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!
Assume a small universe of four web pages: A, B, C and D. Links from a page to itself are ignored. Multiple outbound links from one page to another page are treated as a single link. PageRank is initialized to the same value for all pages. In the original form of PageRank, the sum of PageRank over all pages was the total number of pages on the web at that time, so each page in this example would have an initial value of 1. However, later versions of PageRank, and the remainder of this section, assume a probability distribution between 0 and 1. Hence the initial value for each page in this example is 0.25.

Google will index this link and see that ESPN has a high authority, and there is a lot of trust in that website, but the relevancy is fairly low. After all, you are a local plumber and they are the biggest sports news website in the world. Once it has indexed your website, it can see that they do not have a lot in common. Now, Google will definitely give you credit for the link, but there is no telling how much.

In today’s world, QUALITY is more important than quantity. Google penalties have caused many website owners to not only stop link building, but start link pruning instead. Poor quality links (i.e., links from spammy or off-topic sites) are like poison and can kill your search engine rankings. Only links from quality sites, and pages that are relevant to your website, will appear natural and not be subject to penalty. So never try to buy or solicit links — earn them naturally or not at all.
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.
On the other hand, if your friend Ben launches a website tomorrow to provide plumbing industry information for consumers and includes a list of the best plumbers in Tucson and includes your business on the list, this may not get too much of a boost in the short ter. Though it meets the criteria of relevancy, the website is too new to be a trusted authority.

The PageRank formula also contains a damping factor (d) . According to the PageRank theory, there is an imaginary surfer who is randomly clicking on links, and at some point he gets bored and eventually stops clicking. The probability that the person will continue clicking at any step is a damping factor. Thus, this factor is introduced to stop some pages having too much influence. As a result, their total vote is damped down by multiplying it by 0.85 (a generally assumed value).
Our agency can provide both offensive and defensive ORM strategies as well as preventive ORM that includes developing new pages and social media profiles combined with consulting on continued content development. Our ORM team consists of experts from our SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing, and PR teams. At the end of the day, ORM is about getting involved in the online “conversations” and proactively addressing any potentially damaging content.
Assume a small universe of four web pages: A, B, C and D. Links from a page to itself, or multiple outbound links from one single page to another single page, are ignored. PageRank is initialized to the same value for all pages. In the original form of PageRank, the sum of PageRank over all pages was the total number of pages on the web at that time, so each page in this example would have an initial value of 1. However, later versions of PageRank, and the remainder of this section, assume a probability distribution between 0 and 1. Hence the initial value for each page in this example is 0.25. 

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.
Internet usage around the world, especially in the wealthiest countries, has steadily risen over the past decade and it shows no signs of slowing. According to a report by the Internet trend investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, 245 million people in the United States were online as of 2011, and 15 million people connected for the first time that year. As Internet usage grows, online commerce grows with it. This means that more people are using the Internet with each passing year, and enough of them are spending money online to impact the economy in significant ways. (See also E-Commerce Marketing)

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.
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).
When writing this guide, we reached out to the marketer community to collect case studies and learnings about creative marketing strategies. Most of these examples are included throughout the guide, but some didn’t quite fit. So we included those loose ends here, from the perspective of four awesome marketers. What better way to wrap up this guide than with you, our community?

Nashville Grant, here’s the mental model I’d employ: search engines want to return great content. If you make such a fantastic site that all the web has heard of you, search engines should normally reflect that fact and return your site. A lot of bad SEO happens because people say “I’ll force my way to the top of Google first, and then everyone will find out about my site.” Putting rankings before the creation of a great site is in many ways putting the cart before the horse. Often the search rankings follow from the fact that you’re getting to be well-known on the web completely outside the sphere of search. Think about sites like Twitter and Facebook–they succeed by chasing a vision of what users would want. In chasing after that ideal of user happiness and satisfaction, they became the sort of high-quality sites that search engines want to return, because we also want to return what searches will find useful and love. By chasing a great user experience above search rankings, many sites turn out to be what search engines would want to return anyway.
The flood of iframe and off-page hacks and plugins for WordPress and various other platforms might not come pouring in but I’m willing to bet the few that come in will begin to get prominence and popularity. It seemed such an easy way to keep control over PR flow offsite to websites you may not be ‘voting for’ and afterall, isn’t that way a link has always represented. It would seem Google should catch up with the times.
There are a few things to consider when beginning your backlink building campaign. It is helpful to keep track of your backlinks, to know which sites are linking back to you, and how the anchor text of the backlink incorporates keywords relating to your site. A tool to help you keep track of your backlinks is the Domain Stats Tool. This tool displays the backlinks of a domain in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. It will also tell you a few other details about your website, like your listings in the Open Directory, or DMOZ, from which Google regards backlinks highly important; Alexa traffic rank, and how many pages from your site that have been indexed, to name just a few.
Ian Rogers first used the Internet in 1986 sending email on a University VAX machine! He first installed a webserver in 1990, taught himself HTML and perl CGI scripting. Since then he has been a Senior Research Fellow in User Interface Design and a consultant in Network Security and Database Backed Websites. He has had an informal interest in topology and the mathematics and behaviour of networks for years and has also been known to do a little Jive dancing. 

Mathematical PageRanks for a simple network, expressed as percentages. (Google uses a logarithmic scale.) Page C has a higher PageRank than Page E, even though there are fewer links to C; the one link to C comes from an important page and hence is of high value. If web surfers who start on a random page have an 85% likelihood of choosing a random link from the page they are currently visiting, and a 15% likelihood of jumping to a page chosen at random from the entire web, they will reach Page E 8.1% of the time. (The 15% likelihood of jumping to an arbitrary page corresponds to a damping factor of 85%.) Without damping, all web surfers would eventually end up on Pages A, B, or C, and all other pages would have PageRank zero. In the presence of damping, Page A effectively links to all pages in the web, even though it has no outgoing links of its own.
In my view, the Reasonable Surfer model would findamentally change the matrix values above, so that the same overall PageRank is apportioned out of each node, but each outbound link carres a different value. In this scenario, you can indeed make the case that three links will generate more traffic than one, although the placement of these links might increase OR DECREASE the amount of PageRank that is passed, since (ultimately) the outbound links from page A to Page B are dependent on the location of all other outbound links on Page A. But this is the subject of another presentation for the future I think.

5. Link building. In some respects, guest posting – one popular tactic to build links, among many other benefits – is just content marketing applied to external publishers. The goal is to create content on external websites, building your personal brand and company brand at the same time, and creating opportunities to link back to your site. There are only a handful of strategies to build quality links, which you should learn and understand as well.
Google's strategy works well. By focusing on the links going to and from a Web page, the search engine can organize results in a useful way. While there are a few tricks webmasters can use to improve Google standings, the best way to get a top spot is to consistently provide top quality content, which gives other people the incentive to link back to their pages.
Game advertising - In-Game advertising is defined as "inclusion of products or brands within a digital game."[49] The game allows brands or products to place ads within their game, either in a subtle manner or in the form of an advertisement banner. There are many factors that exist in whether brands are successful in their advertising of their brand/product, these being: Type of game, technical platform, 3-D and 4-D technology, game genre, congruity of brand and game, prominence of advertising within the game. Individual factors consist of attitudes towards placement advertisements, game involvement, product involvement, flow or entertainment. The attitude towards the advertising also takes into account not only the message shown but also the attitude towards the game. Dependent of how enjoyable the game is will determine how the brand is perceived, meaning if the game isn't very enjoyable the consumer may subconsciously have a negative attitude towards the brand/product being advertised. In terms of Integrated Marketing Communication "integration of advertising in digital games into the general advertising, communication, and marketing strategy of the firm"[49] is an important as it results in a more clarity about the brand/product and creates a larger overall effect.
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.
From a customer experience perspective, we currently have three duplicate links to the same URL i.e. i.e. ????.com/abcde These links are helpful for the visitor to locate relevant pages on our website. However, my question is; does Google count all three of these links and pass all the value, or does Google only transfer the weight from one of these links. If it only transfers value from one of these links, does the link juice disappear from the two other links to the same page, or have these links never been given any value?
Many webmasters have more than one website. Sometimes these websites are related, sometimes they are not. You have to also be careful about interlinking multiple websites on the same IP. If you own seven related websites, then a link to each of those websites on a page could hurt you, as it may look like to a search engine that you are trying to do something fishy. Many webmasters have tried to manipulate backlinks in this way; and too many links to sites with the same IP address is referred to as backlink bombing.
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.
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.
Social media has been one of the fastest growing digital marketing channels for years now and continues to play a major role in brand development and customer acquisition and engagement. Social media now is a critical element to effective content marketing and search engine optimization strategies. These marketing strategies simply can’t exist well without one another.
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?

So, as you build a link, ask yourself, "am I doing this for the sake of my customer or as a normal marketing function?" If not, and you're buying a link, spamming blog comments, posting low-quality articles and whatnot, you risk Google penalizing you for your behavior. This could be as subtle as a drop in search ranking, or as harsh as a manual action, getting you removed from the search results altogether!
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