Recently I wrote about some information we had gleaned about the latest Panda Update and touched upon the concept of “Trust rank” and as such have had quite a few emails asking could I elaborate on this further?
Well the story behind Trust Rank is this.
As a concept it has been researched by two separate organisations, Google and Yahoo. As a concept behind the scenes it had been around for some time in the Google camp but it was actually Yahoo who first went public about it really when one of their researchers alongside some research personnel from Stanford in 2004 put together a Paper entitled: “Combating Web Spam with TrustRank”. For those who want to pursue this matter further the paper has been retrieved and put online and can be found here:
Apparently at the same time Google had been doing some behind the scenes work on a similar concept called Trust Rank and registered the Trademark “Trustrank” as Matt Cutts (the public face of Google) explains here:
Now where all of this falls into place with my feelings in my last Newsletter are this. Google has been searching for some time to further provide more background analysis on the “worthiness” of Web Sites and how they stack up.
Initially this was to be provided by using data from their Page Rank analysis but since Page Rank has been generally accepted to have been on the slide for the past few years (Google themselves downgraded it from being the “jewel in the Crown” in the Search Algorithm now to being “one of 200 other ranking factors” – bit of a drop in emphasis I think you’ll agree?) they have had to look further afield.
They then decided to expand the Trust Rank concept further in 2009 when as well as having the Trademark registered they registered the Patent as well. Now things were getting really serious and it is only now some 2 -2 ½ years later that we are starting to see the true manifestation in this with the Panda Update.
Looking round for methods to try and help them get some sort of handle on the generally accepted worthiness of a site, they hit upon the idea of seeing how a site was viewed by virtue of how a site was viewed by its peers hence the appearance of the “+1” concept. Now this, as in all things, can be gerrymandered such is the good and bad side of human endeavour but it goes some way to showing where they are going.
The other parts of the Trust rank concept lie in an old view of “you are known by the Company that you keep” or who links to you. Now we know also that Google tried to control this with the much vaunted “rel=nofollow” attribute but once again this has now also turned into a dead duck so where does this all lead us?
Well as I said in one of the newsletters of a month ago that I felt that with Panda, Google were turning back the clock to almost the days of the late Nineties with their views on inbound links etc.
Now my views on this are as follows. I think that there are certain aspects of Linking that Google are trying to downplay in the algorithm but with the absence of any credible alternative they cannot nor ever will truly be able to remove data from Link Building entirely. So the upshot of that being is that for the time being we are all safe there folks as far as our Back Link building efforts are concerned but what I think Google are placing more emphasis now than perhaps they have done before, is the nature of the IP spread of those links.
Whereas in the past, conventional wisdom was that with a few PR5 – PR 6+ links from a couple of websites you could drive a site up the serps, now that is no longer true in the same way. What Google now want to see are links, but instead of a few folks voting i.e. just one or two sites they want to see loads more and those votes need to come from as wide a section of the Internet population than before.
So the upshot of all of this is that you need to have your links coming from a much wider variety of sites than before.
So what about Authority and Trust?
Now to further this and aid the overall Trust and Respect for a site, if you can throw as many links to your site from as many different types of sites as possible – so much the better especially if those links are from perceived trusted domains such as .Govs and .EDU’s.
Google’s love affair with .EDU’s and .Govs lies not as most folks think, in a fixation with the domain suffix but rather with the nature of the sites themselves. Indeed we have found in our own research that a great many Education / Academic sites that are not .EDU’s for instance are just as powerful if not more so at times.
For instance in the UK, the domain suffix .EDU doesn’t exist rather the academic suffix is .ac.uk and this is a the case in a great many other territories worldwide so as we have seen the power and authority doesn’t necessarily stem from the suffix, rather the nature of the site itself and that fact that these sites (as Matt Cutts himself has been quoted) tend to have loads of authority links pointing at them as well so this in turn gives their outbound links out more power.
So where does this leave rel=nofollow links from .EDU’s?
Exactly as where it left them before to be blunt. Just as powerful but with a different dimension i.e. the fact they originate from where they do carries a different set of weight rather than any PR juice that folks think they might not be able to impart.
For your own back links profile and authority status the fact that you might be able to count as many quality EDU links in your profile goes a long way to help confer “trust status” as far as the Search Engines are concerned.
To further this we have been running an associate program to our main Bookmarking Program and this has been centred round locating development spaces within various EDU properties where you can insert your own content under your own editorial control. Called the Lost Art of Conversation we have now reached Module 4 and in Module 4 we now have 50 EDU properties that you can insert your own Links and copy. Now these properties include a mixture of DoFollow and NoFollow links but as has now been conclusively proved for Trust and Authority status the NoFollow attribute is by and large of no consequence.
As with before we will only be releasing limited copies of this Module to the general public and I wanted to notify members of my Newsletter first. The uptake of previous Modules was such that they never actually made it to public release as they were all snapped up by readers of this newsletter and members of Simple Leveraging. The cost of Module 4 of The Lost Art will be $75 and if anyone is interested then send the $75 to email@example.com and I’ll forward the zip file with the contents through to you straight away.