One of the consequences of the PageRank algorithm and its further manipulation has been the situation when backlinks (as well as link-building) have been usually considered black-hat SEO. Thus, not only Google has been combating the consequences of its own child's tricks, but also mega-sites, like Wikipedia, The Next Web, Forbes, and many others who automatically nofollow all the outgoing links. It means fewer and fewer PageRank votes. What is then going to help search engines rank pages in terms of their safety and relevance? 

Online competition is fiercer than ever—and if you want to create a website that outperforms industry benchmarks in a big way, it’s vital that you know how to utilize your design skills to keep users engaged. The more engaged users are, the more likely they are to turn into paying customers—people who will buy your products and services time and time again, remain loyal, and ultimately become ambassadors for your brand both on- and offline.
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.
Backlinks are a major ranking factor for most search engines, including Google. If you want to do SEO for your website and get relevant organic traffic, building backlinks is something you should be doing. The more backlinks your website has from authoritative domains, the higher reputation you’ll have in Google’s eyes. And you’ll dominate the SERPS.
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!

However, some of the world's top-earning blogs gross millions of dollars per month on autopilot. It's a great source of passive income and if you know what you're doing, you could earn a substantial living from it. You don't need millions of visitors per month to rake in the cash, but you do need to connect with your audience and have clarity in your voice.
This guide is designed for you to read cover-to-cover. Each new chapter builds upon the previous one. A core idea that we want to reinforce is that marketing should be evaluated holistically. What you need to do is this in terms of growth frameworks and systems as opposed to campaigns. Reading this guide from start to finish will help you connect the many moving parts of marketing to your big-picture goal, which is ROI.

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.
“Google itself solely decides how much PageRank will flow to each and every link on a particular page. In general, the more links on a page, the less PageRank each link gets. Google might decide some links don’t deserve credit and give them no PageRank. The use of nofollow doesn’t ‘conserve’ PageRank for other links; it simply prevents those links from getting any PageRank that Google otherwise might have given them.”
On the other hand, all of the results for the PageRank engine (aside from a single secondary listing) link to the homepage of major American universities. The results are much more logical and useful in nature. If you search for “university,” are you going to want the homepages for popular universities, or random subpages from a sprinkling of colleges all over the world?
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?

Using an omni-channel strategy is becoming increasingly important for enterprises who must adapt to the changing expectations of consumers who want ever-more sophisticated offerings throughout the purchasing journey. Retailers are increasingly focusing on their online presence, including online shops that operate alongside existing store-based outlets. The "endless aisle" within the retail space can lead consumers to purchase products online that fit their needs while retailers do not have to carry the inventory within the physical location of the store. Solely Internet-based retailers are also entering the market; some are establishing corresponding store-based outlets to provide personal services, professional help, and tangible experiences with their products.[24]
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).
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.
The SEO starter guide describes much of what your SEO will do for you. Although you don't need to know this guide well yourself if you're hiring a professional to do the work for you, it is useful to be familiar with these techniques, so that you can be aware if an SEO wants to use a technique that is not recommended or, worse, strongly discouraged.
As you might know, backlinks and all marketing strategies are dependent on the competition and existing trends in your niche. So if the blogs and marketers in your country are still using older tactics like web 2.0 backlinks and blog comments, then does it even make sense to go for tedious strategies like outreach? Does it even warrant a good business ROI?
If you’re Matt Cutts and a billion people link to you because you’re the Spam guy at Google, writing great content is enough. For the rest of us in hypercompetitive markets, good content alone is not enough. There was nothing wrong with sculpting page rank to pages on your site that make you money as a means of boosting traffic to those pages. It’s not manipulating Google, there’s more than enough of that going on in the first page of results for most competitive keywords. Geez Matt, give the little guy a break!
The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically. The Yahoo! Directory and DMOZ, two major directories which closed in 2014 and 2017 respectively, both required manual submission and human editorial review.[39] Google offers Google Search Console, for which an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted for free to ensure that all pages are found, especially pages that are not discoverable by automatically following links[40] in addition to their URL submission console.[41] Yahoo! formerly operated a paid submission service that guaranteed crawling for a cost per click;[42] however, this practice was discontinued in 2009.
Back in the ’90s, two students at Stanford named Larry Page and Sergey Brin started pondering how they could make a better search engine that didn’t get fooled by keyword stuffing. They realized that if you could measure each website’s popularity (and then cross index that with what the website was about), you could build a much more useful search engine. In 1998, they published a scientific paper in which they introduced the concept of “PageRank.” This topic was further explored in another paper that Brin and Page contributed to, “PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web.”
Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.) Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.
NOTE: You may be curious what your site’s or your competitor’s PR score is. But Google no longer reveals the PageRank score for websites. It used to display at the top of web browsers right in the Google Toolbar, but no more. And PR data is no longer available to developers through APIs, either. Even though it’s now hidden from public view, however, PageRank remains an important ingredient in Google’s secret ranking algorithms.
Great article and writing in general. My company just published a 5,000 word Keyword targeting best practices guide for PPC and SEO, and we linked to your article “10 Reasons You Should Use Google Trends for More Than Just Keyword Research”. http://vabulous.com/keyword-research-targeting-for-ppc-and-seo-guide/ I would love if you checked it out and possibly shared it if you like it.
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!
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.
I am not worried by this; I do agree with Danny Sullivan (Great comment Danny, best comment I have read in a long time). I will not be changing much on my site re: linking but it is interesting too see that Google took over a year to tell us regarding the change, but was really happy to tell us about rel=”nofollow” in the first place and advised us all to use it.

The formula uses a model of a random surfer who gets bored after several clicks and switches to a random page. The PageRank value of a page reflects the chance that the random surfer will land on that page by clicking on a link. It can be understood as a Markov chain in which the states are pages, and the transitions, which are all equally probable, are the links between pages.
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.
Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One black hat technique uses text that is hidden, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen. Another method gives a different page depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine, a technique known as cloaking. Another category sometimes used is grey hat SEO. This is in between black hat and white hat approaches, where the methods employed avoid the site being penalized, but do not act in producing the best content for users. Grey hat SEO is entirely focused on improving search engine rankings.

The truth? Today, rising above the noise and achieving any semblance of visibility has become a monumental undertaking. While we might prevail at searching, we fail at being found. How are we supposed to get notice while swimming in a sea of misinformation and disinformation? We've become immersed in this guru gauntlet where one expert after another is attempting to teach us how we can get the proverbial word out about our businesses and achieve visibility to drive more leads and sales, but we all still seem to be lost.
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