If you will remember a few months ago I dispelled the importance of Google’s PageRank in organic search engine ranking position (SERP). The argument has been blazing for a while now, but I think that most professional search engine optimization (SEO) experts now agree with my side of the argument. PageRank just doesn’t mean that much anymore. Now what?
You wonder where you should spend your efforts to get those highly prized organic SERPs. Just like SEO, the answer is complicated yet simple. When you get right down to it, SEO is an exercise in common sense. And so is the answer to what has replaced PageRank as one of the most important factors in high rankings. We’ll call it Google Trust and Authority.
Fundamentally, Google Trust and Authority is similar to PageRank, it just involves a few more elements and springs from a different source. I’m still evolving my opinion on Google Trust and Authority and I think most SEOs are, as well. Aspects of Trust and Authority may be independent from each other in the algorithm and some aspects maybe tied together.
One thing remains the same, the backlinks that you have are still important and so is the anchor text. The importance of where those links are has changed whether they are at the bottom of page, top of page, what is the Authority of the site your links appear on, etc.
What is Trust in the eyes of Google? As you might expect, only Google knows exactly what Trust is, but I suspect it has something to do with the age of a domain name, who owns the domain name, what kind of activities have been going on with the domain and sister domains. Do these domains hang out in bad parts of town with other thugs (aka spammers). Or are you hanging out with respected domains that have something to offer to WWW users. I think Google, in part, is looking at your track record.
What is Authority in the eyes of Google? The theory goes, Google has picked out a bunch of Authority Seed sites (like maybe NASA) and authority flows from those sites like PageRank. So, the closer you are to these Authority Seeds in your backlinking structure the more authority you have. Think of it like “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. Obviously the person only one degree from Mr. Bacon has more authority on how he likes his eggs compared to the person that is six degrees away.
If you think about it, it makes sense. I’m sure that I have over simplified Google Trust and Authority in this post, but I think that this will get your wheels turning and allow your give PageRank a rest. You may be interested in reading a related article over at SEO by the Sea written quite a while back about this very subject when Google applied for a patent that might control some of this.