In regards to link sculpting I think the pro’s of having the “no follow” attribute outweigh the few who might use it to link sculpt. Those crafty enough to link sculpt don’t actually need this attribute but it does make life easier and is a benefit. Without this attribute I would simply change the hierarchy of the internal linking structure of my site and yield the same results I would if the “no follow” attribute didn’t exist.
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.
Given that “only a tiny percentage of links on the Web use nofollow”, why don’t we just get back to focusing on humans and drop nofollow? It has failed, and given that all it ever was was a tool to manipulate Pagerank, it was bound to do so. Has Google done any tests on its search quality taking nofollow into account vs. not taking it into account, I wonder?

In order to do all that, you will need to acquire and apply knowledge in human psychology. If you understand how your customers think, you can design for their needs. This course is based on tried and tested psychological techniques that bring together content and design so as to deliver hands-on advice for how to improve your web design and increase your customer engagement.

I have to take my hat off to your content – not just for the tips you’ve given that have helped me with my websites, but for how clearly you can write. May I ask, what books or resources have inspired and influenced your writing and content creation the most? The two best books I’ve read so far to improve my writing are On Writing Well and Letting Go of the Words.
Data-driven advertising: Users generate a lot of data in every step they take on the path of customer journey and Brands can now use that data to activate their known audience with data-driven programmatic media buying. Without exposing customers' privacy, users' Data can be collected from digital channels (e.g.: when customer visits a website, reads an e-mail, or launches and interact with brand's mobile app), brands can also collect data from real world customer interactions, such as brick and mortar stores visits and from CRM and Sales engines datasets. Also known as People-based marketing or addressable media, Data-driven advertising is empowering brands to find their loyal customers in their audience and deliver in real time a much more personal communication, highly relevant to each customers' moment and actions.[37]

1. Apparently, external linking of any kind bleeds PR from the page. Following or nofollowing becomes a function of whether you want that lost PR to benefit the other site. Since nofollow has ceased to provide the benefit of retaining pagerank, the only reason to use it at all is Google Might Think This Link Is Paid. Conclusion: Google is disincentivizing external links of any kind.
Unfortunately, SEO is also a slow process. You can make “quick wins” in markets which are ill-established using SEO, but the truth is that the vast majority of useful keyphrases (including long-tail keyphrases) in competitive markets will already have been optimized for. It is likely to take a significant amount of time to get to a useful place in search results for these phrases. In some cases, it may take months or even years of concentrated effort to win the battle for highly competitive keyphrases.
Google might see 10 links on a page that has $10 of PageRank to spend. It might notice that 5 of those links are navigational elements that occur a lot throughout the site and decide they should only get 50 cents each. It might decide 5 of those links are in editorial copy and so are worthy of getting more. Maybe 3 of them get $2 each and 2 others get $1.50 each, because of where they appear in the copy, if they’re bolded or any of a number of other factors you don’t disclose.

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.


The better you learn and understand SEO and the more strides you take to learn this seemingly confusing and complex discipline, the more likely you'll be to appear organically in search results. And let's face it, organic search is important to marketing online. Considering that most people don't have massive advertising budgets and don't know the first thing about lead magnets, squeeze pages and sales funnels, appearing visible is critical towards long-term success.

Something a lot of people seem to have overlooked was hinted at in Greg Boser’s comment above. Greg identified that there is a major (and unfair) disparity with how authority sites such as Wikipedia disrupt the linkscape by run-of-site nofollows. Once Wikipedia implemented the no-follows, previously high-value links from Wikipedia were rendered worthless making the site less of a target for spammers. Increasingly large sites are following suit in order to cleanse their own pages of spam.


When Site A links to your web page, Google sees this as Site A endorsing, or casting a vote for, your page. Google takes into consideration all of these link votes (i.e., the website’s link profile) to draw conclusions about the relevance and significance of individual webpages and your website as a whole. This is the basic concept behind PageRank.

In 2007, Google announced a campaign against paid links that transfer PageRank.[29] On June 15, 2009, Google disclosed that they had taken measures to mitigate the effects of PageRank sculpting by use of the nofollow attribute on links. Matt Cutts, a well-known software engineer at Google, announced that Google Bot would no longer treat nofollowed links in the same way, to prevent SEO service providers from using nofollow for PageRank sculpting.[30] As a result of this change the usage of nofollow led to evaporation of PageRank. In order to avoid the above, SEO engineers developed alternative techniques that replace nofollowed tags with obfuscated Javascript and thus permit PageRank sculpting. Additionally several solutions have been suggested that include the usage of iframes, Flash and Javascript.[31]
More appropriately, blame Google for ever making the PageRank score visible. When Google first started, PageRank was something it talked about as part of its research papers, press releases and technology pages to promote itself as a smarter search engine than well-established and bigger rivals at the time — players like Yahoo, AltaVista and Lycos, to name a few.
btw; All those SEO’s out there probably made some monies off clients, selling the sculpting thang to them. I know some are still insisting it worked, etc, but would they say in public that it didn’t work after they already took a site’s money to sculpt? How would anyone judge if it worked or not definitively? The funny thing is, the real issues of that site could have been fixed for the long term instead of applying a band aide. Of course; knowing the state of this industry right now, band aides are the in thing anyway.
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!
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.
A way to build backlinks by providing value to other sites is through branded badges. A branded badge is an award that a brand creates and gives out to other sites as a status symbol. For example, you could create a list of the top sites or best brands that are published on your site, and then give badges to each brand on the list so that they can show the status on their site. You include a link back to the article on the badge to create the link.
That sort of solidifies my thoughts that Google has always liked and still likes sites that are most natural the best – so to me it seems like it’s best not to stress over nofollow and dofollow – regarding on-site and off-site links – and just link to sites you really think are cool and likewise comment on blogs you really like )and leave something useful)… if nothing else, if things change will nofollow again, you’ll have all those comments floating around out there so it can’t hurt. And besides, you may get some visitors from them if the comments are half-decent.
Check your robots.txt file. Make sure you learn how to hide content you don’t want indexed from search engines and that search engines can find the content you do want indexed, too. (You will want to hide things such as repeat content, which can be penalized by search engines but is still necessary on your site). You’ll find a link to how to modify the robots.txt at the end of this article.
Most online marketers mistakenly attribute 100% of a sale or lead to the Last Clicked source. The main reason for this is that analytic solutions only provide last click analysis. 93% to 95% of marketing touch points are ignored when you only attribute success to the last click. That is why multi-attribution is required to properly source sales or leads.

An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines' guidelines and involves no deception. As the search engine guidelines[18][19][51] are not written as a series of rules or commandments, this is an important distinction to note. White hat SEO is not just about following guidelines, but is about ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see. White hat advice is generally summed up as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the online "spider" algorithms, rather than attempting to trick the algorithm from its intended purpose. White hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility,[52] although the two are not identical.
Once the company has identified the target demographic for its Internet marketing campaign, they then decide what online platforms will comprise the campaign. For instance, a company that is seeking customers from the 18 to 33 demographic should develop a mobile application that raises awareness about the product, such as a game, a news feed, or a daily coupon program users can download for free.
PageRank gets its name from Google cofounder Larry Page. You can read the original ranking system to calculate PageRank here, if you want. Check out the original paper about how Google worked here, while you’re at it. But for dissecting how Google works today, these documents from 1998 and 2000 won’t help you much. Still, they’ve been pored over, analyzed and unfortunately sometimes spouted as the gospel of how Google operates now.
What seems to be happening is that the toolbar looks at the URL of the page the browser is displaying and strips off everything down the last “/” (i.e. it goes to the “parent” page in URL terms). If Google has a Toolbar PR for that parent then it subtracts 1 and shows that as the Toolbar PR for this page. If there’s no PR for the parent it goes to the parent’s parent’s page, but subtracting 2, and so on all the way up to the root of your site.  If it can’t find a Toolbar PR to display in this way, that is if it doesn’t find a page with a real calculated PR, then the bar is greyed out.
Most schools / universities have just an [email protected]… or [email protected]…. email address, which goes to the reception. I don’t really know who to address this email to, as I believe a lot of the time the admin person receiving it ignore and delete it without passing it on to someone relevant, e.g. the school’s or universities’ communications manager. Hope you can help me on this one! Thanks so much in advance!
The mathematics of PageRank are entirely general and apply to any graph or network in any domain. Thus, PageRank is now regularly used in bibliometrics, social and information network analysis, and for link prediction and recommendation. It's even used for systems analysis of road networks, as well as biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and physics.[45]
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.

By 2004, search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce the impact of link manipulation. In June 2007, The New York Times' Saul Hansell stated Google ranks sites using more than 200 different signals.[25] The leading search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, do not disclose the algorithms they use to rank pages. Some SEO practitioners have studied different approaches to search engine optimization, and have shared their personal opinions.[26] Patents related to search engines can provide information to better understand search engines.[27] In 2005, Google began personalizing search results for each user. Depending on their history of previous searches, Google crafted results for logged in users.[28]

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.

Here’s my take on the whole pagerank sculpting situation. As I understand it, the basic idea is that you can increase your rankings in Google by channeling the page rank of your pages to the pages you want ranked. This used be done with the use of the ‘no folow’ tag. That said, things have changed, and Google has come out and said that the way ‘no follow’ use to work has changed. In short, using ‘no follow’ to channel that page rank juice is no longer as effective as it once was.
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.
Spam is a poison that in different ways (and in different names) affects many things. Matt, you and your guys do a great job in trying to keep it at bay. But, as mentioned before, with that role and power, you set the rules for the web in many ways. As I have said before even though the JavaScript link change is not (in Danny’s words) backward compatible, it is understandable. I will maintain that the PageRank sculpting thing is not the same.
In my experience this means (the key words are “not the most effective way”) a page not scored by Google (“e.g. my private link” – password protected, disallowed via robots.txt and/or noindex meta robots) whether using or not using rel=”nofollow” attribute in ‘links to’ is not factored into anything… because it can’t factor in something it isn’t allowed.
If you own, manage, monetize, or promote online content via Google Search, this guide is meant for you. You might be the owner of a growing and thriving business, the webmaster of a dozen sites, the SEO specialist in a Web agency or a DIY SEO ninja passionate about the mechanics of Search : this guide is meant for you. If you're interested in having a complete overview of the basics of SEO according to our best practices, you are indeed in the right place. This guide won't provide any secrets that'll automatically rank your site first in Google (sorry!), but following the best practices outlined below will hopefully make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.
Thanks Matt for the informative post. However I do have some questions regarding blog comments. Let say a blog post of mine have PR 10, the page has 10 links, 3 of them are my internal link to my other related post, the other 7 links are external links from blog comment. Based on your explanation, even the 7 external links are nofollow, my 3 internal link will only get 1 PR each which is still the same if the 7 external link is dofollow. Therefore there is no point of adding nofollow for the sake of keeping the PR flow within your own links. Is this correct?
Halfdeck; Don’t you think the big problem is that Google is giving too much information to the industry? I stated a long time ago this fact, wondering why they wish to constantly hand out more information when they should have known the industry would try their best to exploit anyway. Not only that, but wanting more and more no matter how much Google hands out is something that is very clear as well. You just stated you want “more detail”. Why? I’m thinking too much detail handed out over the years is Google’s biggest problem right now. Considering the total majority of websites on the internet don’t know what a nofollow attribute is anyway, what exactly is Google gaining by giving up parts of their algo to the SEO industry? Big mistake. They should actually just shut up.

Likewise, ‘nofollowing’ your archive pages on your blog. Is this really a bad thing? You can get to the pages from the ‘tag’ index or the ‘category’ index, why put weight to a page that is truly navigational. At least the tag and category pages are themed. Giving weight to a page that is only themed by the date is crazy and does not really help search engines deliver ‘good’ results (totally leaving aside the duplicate content issues for now).
Also, by means of the iterative calculation, the sum of all pages' PageRanks still converges to the total number of web pages. So the average PageRank of a web page is 1. The minimum PageRank of a page is given by (1-d). Therefore, there is a maximum PageRank for a page which is given by dN+(1-d), where N is total number of web pages. This maximum can theoretically occur, if all web pages solely link to one page, and this page also solely links to itself.
The name "PageRank" plays off of the name of developer Larry Page, as well as of the concept of a web page.[15] The word is a trademark of Google, and the PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999). However, the patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google. Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University. The university received 1.8 million shares of Google in exchange for use of the patent; it sold the shares in 2005 for $336 million.[16][17]

Here’s my take on the whole pagerank sculpting situation. As I understand it, the basic idea is that you can increase your rankings in Google by channeling the page rank of your pages to the pages you want ranked. This used be done with the use of the ‘no folow’ tag. That said, things have changed, and Google has come out and said that the way ‘no follow’ use to work has changed. In short, using ‘no follow’ to channel that page rank juice is no longer as effective as it once was.
This still encourages larger, more professionally run websites not to ‘share the wealth’ of PageRank to other sites. How is a small niche website ever going to get decent results in SERPS if when a bigger site does link to it, it nofollows the link? Not passing any PageRank benefit, or anchor text through the link does nothing to encourage smaller more specialised sites – it encourages the bigger, broader sites to hoard the goodness.

The better you learn and understand SEO and the more strides you take to learn this seemingly confusing and complex discipline, the more likely you'll be to appear organically in search results. And let's face it, organic search is important to marketing online. Considering that most people don't have massive advertising budgets and don't know the first thing about lead magnets, squeeze pages and sales funnels, appearing visible is critical towards long-term success.
What are backlinks doing for your SEO strategy? Well, Google considers over 200 SEO ranking factors when calculating where a page should rank, but we know that backlinks are one of the top three (the other two are content and RankBrain, Google’s AI). So while you should always focus on creating high-quality content, link-building is also an important factor in ranking your pages well on Google.

1. Apparently, external linking of any kind bleeds PR from the page. Following or nofollowing becomes a function of whether you want that lost PR to benefit the other site. Since nofollow has ceased to provide the benefit of retaining pagerank, the only reason to use it at all is Google Might Think This Link Is Paid. Conclusion: Google is disincentivizing external links of any kind.
In this illustration from the “PageRank Citation Ranking” paper, the authors demonstrate how webpages pass value onto other pages. The two pages on the left have a value of 100 and 9, respectively. The page with a value of 100 has two links that point to the pages on the right. That page’s value of 100 is divided between the two links, so that each conveys a value of 50. The other page on the left has three outgoing links, each carrying one-third of the page’s value of 9. One link goes to the top page on the right, which ends up with a total value of 53. The bottom right page has no other backlinks, so its total value is 50.
The world is mobile today. Most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. The desktop version of a site might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. As a result, having a mobile ready site is critical to your online presence. In fact, starting in late 2016, Google has begun experiments to primarily use the mobile version of a site's content41 for ranking, parsing structured data, and generating snippets.
If you're serious about finding your voice and discovering the secrets to success in business, one of the best people to follow is Gary Vanyerchuck, CEO of Vayner Media, and early-stage invest in Twitter, Uber and Facebook, has arbitraged his way into the most popular social media platforms and built up massive followings and often spills out the secrets to success in a highly motivating and inspiring way.
Hi Matt, we are currently about to upload a mayor project that includes applying no-follows to a numerous amount of links. This project was not conceived as a method of sculpting the site but because in out webmasters tools google alerted us that the site had too many links and this could affect crawling. This is mainly because we have a high listing and because we offer the users many filtering options which makes for great user experience as several surveys indicated. The idea of the no-follows was to apply them to these filtering links to tell google not to follow them. Do you think this is the way to go?. After reading your post I am affraid that we might be making a mistake.

Suppose instead that page B had a link to pages C and A, page C had a link to page A, and page D had links to all three pages. Thus, upon the first iteration, page B would transfer half of its existing value, or 0.125, to page A and the other half, or 0.125, to page C. Page C would transfer all of its existing value, 0.25, to the only page it links to, A. Since D had three outbound links, it would transfer one third of its existing value, or approximately 0.083, to A. At the completion of this iteration, page A will have a PageRank of approximately 0.458.
Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.
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.
Instead of relying on a group of editors or solely on the frequency with which certain terms appear, Google ranks every web page using a breakthrough technique called PageRank™. PageRank evaluates all of the sites linking to a web page and assigns them a value, based in part on the sites linking to them. By analyzing the full structure of the web, Google is able to determine which sites have been “voted” the best sources of information by those
Brand awareness has been proven to work with more effectiveness in countries that are high in uncertainty avoidance, also these countries that have uncertainty avoidance; social media marketing works effectively. Yet brands must be careful not to be excessive on the use of this type of marketing, as well as solely relying on it as it may have implications that could negatively harness their image. Brands that represent themselves in an anthropomorphizing manner are more likely to succeed in situations where a brand is marketing to this demographic. "Since social media use can enhance the knowledge of the brand and thus decrease the uncertainty, it is possible that people with high uncertainty avoidance, such as the French, will particularly appreciate the high social media interaction with an anthropomorphized brand." Moreover, digital platform provides an ease to the brand and its customers to interact directly and exchange their motives virtually.[33]
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?
Of course, it’s possible that the algorithm has some method of discounting internally reflected (and/or directly reciprocal) links (particularly those in identical headers or footers) to such an extent that this isn’t important. Evidence to support this the fact that many boring pages that are linked to by every page in a good site can have very low PR.
7. Keyword research. Specific target keywords aren’t as important for SEO success as they used to be, now that Google search is fueled by semantic and contextual understanding, but you should still be able to identify both head keyword (short, high-volume keywords) and long-tail keyword (longer, conversational, low-volume keywords) targets to guide the direction of your campaign.
Internet Marketing Inc. provides integrated online marketing strategies that help companies grow. We think of ourselves as a business development consulting firm that uses interactive marketing as a tool to increase revenue and profits. Our management team has decades of combined experience in online marketing as well as graduate level education and experience in business and finance. That is why we focus on creating integrated online marketing campaigns designed to maximize your return on investment.
×