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.
nofollow is beyond a joke now. There is so much confusion (especially when other engines’ treatment is factored in), I don’t know how you expect a regular publisher to keep up. The expectation seems to have shifted from “Do it for humans and all else will follow” to “Hang on our every word, do what we say, if we change our minds then change everything” and nofollow lead the way. I could give other examples of this attitude (e.g. “We don’t follow JavaScript links so it’s ‘safe’ to use those for paid links”), but nofollow is surely the worst.
According to Statistica, 76% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile and by 2020 the number of worldwide users of social media is expected to reach 2.95 billion (650 million of these from China alone). Of the social media platforms, Facebook is by far the most dominant - as of the end of the second quarter of 2018 Facebook had approximately 2.23 billion active users worldwide (Statistica). Mobile devices have become the dominant platform for Facebook usage - 68% of time spent on Facebook originates from mobile devices.
A search engine considers the content of the sites to determine the QUALITY of a link. When inbound links to your site come from other sites, and those sites have content related to your site, these inbound links are considered more relevant to your site. If inbound links are found on sites with unrelated content, they are considered less relevant. The higher the relevance of inbound links, the greater their quality.
In early 2005, Google implemented a new value, "nofollow",[64] for the rel attribute of HTML link and anchor elements, so that website developers and bloggers can make links that Google will not consider for the purposes of PageRank—they are links that no longer constitute a "vote" in the PageRank system. The nofollow relationship was added in an attempt to help combat spamdexing.

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 in the first page of results. And yet, that’s how bad it was 20 years ago.

At the time I was strongly advocating page rank sculting by inclusion of no follow links on “related product” links. It’s interesting to note that my proposed technique would have perhaps worked for a little while then would have lost its effectiveness. Eventualy I reached the point where my efforts delivered diminishing returns which was perhaps unavoidable.
Peter made a very good point in all of this, and Michael Martinez did in a backhanded way as well. Talking about a concept related PageRank sounds cool. It doesn’t actually have to be useful or practical, and it usually isn’t; but as long as the impression of something productive is given off, then that can be all that matters in the eyes of those who lack sufficient knowledge.
Google wasn’t happy with the Pandora’s Box it had opened. It began to fight back, with its most famous action against a network known as SearchKing, penalizing the site and some of those in the network with PageRank score reductions or actual removal from Google. SearchKing sued Google. Google won, a judge ruling that its search results were entitled to First Amendment protection as opinions.
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.
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.

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Despite this many people seem to get it wrong! In particular “Chris Ridings of” 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.
Two other practical limitations can be seen in the case of digital marketing. One,digital marketing is useful for specific categories of products,meaning only consumer goods can be propagated through digital channels.Industrial goods and pharmaceutical products can not be marketed through digital channels. Secondly, digital marketing disseminates only the information to the prospects most of whom do not have the purchasing authority/power. And hence the reflection of digital marketing into real sales volume is skeptical.[citation needed]
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
Ok, everyone been infering from Matt’s comments that all of these nofollow comments would kill the page rank of this post. Which means this page should have shown up on page 1 for the phrase I searched which was “does google follow nofollow”. In spite of all these nofollow comment links it still was presented as the most relevant page, which it probably is.
Matt, in almost every example you have given about “employing great content” to receive links naturally, you use blogs as an example. What about people that do not run blog sites (the vast majority of sites!), for example an E-Com site selling stationary? How would you employ “great content” on a site that essentially sells a boring product? Is it fair that companies that sell uninteresting products or services should be outranked by huge sites like Amazon that have millions to spend on marketing because they cant attract links naturally?
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.
Sharpe, who's presently running a company called Legendary Marketer, teaching you how to duplicate his results, is a prime example. By understanding how Sharpe has constructed his value chain, positioned his offerings and built out his multi-modality sales funnels, you'll better get a larger grasp on things. As confusing as it sounds at the outset, all you need to do is start buying up products in your niche so that you can replicate their success.
Well, it seems that what this article says, is that the purpose of the no-follow link is to take the motivation away from spammers to post spam comments for the purpose of the link and the associated page rank flow; that the purpose of no-follow was never to provide a means to control where a page’s pagerank flow is directed. It doesn’t seem that shocking to me folks.
Recently being torched for aggressive linking to keep up with competitors and doing things like PR sculpting because they were too. This is very helpful information. We have been undoing as much as we can and removing all the internal no follows was one of the items we have done. We have also gone back to linking to useful sites for our users without the no follows.
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Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed PageRank at Stanford University in 1996 as part of a research project about a new kind of search engine.[12] Sergey Brin had the idea that information on the web could be ordered in a hierarchy by "link popularity": a page ranks higher as there are more links to it.[13] Rajeev Motwani and Terry Winograd co-authored with Page and Brin the first paper about the project, describing PageRank and the initial prototype of the Google search engine, published in 1998:[5] shortly after, Page and Brin founded Google Inc., the company behind the Google search engine. While just one of many factors that determine the ranking of Google search results, PageRank continues to provide the basis for all of Google's web-search tools.[14]
I did this post because I wanted people to understand more about PageRank, how it works, and to clarify my answers at SMX Advanced. Yes, I would agree that Google itself solely decides how much PageRank will flow to each and every link on a particular page. But that’s no reason to make PageRank a complete black box; if I can help provide people with a more accurate mental model, overall I think that’s a good thing. For example, from your proposed paragraph I would strike the “The number of links doesn’t matter” sentence because most of the time the number of links do matter, and I’d prefer that people know that. I would agree with the rest of your paragraph explanation–which is why in my mind PageRank and our search result rankings qualifies as an opinion and not simply some rote computation. But just throwing out your single paragraph, while accurate (and a whole lot faster to write!), would have been deeply unsatisfying for a number of people who want to know more.

But I also don’t wanna lose PageRank on every comment with a link… If I can give PageRank and lose none, I wanna let the comment there, even without nofollow. But if I lose PageRank on every link, even inside original post, EVEN MORE if nofollow also takes PageRank out of me, I may just start using JavaScript or simple text without anchor for links… I definetely don’t like this idea, but I dislike even more losing PageRank on each outlink on my site. I’d just link top quality sites that I actively wanna vote for Search Engines.