brand awareness, image and health" as well as the "relationship with the customers".
He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
It doesn’t mean than you have to advertise on these social media platforms. It means that they belong to that pyramid which will function better thanks to their support. Just secure them and decide which of them will suit your goal better. For example, you can choose Instagram because its audience is the most suitable for mobile devices and bits of advice of their exploitation distribution.
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. 
The criteria and metrics can be classified according to its type and time span. Regarding the type, we can either evaluate these campaigns "Quantitatively" or "Qualitatively". Quantitative metrics may include "Sales Volume" and "Revenue Increase/Decrease". While qualitative metrics may include the enhanced "Brand awareness, image and health" as well as the "relationship with the customers".
I was exactly thinking the same thing what Danny Sullivan had said. If comments (even with nofollow) directly affect the outgoing PR distribution, people will tend to allow less comments (maybe usage of iframes even). Is he right? Maybe, Google should develop a new tag as well something like rel=”commented” to inform spiders about it to give less value and wordpress should be installed default with this attribute 🙂
The best strategy to get backlinks is to create great content and let other people promote your content. However, to get started, you can create your own links to content on your social media platform, ask your friends to share your content on their websites and social media, and if you can find questions in forums that your content answers, you can always post it there.
Thanks a lot for all of those great tips you handed out here. I immediately went to work applying the strategies that you mentioned. I will keep you posted on my results. I have been offering free SEO services to all of my small business bookkeeping clients as a way of helping them to grow their businesses. Many of them just don’t have the resources required to hire an SEO guru to help them but they need SEO bad. I appreciate the fact that you share your knowledge and don’t try to make it seem like it’s nuclear science in order to pounce on the innocent. All the best to you my friend!
One thing is certain: interlinking sites doesn't help you from a search engine standpoint. The only reason you may want to interlink your sites in the first place might be to provide your visitors with extra resources to visit. In this case, it would probably be okay to provide visitors with a link to another of your websites, but try to keep many instances of linking to the same IP address to a bare minimum. One or two links on a page here and there probably won't hurt you. 

In an effort to manually control the flow of PageRank among pages within a website, many webmasters practice what is known as PageRank Sculpting[65]—which is the act of strategically placing the nofollow attribute on certain internal links of a website in order to funnel PageRank towards those pages the webmaster deemed most important. This tactic has been used since the inception of the nofollow attribute, but may no longer be effective since Google announced that blocking PageRank transfer with nofollow does not redirect that PageRank to other links.[66] 

Search engines want websites to have a level playing field, and look for natural links built slowly over time. While it is fairly easy to manipulate links on a web page to try to achieve a higher ranking, it is a lot harder to influence a search engine with external backlinks from other websites. This is also a reason why backlinks factor in so highly into a search engine's algorithm. Lately, however, a search engine's criteria for quality inbound links has gotten even tougher, thanks to unscrupulous webmasters trying to achieve these inbound links by deceptive or sneaky techniques, such as with hidden links, or automatically generated pages whose sole purpose is to provide inbound links to websites. These pages are called link farms, and they are not only disregarded by search engines, but linking to a link farm could get your site banned entirely.
There are things like solo ads that you can buy or join up with JV partners to help sell whatever it is that you're peddling. But at the outset, you're going to find it difficult to succeed in the internet marketing field. Ensure that you learn the right skills along the way so that you can become an effective online marketer. It doesn't matter how slow you go, as long as you don't stop, you'll reach your goals.
Search engines are a powerful channel for connecting with new audiences. Companies like Google and Bing look to connect their customers with the best user experience possible. Step one of a strong SEO strategy is to make sure that your website content and products are the best that they can be. Step 2 is to communicate that user experience information to search engines so that you rank in the right place. SEO is competitive and has a reputation of being a black art. Here’s how to get started the right way.

PageRank was influenced by citation analysis, early developed by Eugene Garfield in the 1950s at the University of Pennsylvania, and by Hyper Search, developed by Massimo Marchiori at the University of Padua. In the same year PageRank was introduced (1998), Jon Kleinberg published his work on HITS. Google's founders cite Garfield, Marchiori, and Kleinberg in their original papers.[5][18]


Chris_D, great question. If you have a single product page that can have multiple urls with slightly different parameters, that’s a great time to use a rel=canonical meta tag. You can use rel=canonical for pages with session IDs in a similar fashion. What rel=canonical lets you do is say “this page X on my host is kinda of ugly or otherwise isn’t the best version of this page. Use url Y as the preferred version of my page instead.” You can read about rel=canonical at http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139394. Bear in mind that if you can make your site work without session IDs or make it so that you don’t have multiple “aliases” for the same page, that’s even better because it solves the problem at the root.
Another scenario where Mention can help you get backlinks is setting up alerts for your main keywords. For example, if you have a marketing tool, you can set up an alert for the keyword “marketing tool.” Whenever someone writes an article about marketing tools or publishes something on social media, you can react and ask them to consider or add your tool as well.
Hey brian, it is extremely fantastic stuff, i am not getting words to appreciate your work..brilliant. No one dares to share their business secrets with others but you are awesome and thank you so much. Iam a beginner in digital marketing, iam learning consistently by following your posts, tips and tricks. eventually i became an intermediate person thanks for your help.
One thing is certain: interlinking sites doesn't help you from a search engine standpoint. The only reason you may want to interlink your sites in the first place might be to provide your visitors with extra resources to visit. In this case, it would probably be okay to provide visitors with a link to another of your websites, but try to keep many instances of linking to the same IP address to a bare minimum. One or two links on a page here and there probably won't hurt you.
How does it work? In essence, you use Google Adwords (or another search engine’s equivalent – depending on the market you work in; in China, you’d be looking at Baidu, for example) to place bids on keyphrases; you write an advert based on that keyphrase; the search engine places the advert near the top of the search rankings, and you pay the amount of the bid every time someone clicks on your advert.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or webpage on a search engine results page (SERP) so as to make a company’s website more discoverable (i.e., on the first page/s), thereby driving traffic and sales. Tedious, involving technical and business decisions, and not guaranteeing results—it nonetheless provides lasting benefits.
Hey Brian, this is an absolutely fabulous post! It caused me to come out of lurking mode on the Warrior Forum and post a response there as well. Only my second post in 4 years, it was that kickass… I’ve signed to your newsletter on the strength of this. You have a new follower on Twitter as well! I mean what I said on the Warrior Forum… Since 2001 I’ve worked in an SEO commercially, freelance and now from the comfort of my own home – I have bought IM ebooks with less useful information in them than covered by any one of your 17. You might not please everyone in our industry giving some of those secrets away for free though! All power to you my friend, you deserve success and lots of it!
Our team is made up of industry-recognized thought leaders, social media masters, corporate communications experts, vertical marketing specialists, and internet marketing strategists. Members of the TheeTeam host SEO MeetUp groups and actively participate in Triangle area marketing organizations. TheeDigital is an active sponsor of the AMA Triangle Chapter. 

There’s no avoiding it: internet marketing is critical for the success of your business in 2018. But with all the gimmicks and tricks, it can be difficult to distinguish short-term wins from effective long-term strategies, which is why we’ve created an ultimate guide. Here, we’ll cover everything from marketing strategies to real-world examples, to ensure your business reaches the right people out of that four billion.
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.
The most valuable links are placed within the main body content of the site. Links may not receive the same value from search engines when they appear in the header, footer, or sidebar of the page. This is an important factor to keep in mind as you seek to build high-quality backlinks. Look to build links that will be included in the main body content of a site.
(1 - d) - The (1 – d) bit at the beginning is a bit of probability math magic so the “sum of all web pages' PageRanks will be one”: it adds in the bit lost by the d(.... It also means that if a page has no links to it (no backlinks) even then it will still get a small PR of 0.15 (i.e. 1 – 0.85). (Aside: the Google paper says “the sum of all pages” but they mean the “the normalised sum” – otherwise known as “the average” to you and me.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results—often referred to as "natural", "organic", or "earned" results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users; these visitors can then be converted into customers.[1] SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, video search, academic search,[2] news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines. SEO differs from local search engine optimization in that the latter is focused on optimizing a business' online presence so that its web pages will be displayed by search engines when a user enters a local search for its products or services. The former instead is more focused on national or international searches.
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.
“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.
1. Now that we know that weight/PageRank/whatever will disappear (outside of the intrinsic wastage method that Google applies) when we use a ‘nofollow’ link, what do you think this will do to linking patterns? This is really a can of worms from an outbound linking and internal linking perspective. Will people still link to their ‘legals’ page from every page on their site? Turning comments ‘off’ will also be pretty tempting. I know this will devalue the sites in general, but we are not always dealing with logic here are we? (if we were you (as head of the web spam team) wouldn’t of had to change many things in the past. Changing the PageRank sculpting thing just being one of them).
Baseline ranking assessment. You need to understand where you are now in order to accurately assess your future rankings. Keep a simple Excel sheet to start the process. Check weekly to begin. As you get more comfortable, check every 30 to 45 days. You should see improvements in website traffic, a key indicator of progress for your keywords. Some optimizers will say that rankings are dead. Yes, traffic and conversions are more important, but we use rankings as an indicator.

We must be careful with our reciprocal links. There is a Google patent in the works that will deal with not only the popularity of the sites being linked to, but also how trustworthy a site is that you link to from your own website. This will mean that you could get into trouble with the search engine just for linking to a bad apple. We could begin preparing for this future change in the search engine algorithm by being choosier with which we exchange links right now. By choosing only relevant sites to link with, and sites that don't have tons of outbound links on a page, or sites that don't practice black-hat SEO techniques, we will have a better chance that our reciprocal links won't be discounted.
Companies often use email marketing to re-engage past customers, but a “Where’d You Go? Want To Buy This?” message can come across as aggressive, and you want to be careful with your wording to cultivate a long-term email subscriber. This is why JetBlue’s one year re-engagement email works so well -- it uses humor to convey a sense of friendliness and fun, while simultaneously reminding an old email subscriber they might want to check out some of JetBlue’s new flight deals.
Hi Brian, as usual solid and helpful content so thank you. I have a question which the internet doesn’t seem to be able to answer. i thought perhaps you could. I have worked hard on building back links and with success. However, they are just not showing up regardless of what tool I use to check (Ahrefs, etc). it has been about 60 days and there are 10 quality back links not showing. Any ideas? thanks!

If (a) is correct that looks like bad news for webmasters, BUT if (b) is also correct then – because PR is ultimately calculated over the whole of the web – every page loses out relative to every other page. In other words, there is less PR on the web as a whole and, after a sufficient number of iterations in the PR calculation, normality is restored. Is this correct?
Discoverability is not a new concept for web designers. In fact Search Engine Optimization and various forms of Search Engine Marketing arose from the need to make websites easy to discover by users. In the mobile application space this issue of discoverability is becoming ever more important – with nearly 700 apps a day being released on Apple’...
When we talk about ad links, we're not talking about search ads on Google or Bing, or social media ads on Facebook or LinkedIn. We're talking about sites that charge a fee for post a backlink to your site, and which may or may not make it clear that the link is a paid advertisement. Technically, this is a grey or black hat area, as it more or less amounts to link farming when it's abused. Google describes such arrangements as "link schemes," and takes a pretty firm stance against them.
An omni-channel approach not only benefits consumers but also benefits business bottom line: Research suggests that customers spend more than double when purchasing through an omni-channel retailer as opposed to a single-channel retailer, and are often more loyal. This could be due to the ease of purchase and the wider availability of products.[24]
Fortunately, Google never gave up on the idea of backlinks; it just got better at qualifying them and utilizing other online signals to determine quality from disreputable tactics. Unethical methods can not only hurt your rankings, but can cause your domain to incur penalties from Google. Yes, your domain can be penalized and can even be removed from Google’s index if the offense is serious enough.
As Rogers pointed out in his classic paper on PageRank, the biggest takeaway for us about the eigenvector piece is that it’s a type of math that let’s you work with multiple moving parts. “We can go ahead and calculate a page’s PageRank without knowing the final value of the PR of the other pages. That seems strange but, basically, each time we run the calculation we’re getting a closer estimate of the final value. So all we need to do is remember the each value we calculate and repeat the calculations lots of times until the numbers stop changing much.”

Meanwhile, the link spam began. People chasing higher PageRank scores began dropping links wherever they could, including into blog posts and forums. Eventually, it became such an issue that demands were raised that Google itself should do something about it. Google did in 2005, getting behind the nofollow tag, a way to prevent links from passing along PageRank credit.
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.
The combination of charisma, charm and intellect has helped catapult Sharpe to the top of the heap. In a recent conversation with him, I wanted to learn what it truly took to become an expert digital marketer. And one of the most important takeaways from that phone call was that if he could do it, anyone could do it. For someone who failed so devastatingly very early on in life, to rise from the ashes like a phoenix was no easy feat.
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.
Try using Dribble to find designers with good portfolios. Contact them directly by upgrading your account to PRO status, for just $20 a year. Then simply use the search filter and type "infographics." After finding someone you like, click on "hire me" and send a message detailing your needs and requesting a price. Fiver is another place to find great designers willing to create inexpensive infographics.
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.
Another reason to achieve quality backlinks is to entice visitors to come to your website. You can't build a website, and then expect that people will find your website without pointing the way. You will probably have to get the word out there about your site. One way webmasters got the word out used to be through reciprocal linking. Let's talk about reciprocal linking for a moment.
The first component of Google's trust has to do with age. Age is more than a number. But it's not just the age when you first registered your website. The indexed age has to do with two factors: i) the date that Google originally found your website, and; ii) what happened between the time that Google found your website and the present moment in time.
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.

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