[43] Katja Mayer views PageRank as a social network as it connects differing viewpoints and thoughts in a single place. People go to PageRank for information and are flooded with citations of other authors who also have an opinion on the topic. This creates a social aspect where everything can be discussed and collected to provoke thinking. There is a social relationship that exists between PageRank and the people who use it as it is constantly adapting and changing to the shifts in modern society. Viewing the relationship between PageRank and the individual through sociometry allows for an in-depth look at the connection that results.
I really think Google keeps it’s enemies sweet and close, all the while gathering info on ALL SEO tactics, so they can compare and discount them where warranted. Put yourself in Google’s shoes. It relies on returning the most trustworthy and relevant pages in the SERPs for any given search term. That IS the all important foundations of the Google empire. IF that can be artificially manufactured by SEO and money, Google has lost, not only the battle, but the war.
A small search-engine called "RankDex" from IDD Information Services, designed by Robin Li, was, from 1996, already exploring a similar strategy for site-scoring and page-ranking.[19] Li patented the technology in RankDex in 1999[20] and used it later when he founded Baidu in China in 2000.[21][22] Larry Page referenced Li's work in some of his U.S. patents for PageRank.[23]
As they noted in their paper, pages stuffed fulled of useless keywords “often wash out any results that a user is interested in.” While we often complain when we run into spammy pages today, the issue was far worse then. In their paper they state that, “as of November 1997, only one of the top four commercial search engines finds itself (returns its own search page in response to its name in the top ten results).” That’s incredibly difficult to imagine happening now. Imagine searching for the word “Google” in that search engine, and not have it pull up www.google.com in the first page of results. And yet, that’s how bad it was 20 years ago.
The SEO industry changes at an extreme pace, every year marketers evolve their strategies and shift their focus. However, backlinks remain just as crucial of a strategy as when they were first created. Currently, backlinks are a very common phase in the world of SEO, and if you are involved in the industry, you know backlinks are vital to a website’s performance.
While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they "control" other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn't work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you're considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.

With focus I mean making sure that your pages focus on the same keyword everywhere, and your site focuses on the same high level keywords and sections in your site focusing on their own high level (but not as high as the keywords for which you want your home page to rank) keywords. Focus few people really understand while the interesting thing is that you do this almost automatically right if you do your site architecture and understanding your customers, right.
If you’re using SEM as a strategy, you’ll need to test and evaluate your keywords. A good rule of thumb is that for every 100 clicks you get, you’ll get between 3 and 10 enquiries. So, to conduct an efficient test, you’ll want to test around 1,000 clicks. That means setting your budget for Adwords at 1,000 times the cost of the click. If you find that this is going to cost too much, you’ll need to find other keywords or a different marketing strategy.
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

PageRank was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford. In fact the name. PageRank is a likely play on Larry Page's name. At the time that Page and Brin met, early search engines typically linked to pages that had the highest keyword density, which meant people could game the system by repeating the same phrase over and over to attract higher search page results. Sometimes web designers would even put hidden text on pages to repeat phrases. 
Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for the clarification, Matt. We were just wondering today when we would hear from you on the matter since it had been a couple of weeks since SMX. I think we’d all be interested to know the extent to which linking to “trusted sites,” helps PageRank. Does it really mitigate the losses incurred by increasing the number of links? I ask because it seems pretty conclusive that the total number of outbound links is now the deciding metric for passing PageRank and not the number of DoFollow links. Any thoughts from you or others?
First of all, it’s necessary to sort out what a backlink is. There is no need to explain everything in detail. The main thing to understand is what it is for and how it works. A backlink is a kind of Internet manipulator. It links one particular site with other external websites which contain links to this site. In other words, when you visit external sites they will lead you to that particular site.
The SEO industry changes at an extreme pace, every year marketers evolve their strategies and shift their focus. However, backlinks remain just as crucial of a strategy as when they were first created. Currently, backlinks are a very common phase in the world of SEO, and if you are involved in the industry, you know backlinks are vital to a website’s performance.
“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.
But bear in mind that you can't guest post just anywhere and expect that it'll help. In fact, for years black hatters have perverted the value of guest posts by 'creating private blog networks,' which put out mass quantities of low-quality content for the sole purpose of exchanging backlinks. Google has caught on to this, and penalizes websites accordingly. So, you want to ensure that you only provide guest posts to reputable, respected websites that are relevant to your industry.

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.


Bob Dole (interesting name), you’re certainly welcome to use Bing if you prefer, but before you switch, you might check whether they do similar things. I know that Nate Buggia has strongly recommended not to bother with PageRank sculpting in the past, for example, or at least that was my perception from his comments at the last couple SMX Advanced conferences.

If you’re not getting the clicks… you may need to invest more money per click. As you might expect, there are algorithms in play for SEM. Also, the more you pay, the more likely you are to be served with high-value (in terms of potential spending with your business) clicks. Or, you may just need to re-evaluate your keyphrase – maybe it’s not as popular as the figures, provided by Google Adwords, suggest?


This year, for the first time, Google stated that user experience would be a core part of gaining rankings for mobile websites. A poorer user experience would send your site hurtling down the rankings. This appeared to come as a shock to many in the SEO community and despite assurances that content was still king – many seemed to feel that this ...
When would this be useful? If your site has a blog with public commenting turned on, links within those comments could pass your reputation to pages that you may not be comfortable vouching for. Blog comment areas on pages are highly susceptible to comment spam. Nofollowing these user-added links ensures that you're not giving your page's hard-earned reputation to a spammy site.
It’s important to monitor the backlinks your site is accumulating. First, you can verify that your outreach is working. Second, you can monitor if you pick up any shady backlinks. Domains from Russia and Brazil are notorious origins of spam. Therefore, it can be wise to disavow links from sites originating from this part of the world through Google Search Console as soon as you find them – even if they haven’t impacted your site… yet.
The PageRank theory holds that an imaginary surfer who is randomly clicking on links will eventually stop clicking. The probability, at any step, that the person will continue is a damping factor d. Various studies have tested different damping factors, but it is generally assumed that the damping factor will be set around 0.85.[5] In applications of PageRank to biological data, a Bayesian analysis finds the optimal value of d to be 0.31.[24]
This is so funny. Google stifled the notion of linking to “great content” the minute they let on to how important linking was to passing pagerank. In effect, the importance of links has indeed led to pagerank hoarding and link commoditization which in turn leads to all of the things google doesn’t like such as spammy links, link farms, link selling, link buying, etc. What you end up with is a system, much like our economic system, where the rich get richer and poor get poorer. Nobody has a problem linking to CNN, as if they really needed the links. On the flip side who wants make a dofollow link to a site that’s 2 days old, great content or not when you can provide your visitors a nofollow link which is just as valuable to them. The whole notion of benefiting from a quality outbound link is a joke, the outbound linker receives 0 benefit when you factor the outflow of pagerank.

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.


The internet was the little guy savior, simple sites could rank well locally. Sadly your company is in the process of destroying that. In this economy small business with zero page rank that are listed on page 22 of results, need to be found in order to survive. My customers are really suffering because of the work that is coming out of Google, it keeps getting worse. Their conversions are still good coming out of Yahoo and MSN and now Bing. They do not have the resources to produce blogs, forums, or $5,000 websites let alone pay for Adwords when they are just trying to pay rent and not a lot of people can do their own web production.
The new digital era has enabled brands to selectively target their customers that may potentially be interested in their brand or based on previous browsing interests. Businesses can now use social media to select the age range, location, gender and interests of whom they would like their targeted post to be seen by. Furthermore, based on a customer's recent search history they can be ‘followed’ on the internet so they see advertisements from similar brands, products and services,[38] This allows businesses to target the specific customers that they know and feel will most benefit from their product or service, something that had limited capabilities up until the digital era.
“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.
In my view there is nothing wrong with saying ‘hey Google, these pages are not important from a search engine perspective, let me not give them so much weight’. Regardless of how Google now views these type of pages from a weight perspective, doing the above as a webmaster should be logical and encouraged. You have said this yourself at least a few times in the past.

Well – maybe for a few of you. But this algorithm is fundamental in understanding links and in particular, understanding why most links count for nothing or almost nothing. When you get to grips with Google’s algorithm, you will be light years ahead of other SEOs… but I never really see it properly explained. I guarantee that even if you know this algorithm inside out, you’ll see some unexpected results from this math by the end of this post and you will also never use the phrase “Domain Authority” in front of a customer again (at least in relation to links).
SEO is also about making your search engine result relevant to the user's search query so more people click the result when it is shown in search. In this process, snippets of text and meta data are optimized to ensure your snippet of information is appealing in the context of the search query to obtain a high CTR (click through rate) from search results.
In this new world of digital transparency brands have to be very thoughtful in how they engage with current and potential customers. Consumers have an endless amount of data at their fingertips especially through social media channels, rating and review sites, blogs, and more. Unless brands actively engage in these conversations they lose the opportunity for helping guide their brand message and addressing customer concerns.
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. 

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!
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.

For example, if a webmaster has a website about how to rescue orphaned kittens, and received a backlink from another website about kittens, then that would be more relevant in a search engine's assessment than say a link from a site about car racing. The more relevant the site is that is linking back to your website, the better the quality of the backlink.
If Google was to allow webmasters full control of their own fate it would be like giving up the farm rather than giving up to the forces of human creativity. If you feel today were in a crowded market place even with a Google’s superiority complex, wait until the web is completely machine readable and aggregated on pure laws of information. I don’t think most can comprehend the future of data management as we have yet to see readily available parsing mechanisms that evolve purely based on the principles of information theory and not merely economies of scale. Remember not too long ago when Facebook tried to change their TOS to own your links and profiles? We can see that the tragedy of the commons still shapes the decision of production with that of opting in.
Links still matter as part of the algorithmic secret sauce. The influence of a site’s link profile is plain to see in its search engine rankings, whether for better or worse, and changes in that link profile cause noticeable movement up or down the SERP. An SEO’s emphasis today should be on attracting links to quality content naturally, not building them en masse. (For more on proper link building today, see http://bit.ly/1XIm3vf )
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.
There are several factors that determine the value of a backlink. Backlinks from authoritative sites on a given topic are highly valuable. If both sites and pages have content geared toward the topic, the backlink is considered relevant and believed to have strong influence on the search engine rankings of the web page granted the backlink. A backlink represents a favorable 'editorial vote' for the receiving webpage from another granting webpage. Another important factor is the anchor text of the backlink. Anchor text is the descriptive labeling of the hyperlink as it appears on a web page. Search engine bots (i.e., spiders, crawlers, etc.) examine the anchor text to evaluate how relevant it is to the content on a webpage. Anchor text and webpage content congruency are highly weighted in search engine results page (SERP) rankings of a webpage with respect to any given keyword query by a search engine user.
If you’re new to internet marketing and wish to get online as quickly and inexpensively as possible you can start with a social media platform like Facebook - you can create a business Facebook page in less than an hour. However, if you want more control over your online presence, a customized website is more appropriate. Ideally you should have both a website and a social media presence, with each linking to the other.

Excellent! I was wondering when Google would finally release information regarding this highly controversial issue. I have always agreed with and followed Matt’s advice in having PR flow as freely as possible, natural linking is always the best linking in my experience with my search engine experience and results. I am very glad that you have addressed the topic of nofollow links having no effects in the Google SERPs, I was getting tired of telling the same topics covered in this article to my clients and other “SEOs”.
As of October 2018 almost 4.2 billion people were active internet users and 3.4 billion were social media users (Statista). China, India and the United States rank ahead all other countries in terms of internet users. This gives a marketer an unprecedented number of customers to reach with product and service offerings, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The interactive nature of the internet facilitates immediate communication between businesses and consumers, allowing businesses to respond quickly to the needs of consumers and changes in the marketplace.
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.
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